HomeKit follow-up: accessories in different scenes

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After my article about what HomeKit, Apple's smart home platform, is all about, some of you asked me what specific devices I'm currently using to control my home.

At the Door

While there are countless suppliers that offer smart locks and tags my favorite is August. Of all the ones I have seen it is the easiest to install and use and offers a level of customization that works very well on a day to day basis.

It is compatible not only with HomeKit and Siri but also with Alexa and Google and the application is available in both iOS and Android.

The most interesting thing is the possibility of creating keys for all those you want to give access to the house, even if it is temporary. Our employee, for example, can only enter on certain days and within certain times and when we are on the road and want to give entry to my parents or in-laws we can create keys only for a specific period of time.

The system can also inform you when the door has been opened and who opened it, even if you are far away. And if the power goes out nothing happens because the Smart Lock uses batteries (in our case, these last about 5-6 weeks but I know that Felipe has almost 3 months, possibly because of the number of times the door is opened during the day).

In the Lights

Until recently (5 years ago) having smart lights was a titanic task and required you to wire the house to have everything centralized in a master switch or server. Now, thanks to HomeKit (and Alexa and Google Now) you can automate socket by socket, light by light as you can, need and want, without the need for cables or experts (we've been buying one or two switches for 2 years).

Most of our switches are from Eve Home, who in addition to the Eve Light Switch produces an interesting amount of light control devices, air quality monitors, motion sensors, intelligent outlets, smoke sensors and opening doors and windows, and even fun lights.

For some strange reason Eve does not produce Dimmers, those switches that allow you to control the intensity of light and choose different levels of brightness, so we have incorporated a dimmer from Wemo, the automation line of Belkin.

Other Sensors

We have a sensor that detects 3 temperature, humidity and pressure. (this was the reason I actually bought it). It's the xiaomi aqara temperature humidity sensor that works very well!

It allows you to see a history of how these three variables have changed in recent days and, in the case of air quality, ranks it as good, regular or bad depending on the level of pollution you receive.

In our case, living near a main avenue, we noticed the deterioration of the air in peak hours, especially in the morning but we have not seen the need to incorporate filters, which we hope will continue.

What's Coming

Our plan this year is to incorporate curtains and blinds that connect to HomeKit and can be managed either directly, or from our iPhone / iPad / Mac or with voice commands via Siri on the HomePods. The one we are going to try is the aqara curtain controller homekit.

And I think that's the coolest thing in the system. That you can grow as fast as you want and that you don't have to make a big initial investment but you can buy components as much as you want.

Have you already automated something in your home? Tell me in the comments to this article, on Facebook or Twitter and let's help others start their process.

HomeKit: Apple's Device Overview Lists Two New Categories

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Apple has added several new products to its clearly structured catalog of currently available and already announced HomeKit products, which can be viewed on the special page apple.com/ios/home/accessories.

In addition to new devices, Apple has now added two new product groups to the overview first published in March 2017: Hi-Fi amplifiers and sprinklers. Loudspeakers and amplifiers were previously listed together, but are now sorted separately.

The new entries are still missing from the German edition of the overview page, but should quickly complement the 15 product groups listed here.

Cupertino now knows the following 17 device groups which are compatible with the in-house smart home architecture and certified for use in an existing HomeKit setup: Hi-Fi amplifiers, sprinklers, lighting products, switches, sockets, thermostats, blinds, fans, air conditioners, air cleaners, sensors, locks, cameras, garage motors, HomeKit bridges, range extenders, doorbells, and security systems.

Apple has also added the following new products to the overview:

iHaper Light Strip

KONKA Smart Wall Switch

air purifier
Opro9 Smart Air Purifier


Elgato Eve Aqua
Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller

Aqara Hub
Busch Voice Control

Xiaomi Aqara: smart home devices compatible with HomeKit

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Last May, I announced the compatibility of many of the Chinese manufacturer's products with Google Home. The Asian brand continues its development of connected objects and strikes very hard with its new Apple HomeKit compatible Aqara HomeKit Bridge.

Moreover, the Aqara Home smartphone app is now directly compatible with your devices already installed in the Apple Home app (to discover the test tomorrow)!

So this is very good news for Apple users. Until now, many people have chosen the Xiaomi Aqara range to install their home automation systems for the brand's very affordable prices.

After compatibility with iOS and Android smartphones, Zigbee home automation boxes such as Jeedom (or domoticz) and Google Assistant, here is the HomeKit compatibility confirmed even if the hub is not yet active in France.

The HomeKit-compatible Aqara Hub is finally available in France.

A smart home with 18 HomeKit HomePod devices for 350 €!
Even if the customers of the apple brand are used to paying the high price, the practical prices by Xiaomi could seduce more than one to realize a beautiful home automation installation with a very reasonable budget.

The installation allows to secure the 5 windows with the opening detectors. The entrance and main door are monitored with the motion detector. Water leakage control with one sensor in the bathroom (under the bathtub) and another in the kitchen (behind the washing machine).

For indoor comfort, the temperature and humidity sensor is positioned in the children's room. And the vibration sensor is on the back of one of the paintings. The movable switch serves as a door bell.

The smart lighting of the rooms is simply realized with 6 built-in switches that control the ceiling lights.

Option: for more fun, and 100 € more, it would be necessary to add 4 bulbs connected with 16 million colors and 2 wireless buttons to order them.

