HomeKit and home automation

Ok since my OP, I’ve also added the following non-Home Kit automation items that I can control remotely:

Security alarm
Sliding gate
Video doorbell
Heater/ cooler unit

These are non-Homekit since Homekit ones don’t exist yet for them.

I’m considering Blinds and Garage at the moment (no real reason, just why not). Any ideas for these?

I’m considering garage. My door and auto opener need replacing, so if I do that, I’d probably prefer homekit compatible… but does it even exist…

Ok, I found a couple of homekit Garage ones: Insignia and Ismartgate - I’m going to go with Ismargate for now, will let you know how that goes.

I also found a couple of homekit Door ones: August and Danalock - I’m going to go with August, also will let you know how that goes.

Blinds automation is a lot trickier and more expensive as there are so many of them. Ikea is going to release one later, will let you know how that goes.

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I had an August, bloody hell it munched the batteries!

Didn’t really help that I still needed a key to unlock the security door - I ended up eBaying it and going back to keys - I have one of these on the door though so at least I can wander around close to home or in the depths of the garage (where I can’t see or hear what’s going on outside) without needing keys to get back in and without being concerned that the front door is unlocked.

Excellent. I also found https://www.gogogate.com/ which might be OK for mine, since I already have an automatic opener. I can make do with it for quite a few years yet.

Chamberlain makes a bridge to add homekit to chamberlain garage door openers

Yeah gogogate makes the ismartgate device, so same thing. Will let you know how it goes.

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This only works with certain Merlin and Chamberlain garage door openers/lifts, though. It doesn’t retrofit older non-MyQ door openers.

I looked at it and wished that it had Australian approvals when I bought my place as I’m not paying for a brand new opener again…

Ok got the iSmartGate to work well with the Home app. It’s actually an easy install. Looks it would work with most garage openers - need a red/white wired connector directly.

I liked it so much I got a second one and hooked it up to our sliding gate as well. Again an easy install. So both gate and garage are in the Home app.

The August smart lock was a bit more complicated as my deadbolt wasn’t compatible and I only found out after I disassembled it. I finally got a locksmith to do it properly for me. So now the front door is in the Home app as well.

So far so good all working well.

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Ok I’ve done my smart blinds research and the HomeKit compatible one that you can retrofit to existing blinds is Soma. So I’m getting a bunch - will let’s people know how this goes.


Ok - update.

I’ve just installed Soma Smart Shades to my blinds downstairs. The process was not as straightforward, as they are not natively Homekit compatible, but they provide a Soma Connect device that can be used as a bridge, that connects the devices to Homekit. The device themselves retrofit reasonably easily to existing blinds with chains.

Once they are installed and integrated into the Home app, it’s been great. I’ve added a Philips dimmer switch, so that the On/Off buttons controls my August Lock for the door, and the Dimmer Up/Down buttons controls the downstair blinds, so we don’t have to use the phone to do it exclusively.

Overall, my final Home app setup includes:

Front sliding gate, Garage door (via iSmartGate)
Front door lock (via August)
Bedroom and garage lights (via Philips)
Watering system front and back (via Eve)
Blinds (via Soma)
Printer socket switch (via Eve)
Cameras in and outside house and motion sensors (via Omna)

Automation that is OUTSIDE of the Home app that I have to use other apps for:

Video doorbell
Home security system
Home heating/cooling system

So my quest for full home automation I think has reached its limit. You don’t want to know the final cost of the above, as it all adds up, but it’s been a fun journey.

I picked up some Briliant sockets for $15 each at bunnings that I can use with my Lenovo Smart clock, I also picked up some purely Wifi controlled Chinese lightbulbs. My biggest issue is that I don’t have anywhere permanent to live yet, so I won’t be buying switches yet. Although… They are getting cheap at Bunnings. At the same time you don’t really need them.

The good thing with the Lenovo devices is that they have a switch on the back of them. They run Google Home, but at the same time you can turn the microphone off at the back when you don’t want it.

The bigger issue with Google is that it saves your search history… forever… as a consequence of being in the Google environment. So I’ll not be using it for the Web, but it does everything I need by either yelling at the air, or pressing a button on my phone.

What got me about the Lenovo Smart Clock is the need to replace a 20 year old alarm clock, but then you think about what you want to replace it with, and the Lenovo Smart Clock has just enough traditional alarm clock features, with the ability to play digital radio, manage your calenders, schedule, and to show you the weather. It’ll monitor your smart cameras also from its 4inch IPS screen. It’s quite good, it behaves like an alarm clock, radio, and it has none of the unnecessary crud of a larger device… It’s a minimalist home automation hub with a little more features than average from Homekit, or Google Home Mini, while not being out of control like the Amazon Echo Show with crap you really don’t need when your main hub is also in your bedroom.

