Trending December 2023 # Homekit Weekly: Four Ways To Control Cooling With Fans And Air Conditioners # Suggested January 2024 # Top 21 Popular

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HomeKit Weekly is a series focused on smart home accessories, automation tips and tricks, and everything to do with Apple’s smart home framework.

We’re halfway through August, but summer doesn’t feel anywhere near like letting up: it’s hot outside! Luckily there are lots of ways to keep cool indoors — including four methods that work with HomeKit and Siri. Controlling cooling with HomeKit doesn’t have to be expensive either.

Smart Plug + Fan

Connecting a floor fan or window A/C unit to a HomeKit smart plug is the easiest and cheapest way to control cooling with Siri. Any model of the iHome Smart Plug that works with HomeKit for under $30 is my preferred smart switch.

In my office, I connect an iHome Smart Plug to a small flat panel Vornado fan set to its highest speed. In the Home app, you can assign the plug type as a fan (versus light or outlet) so Siri knows it’s connected to a fan and the accessory icon can match.

My house has a back porch area that is indoors but lacks central cooling, unlike the rest of the house. A basic window A/C unit was already installed when I moved in, so I simply added a HomeKit smart plug to the setup and assigned it as a fan to make it easily controlled by HomeKit as well.

This approach is super easy, relatively inexpensive, and made better by the Home app’s ability to assign smart switches as fans for proper support. The only real downside is missing out on fine tuned controls like changing target temperature and fan speed.

Also note that this works with any fan that works as soon as it’s powered on if left in the right mode; some fans require additional interaction to work but you can test before buying a smart switch by just unplugging and plugging the fan to the power source.

Smart Ceiling Fan

If you want more control, consider a HomeKit connected ceiling fan. Hunter Connect (reviewed) is my go-to solution. You get all the functions of a standard ceiling fan including speed and direction control, an integrated LED light, and a wall-mountable remote — plus complete Siri and Home app control.

Speed options include 25%, 50%, and 100% intervals, spinning direction can change between clockwise and counterclockwise (clockwise for winter to redistribute warm air; counterclockwise for summer to create a cool downdraft), and the integrated LED light appears in HomeKit as a separate accessory.

Expect to pay around $300 and installation is required, but the result is tremendous convenience — especially if you have a HomePod in the room for voice control. There’s nothing cooler than laying in bed, deciding it’s too hot and you’d prefer the fan on, and turning it on at your desired speed without moving a muscle.

Smart Thermostat

A more common and medium-priced option is a smart thermostat that works with HomeKit. I personally use an ecobee 4 (reviewed) that features built-in Alexa integration, but the cheaper ecobee 3 lite is my recommendation if HomeKit control is your primary goal.

Smart thermostats let you control your HVAC system using iOS apps, Apple’s Home app, and Siri so you can switch between heating and cooling, set the desired temperature, and toggle your system on and off without ever touching the thermostat — you can even control your HVAC system away from home.

Other smart thermostat options work with HomeKit too, but I prefer ecobee and its expandable sensors for measuring temperature and presence by room. Installation is required, but this is generally a one-and-done experience.

Smart Window A/C Unit

The last option is a newer solution we’ve seen come to market recently: smart window A/C units that work with HomeKit. Priced at $279, the GE AHP08LX, an 8,000 BTU unit, has been exclusively available from Lowe’s since spring. Larger (and pricier) 10,000 BTU and 12,000 BTU units are also available now. This solution costs a bit more than the quick and easy smart plug approach, but you get much more control than just on and off. Setting up the GE unit is also super easy.

Simply unbox it, connect it to power, scan the HomeKit set up code on the side, assign the unit to a room in HomeKit, then you’re set. In addition to using Siri and the Home app to turn the window A/C unit on and off, you can also adjust the target temperature. GE’s iOS app and physical remote offer more programming options like fan speed and energy mode.

I can definitely say the proper HomeKit experience it offers is worth your consideration. It’s extremely simple to set up (you don’t even need to install GE’s app) and controlling it with voice is straightforward.

