Exploring Apple's New Home App

The beta version of Apple’s Home app may be the ultimate smart home control hub that HomeKit users have long anticipated. Many of the previous issues with HomeKit are being resolved  with this app as it offers a simple and user-friendly interface for controlling any smart home device. The app starts off with some introductory pages to help users understand how to actually use the app to control their devices. If a user doesn’t have any devices installed yet, there are options for adding devices as well as setting up scenes and automations.

The home tab of the app is the central hub for controlling the user’s favorite accessories and scenes. The Home app does a good job of letting users rearrange items and customize them for their needs. There is also a lot more control given over certain devices, such as being able to change the brightness and color of smart lights. In addition, the rooms tab provides the ability to see the devices and scenes for individual rooms. These are just some of the powerful features of the app. Its overall simplicity and ability for customization allows for easy setup and installation of any HomeKit device, offering more control over smart devices. The ConnectSense Smart Outlet is one of the many HomeKit devices that can be setup and controlled with ease from this app.

The automation tab can be utilized if the user has a fourth generation Apple TV or current iPad. These additional Apple devices allow for homeowners to access powerful controls such as geofencing, schedules, and triggers. This essentially gives HomeKit users much more control and functionality for their favorite smart home devices. The app is not perfect at the moment, most likely because it is still in its beta version, but we can expect the HomeKit experience to be substantially improved with the Home app.

Read more: http://www.cnet.com/news/exploring-apples-home-for-homekit/

The Home App for Apple HomeKit (Part 2)

Apple recently unveiled the Beta 1 version of its newest operating system, iOS 10, at WWDC 2016. In order to discover more about this exciting release, Adam Justice of ConnectSense upgraded all of his devices to iOS 10, Beta 1.  There are innovative new features that can not only be accessed on the iPhone, but on the Apple Watch, iPad, Apple TV, and even using CarPlay.

Once iOS 10 is up and running on the iPhone, there is a pretty useful function that can be accessed on the home screen. The user has the ability to 3D touch the icon for the Home app and run a scene from there, without having to open the app itself. There is also an option to add a new scene from this menu, and once this option is selected, the app will launch and the user will automatically be directed to the scene creation screen.

The Apple Watch also unlocks some very powerful functions with watchOS 3, Beta 1. The Home app can be accessed by clicking on the dock button on the Apple Watch. Once the Home app is launched, there is a simple list of the accessories. The user has the ability to scroll through all of their HomeKit accessories using the digital crown. For any outlets or simple devices, there is an on/off button that can be used to control each device. For anything that is dimmable, the digital crown can be used to set the level of brightness. At the top of the menu, there is a list of all of the user’s scenes that can be controlled with the touch of a button. If the user has multiple home’s set up, they can use force touch to change to an alternative location.

Another device in Apple’s arsenal is the iPad Pro, which can be used in order to further explore the new features of iOS 10, Beta 1. The first important thing to examine can actually be found in the iPad’s settings. Once in settings, head down to the settings for the Home app. There will be an option titled, “Use this iPad as a Home Hub.” If the user has an iPad that is always at home, they can check this setting and use that iPad as a home hub to access any of their HomeKit devices while away from home. This is a really powerful setting if there is an iPad that can always be left at home.

The Home app on the iPad is fairly similar to the one we see on the iPhone, except there is a lot more screen real-estate so the user can easily see their favorite scenes and devices. In the top left corner of the screen, there is a summary of all of the devices that are on within the user’s home environment. The next thing to explore is the “Rooms” tab, which can be accessed with the middle button on the bottom of the screen. Instead of going through the rooms menu at the top, the user can quickly switch between their rooms by swiping the screen to the left or right.

The last section of the Home app is the “Automation” tab, which is the bottom right button. In the first ConnectSense walkthrough, we didn’t have access to the automation section, but there are ways three ways to access the functions of this tab. The first way to do this is by enabling an iPad to act as a home hub, which was discussed above. The next way to do this is to have an Apple TV running tvOS 10, Beta 1. However, the simplest way is by downloading another HomeKit app, such as the ConnectSense app, that has support for things like triggers, automations, or rules, and then adding a new automation within that new app. This will enable the user to be able to see the automation tab in the Home app. Once this is complete, the user has some really powerful options. New automations can be set up by clicking the “create new automation” button in the middle of the screen.

There are four options for automation that are based off of when the user’s location changes (geofencing), the time of day, when an accessory is controlled, or when a sensor detects something. These are all great tools to get started on home automation. Setting up automation based on time of day is very useful. One of the really awesome new features in this section that was not available in iOS 9 is the ability to trigger something based off of the sunrise and sunset. So if the user has outside lights or any other devices that need to be controlled based off of the sun, this is a great option because the time of the sunrise and sunset will change based off of what time of year it is. The user can also select a specific time of day and set it to repeat on various days of the week. The accessory based options also give the user quite a bit of control. This is a really great way to set up automations so that doing one device will trigger other devices. An example would be if the someone turned on a light in the morning, it could then trigger a “good morning” scene that would turn on other devices in the home. Another great thing is that these automations sync across devices. This is a big upgrade because any rules or automations set up on an iOS 9 device were unable to be transferred to another device.

The last major function of the Home app on the iPad can be found on the “Home” tab. The user can further examine a device by holding down on its icon. A menu will then pop up with information on the device. Within the device details, there is actually a link to the manufacturers app. So if the user is using a ConnectSense Smart Outlet, they can access the ConnectSense app from this menu. Even though the Home app is very powerful, there will typically be certain manufacturer features, firmware updates, and things like that, which can only be accessed through the manufacturer’s app.

