HomeKit lets you control smart home accessories from an iOS device. It offers a lot of nice features, which makes interacting with accessories much easier compared to other smart home systems.
The Home app automatically synchronises your HomeKit data between all your Apple devices with the same Apple ID. Once the bridge was added to HomeKit, you can use your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Mac and CarPlay device to control your accessories.
HomeKit provides access to your accessories from the Internet through a Home Hub. A home hub can be an Apple TV, HomePod or iPad in your local network.
The data is then encrypted and sent from your Home Hub, through Apple server to your iOS device. The HomeKit bridge for KNX actually doesn’t need an internet connection for that.
You have to set a Home Hub in the Home app under the Home Settings.
HomeKit lets you share your accessories with family members. The administrator of the home can invite people using the Home app. Once the invitation is accepted, all HomeKit accessories are available on the other people’s iOS device.
If a person was invited as a guest, she won’t be able to edit accessories but can only control them.
HomeKit lets you control accessories with Siri voice commands. For example the command “Hey Siri, set the brightness in the living room to 50%", sets the brightness of all lights in the living room to 50%.
The Home app can send you notifications for specific accessories. A notification is triggered when something happens and includes information of multiple sensors. For example a motion sensor notifies you when motion was detected. If a camera is located in the same room, the notification includes a snapshot of the camera as well.
You can enable notifications for a specific accessory by opening the detail view of the devices. Then go to “Status and Notifications” and then enable the “Notification” option. Notification can be configured for specific times and if you are at home or absent from the home.
iPad as Dashboard
The iPad can be mounted on the wall for everybody to use as a dashboard. This allows other family members to easily control accessories. You can also use the built-in calendar, browser, reminder and music player.
iOS includes the feature “Guided Access”, where you can restrict which app can be used on the device. If you want to use the iPad to only provide access to HomeKit accessories, you can restrict the access to the Home app only. This prevents others to access personal information on the device.
There is also a charge management feature built into iOS since version 11.3. The helps maintaining the battery health when the iPad is connected to power for a long period of time.