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Homekit Weekly: Eve Energy With Thread Support Is My Go

Smart outlets are one of the simplest ways to start your smart home journey, and I’ve tried almost all of the ones that support HomeKit. With its new Thread support, the Eve Energy will become my go-to recommendation until other products add Thread supports.

HomeKit Weekly is a series focused on smart home accessories, automation tips and tricks, and everything to do with Apple’s smart home framework.

Regardless if you’re new to HomeKit or a seasoned user, you might not be familiar with the Thread protocol, so let’s catch up, so we’re all on the same page.

At a 40,000-foot view, Thread networking is a mesh networking protocol for HomeKit and other smart home devices with direct peer-to-peer communication and is self-maintaining and self-healing. Even if a smart home device goes off, other devices will still be kept alive, and the network will automatically reconfigure itself as needed.

Many of the technical aspects of smart home devices weren’t necessarily designed originally to be extremely responsive and operated in a crowded environment. With Thread, everything is designed from the ground up with the smart home in mind, which means a special focus is made for low power usage –especially for battery-powered devices.

A Thread network consists of two types of roles: routers and endpoints. And this role is not permanent – if a device is capable of routing, it can be either, depending on the current network situation and use case. Each device on a Thread network is called a node. Eve has a very in-depth article on all the technical details of Thread, but TL;DR, it’s going to be a great technology for HomeKit as more devices support it.

Eve Energy

I’ve long had an appreciation for Eve’s product lineup. Are they always the lowest cost? No, but they are among the most reliable and have a great build quality. The Eve iPhone app might rival Apple’s own Home app as the best way to interact with HomeKit as well.

The new Eve energy doesn’t look a lot different than the old one, but, of course, the secret is in what you can’t see. Smart outlets are useful for turning “dumb” devices into smart ones. You could use them to trigger lamps, turn off your washing machine when water is detected (paired with a floor sensor), turn on white noise machines at night, or really anything that has a hardware off and on switch (oil heater, etc). They’re easy to install and easy to relocate in the future. One of the most common use cases is turning Christmas tree lights on and off during the Christmas season. Using HomeKit, you could turn lights on at a certain time, using Siri on a HomePod mini, or use the Home app to manually turn them on and off. If you don’t own a single smart home product today, smart outlets are the place to start.

What difference does Thread make today?

Eve Energy can act as a Thread router, and so can the HomePod Mini and Apple TV 4k.

Eve devices that support Thread

The Eve Door and Window, Eve Weather, and Eve Aqua join Eve Energy as Thread enabled supported devices.

Installing Eve Energy

Installing Eve Energy with Thread is so trivial that a child can probably do it. Unbox, plug it into the wall and scan the QR code on the side of the unit with the Home app. One minor detail I appreciate about this product is how the QR code is on the side of the outlet. I’ve used some products in the past that are on the back, so it’s tricky scanning it while it’s plugged in.

Use the Home app with Eve Energy

Once the device shows up in the Home app, you’ll have full access to turn it on and off via Siri and using the Home app. One detail Apple supports for smart outlets is setting them to appear as a light, outlet, or fan.

With something like a switched outlet connects to a lamp, a simple automation is to have it turn on at sunset and turn back off at sunrise. If you have a HomeKit enabled motion sensor, you could create an automation where when the motion detector detects motion, it turns the light on but turns off after a few hours. I personally use a motion sensor at the top of our steps to turn on a lamp when motion is detected from 11:00 PM to 6:00 AM, as that means our kids are coming down the stairs.

Wrap up

I am beyond excited to see Thread-enabled devices coming to the market. Eve is getting out ahead of other manufacturers, and I’ll be choosing Thread-enabled devices when I have the option in the future. If you’re looking to start building out Thread support in your home, check out Eve Energy.

