The HomeKit Era Officially Started This Week: First Products, Apple Support Guide, Forecast

While we've all be waiting for WWDC next week to see a formal "launch" of the HomeKit era, in reality it started this week. That's because the first products with HomeKit were formally announced as being available, at least as far as Apple is officially concerned.  Most look like they're shipping in July, with the exception of Lutron and HomeKit.

The products are from five manufacturers, including:

  • Ecobee: The Ecobee3 thermostat was the first thermostat with HomeKit, beating Honeywell and the Lyric, which is also expected to HomeKit-ize the Lyric. The Ecobee3 with HomeKit is essentially a new product, since existing Ecobee3's are not field upgradable (not surprising given HomeKit enabled products have specific hardware requirements including silicon-based security).
  • iHome: iHome, the company which made a name for itself making iPhone accessories, has an HomeKit wall plug. Interesting they beat official confirmation of iDevices, which not only has a similar "i" first naming convention, but also announced a similar sounding device in their wall switch, the centerpiece of what the company president called a "$10 million investment" in HomeKit.
  • Elgato: Elgato's Eve family of HomeKit-enabled home environment sensors are now officially available for pre-order. The devices include a "room" sensor (temp, air quailty, humidity), "weather" sensor (temp, air pressure, humidity), "door" sensor (open/close), and "energy" sensor which monitors electricity usage at a given outlet. 
  • Insteon: Insteon's HomeKit enabled hub is now available today according to Insteon (but is currently unavailable through Amazon) and will be in Apple stores in early July. 
  • Lutron: While the Insteon hub tapped into a complete general purpose smart home ecosystem, the Lutron series of HomeKit products tap into one of the most established smart home lighting systems. By using the Caseta HomeKit smart home bridge, users can control Caseta-controlled wireless dimmers. Lutron has a few varieties of the bridge and also a couple started bundles for new users to create a basic Lutron-Caseta system. Unlike others, Lutron stating their new products are "available" in Apple stores. 

The two most interesting products here are the Insteon hub and the Lutron's bridge.  Both of these are compelling in that they enable users to tap into existing smart home ecosystems. It also shows that these established providers see value in embracing HomeKit early.

Another interesting development with Apple opening the HomeKit kimono this week is the availability of their HomeKit support page. The page officially confirms the Apple TV as a HomeKit control hub, and the only way for HomeKit users to do remote control of their HomeKit network. I've been writing about Apple TV as an important element of the HomeKit strategy for a year, so it's nice to see if officially confirmed by Apple. 

Lastly, we published our official HomeKit forecast this week. The forecast includes an aggregate total market view as well as one that breaks HomeKit down by product category. We forecast the market to grow to 180 million HomeKit devices shipping annually by 2020. You can get a complimentary copy of the HomeKit report executive summary here. The report is part of the Smart Home Insider service, an annual report and advisory service for smart home and IoT decision makers (for more info on the service, email us).

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