The Apple TV can help expand the functionality of HomeKit with the use of tvOS 10, Beta. With the use of this Beta, we can now utilize Siri commands with the Apple TV remote. The user has the ability to say something along the lines of “set my thermostat to 72 degrees,” or “set my home for ‘I’m leaving.’” This will help give home owners much more control over their network of HomeKit devices.

One of the coolest new features for iOS 10 is the fact that HomeKit works with CarPlay, which it did not for iOS 9. The user has the ability to use Siri voice commands within their car in order to control their various HomeKit devices in their home. An example would be if someone was about to leave their home and was in their car, they could say “set my home for ‘I’m leaving,’” which would trigger a scene for the home from the car. This gives the user much more control over their home environment.

(Part 2 of 2) Adam Justice is back from WWDC and has upgraded all of his Apple Devices to iOS 10, Beta 1. In this episode, Adam Justice of ConnectSense continues from his first video of the Home app (https://youtu.be/A-m1afEEoHo?list=PLsluzrxrM99peR-ucD7lrzrF_mgQfgjqe) to show you more of its new features not only on the iPhone, but on the Apple Watch, iPad, Apple TV, and even using CarPlay.

ConnectSense WiFi Smart Outlet Works with Apple HomeKit

Just plug Grid Connect’s smart outlet into any available electrical outlet, pair it with the ConnectSense app, and you’ll be able to bark out commands to control anything connected to that outlet.

The ConnectSense Smart Outlet fits over any existing, standard North American electrical outlet. Once plugged in, you can use it to automate everything from lights and fans to TVs and washing machines.

According to Grid Connect, the ConnectSense Smart Outlet was specifically designed around Apple’s home automation platform. That means the ConnectSense app can control all sorts of third-party HomeKit-enabled devices as well. Users can even create scenes and rules that will tackle a variety of tasks with one command. The ConnectSense app also has support for 3D Touch, so iPhone 6s/6s Plus users can put smart home shortcuts on the device’s Home screen.

Read more at EH Network.

Holiday Gift Idea: ConnectSense WiFi-Enabled Smart Outlet With Apple HomeKit Integration

NAPERVILLE, IL--(Marketwired - Oct 22, 2015) - Homeowners and renters looking to inexpensively automate their homes now can turn traditional devices into smart devices with the ConnectSense Smart Outlet, manufactured by Grid Connect. The Smart Outlet is a thoughtful tech gift for gadget lovers, frequent travelers and Apple fans.

The Smart Outlet fits over any existing, standard North American electrical outlet. Its two Internet-connected electrical sockets enable users to automate everyday plug-in devices, such as lights, fans and holiday decorations.

Because the Smart Outlet is built on the Apple HomeKit platform, users can control devices plugged into them using Siri (via iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Apple Watch) or through the ConnectSense app.

Premium features include:

  • Apple HomeKit support for easy set up and configuration, data security through end-to-end encryption, and Siri voice control.
  • Two WiFi connected sockets that can be monitored and controlled individually.
  • 2.4 amp USB charging port for cell phones, tablets and other devices.

The ConnectSense Smart Outlet can be purchased at www.connectsense.com and on Amazon.com

Price: $79.95

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CONTACT INFORMATION

For information contact:

Linda Muskin
847-432-7300
Email Contact

Mara Conklin
678-825-2000
Email Contact

How the Past Relates to the Future Promise of the IoT

This concept of the Internet of Things (IoT) was first introduced by technology pioneer, Kevin Ashton, while working at Procter and Gamble. In the late 1990s, Procter and Gamble had a big problem with their supply chain and Kevin Ashton was looking to solve this problem using RFID technology. It was a concept way ahead of its time. Kevin Ashton then went on to found the Auto-ID Center at MIT to further advance this concept. Since then, the IoT gained a ton of momentum as sensor and networking equipment has become cheaper, smaller and more energy efficient. As we move beyond machines relying on humans, we are able to add connectivity to all sorts of new devices. By providing devices with better information, us humans are able to stay more informed, automate and take action like never before.

This is really not the first time we have seen automation in our lives though. Before we take a look at where the IoT is going, let’s take a look back.

In the early 20th century, electricity was starting to be introduced into the home and with this came a lot of new innovations. For instance:

  • The first lightweight, electric iron was introduced in 1903.
  • The first refrigerator was introduced in 1913. The first electric dishwasher was also introduced around that time.
  • In 1919, the world saw the first automatic, pop-up toaster that came from an innovator who was tired of burnt and inconsistent toast.
  • The 1930s saw the first washing machines and dryers.
  • In 1952, there was the first automatic coffee pot.
  • In 1963, GE introduced the first self-cleaning oven.

These devices were created by innovators looking to save time, energy and frustration from manual tasks. People saw what could be done with electricity and started to innovate. When those first devices, such as the electric iron, were made available, it made people think about what could come next.

An interesting story from this era comes from a woman named Josephine Cochrane. She was a wealthy housewife who invented the first automatic dishwasher. As a woman with servants and maids, why would she need an automatic dishwasher? The answer is simple. She got tired of her dishes being chipped and damaged while being hand washed. Josephine said to herself, “If nobody is going to invent an automatic dishwasher, I am.” She did just that.

The promise of IoT is just like this. As problems in everyday life are identified, companies are jumping up to say, "I'm going to fix them!" Companies are already utilizing resources to save time, energy and frustration by building on current technologies to propel the IoT into the future.