You can do it across multiple devices from multiple brands but it gets messy. If you want to do it you will need Bluetooth turned on, and then you will need a casting device in each room whether that’s a hub or a chromecast, and then you will need to give it a room and a name in Google Home, then you can cast to those devices by Bluetooth. If you want to get more complicated than that then you’re gonna really need a Logitech Harmony Hub for cross integration of smart platforms between Google, Apple and Amazon. If you don’t want so many hubs or casting devices then you’re going to have to look into virtualising a few of them.

Of course this will only work with Bluetooth, which is fine for basic stereo, but once you go beyond that you’re gonna run out of bandwidth.

The bigger issue with Google is that it saves everything you do, forever. I want nothing to do with it, myself, which is why I dont have a lot of the available gadgetry. I dont even use google maps, drive, photos or gmail anymore.

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You can go to your google account settings, clear your history and then tell it not to keep a record of all that you do in the future. However, you will still need to trust them.

And, I dont :slight_smile:

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@snarl and others. This is why Google also turned off active conversations by default so that it doesn’t ask you follow up questions. They also introduced better recognition so that it only recognises your voice after a series of blasphemous advertising schemes in America where they had people saying “Ok Google,” “Hey Siri” and “Alexa.”

There was a huff about this in the media recently and it wasn’t just Google, it was Amazon and Apple also that were brought to task over active listening devices.

As to Edward Snowden and his beliefs. There are some merits. I trained to be a government analyst myself with a degree double major in political science and international science. Shall we say:

Me no think Snowden is 100% right upstairs anymore…

I also think that the Russian government has him wrapped up around their pinky finger and of the dumbest places to seek Asylum Russia would be one of them due to their lack of press freedoms and its general freedom of the the people and association. I can sooorrttaa understand why he did it but you have to be one desperate fellow to go down that pathway because now there are two answers. The only way Mr. Snowden will ever learn to live is to live with a cautious relationship with the KGB, or he will end up dead in a bodybag after they are sick of their new found Jack In The Box.

Also… Under local jurisdiction it’s all kinds of illegal for the government to actively surveil its citizens without reason, and without an active warrant and you’re positively bananas if you believe Five Eyes is actually interested in what you ate for breakfast and who you’re sleeping with.

They’re not, and anyway, even if they are collecting so much data about the world, and they are, and they pretty likely do have some kind of search engine to access all that data. You’re still pretty much safe through obfuscation due to the fact that there is 7billion people on this planet. As they say, if you want to hide, the best place to hide is in the plane old outdoors, open.

Actually those kinds of delusions are common in schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder and other types of delusional and paranoic disorders that affect people’s mental faculties and thought processes.

I wouldn’t be too worried about conversations like “Hey Siri, turn on the lights.”

Ok, just moved to a new place, and managed to relocate all my HomeKit and other automation to the new house.

So at the new house, I run 2 x HomePods and 1 x ATV4 as the home hubs.

I’ve got Telstra NBN, and run their v2 modem as the main hotspot, covering the front of the house, and a Netgear R9000 as an AP covering the rear. The house comes with CAT6 with ports down and up, which is helpful.

I’ve got August for the front door entry, iSmartGate for both garage and gate, Eve door sensors for doors, including for our fridge doors (as kids sometimes leave them open), Eve watering system, and Eve switch for our printer. I’ve also put up the six OMNA cameras around the house.

I’ve decided to leave out the Philips Hue lights (can’t be bothered upgrading the downlights) and Soma automated blinds (they are not as useful as I thought they were).

Re non-homekit stuff:

I’ve added internet modules to our heating/cooling and security systems too.

I’ve added two Ring doorbells to front door and front gate.

The house came with 24/7 CCTV cameras, which are internet enabled already.

So all in all, I’m quite happy with what’s been set up.

An example of a real life use case:

Last week, a delivery man rang the front gate Ring, carrying a box. No one was home. I answered the Ring on my phone from work, opened the front gate via the Home app, and told him to leave the package near the front door. I watched him do it via the Ring and CCTV cameras. When he was done, I closed the gate remotely.

I could have let him into the garage or house even, but didn’t need to.

So far, so good.

What am I thinking of adding? A lawnmowing robot actually. Will let you know if I get one. Would be interested to know if anyone here has one.


Most impressive.
Do you have any issues with any of it?
Anything you would do differently?
Do others/family make use of it?


Minor issue is that sometimes one or two of the devices go offline in the Home app even though they are connected if you look at the dedicated device app. Likely to do with Homekit integration and/or the fact that I run two wifi hotspots and that may make a difference.

At this stage, I wouldn’t do anything different.

The whole family uses a Philips switch to lock/unlock the August lock from inside the house, so it’s touch free from that point of view. My wife uses the Home app and others to control everything else. It’s handy to use the phone as the remote for the security and heating/cooling.