The high temperature didn’t hit zero and I don’t want to leave my heat turned up while at work all day. But who wants to walk into a freezing house in the evening? Now with homes becoming more connected, we chilly few can stay warm, be smarter with our utility spending, and waste less energy.

HomeKit image 2A tool like the Apple HomeKit are making this happen. Now you can walk into a warm house at the end of your workday without breaking the bank on energy bills. And it’s not just heat. You can operate individual home devices, entire rooms, “scenes” using HomeKit, and make adjustments with Siri. For example, if you wake up, you can say to Siri “wake up” and the thermostat will be turned up, certain lights will turn on, and even your coffee maker could start. No more stumbling into the cold, dark kitchen to turn on the coffee pot. Sounds great to me.

The beauty of HomeKit is a common database stored in iOS that is available to all your apps. Anytime you configure a new accessory, for example, your coffee maker, a new lamp, or your sound system, they are all stored in a common database so that everything is more connected and easier to control. I listened to an interesting talk on HomeKit presented by Kevin McLaughlin, a wireless software engineer for Apple, in which he talks about bringing in any household accessories you can imagine, including door locks. My first thought? Great, someone steals my device and now has complete access to my home. However, McLaughlin goes on to point out that there is end to end encryption between iOS devices, as well as other security features which should act to protect your home and appliances. You can listen to the entire speech, and learn more about HomeKit as well as Siri integration and security.

So that covers the basics of HomeKit, but Apple is not stopping there. The latest beta of the Apple TV includes support for HomeKit “turning the Apple TV into something of a home automation hub”.

HomeKit image 3This means that you can also control your HomeKit devices through the Apple TV Dashboard. During the Apple “Made For iPhone” conference, hardware and software developers were provided with more information about HomeKit. And I expect to see more and more pieces of hardware HomeKit enabled. As the winter starts, temperatures drop, and it gets dark before I leave work, using HomeKit to come home to a warm and well lit home makes HomeKit one of my favorite 2014 innovations.

What do you think of HomeKit? Leave your thoughts in the comments!