Best route for home automation? Is Apple Home way behind Alexa?

Discussion in 'Smart Home, Climate Control & Security Forum' started by mambo1888, Mar 30, 2018.

  1. mambo1888

    mambo1888
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    I recently started adding home automation to my home after picking up some cheap echo dots. I already had a Tado bridge and thermostat. I bought 12 Energenie plugs and a light switch. I have 2 Echo dots connected to speakers downstairs and 1 in the bedroom, I have everything grouped so playing music in multiple rooms and turning on groups of lamps is very easy through Alexa.

    After using up my free trial of Amazon Music Unlimited, I thought I would try Apple Music on the 3 month free trial, and see how Apple Home works. As I have an iPhone, Apple Watch, Apple TV 4k and MacBook I thought this could work great, but thats not been the case. No matter what I try I cant get Homekit to appear on the Apple TV to setup as the Home Hub. The Energenie equipment I dont think is compatible and then I found out that the Tado Bridge is not compatible and they want £99 off me to upgrade it.

    I wanted the Apple route to work as having the Apple Watch on my wrist would mean using Siri would be very easy and accessible no matter where I was but compared to Alexa its just been a terrible experience.

    I guess to go the Apple route I would need to buy all new equipment but even then it seems like it would be more limited than what I already have at a fraction of the cost. Is there something Im missing with Apple Home?

    I know a lot of people love to hate on Apple, and like wise Android etc. Just looking for honest opinions from folks who have tried them or preferably both.
     
  2. bigjb

    bigjb
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    The HomeKit on Apple TV shows up once you install a compatible item.

    I have recently installed several Phillips hue bulbs and sensors and the Tado thermostat and all work flawlessly through HomeKit.

    I also have an echo dot which I intend to use until my amazon prime sub runs out then change to the HomePod and Apple Music sub.

    We are also all Apple for phones , Mac mini , iPad and Apple watches and use Siri to control lights and heating when required.
     
  3. mambo1888

    mambo1888
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    So thats is probably why its not showing up for me as I dont have any homekit compatible equipment installed. Im sure it had said I need to setup the home hub first. I was thinking about the Home Pods for Apple Music as they are meant to sound great. I do like the idea of having siri control my smart home equipment straight from my watch, saves having an echo dot in every room. I guess I need to look into Apple Home compatible equipment a bit more. We dont really use main lights and instead have a lot of lamps scattered about. The energenie sockets work OK but then there are times they just refuse to turn on or off.

    Thanks for the reply.
     
  4. mambo1888

    mambo1888
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    I installed the new Tado Bridge and 2 of the smart radiator thermostats yesterday and as you suggested the Apple TV 4K was immediately set up as the HomeKit hub. I’m also able to control using my Apple Watch which is cool.

    I think for the time being I will stick with Alexa though as I just picked up another couple of Echos cheap and to move everything over to Apple Home Kit compatible would be pretty expensive. I have another 4 radiator thermostats coming and I’m thinking of trying some Philips hue lights so that will give a chance to compare the two assistants.
     
  5. Bl4ckGryph0n

    Bl4ckGryph0n
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    Got about 4 dozen lights, all TRV's, thermostat, motion/lumens/heat sensors, harmony interface, etc...

    We never ever give a voice command to anything ;) Personally I'd spend the money on actual home automation gear that automates your home instead of an interface to give commands...When setup properly there is no such need for it.

    Just my 2p
     
  6. mambo1888

    mambo1888
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    Thanks for your input mate, I appreciate hearing all different opinions. Il need to look into that a bit more, but I think for our needs at least, having the voice commands is very handy. I should probably change the title of the thread, as Im looking at a smart home setup more than fully automated home.

    The tado heating is set up to be on at specific times if someone is home which is great but I still find it handy to tell Alexa to put a specific room up or down depending on the situation. I have ordered another 4 smart radiator thermostats, some rooms such as the cinema room, the heating will never be on at a set time only when we are going to watch a movie. I like being able to tell Alexa while sitting in the livingroom to get the cinema room warmed up ready for us going up. Also in the cinema room I have the lights on an energenie switch so once we are all settled I can tell Alexa to turn the light off (its a batcave and once the lights off its completely blacked out so its great turning the light off from the couch)
     
  7. Bl4ckGryph0n

    Bl4ckGryph0n
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    Fair enough...I simply use the Logitech Harmony remote, depending on the activity it will do other stuff as well. Or simply ask Siri via my watch or (someones) phone as they'll always be in the room with us. But mostly the remote itself, and sensor to auto switch on...

    Whatever works for you.

    One thing to remember, if you switch off heating fully in a room it could actually have a much greater impact to heat it up to temperature opposed to leaving it at a based together with the rest of the house.
     
  8. mambo1888

    mambo1888
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    Cheers mate, I will have a look at integrating harmony into the system. I seen someone controlling their home cinema setup (dropping projector screen, turning PJ on etc using Alexa & Harmony)

    I need to look into the heating and the most energy efficient way of setting the heating. We only really heat the living room, bedroom and the bathroom only comes on 5-8am then off for rest of the day, we leave the other rooms off completely unless it gets cold. The cinema and office are very rarely used day to day, my missus has a spare room that she uses as a dressing room but the hot water tank is a cupboard in that room so its usually warm enough.

    I liked the idea of using siri with my watch as its always there, but Im just about at the stage where I have an echo in most rooms or at least everywhere I need Alexa so think I will stick with Alexa over Siri for now.
     
  9. giffordpikes

    giffordpikes
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    A harmony is good. I use Alexa and used to use stringify and IFTTT so that my tado trv turned on when my tv room was turned on: ie lights, av equipment, harmony activity etc. works well and the sort of more powerful automation others have mentioned.

    I always think carefully nowadays about Apple integration and fully committing to it. I used to be Apple everything and I still have a lot of Apple stuff, but there are other systems that offer similar integration without the restrictions of Apples business plan of how they limit 3rd party integration.

    Just another point of view
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2018
  10. mambo1888

    mambo1888
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    Thanks for your input mate. I know what you mean regards Apple, I’m not a fanboy by any means but I love my MacBook and can’t see me ever going back to a windows laptop. The iPhone works great alongside the MacBook, mainly the airdrop feature, which is a god send at work. I was thinking that Siri would be a good replacement for Alexa and the echo’s around the house but there was going to be a significant cost in changing the equipment that was not compatible with HomeKit and I’m not sure it would have been worth it just to use my watch. I just got the reverb app which allows me to speak to Alexa through my iPhone so hopefully they might do an app for the Apple Watch at some point.
     

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