CES 2016: Lutron ‘Serena’ and ‘Sivoia QS Triathlon’ Motorized Shades Now Support HomeKit

Lutron Electronics today at CES 2016 announced that its Serena and Sivoia QS Triathlon motorized window shades now support the HomeKit-enabled Caséta Wireless Smart Bridge.

The home automation system enables users to remotely control their Lutron shades using Siri on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Apple Watch. Homeowners can say commands such as „Hey Siri, turn on the lights“ or „Siri, open the shades,“ while Serena shades can also be set to desired levels with preset scenes like „Good Morning“ or „Good Night.“

Sivoia QS Triathlon shades require the professionally-installed Smart Bridge PRO:

The HomeKit-enabled Caséta Wireless Smart Bridge (a do-it-yourself solution) supports Serena battery-powered shades, while the Smart Bridge PRO (a professionally-installed solution) supports Lutron Sivoia QS Triathlon wireless shades (both roller and fashion honeycomb styles), plus Sivoia QS drapery tracks, the Kirbé vertical drapery system, tensioned shades, pleated shades and Roman shades.

Lutron’s Caséta Wireless Smart Bridge, available for $69.99 on Amazon (regular $150), launched as one of the first HomeKit accessories in June 2015, allowing homeowners to control lights in specific rooms or areas using Siri voice commands. Lutron accessories, sold by Apple and other resellers, can also be controlled with the free Lutron app or Pico wireless remote control.

Caséta Wireless kits and Lutron shading solutions are available now, starting at $80 and $349 respectively.

Tags: HomeKit, Lutron, CES 2016
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Apple Ceases Selling Nest Products Online and In Stores

Apple has stopped selling the Nest Learning Thermostat and the Nest Smoke Alarm in its stores and has confirmed to Mashable that it will no longer be carrying Nest products. The Nest thermostat was still available online earlier this month, but a search for the Nest thermostat or smoke alarm now redirects customers to other HomeKit products.

Apple’s decision to stop offering Google’s Nest products in its retail stores and online comes just over a month after the first HomeKit-compatible products became available for purchase. In early June, Lutron, iHome, Elgato, Ecobee, and Insteon began offering a range of smart lights, plugs, thermostats, room monitors, and more, all of which work with HomeKit.

The HomeKit-compatible Ecobee3 smart thermostat is a direct competitor of the Nest, so it’s no surprise Apple has opted to stop offering Google’s products in order to highlight accessories that are compatible with its own smart home platform.

This isn’t the first time Apple has stopped offering products that directly compete with its own product offerings. Last year, the company stopped selling Fitbit activity tracking devices ahead of the launch of the Apple Watch and also culled several other activity trackers from its store earlier this year.

Apple’s decision to stop selling the Nest thermostat comes as the company is working to revamp accessory lineups in its retail stores, cutting back on the number of accessories offered and packaging many of them in boxes that match its own design aesthetic.



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Apple TV Confirmed as Central Hub for Remotely Controlling HomeKit-Enabled Accessories

Apple has added a new support document on its website (via iFun.de) that confirms the third-generation Apple TV or later can be used to control HomeKit-enabled accessories when you are away from home using an iOS device.

After signing in with the same Apple ID on an iOS device and Apple TV, users can use Siri commands to remotely control lights, locks, thermostats, smart plugs and other HomeKit-enabled accessories. A separate new support document lists the available HomeKit-compatible devices as they begin to roll out.

The new support documents were added just as multiple accessory makers announced the first HomeKit-compatible products, including Lutron, iHome, Elgato, Insteon and Ecobee. Many of the accessories are available for purchase or pre-order this week, and others should be unveiled following Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference next week.

It has been known that the Apple TV would serve as a centralized hub for many of these accessories since their original unveiling at CES 2015 in January, while support for the HomeKit framework was quietly included in the Apple TV 7.0 software update last September, but today marks one of the first official confirmations from Apple.

Apple is widely expected to announce a new A8-based Apple TV with an App Store and Siri at WWDC next week. The next-generation set-top box is rumored to feature a „dramatic increase“ in internal storage, well beyond the 8GB included in the current model, and the inclusion of Siri will enable users to control HomeKit-enabled accessories using voice commands.