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Homekit Weekly: Switchbot Button Pusher Can Switch On Dumb Appliances Using Homebridge And Homekit

I’ve joked that if I were “super-rich,” that I’d love to hire someone whose only job would be to hand me a large cup of coffee as soon as I walked out of my bedroom. HomeKit hasn’t let me do that, but it’s getting me close. Read on to learn how I automated my morning coffee based on when motion is detected by my bedroom door using HomeKit, HOOBS, and Switchbot. Read on to learn how to implement, what gear you’ll need, and how to configure in HomeKit.

HomeKit Weekly is a series focused on smart home accessories, automation tips and tricks, and everything to do with Apple’s smart home framework.

Switchbot products needed

To get started, we need to understand what we’re trying to do from a high level. The first thing is building a Switchbot set up in your home. Switchbot’s most unique product is the Button Pusher. For appliances that require a button press to turn on, a standard HomeKit outlet won’t accomplish the goal as turning the appliance on will not start the process. In my situation, my coffee maker doesn’t immediately begin brewing when it’s turned on, so I need a way to push the button from HomeKit.

For the Switchbot side, you’ll need to purchase a Switchbot hub as well so the button pusher can be on your Wi-Fi instead of relying on Bluetooth alone. Once the products are unboxed, download the Switchbot app, and begin connecting them to your network. Then, inside the Button Pusher’s settings, put it in “Press mode.” I set my hold time at two seconds after a bit of testing.

Switchbot API key

You’ll also want to find the MAC address of the Switchbot button pusher. It’ll be found under Device Info under the device’s settings. Again, you’ll need it without the colons, so write it down in the same Apple Note you put the API key.

HOOBS setup with Switchbot

Once the Switchbot devices are up and running on your network, you’ll want to get it configured in HOOBS. I am writing this with the assumption that you’ve already configured HOOBS and connected it to HomeKit.

Inside the HOOBS dashboard, search for the Switchbot Plugin. The certified one is the one I am using, and I would reccomend it to you as well. Once it’s installed, you’ll paste in the API key in the appropriate field.

I then added a Press mode bot and input the BLE MAC Address. In full disclosure, I had a lot of difficulties figuring this section out. The documentation could be better explained, but I finally got it. Unfortunately, I also had a typo in my MAC address which took me a lot of time to figure out.

After inputting the MAC address into HOOBS, the Switchbot Button Pusher showed up in the Home app as a switch. Pressing it triggers the button push and immediately flips it back off. Before mounting it on my coffee maker using the 3M, I tinkered with the placement to make sure it would accurately turn the coffee maker on.

HomeKit automation


Now that I had the Switchbot Button Pusher working in HomeKit, the final step is creating the HomeKit automation. I have an ecobee remote sensor in my bedroom to help with heating and cooling exposed in HomeKit as a sensor.

If you set it upright, when the motion sensor detects movement during the preset time, the Switchbot Button Pusher will start brewing your coffee. Reminder, you’ll need a Switchbot Hub and HOOBS to tie everything together.

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Brilliant Announces Homekit Integration For Its Sleek ‘Control’ Smart Home Hub

At CES 2023, Brilliant has announced that it is adding HomeKit support to its Brilliant Control product. The Brilliant Control is a sleek replacement for your existing light switches and features a touch display and camera. HomeKit support further expands its capabilities.

The Brilliant Control works by integrating smart home products from the likes of Amazon, Nest, Ecobee, Ring, August, Philips Hue, Sonos, Honeywell, and Wemo. At long last, the Control will also soon support HomeKit.

What this means is that you’ll be able to control HomeKit-enabled accessories using the Brilliant display. Further, Brilliant says that users will able to “find and control any light connected to the Brilliant Control by voice using Siri or with the Apple Home app.”

Details here are a bit sparse still, but the basic idea is that with Brilliant Control acting as your smart home centerpiece, you can integrate accessories from HomeKit, Alexa, and a host of other smart home platforms. Siri itself won’t be integrated directly into the Brilliant Control, but rather you’ll use Siri on your iOS device to control accessories connected to the Brilliant Control.

