For all of us good and geeky people we like the idea that we can live smarter by making full use of technology. You’ve got the excellent Philips Hue light bulbs which you can connect to Wi-Fi and control from your Siri enabled devices. There are the smart thermostats such as the Nest and the one from Ecobee and these learn your behaviour in the house and adjust your heating to save you money. We also have the door and window sensors, plus the motion detectors. Combine a few of these things and we get a way to create home automations. Use these HomeKit devices together to create a smart home, but what about legacy home appliances such as televisions and electric radiators? For this we have the Elgato Eve HomeKit switch and power automation accessories. I got a couple of these for the purpose of automatically switching appliances off when I go to bed. I often forgot and so was wasting power during the night time when I was in bed. So I put one in the socket which gives power to the television and the speakers connected to it. The other Eve Energy Switch and power meter I have plugged into the wall for the electric radiator I use to keep me warm in the office.
Eve Energy switch and power meter does more than switch things on and off
I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Eve Energy switch and power meter also tracks the amount of power being used by the devices connected through it. It’s interesting to see the energy consumption of devices within the house. This shows up in graphs with the kilowatt-hours used on either an hourly, daily, weekly or monthly chart. It’s quite eye-opening to see how much power is being used within the house. The Elgato Eve application will give you a projected cost based upon the usage of the last minute, day or week. The more you use the Eve Energy HomeKit automation accessory, the more information and insight you’ll have. As well as improving your comfort you’ll be making your home smarter. Have a look on your electricity bill to see how much it costs per kilowatt-hour to put into the settings of the app. In the menu bar at the bottom of the application choose Types. In the left-hand panel you choose to view the present consumption of electricity through the device. You can see the projected cost for the year. The longer you’re using the Eve Energy Switch the more accurate it will be with its figures. Get an Elgato Eve Energy Switch and Power Meter.
Controlling your home using your voice or from within an application
The first benefit I noticed was being able to set up automations to control my electrical equipment. I can now say “Good Night” to Siri and she will turn off any of the lights that are still on. Siri will also turn off the heater and the television with the Eve Energy switch and power meter. One quick and easy command with my voice and the job is done. If you want to you can also access these home automation commands from your Apple watch or your iOS devices through the applications available. So you might add a complication to your watch face on the Apple Watch to get quick access to turning things on or off. On your iPhone or iPad you pull up the control centres from the bottom of the screen. This will initially bring up the first panel which gives you access to your Bluetooth, aeroplane setting, brightness setting and so on. Slide it across to the left and the next panel is for your music. Finally you get to a panel which allows you to control HomeKit accessories and scenes. If the last panel you used was the HomeKit panel then you’ll see that first of all. On my iPad or iPhone I can quickly see the status for any of the sensors, doors or windows which are either open or closed or lights status. Switch to scenes to control the house such as the scene I use to turn the light off in the kitchen when there’s nobody there. There’s also the automation when I arrive back home which will turn on a couple of lights to welcome me to the house. I have that one set to operate on a geo-fence location. My HomeKit automation is responding to my iPhone arriving home more than it is responding to me personally. It’s cool to have the Eve Energy Switch And Power Meter so with an automation I can turn everything off when I leave the house. There’s no point having heating in the office while I’m not there.
How does it all work?
In the first place it’s easy to get started with an easy setup. The Eve Energy switch and power meter connects to your iOS devices using Bluetooth LE (Low Energy). My experience with this so far tells me that it’s great not having to have a hub or mess about with complicated Wi-Fi settings. The Elgato Eve HomeKit accessories are connecting up better using Bluetooth than the way things work out by using Wi-Fi in house.
Security considerations of a HomeKit enabled home
When you set up your Eve Energy HomeKit device you use the code which came with it to securely pair to your iOS devices. There is end-to-end encryption and authentication because you don’t want someone outside of the house coming on and switching things on or off without your permission.
Which app to use to control your HomeKit accessories and scenes
There is an application to go with the Elgato Eve products or use the Apple Home App. You have a view which will show you at a glance everything is going on in your connected home. You can delve into the devices to get more information with graphs and lists of when doors and windows were opened or closed. You can go in there and check if you are not sure whether you turned something off or not. It’s not a bad application and has loads of fine detail about your Elgato Eve accessories. You can check on scenes, timers and rules. It didn’t take me too long to work out a rule which turns the kitchen light off based upon a motion trigger. If there’s nobody in the room and there is no movement the motion trigger will show clear and therefore the light will turn off. This is combined with another rule which will turn the light on after sunset if there is motion within the room. I left the motion sensitivity at medium and set the timer to 3 minutes.
Setting up rules, scenes and timers
Go to the scenes tab in the Elgato Eve application and you can work with the scenes, timers and rules. You use the scenes to group together accessories to be activated at one time. You can then go to the timers and add the scenes to a timer. When you first start doing this it will take some working out so you get it all working together as you want it to. It’s probably better to keep it simple to start with before you start getting tricky with the triggers, conditions and scenes. Look out for a video I’ll make soon to add to this article show you how to set up an Elgato Eve automation. I will but more of the Eve Energy switch and power meter devices to add to my home automation over the next six months. I’m loving being Good and Geeky and using home automation combined with home security.