It’s summertime, so many people are sprucing up the outdoor parts of their homes with new flowers and mulch, but it’s also a great time of year to take on some new HomeKit projects to streamline aspects of your house, including adding some extra security.
HomeKit Weekly is a series focused on smart home accessories, automation tips and tricks, and everything to do with Apple’s smart home framework.
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Car break-ins go up in the warmer months as kids are out of school, so if you don’t park in a garage, it might be a good idea to put some outdoor HomeKit cameras. However, wiring up cameras can be complicated and expensive, so there are some great options that run off batteries.
I’ve used both the eufyCam 2 and Arlo cameras, and both work great as HomeKit sensors, but also with HomeKit Secure Video. With HomeKit Secure Video, the Home app will be your primary storage provide for your videos with end-to-end encryption.
If you don’t want to use HomeKit Secure Video, the built-in HomeKit supports will also allow you to use the camera’s motion sensor tracking to trigger other outdoor lights. If you want to avoid the battery, you can opt to use something like the eufy Flood light to replace an existing floodlight.
If your trying to keep your plants watered in the warmer months, the Eve Aqua is a great way to get started. All you need to do is wiring the Eve Aqua into your outdoor faucet and then screw your hose into it. You’ll have complete control over your sprinklers inside the Home app so you can water your plants even if you’re on vacation. The latest version includes Thread support as well.
If you have outdoor temperature sensors, you can create automations to automatically water the plants if the temperature reaches a certain degree.
If you’re planning to travel this summer, having a home security system can give you the peace of mind that your property is safe and sound.
I’ve been using an abode security system since early 2020. HomeKit alarm integration is one of the things that caused me to pull the trigger on the abode iota starter kit originally. With HomeKit integration, I am also able to leverage my existing smart home setup to work with abode. All of the setup for HomeKit is done inside the abode app. It generates a HomeKit code, and then you manually add it to the app. In my system, the motion sensors, camera, and door sensors are compatible with HomeKit.
One of the HomeKit functions I am currently using is when the motion sensor sees movement between 5:00 AM and 7:00 AM, and it triggers the lamp in our kitchen connected via a Wemo Mini Smart Plug. I am getting up around 5:00 AM, so I want this light on as I make my morning coffee.
The abode iota base station includes a built-in 1080p camera (can be disabled in settings) that can be programmed to start taking video when the alarm is triggered. It can also be added to the Home app, where you can create various automations around it. We have it pointed at our front door, acting as a second motion sensor. My only complaint is that it doesn’t support HomeKit Secure Video.
One of the benefits of having a door locking system that works over HomeKit is you can easily unlock it remotely (using a Home Hub such as Apple TV or iPad) so you can let someone in to walk your dog, water your plants, etc. I’ve used two HomeKit enabled door locks: August Lock and VOCOLinc T Guard. Both work great with HomeKit. Once they’re added to your HomeKit environment, you can use them to trigger other accessories. An example of how you could use it is having certain lights come on in the evening when the door is unlocked or having the door locking at a certain period (at night) set off a nighttime scene that turns your other lights off.
The August Lock only replaces the interior deadbolt, so you can retain the current exterior look while the VOCOlinc is a complete package. A nice add-on for the August Lock is the outdoor keypad which makes it easy to let people in without you needing to manually unlock the door.
Wrap up on HomeKit summer projects
If you’re planning to upgrade your smart home this summer, HomeKit is the best place to start. Security is always top of mind for me in the summer as my family is in and out of the house more often. What are you planning to add to HomeKit this summer? Leave a note in the comments below.