The Brilliant Control is available in four different configurations, depending on the size of the light switch you are replacing. Prices start at $299 and range up to $449.

Watch a video showcasing what Brilliant is capable of below, and check out the full press release for its HomeKit announcement. There’s no word on when exactly HomeKit support will rollout.

Brilliant Announces Apple HomeKit Integration

Control Any Light Connected to the Brilliant Control Using iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, HomePod and Mac

LAS VEGAS – JANUARY 8, 2023 – THE INTERNATIONAL CONSUMER ELECTRONICS SHOW (CES) – Brilliant, maker of the award-winning Brilliant Home Control, the world’s first smart home controller that you swap out a light switch for, today announced their much-anticipated integration with Apple HomeKit™, allowing users to find and control any light connected to the Brilliant Control by voice using Siri® or with the Apple Home app on any Apple device.

Leveraging Apple’s software authentication for HomeKit, existing Brilliant customers will be able to get HomeKit support via an automatic, over-the-air firmware update to be issued Spring 2023 at no additional cost.

“Brilliant unifies control of smart home devices in a way that is seamless, simple and accessible throughout the home,” said Aaron Emigh, CEO and co-founder of Brilliant. “This new integration with HomeKit will soon give Brilliant owners who have invested in the Apple ecosystem even more functionality and convenience.”

The Apple Home app allows users to set scenes, which enable multiple accessories to work in combination, all with a single command. So users can control lights connected to Brilliant Controls, along with other functions such as locking the doors and lowering the thermostat.

About Brilliant

Brilliant creates technology that unifies the home experience through simple and thoughtful interaction. Co-Founded by serial entrepreneur Aaron Emigh, Brilliant is comprised of experienced entrepreneurs and engineers from companies such as Apple, Philips, Sonos, Cisco, Jawbone, PayPal, Palm, and shopkick. Brilliant is based in San Mateo, California, and is funded by August Capital, Miramar Ventures, The Box Group, and other prominent investors.

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Power And Cooling Savings From The Ground Up

Like everything else in life there is a right way to go about reducing energy costs in the data center and a multitude of wrong ways.

How about attacking that inefficient Computer Room AC (CRAC) system first? Wrong. Reworking your power infrastructure with better PDUs or voltage control? Wrong. Removing all the underfloor cabling that is obviously severely restricting airflow? Wrong.

While these actions are fine in and of themselves, you get far less bang for your buck than if you conduct them using the wrong sequence.

This data comes from an informative presentation I heard this week by Jack Pouchet, director of energy initiatives at Emerson Network Power. He basically separated out all the elements involved and laid them out in a sequence. And the good news for data centers is that the individual server components as well as the servers (and other IT equipment) are top priority when it comes to energy savings.

Here’s the logic: Yes, the power and cooling infrastructure represents about 50 percent of total power consumption and the IT equipment (servers, storage and communication gear) takes up the other half. But every watt saved at the server component level results in cumulative savings of 2.84 watts when it works its way back through the entire power and cooling infrastructure to where the power comes into the building. If you chase the savings based purely on cooling or power equipment savings, you don’t realize quite the same cascading effect.

The best strategy, then, is to first look at reducing losses at the component level with the processor being the most important element. Other components, such as the disk and the fans can also bring about small savings. Slower disks draw less power, for example, so if you don’t really need super-fast disks, don’t order them.

The Emerson model is based on a 5,000 square foot data center which contains 210 racks, each with an average of 2.8 kW per rack. The biggest single item of savings comes from installing lower power processors. This consumes around 10 percent less power and it cascades upstream all the way through to the grid connection. Even though such processors typically cost more, they pay for themselves rapidly in energy savings.

Next comes high-efficiency power supplies for servers, which can account for 11 percent in savings. Typical server power supplies, after all, are oversized to accommodate maximum server configuration — even though most servers are shipped at much lower configurations (i.e., if you don’t buy fully loaded servers, you are overpowering them). Obviously, there are higher losses associated with oversized power supplies.

