The Apple HomeKit automation platform is slated to receive a major overhaul, this fall, with a new app and builder program, but you might want to be cautious of interoperability and timing concerns.
Apple’s HomeKit was first released in 2014, but it has been slow to adopt new devices due to what the company calls a rigorous testing process. The process, known as Apple’s MFi standards, includes using a special encryption chip to create a secure connection between devices and HomeKit.
Once a device passes MFi certification, it’s considered HomeKit-enabled and should play nicely with the platform and other devices on the network. Essentially, the chip helps put individual devices under a single umbrella of home control.
However, the same encryption chip that helps secure HomeKit-enabled devices could lead to interoperability concerns and homebuyer dissatisfaction, as more products are unable to pass Apple’s standards in a timely fashion.
The fear is that due to a surge in manufacturers interested in launching HomeKit-enabled products, the testing process will take a significantly longer amount of time. An extended testing period per device could stall future product development, which could lead to reduced adoption rates for the platform, as more homebuyers refuse to wait for a whole-house solution.
Currently, 18 manufacturers have released HomeKit-enabled devices. And at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, the electronics giant announced that close to 100 HomeKit devices will be hitting the market this year.
And while it’s promising that HomeKit is significantly bolstering its product line with a range of secured devices, the reality is builders, integrators and homebuyers will be stuck waiting for most of them.
One option is piecing together whole-house solutions from the 18 HomeKit-enabled manufacturers or waiting, possibly years, for more devices to get through the testing process.
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