If you want quick delivery, choose Amazon. But, if you want the best price it will be with the site specialized in Chinese import GearBest (French version, here the shipping costs are in addition, even if they are very reasonable).

There is also a starter kit kit with several products, but at these prices, I think everyone has an interest in creating their own configuration.

Presentation of Xiaomi's Aqara range
The Xiaomi Aqara range launched a little over a year ago is the evolution of the Xiaomi Mi product range. The products are better finished and the overall design is harmonized. They are made of impact-resistant plastic, of a sober white color with slightly rounded edges.

They are equipped with a simple button to pair them via your hub and the Aqara Home mobile app in your home automation installation. Previous for the Mi, it was necessary to use a paper clip). In addition, they are all equipped with a blue LED on the front panel that indicates the connection status.

Within the products, the electronic part has also been improved. Thus, the antenna is redesigned and some components added (such as a humidity sensor in the temperature sensor).

The smartphone application is available in English (or Chinese), and it looks a lot like... the Apple Home app.

In short, a very good quality felt, which gains in sobriety and easier to set up (see the tutorial tomorrow to add Aqara devices in the Xiaomi app and HomeKit). And, not to spoil things, prices remain very low compared to those we know.

New Aqara Hub compatible with HomeKit
The new gateway still uses the Zigbee protocol and is configurable with your smartphone.

Zigbee is a low power consumption radio communication protocol based on the IEEE 802.15.4 standard for connected personal networks with stable coverage over 100 meters (WPAN: Wireless Personal Area Networks). To put it simply, it's a bit like Bluetooth.

But the aqara hub offers more functions than a classic bridge (like the one from Philips which only combines the brand's lamps and bulbs). The Xiaomi gateway allows:

Combine up to 32 Aqara devices, but also HomeKit products in the Aqara Home app (not the Mi Home).

Turn on and off the integrated LED strip light that circles the bridge. You can adjust it to the color among the 16 million variants offered and adjust the brightness.

You can also activate the alarm mode. But it will have no effect if you do not add connected objects to trigger, such as the motion detector or the opening sensor.

Listen to radio via the Internet, for now you will have Chinese radio stations.

Thanks to this new bridge, the low-cost products of the Aqara range can be integrated into HomeKit. This gives you access to the objects connected to Aqara in the eco system of the "Home" app with unbeatable prices!

Compatible with iOS and Android smartphones with the free Aqara Home application (not the old Mi Home).
Thanks to the Zigbee it is compatible with Jeedom, Domoticz and ZiGate home automation boxes.
Note: the previous model of the Xiaomi Mi hub, allows to connect several of them to improve the physical coverage of the Zigbee network. The new version of the Aqara hub no longer offers this option. And even if the HomeKit-compatible Aqara products are Zigbee, and therefore broadcast the network in a kind of local mesh, these switches do not act as repeaters for the signal.

New in October 2018 : Last week, Aqara released an update of its application that added Mijia (Xiaomi) sensors to the Aqara hub, making it available under Apple HomeKit. Great news for people who already had Xiaomo products and no longer need to buy equivalent new Aqara devices.

Aqara Smart camera

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Aqara is actively developing, constantly expanding the list of devices included in Xiaomi smart home system. Today we have to disassemble the latest Gateway smart home, namely the camera Aqara Smart camera Gateway Edition.

The number of smart home devices is growing, and at the same time there is a growing need for additional gateways. Because the restriction of one gateway is 32 ZigBee devices.

Of course, you want to have additional functionality in the gateway, which will be useful. And if Xiaomi Gateway 2 has built-in backlight and radio, in the new Gateway Aqara decided to focus on the CCTV camera. It seems to me that this is a great solution, because at the moment of alarm you want to see what is happening in the apartment. Yes, and do not have to buy 2 different devices.

Let's move on to the device overview.

Aqara Camera packaging and appearance

The camera comes in a cute box of white color:

The dimensions of the box 170 mm. x 75 mm. x 95 mm., which can be compared with a modern smartphone box. Inside the camera is tightly packed, so delivery by mail to Russia it is not afraid.

Aqara Camera Package

In addition to the camera itself, the kit includes:

Power adapter (5V ⎓ 1A). Of course with a Chinese fork, but any third-party charger or USB port will suit;
2 meter long USB cable. It is necessary to pay attention to the narrow plug micro-USB (plastic shell less usual), such is used in chambers Xiaomi;
Device reset clip;
Metal plate with dowels and screws, to mount the camera on the wall or ceiling (in the leg of the camera there is a magnet).

The camera is quite small in size. The rotary leg allows you to rotate the camera at 360 °. The foot has a rubber base, but do not forget to remove the protective film from it. The characteristics of the gateway are also spelled out there.

The speaker is placed on the back panel. It allows you to use a siren alarm, give hints when connecting devices and use the "Feedback" function when you pass a voice from the MiHome application to the camera.

We also see the connector under the MicroSD card and the reset button. The micro-USB power connector is centered.

The power consumption of the 0.22 camera is 0.26 amps. Switching the camera to sleep does not affect power consumption. And here night shooting influences, infrared illumination increases consumption up to 0.3-0.4 a. There is no built-in battery in the camera, but it is possible to provide autonomy by connecting the camera through the bank.

Aqara camera Lens

The big plus of the camera is a wide-angle lens, which has a viewing angle of 180 degrees and covers the entire room. The quality of shooting is far from ideal, I will give examples of screenshots and video.