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iOS 11 HomeKit Software Authentication Support


addilapi

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https://9to5mac.com/2017/06/07/homekit-ios-11-sprinklers-faucets-qr-code-nfc-authentication/

 

So it looks like one of the major hurdles to integrating an ISY with Apple's HomeKit has fallen... a hardware MFi Apple authentication chip / specialized hardware is no longer needed.  I don't have access to the developer docs for iOS 11 but presumably this means that existing ISY appliances could be upgraded with a little software code to publish their device listings/controls to Apple's home automation system.

 

I would love if someone at UDI could look into the feasibility of developing this code and comment for us.  I would be willing to chip in to Kickstarter or some such to enable this functionality.  I would also consider paying for an additional ISY module that would integrate with HomeKit since there are now about a dozen iOS devices in various locations in my house with reasonably good voice control capabilities... and I'm sure I'm not alone in being heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem and wanting to leverage that with my ISY / Insteon footprint.

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A quick review of the non-commercial spec does have some restrictions on bridging devices which provide access to the home, i.e. door locks, and possibly garage doors and alarms. Not sure if the commercial version of the spec would allow those devices once the product is certified, or if those would require the MFi chip. The question is if the ISY has enough horsepower to perform encryption in software and if UDI has the resources to get it certified.

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I also would really like this! HomeKit is great and getting better every year. I think Universal Devices would miss out not having their products support this going forward. I'd be ok with purchasing an additional software license to enable HomeKit support natively

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We are investigating.

That for looking into it.

 

Homekit integration would be great. Alexa is okay, but from somethings  Siri is better, and it would be nice to be able to use either.

 

It's would be great to not have to cobble together a raspberry pi/homebridge solution.

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  • 1 month later...

Hi guys,

HomeKit works with Homebridge. We have a version working but it's not native. Above and beyond having a bridge in between, we have no plans for native support such as those we have for Echo and Google Assistant.

With kind regards,

Michel

That's dissapointing Michel. Last I heard you were investigating the possibilities, so I'm just curious as to why the sudden change of heart? Much like Homebridge, there was the Hue emulator prior to native Echo integration via the ISY portal and though it worked, it was a clumsy solution which required a fair amount of knowledge and configuration not to mention ongoing babysitting. Like many other ISY owners, I have a mixed environment comprised of several Echo's around the house as well as many iOS devices including the one I always have on my wrist. That said, in my opinion having native Siri integration via the ISY would greatly enhance the benefits of the ISY making it an even more dynamic HA device.

 

Just my two cents...

Chuck

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Chuck,

 

We have investigated and, even with a refresh of our hardware, we are not "guaranteed" that we don't need an encryption chip. All they say is that, during development, we don't need the chip. Certification is a different story.

 

This is completely unlike Echo and Google Assistant. It just seems that Apple wants to make things more difficult for HW Controller manufacturers. Also - at least at the moment - Amazon and Echo don't claim to become the main controller in the home whereas Apple is the opposite.

 

Hopefully things will change on Apple side to make it easier for us to take the risk without having to have a completely different SKU for Apple.

 

With kind regards,

Michel

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Chuck,

We have investigated and, even with a refresh of our hardware, we are not "guaranteed" that we don't need an encryption chip. All they say is that, during development, we don't need the chip. Certification is a different story.

This is completely unlike Echo and Google Assistant. It just seems that Apple wants to make things more difficult for HW Controller manufacturers. Also - at least at the moment - Amazon and Echo don't claim to become the main controller in the home whereas Apple is the opposite.

Hopefully things will change on Apple side to make it easier for us to take the risk without having to have a completely different SKU for Apple.

With kind regards,

Michel

What a shame that Apple makes it so difficult for third parties to incorporate products into their eco system. Thanks so much for the thorough update and I'll cross my fingers that things change for the better...

 

Chuck

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What a shame that Apple makes it so difficult for third parties to incorporate products into their eco system. Thanks so much for the thorough update and I'll cross my fingers that things change for the better...

 

Chuck

Am I right in thinking that one day, because of Apple or other new developments, we will need a ISY 995 ?

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Hi Chuck,

Thank you.

Hi asbril,

Apple will definitely need a need hardware specific to Apple only.

With kind regards,

Michel

It looks like it's time to take the plunge with Homebridge. Has anyone put together a comprehensive guide to installing and configuring it in conjunction with an ISY? I've seen bits and pieces but not something that gives me the confidence to jump in yet. Also, it appears that the ISY Homebridge plugin is no longer under active development. Any thoughts?

 

Chuck

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I got Homebridge working on the RPi that I use for a few other things and it wasn't too complicated to set up. As I recall, the installation instructions walk you through it, and the config file wasn't hard to set up in a basic form. There were a few things that don't work well:

 

* It starts out with all devices enabled, and for me that's a lot. Writing rules to exclude everything but the 4 that I want was tedious (but one-time)

* Some devices don't seem to be supported. I think that IOLincs don't show up, and some ZWave devices don't, either. I poked through the code and it looks like it wouldn't be too complicated to fix, but I'm happy with the 3 ZWave locks and Elk security system.

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Hopefully things will change on Apple side to make it easier for us to take the risk without having to have a completely different SKU for Apple.

