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HomeKit chips and firmware are now being sent to developers to begin making products for Apple’s smart home solution.
First announced alongside iOS 8 back in June, HomeKit’s protocol enables users to perform different functions with devices on a network, such as turning a light switch on and off.
The chips will allow home automation to be streamlined as Apple’s built-in firmware means all functions can go through HomeKit. Previously, there was no easy way to bridge the gap in protocol between various devices – a problem that has held the idea of the smart home back as device manufacturers use different apps.
Read more: Getting started with home automation
Brian Bedrosian, senior director of embedded wireless in the mobile and wireless group at Broadcom, one of the three Apple-approved chipmakers (the others being Texas Instruments and Marvell) said:
“It’s critical to certify the interoperability of devices and make sure everything can join to a network. One thing HomeKit provides is the bridging protocols for various devices to connect simply by Wifi to the cloud.”
Apple only has 12 official partners for HomeKit so far. However, it looks like this may change considerably – Bedrosian also stated that:
“Apple is widening access to their ecosystem and we’ll see more and more products. The goal is to create a better consumer experience for the iOS ecosystem and provide a simplified and unified approach to control home devices. We’re just starting to see the first wave of many products.”
This is the first time in awhile that the home automation industry has received a significant boost and represents one of the rare occasions in technology where consumers are faced with less, rather than more fragmentation in the tech industry. Yet here we are, looking forward to unlocking our doors, turning on our lights and boiling the kettle with our iPhones, praying that we’ve not run out of battery.
There hasn’t been a release date announced for HomeKit yet. However, manufacturers that are now able to start work on compatible products will be able to offer consumers solutions ready for launch.