Wading into HomeKit

I’ve had a few “smart” devices around the house, but generally they all used Amazon Alexa for control and not Apple’s HomeKit. But with the recent updates to HomeKit (coming in iOS 16.2) and the news that Amazon is losing mega money on Alexa, I decided to give HomeKit a try.

I don’t have the most complicated setup:

  1. Logitech Circle 2 camera - front porch.
  2. Wyze Cam v2 camera - floats around as needed.
  3. Wyze plugs (2) - desk lamp and other things as needed.
  4. Wemo plug - fan.
  5. TP-Link outdoor two outlet plug - Christmas lights.
  6. Wyze Colour bulbs (6) - basement lights, front porch light.
  7. Ecobee - smart thermostat.

Three of those devices have HomeKit support built in - the Logitech Circle 2, the Wemo plug and the Ecobee. Adding them to HomeKit was a snap. The rest doesn’t have HomeKit support so that meant I needed a solution for all the Wyze gear and the TP-Link plug.

Homebridge

That solution was Homebridge which is a server application that builds bridges between non-HomeKit devices and HomeKit. It runs on a server like a Raspberry Pi, or a Mac mini. In my case, it’s running on my Synology DS920+ NAS.

Set up was a little complicated, but not ridiculously so. Homebridge was easy to setup and get added into HomeKit. Once that was done, it was a matter of adding the plugins to Homebridge that I needed for my specific devices.

I used Homebridge Wyze Smart Home and TP-Link Smart Home. That took care of the bulbs and plugs plus the outdoor dual plug. That left just the Wyze Cam v2 which needed a different plugin. I used Homebridge Camera FFmpeg for that which required the Wyze Cam v2 to have the RTSP firmware (which I had already installed on mine).

HomeKit Hub

HomeKit also requires a Hub for all this to work. That hub can be either a HomePod mini or an AppleTV. I opted to get a new AppleTV 4K as I only had an older 3rd generation AppleTV around and it doesn’t offer full support for HomeKit.

Everything is all set up now and I can see my two cameras in the Home app. Plus everything is controllable via the app, by talking to Siri and also using HomeKit automations. That last part is really exciting to me as I’ll be able to do things like have lights turn off and on as people leave and arrive back home.

I’ll probably swap out the Wyze stuff over time for Philips Hue or something else. But until then, Homebridge does a great job bridging the non-HomeKit devices and the HomeKit world.

James Koole @jameskoole