HomeKit was first announced during Apple’s WWDC in 2014. Since then, things have been slow moving. Frankly, I thought they would pull the plug. I was wrong. WWDC 2016 gave new hope to Apple’s automation platform, including changes that will impact home security cameras. Now, you can add cameras to your HomeKit ecosystem.
Home Security Cameras That Work With HomeKit
The list of HomeKit enabled security cameras will grow. For now, there are only a few camera makers ready to integrate their cameras with HomeKit including August, Ring, Canary, SkyBell, and D-Link.
HomeKit requires Apple's MFi (“Made for iPhone/iPod/iPad”) chip for HomeKit compatibility. Some cameras are ready to integrate, and others are not. Ring, for example, included an MFi chip within their Ring Video Doorbell Pro, but it won't be ready for integration until later this year. Others, like Canary, are expected to launch new HomeKit ready versions of their existing cameras.
August's Doorbell includes everything needed for HomeKit compatibility. Current owners and future owners will be privy to HomeKit privileges via a free firmware update coming soon. Using your voice you will be able to do cool tricks like activating a live feed or even check things out directly from your Apple Watch without opening the August app.
Ring was one of the first to announce HomeKit-compatibility. As said earlier, all existing Ring Video Doorbell Pros include the required MFi chip to integrate with HomeKit, but we're still awaiting the integration to take effect. Ring is expected to roll out software updates later this year. Ring Pro sells for $249.
A lot of people are also asking whether the other existing Ring models will be HomeKit-enabled. The answer is no. ONLY Ring Video Doorbell Pro will be compatible with HomeKit.
Canary Plus will be the first of Canary's cameras to offer HomeKit support. Details on the camera, its pricing, and launch date have not yet been shared but we do know that the camera's launch has been pushed to late 2017. In the meantime, you can join the waitlist to receive product information here. You can also read our review of their non-HomeKit-enabled indoor/outdoor camera here.
Like August, SkyBell has been quiet about the development of their plan to integrate their doorbell cameras with Homekit. More details to come.
Of all of the D-Link home security cameras available, only one is HomeKit ready. In fact, D-Link's Omna 180 Cam is the first HomeKit camera to ever roll out. You can purchase it from the Apple Store for $199.95. You can read our full review of the camera here.
Another camera jumping onto the HomeKit bandwagon is Ulo, the interactive owl security camera. Though not yet shipping, it is promising a 1080p resolution, face and voice recognition, and IFTTT integration. The camera should ship this year.
Kidde RemoteLync Camera + RemoteLync Bridge
Kidde RemoteLync Camera isn't new, but a new accessory called the RemoteLync Bridge is. The Bridge allows you to use the camera with HomeKit.
The RemoteLync camera offers features such as pet-immune motion detection, geofencing, and wireless connectivity. The camera sells for $154 on Kidde's website, but the Bridge is still coming soon.
Finally, we are awaiting the next generation of Kuna devices with HomeKit integration. Stay tuned for more details.
Integrating Cameras with Other HomeKit Products
HomeKit provides automation by integrating multiple smart devices together. It allows you to control your devices individually, group them into scenes, or trigger scenes based on your location, the time, or the condition of other devices.
A scene can control multiple devices with one command regardless of whether you are home or away. For example, you can create a scene that closes all your blinds, turns off your lights, and arms your connected security camera. If you want, you can set your scenes to trigger based upon conditions. For example, you can set your camera to arm if you leave the house (Location Services) or if your jewelry drawer is opened (Eve Door/Window sensor).
Aside from making your cameras part of your scenes, you will be able to make them the trigger as well. You can create a scene that turns your living room lights on when your video doorbell is pressed. Or you can make outdoor lights turn on when the doorbell is pressed, then take it a step further by applying a conditional rule that states this should only happen if it is past 6 pm.
Control of HomeKit-enabled devices can happen through the Home App, a HomeKit-enabled app, or Siri. HomeKit-enabled apps, like the Elgato Eve or iHome Control, let you customize your HomeKit settings and control compatible devices from one place. Meanwhile, you can use your iPhone, iPod, or iPad’s Siri to trigger scenes or control individual devices using your voice. Of course, this trick only works when you are home. If you are away from home, you can only use Siri if you have Apple TV.
The New Home App, Siri for Apple TV, and Other Things
Support for cameras is not the only big announcement Apple made regarding HomeKit. They also launched the Home App, an Apple-made app that controls your HomeKit ecosystem. The Home App was built into iOS 10 and watchOS 3. The app contains everything you need to control and customize your HomeKit devices, like tweaking the settings, creating and triggering scenes, and monitoring the condition of your devices.
The Home App welcomes cameras as well. Within the app, you can watch live feeds, retrieve recorded videos, and adjust your camera's settings. As a bonus, notifications from your camera will include a live feed, which you can watch right from the lockscreen. With this new feature, you won’t need to unlock your phone to see what’s going on.
iOS 10 for iPhones, iPods, and iPads also includes a new Control Center. The Control Center pane declutters the experience. Music-related settings were moved to a different pane that you can access by swiping left from the main pane. Swipe to the left once more and you can access the HomeKit Control Panel. By default, the pane shows your favorite HomeKit devices so you can control them quickly and easily. If you want to see your scenes instead, tap on the upper right-hand side of the pane. 3D touch also plays a role in controlling HomeKit devices. For example, when turning on your Philips Hue light, press its icon harder to brighten things up.
Another major change is the latest tvOS for 4th Generation Apple TVs. Apple’s 4th Gen TV has built-in Siri features, which you can use to control the TV. With the Siri Remote, you can control both your TV and HomeKit from the comfort of your couch. There are limits, however. For security purposes, the Siri Remote can control most devices but NOT door locks.
Finally, HomeKit is known for encrypting all data. Integrating your security cameras with HomeKit ensures that your privacy remains intact. Only you or your family members will ever know what goes on inside your home.
What other cameras will jump onto the HomeKit bandwagon? We’re eager to find out. Stay tuned to this post as we will be updating it with new information as it becomes available.