Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

Elgato expands Apple HomeKit with power

The quest to get your home wired up with internet-connected smarts is on, and if you’re an iPhone or iPad owner, it begins with HomeKit, and possibly a few plugs here and there.

There’s an idea that within five to ten years, your home will be controllable remotely from that magical device we call the smartphone.

When we say “control”, it’s more like being able to switch lights on, check security cameras to see who’s at home, discover if anyone has entered your home with special electronic web-connected door locks, and turn appliances on and off because that feeling of leaving something on is a niggling one you just can’t escape.

To do this, parts of your home need to be connected to the internet, which would make them “smart”, or at least it would with the current usage of the word “smart”, because smart tends to mean “internet-connected”, such as in the case of the smartphone (internet-connected phone), smartlight (internet-connected light), smartcamera (internet-connected camera), and smartfridge (yep, you guessed it, an internet-connected fridge).

One of the next things expected to get smart, though, is every other device in your home you may not think could, such as the coffee machine, a slow cooker, an air conditioner, and so on, and while this should happen with more internet-based technologies inside the devices, the first step for many homes not keen to buy an uber-expensive next-gen product is to control the appliance at the power point.

More specifically, it’s to install a smart power point, allowing you to control whether the appliance is on or off at the wall using a phone or tablet.

Elgato this week has launched a product designed for that, with the Eve Energy, an addition to Elgato’s “Eve” range of smart home products that already includes motion sensors, contact sensors, temperature and air pressure monitors, and a light switch all designed to take advantage of the smart home platform developed by Apple, HomeKit.

While the existing Elgato Eve range is all about controlling lights, checking local weather, and making sure the home is secure, the addition of the Eve Energy changes tactic to make sure you can turn devices in your home on and off, while also monitoring how much electricity each is using.

The device is simple enough — it’s a plug that you plug into the wall, and then plug your device into — and will talk exclusively with an iPhone, an iPad, or an iPod Touch provided iOS 10.2 is on the device, with support for Apple TV also included. However, because these are HomeKit specific, they will not talk to Android or Windows, and even MacOS is out of the picture here.

Rather, you need an Apple phone or tablet if you want to play with these smart power plugs, because right now, they’ll only talk to HomeKit.

“Eve makes your home smarter, without making it more complicated,” said Elgato’s Markus Fest. “It’s the most elegant way to control and monitor your home,” he said.

The Eve Energy slots into the Eve range in Australia with a price of $85 from the Apple Store and Elgato online shop, sitting alongside other existing Eve produts, including the Motion (motion sensor) for $85, Weather (localised weather analysis station) for $85, Door & Window (door and window sensors) for $69, and Room sensor (analysing indoor air quality and temperature) for $139.

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