Another surprisingly good move is to turn on the server power management features your vendor has been supplying. This saves about 8 percent in total power bills, as idled servers operate about 45 percent below full power.

Those actions can be supplemented by virtualization and the use of blade servers. Virtualization saves approximately 8 percent in energy costs according to most estimates. Blades, on the other hand, reduce the electricity bill by around 1 percent.

Some claim blades and virtualization lead to out-of-control power and cooling. Unplanned, this can certainly be the case. But as part of an encompassing implementation, a high-density architecture substantially reduces power and cooling — as the amount of space is far less, it is easier to get the power and cooling to where it is needed and to control its effectiveness.

Now it is time to look at your the power and cooling distribution side. A power distribution architecture that brings higher voltage (240v) to the server via power distribution units (PDU) and uninterruptible power supply (UPS) can be responsible for an overall energy cut of 2 percent. Power supplies are 0.6 percent more efficiency at 240v than at 208v. Use of more modern PDUs and UPSes adds the rest.

How about cooling? Various elements and strategies provide about 12 percent energy reduction. Best practices that eliminate leakage of cold air into hot (and vice versa), and produce optimum air flow (such as removing cabling and other barriers from underfloor) can bring about a 1 percent gain.

High-density supplemental cooling does even better — about 6 percent. Reason: Most spaces have a cooling overcapacity. They have more than enough cold air in the room but it doesn’t get to where it is needed. You end up with hot spots regardless of how high you crank up the CRAC units. Supplemental cooling sits in or above the rack and takes the cold air right to the blades or racks that need it most. It is also more efficient. It takes 30 percent less power to cool 1 kW of load using supplemental cooling compared to a traditional chilled water cooling CRAC system.

Finally, monitoring cooling units can bring about a 1 percent drop in energy usage. Pre-set thresholds and a network of sensors allow CRAC units and supplemental boxes to cycle up or down according to need.

In the 5,000 square foot data center example above, an initial load of 1,127 kW was brought down to 585 kW using this approach. Just the change to low power processors throughout the facility gives immediate savings of 40 kW. But that adds up to a total of 111 KW saved when you follow it all the way to the front door.

Note that nothing here involves a change in the way the data center operates in terms of availability, performance and redundancy. Yet by applying this approach, a 5,000 square foot space with 210 racks operating at 2.8 kW per rack can be brought down to an 1,800 square feet space than contains only 60 racks running at 6.1 KW per rack. Instead of 350 tons of cooling capacity, you now need only 200 tons.

Implementation of a higher density infrastructure, therefore, can help reduce energy consumption by about 50 percent.

“Even if you are one of those rare companies where energy efficiency is not your key concern, implementing these strategies will free up power, cooling and space,” said Pouchet.

How To Use Home App And Customize Homekit Accessories On Iphone

Home makes incredibly easy to manage and control your HomeKit-enabled accessories. The easy-to-use interface and the ability to let you customize the accessories as per your convenience makes Home very helpful for users.

Depending on your need or the desire to get the best out of your accessories, you can fine tune them. As for instance, you can change the location or name of the accessory, create your favorite scene or set any accessory your favorite. Let’s walk along with me to customize the accessories perfectly.

How to Use Home and Manage HomeKit Accessories Perfectly on iPhone

How to Add an Accessory in Home on iPhone

First off, you need to add locks, lights, thermostats along with other HomeKit-enabled accessories to get started. Keep your accessory near your iPhone and make sure it’s powered on. Do check out the accessory manual to find out whether it requires extra hardware in order to work with HomeKit.

Step #1. Open Home app on your iPhone.

Step #2. Tap on Add Accessory.

Step #3. When your accessory appears, tap on it. If you are asked to add the accessory to network, allow it.

Step #4. Now, you need to scan the eight-digit HomeKit code on the accessory or accessory documentation using your iPhone camera. You can also enter it manually.

