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Apple launches into smarthome market with HomeKit

Apple’s iOS 8 operating system will include HomeKit, a framework that will enable home automation apps to communicate with each other.

“HomeKit lets your home accessories connect seamlessly to better manage your home. HomeKit delivers a common protocol, secure pairing and the ability to easily control individual or groups of devices throughout the house including integration with Siri,” said a company statement. “For example, you can tell Siri you are ‘going to bed’ and it could dim the lights, lock your doors, close the garage door and set the thermostat.

“We are excited to be part of the next step in making home automation a reality, in a safe and integrated way,” commented Eric Rondolat, CEO, Philips Lighting. “HomeKit will allow us to further enhance the Philips Hue lighting experience by making it simpler to securely pair devices throughout the house and control them using Siri.”

The announcement is along the lines of what many commentators were expecting, following a report in the Financial Times last week that the company was due to unveil a smarthome offering at its Worldwide Developer Conference yesterday.

Dana Tobak, managing director of British fibre-to-the-home provider Hyperoptic, told the Daily Telegraph: “HomeKit from Apple is a clear indication that the home of the future is now within our grasp. Apple has got an excellent track record in bringing early adopter technology to the masses – home automation could be the norm before the year is out.”