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HomeKit is a new initiative recently introduced by Apple and is designed as an "integration layer" between all existing and new Home Automation technologies.
One problem with a typical Smart Home is that if you want the best system for each task - be it lighting, heating, security, energy monitoring or media control - you'll often end up with several different systems that can't communicate with each other.
You'll also likely have several different Apps or web User Interfaces for remote control purposes which means frequently chopping and changing between Apps or web browser tabs. It can become hard to keep track of what device is controlled by what App - especially for the less technical user!
Apple HomeKit has the rather lofty goal of bringing all these disparate systems together by enabling their Apps to interconnect, allowing your devices to work together and make them controllable in more ways, straight from your iPhone or iPad.
Scene capabilities will allow you to set devices across all manner of technologies all with a single command - your "Leaving Home" Scene could turn off your Philips Hue lighting, lower the temperature on your Nest Thermostat, lock your Yale door locks and arm your Z-Wave security system.
HomeKit also integrates the Apple voice recognition / synthesis technology known as Siri, allowing you to use natural language to control your Smart Home. Tell Siri "Turn on the upstairs lights", "Set home temperature to 21°C" or even a simple "Good night" and she will interpret your commands perfectly.
The final piece of the puzzle that HomeKit provides is the ability to use cross-technology logic - so different products can trigger each other based on additional conditions. For example "set the bathroom radiator to 22°C at 06:00 but only when you're at home and only if your alarm is set for 06:30".
HomeKit promises to be an exciting additional to Home Automation and we can't wait to see it reach its full potential over the coming months!