Step #5. Next, you will have to add some information about the accessory. As for instance, you need to add its name and the room in which it’s located in. Siri will quickly identify the accessory you have added by the name and the located in which you have added it.

Step #6. Tap on Next → Tap on Done to confirm.

Note: There are some accessories like Honeywell thermostats which need additional setup through their app.

How to Add Room in Home App on iPhone

You have the option to divide your house into two different rooms. Add some cool items in those rooms and control them with ease.

How to Customize Your Accessories in Home App

Home allows you to edit details such as name, location about your accessory.

Step #1. Launch Home app on your iPhone.

Step #2. Tap on Home tab at the bottom.

Step #3. Next, you need to touch and hold an accessory. Then, tap on Details.

Now, you can add the details about your accessory.

Name: You can name your accessory to identify it in Home and be able to control it with Siri

Location: It lets you assign a location for your accessory like a kitchen

Type: Choose what type of accessory it is. As for instance, a switch or light

Include in Favorites: Enable it to access your accessory in the Home tab, Control Center, and on Apple Watch

Status and Notifications: Enable it to check out which accessories are turned on at the top of the Home tab

How to Create your Favorite Scene in Home App

Scenes allow you to control multiple accessories at once. As for instance, “Bye” scene will let you, adjust the thermostat, turn on all the lights of your home etc.

Step #1. Open Home app → Home tab or Rooms tab.

Step #2. Tap on “+” icon. Then, tap Add Scene.

You have the option to use a suggested scene or create a custom one.

Step #3. Tap on Add or Remove Accessories.

Step #4. Tap on the accessories that you wish to add.

Step #5. Tap on Done to confirm the change.

Now, you can tap and hold an accessory to adjust its settings

In order to preview the scene, simply tap Test This Scene

To access your scene from the Home tab, Control Center, and your Apple Watch, you need to turn on Show in Favorites

In the end, tap on Done to finish.

How to Control Accessories in Home on iPhone

To turn accessories on/off, tap on Home/Room tab and tap on the accessory to turn it on/off

To control accessories like a thermostat, simply touch and hold the accessory to check out its controls. If you want to control accessory from your Apple Watch, add it as a Favorite

Check out the status and notifications to find out which accessories are turned on at the top of the Home tab

There are some accessories such as, lights and thermostats which provide features like brightness, color, and temperature controls. Just touch and hold the accessory to find and adjust additional features

How to Share Control of Your Accessories in Home App on iPhone

You can invite your friends to control your Home accessories. Make sure your friend’s iPhone is running iOS 10 and signed into iCloud.

Step #1. Open Home app → Tap on the Home tab at the bottom.

Step #2. Tap on Rocket button.

Step #3. Next, you need to tap on Invite.

Step #4. Now, enter the Apple ID of the person and then tap on Send Invite.

How to Accept Invite to Control Accessories

When anyone sends an invite to control accessory, you will get a notification in the Home app.

Step #1. Open Home app on your iPhone.

Step #2. Tap on rocket icon.

Step #3. Tap on Home Settings.

Step #4. Tap on Accept and then tap on Done.

Now, you can tap on the rocket button then tap on the name of the Home to control it.

How to Delete Home Data and Reset Accessories on iPhone

You may need to delete Home data and reset accessories when moving to a new home.

Step #1. Launch the Home app on your iOS device.

Step #2. Next, tap on Home tab.

Step #3. Tap on the tiny rocket icon at the top right corner of the screen.

Step #4. Next, you need to scroll down to bottom. Then, tap on Remove Home.

Step #5. Tap on Delete at the bottom to confirm.

To reset your accessories, look for the button on the accessory or check the manual.

How to Troubleshoot HomeKit Accessories Issues from iPhone

Just in case HomeKit accessories are not working properly, follow these tips to fix them.

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Author Profile


Jignesh Padhiyar is the co-founder of chúng tôi who has a keen eye for news, rumors, and all the unusual stuff around Apple products. During his tight schedule, Jignesh finds some moments of respite to share side-splitting content on social media.

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