Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Apple HomeKit-Enabled Chips

Apple HomeKit
Apple HomeKit Firmware

Apple had announced its program at the developers’ conference for hooking smart home devices in iOS with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth though in order to get the device makers on board, they would need the Apple certification wherein one part of the certification process would be to buy their Bluetooth as well as the Wi-fi chips from Apple approved chipmakers.

Chipmakers, Broadcom and Texas Instruments have already begun shipping out Bluetooth and Wi-Fi chip that have been installed with Apple HomeKit firmware to manufacturers and the HomeKit enables devices would be hitting the market very soon.

Though Apple has not yet made an official launch of the HomeKit, device makers could start putting together their gadgets since they now have the wireless chip which has been equipped with the HomeKit firmware. Senior director of embedded wireless in mobile and wireless group at Broadcom states that `everyone is getting ready and expecting to see the new product launch in the next cycle of product releases’.

 The HomeKit protocol ascertains how the devices are identified in iOS depending on defined device categories as well what type of action could be taken for instance, `turn on or turn off a light’. The will enable the interactions between devices to be more consistent and reliable than with the earlier wireless interaction in a home automation technology.

Communicate & Control Products in Connect Home Ecosystem

HomeKit, within iOS 8 framework enables iPhone and iPad owners to communicate as well as control products in a connected home ecosystem. Manufacturers and developers could build in support for task macros or groups of action and invoke functions in the device utilising the Siri virtual assistant.

According to Bedrosian, he states that `one thing HomeKit provides is the bridging protocols for various devices to connect simply by Wi-Fi to the cloud. Broadcom, so far has been shipping its Bluetooth Wi-Fi combo chip loaded with HomeKit firmware to several device makers which also includes makers of connected climate controls, security cameras, lighting and door locks.

Broadcom has been doing great business in selling its wireless chips to Apple and its silicon is found in the iPhone as well as its upcoming Apple Watch and its focus now is on smart home business.

Better Consumer Experience – Controlling Home Devices 

Since Apple is still in the process of finalizing the protocol, there is a possibility that the firmware on the chips that would come out would probably be updated. The firmware is in the beta versions of HomeKit according Broadcom’s Bedrosian though device manufacturers would be capable of updating the firmware remotely as HomeKit software develops gradually.

Device makers who tend to manage to get certified, Apple’s entrance could be a great achievement for them since by marketing and labelling a connected thermostat or light bulb as Apple friendly, companies could promise easier installation process as well as more interoperability between the devices.

Bedrosian informed that Apple has been widening access to their ecosystem and more products would be seen. He further states that `the goal is to create better consumer experience for iOS ecosystem to provide simple and unified approach in controlling home devices and this is the first wave of several products’.

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