Are you trying to get the most out of your Apple HomeKit?

I’ll tell you why Apple doesn’t support Z-Wave easily out of the box and then I’m going to show you an easy way to fix it.

Two decades ago, a porch light timer could have been identified as a smart home technology.

Today, the entire concept of smart homes incorporates automated lighting, cameras, lock, thermostat, as well as entertainment systems through a dedicated network.

Let’s say Star Trek technology is what is identified as a smart home application. The aforementioned gadget makers have been developing smart house devices in correspondence with well-established smart home protocols, in particular, ZigBee and Z-Wave. That however changed in 2014 when Apple Inc. came up with their own protocol called the HomeKit. In typical Apple fashion (which let’s be honest is bothersome) the company developed a ‘decentralized’ protocol; consequently, if you are intending to build a smart home using HomeKit be ready for clutter, complication, and a visit to your account considering the high charge prices on connection bridges.

Apple HomeKit

When Apple Inc. developed their HomeKit platform, they seemed to be based their creation on using both a WIFI and Bluetooth system as the radio protocols of choice. This decision was based on the knowledge that Apple products such as the iPhone, iPad, as well as Apple TV boxes, were previously wifi and Bluetooth enabled devices thus they could connect directly to the HomeKit device.

Additionally, the aforementioned devices had hub-like characteristics; subsequently allowing them to transmit signals in a Bluetooth and Wi-Fi network. However, two factors were overlooked the first being that Wi-Fi tends to take up significant power; subsequently, making it an unproductive alternative for battery powered sensors such as doorbell and locks as indicated by Protect America. On the other hand, Bluetooth though much more efficient than Wi-Fi, has a short range.

Therefore, as a protocol, it may not support applications outside the house for instance garage door locks or lawn sprinklers. However, there are upcoming versions of Bluetooth that allow an increased range from a single ‘mesh’ network. In a bizarre move Apple seem to have developed a system with known flaws just to favor their products; in other words, they made a growing technology inconvenient.

Z-wave technology

The vulnerability of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi had already been identified and corrected by the well established smart home protocol such as Z-wave and Zigbee. Therefore, these platforms offered the best choice for smart house appliance manufactures. Z-waves, in particular, operates at a lower power capacity than Wi-Fi because they send optimized smartphone commands and not a plethora of data. Additionally, Z-wave has a longer range than Bluetooth. A smart home operating within Z-Wave protocols will have the thermostat, lights, locks as well as the entertainment unit in one connection hub. Making it simple and decluttered. In order to connect smart home devices to Apple’s HomeKit, you will require multiple connection bridges. This reduces costs and clutter.

Homekit’s Limitations

Other than high costs, increased complexities, and clutter, it is significantly inconvenient (for no good reason) for a manufacturer to get devices compatible with HomeKit. For manufacturers to become HomeKit certified, they are required to have Mfi chip licensed by Apple Inc with additional encryption. Though Apple’s security ideals are acclaimed, they act as a hindrance to the device manufactures who in turn place high prices on Apple compatible gadgets.

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Z-way

In order to make things easier for manufacturers and homeowners, the management at Z-Wave developed the Z-Way. The protocol is based on the famously cost effective Raspberry Pi minicomputer program. The HomeKit implementation functions as a bridge device, as well as maps all installed Z-Wave gadgets into the HomeKit device directory. 
The Home kit interface will be presently incorporated as part of the 2.0 launch of Z-Way. Currently, if for some reason you want to build a smart home using HomeKit get yourself the new Z-way bridge connection.