There was a break-in at one of the neighbours houses nearby recently. So we’ve decided that it’s going to be a good idea to have some home security. My neighbour has an alarm and has been pretty happy with it and my first instinct was to get the same. After waiting two days for some response back from the company selling the alarm on a couple of questions I’m looking at other options. I particularly want to have an security system that will send me notifications to my iOS devices with an app. I have my iPhone with me at all times so that sort of notification makes sense. One of the questions for the alarm company was, is there an application that connects to the alarm system. I tried following the link from their website and it didn’t work. Not a great advert for the system they’re selling. Their home security works by having a SIM card installed and it informs you with a text message. It also does the setup of the alarm using text messages (SMS). The guy I spoke to wasn’t too sure if the Spanish SIM cards would work and didn’t really want to say yes or no. My neighbour confirms that it is possible so I’m sure I could get something to work as well. Then again, I think it would be better if I have a system without having to use a SIM card. That all got me thinking about Apple Home Kit enabled devices for house protection.
Using Apple Home Kit Gives More Options
There is a convergence between home security and home automation. The alarm system I was looking at basically had a keypad system to put on the wall to activate and deactivate the alarm. Apart from that all it had was a couple of motion detectors and door / window sensors. There was a couple of RFID key ring switches allowing you to switch on and off the alarm. Going with something like the Elgato Eve system you can buy the door / window sensors and also the motion sensors separately as you need them. You don’t really need to have a box on the wall where you have to type in numbers to activate or deactivate the alarm. The system will know when you are at home because you have your iPhone with you which it senses using Bluetooth and may be by connection to the Wi-Fi. It would be possible to run an alarm system like this and not really need anything controller on the wall. After some research reading about Home Kit it seems it’s a good idea to use the generation four of the Apple TV as your home kit base. With this you get the extra facilities of automation with your alarm system. So I’ve ordered the new Apple TV. Another benefit of this purchase is that will free up the Apple TV I have already have for other uses. I can put that into another room and take advantage of another television setup. Or I could let my wife use the Apple TV Gen 3 in her work, at school. Then she’d be able to connect up with the iPad in the school to do Keynote presentations. I’d like to see that happen because she’s not really getting has much use out of the iPad as she could do.
Other advantages of setting up home security using Apple Home Kit
The biggest advantage is going to be extend its capability. As time goes by and more products become available and I have more money available then I can add to the system. I’ll be able to add a smart thermostat and also some smart lighting. I was highly tempted to add Philips hue lighting to the order I put in with Amazon to buy the motion sensor and the door and window sensors. It was possible to buy the door sensors from the Apple Store at the same time as the new Apple TV, but they were a few pence cheaper from Amazon. Now I have the orders in there is a possibility I will have the components arrive tomorrow. It’s going to take very little time to get the setup. The wireless door sensors seem expensive at €40 each, but then you do have the wireless within the device. I even saw a set of four for under a tenner. Got to have some that are Apple Home Kit compatible though to get proper notifications though an app. Have to spend the money. Ordered some of the Elgato Eve sensors for the Apple Home applications. It’s a very simple job to pair these things up.
Cameras needed to add to the Home Kit security system
I haven’t found any cameras which are compatible with Home Kit as yet. I have seen some manufacturers announcements to say that they will have Home Kit compatible cameras towards the end of the year. I’ll be able to add them to the Apple Home Kit security system and set up something like an automation to take a picture and send it to me if a door opens or closes. Before Home Kit cameras are available I could have a notification to tell me to look at video from a camera in the office or living room if it senses motion. I can set up the Raspberry Pi camera. When I get a notification to tell me that something has happened within the house I can switch on the camera remotely and see what’s going on if I’m away from home.
How does the Apple TV (Generation Four) fit in?
This is something I’ve been expecting for quite some time. The Apple TV is a perfect device to have as a hub for a home automation system. I’m pleased to see that Apple have set up Home Kit so that with the Apple TV you can organise automation. This automation is based upon things happening and the system being able to tell other devices to do stuff. The things that can be done will depend upon how you set up your system. You have the overall view of everything, then you have rooms and scenes. A scene would be something like ‘Bedtime’ and all you’d have to do is to give the Siri command for all of the lights to be turned off, heating to be set to a lower level and for the locks to activate all of the doors. This would also put it into a ready state for night-time protection. If any burglars decided to open up any of the doors or windows during the night then you could set it so that lights would come on and pictures were taken. It would be handy if you can also program something in so that your iPhone would have the application for the local police open and ready for you to use.
For the Apple TV (4th gen) to remotely control your home kit accessories from your iOS device it has to be set up in your home and powered on. To get this to work you also have to have two factor authentication setup. Your iCloud keychain should also be turned on. After you signed into your iCloud account with the same Apple ID as your iOS device the Apple TV automatically sets itself up as a home hub. Once this is set up you can get home kit to automatically turn off all lights when you leave your house. You might want to have a scene automatically run at a certain time or location. There are lots of possibilities with your home hub for automating your accessories and scenes to automatically turn on accessories and perform actions. It would be nice to arrive home and find lights have been turned on to welcome you into the house. If you have locks connected to the system it’s possible to allow remote access for specified persons. Maybe that will be a purchase in the future – One of those HomeKit door locks from August or Schlage. It looks like Apple Home Kit is coming of age at last.