HomeKit was announced at WWDC last year as a software framework for communicating with and controlling connected devices in the home, but the home automation platform experienced delays over the ensuing months and did not officially launch until this month. Apple is expected to provide more details about HomeKit and related accessories during its WWDC keynote on June 8 at 10 AM Pacific.

(Thanks, Marco!)





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First HomeKit-Compatible Products Launching Today, Led by Lutron, iHome, Elgato, Insteon and Ecobee

Ahead of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, several of the company’s HomeKit partners are today announcing the availability of the first HomeKit-compatible products. HomeKit is Apple’s home automation platform, first introduced at the 2014 Worldwide Developers Conference.

HomeKit provides a standardized framework for manufacturers that develop home automation products, letting them interface with the Apple ecosystem and with each other. Through HomeKit, connected devices like lights, thermostats, speakers, smart plugs, and more can be controlled by Siri. For example, HomeKit enables commands like „Siri, turn off my lights,“ or „Siri, turn the temperature up before I get home.“

Though HomeKit was announced in 2014, it has taken nearly a year for companies to complete Apple’s certification process and get products ready for store shelves. Several companies like iDevices, Schlage, and Elgato have previously announced plans for HomeKit-compatible products, but until today, no products were ready to launch.

The first three companies to announce completed HomeKit-compatible products that will be available for purchase shortly are Lutron, iHome, and Elgato. Lutron is debuting its Caséta Wireless Lighting Starter Kit with Smart Bridge, while iHome is announcing its iSP5 SmartPlug, and Elgato is launching its „Eve“ connected home sensors. Ecobee and Insteon also announced new HomeKit-compatible products today.

Lutron’s Smart Bridge, part of the Lighting Starter Kit, supports HomeKit and is designed to let users control their Lutron Caséta Wireless dimmers using Siri on an iPhone or iPad. The kit includes one Smart Bridge, two Caséta Wireless dimmers (which support dimmable LED, halogen, and incandescent bulbs), two remotes, and two pedestals.

The Caséta Wireless Smart Bridge with HomeKit support allows homeowners to control lights in specific rooms or areas. For example, just before bed, tell Siri „turn the lights off“ and the Caséta Wireless Smart Bridge will turn off lights throughout the house. Unsure if the basement light is still on? Ask Siri to check and if so, turn it off.

iHome’s iSP5 SmartPlug fits into a standard wall socket and can use Siri or the iHome Control app to control lamps, fans, and other devices that are plugged in to the SmartPlug. The SmartPlugs support different „scenes“ to control multiple connected devices within the home, and the app will allow multiple SmartPlugs to be grouped and controlled with a single command.

Up to two SmartPlugs are able to fit into a single wall socket and a Wi-Fi connection is required for the plugs to communicate with iOS devices. According to iHome, today’s iSP5 SmartPlug is just one of several products that will include HomeKit support, with other accessories in the iHome Control line coming in the future.

The Eve brand of connected home sensors by Elgato, which the company announced last Fall, allow users to monitor air quality, smoke, humidity, air pressure, energy, and water consumption all with the ease of a synced iOS app. The line-up of different sensors each focus on a specific aspect of home detection: the Eve Room for indoor air quality, Eve Weather for outdoor temperature and humidity, Eve Door & Window for security notifications of open and closed points of entry into a house, and Eve Energy for basic energy consumption data and the control of electronic devices.

Some of the devices in the line aren’t just simple sensors, either, with Eve Energy acting as a go-between for electrical-based devices and a wall outlet (although it’s currently only available for European sockets). The product subsequently can monitor energy consumption of a device and can turn the product connected to it on and off at the touch of a button within the iOS app. Each of the products in the Eve family of home sensors are fully functional with Siri, allowing users to speak to their iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to ask about temperature, the security of doors and windows, and control devices connected to Eve Energy.

The Caséta Wireless Lighting Starter Kit is available for $229.95 at Apple Stores beginning today. iHome’s iSP5 SmartPlug will be available for pre-order from the iHome website beginning June 15. Elgato’s Eve sensors are up for pre-order starting today, ranging in price from $39.95 to $79.95.

Ecobee and Insteon also announced a new HomeKit-compatible smart thermostat and Insteon Hub for controlling a range of switches, outlets, thermostats, and lightbulbs respectively. In the coming weeks, there will be even more announcements as companies producing smart home products finish their work on HomeKit.

Mitchel Broussard contributed to this report.





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