 

 

Michel,

 

Watching Apple's 2017 HomeKit WWDC presentation for developers, it seems like they specifically call out that software authentication can be added to currently shipping devices.

 

"For our MFi licensees, we will be sharing more information about the implementation later".

 

post-7398-0-97793900-1500908338_thumb.png

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Michel,

 

Watching Apple's 2017 HomeKit WWDC presentation for developers, it seems like they specifically call out that software authentication can be added to currently shipping devices.

 

"For our MFi licensees, we will be sharing more information about the implementation later".

 

attachicon.gifScreen Shot 2017-06-16 at 10.01.07 AM.png

There are restrictions which type of devices can ship with SW only auth. Bridge devices and devices which control doors sill require the MFi chip
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Hi elvisimprsntr,

 

Thank you.

 

Hi jasont,

 

I really wished that was the case. Above and beyond the chip (which would force us to have a different SKU just for Apple HomeKit), it's also the fact that Apple wants to be the ISY. So, even if we spend all this resources to support HomeKit, it's very risky to count on any type of return such that we can recoup our investment.

 

With kind regards,

Michel

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Hi elvisimprsntr,Thank you.Hi jasont,I really wished that was the case. Above and beyond the chip (which would force us to have a different SKU just for Apple HomeKit), it's also the fact that Apple wants to be the ISY. So, even if we spend all this resources to support HomeKit, it's very risky to count on any type of return such that we can recoup our investment.With kind regards,Michel

Hi Michel,

 

I strongly disagree with this. Apple will NEVER allow the type of customizations that the ISY allows. HomeKit could replace the ISY for very simple setups for light home automation. It will not replace the ISY for the type of customer that are currently coming to you for a home automation solution. All the scripting and customization is something that Apple won't do. I do not think you should see Apple as a competitor here. But not having HomeKit support in your products is absolutely a competitive disadvantage, in my opinion.

 

Hopefully there will be an opportunity at some point in time for you guys to support HomeKit.

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Hi Michel,

 

I strongly disagree with this. Apple will NEVER allow the type of customizations that the ISY allows. HomeKit could replace the ISY for very simple setups for light home automation. It will not replace the ISY for the type of customer that are currently coming to you for a home automation solution. All the scripting and customization is something that Apple won't do. I do not think you should see Apple as a competitor here. But not having HomeKit support in your products is absolutely a competitive disadvantage, in my opinion.

 

Hopefully there will be an opportunity at some point in time for you guys to support HomeKit.

 

Venicenerd, I think the issue is not if Apple is *ABLE* -- rather it is an architectural issue.  I have no doubt that Michel knows that Apple can't touch the capabilities of the ISY -- heck, we all see that Apple's vision of home automation is really "remote control" on an IOS device, for the most part.

 

The problem is that from an architectural point-of-view, Apple's APIs and design assume that the Apple device is the master controller -- and this doesn't fit well with the way one wishes the ISY to work.

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Hi Venicenerd,

 

Mwester is 100% correct. And, the fact that they require other controllers/gateways to have to have chips (not for development) makes it extremely difficult for us as a small company. Again, we will need to have, for instance, ISY994-hk series the only distinction of which is the chip to allow it to integrate with HomeKit. And, then, we have maintain a separate build environment. Multiply that by something like  5.x vs. 4.x firmware and you'll see that it's just a major undertaking. 

 

With kind regards,
​Michel

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I got Homebridge working on the RPi that I use for a few other things and it wasn't too complicated to set up. As I recall, the installation instructions walk you through it, and the config file wasn't hard to set up in a basic form. There were a few things that don't work well:

* It starts out with all devices enabled, and for me that's a lot. Writing rules to exclude everything but the 4 that I want was tedious (but one-time)

* Some devices don't seem to be supported. I think that IOLincs don't show up, and some ZWave devices don't, either. I poked through the code and it looks like it wouldn't be too complicated to fix, but I'm happy with the 3 ZWave locks and Elk security system.

I have successfully installed Homebridge on my iMac along with the ISY Helper plug-in. All of my devices are recognized and function correctly for a short while usualy 1-2 hours and then all a sudden, all of my devices show "no response" from within the iOS Home app. During this time I can confirm that Homebridge is still running and even stippling and restarting Homebridge has no effect. The only way to recover once this happens is to delete the home from the Home app, then delete the persist and cached folders from Homebridge and completely rebuild all of my devices. Then this scenario repeats...

 

Any ideas?

Chuck

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I have successfully installed Homebridge on my iMac along with the ISY Helper plug-in. All of my devices are recognized and function correctly for a short while usualy 1-2 hours and then all a sudden, all of my devices show "no response" from within the iOS Home app. During this time I can confirm that Homebridge is still running and even stippling and restarting Homebridge has no effect. The only way to recover once this happens is to delete the home from the Home app, then delete the persist and cached folders from Homebridge and completely rebuild all of my devices. Then this scenario repeats...

 

Any ideas?

Chuck

I haven't seen that. I did have some issues with the homebridge executable either crashing or simply exiting (despite using nohup and putting it in the background), and that had the same effect that you're describing. I couldn't figure out what was happening and it hasn't happened in a while.

 

Do you have an Apple TV 4, or another device that serves as a bridge for out-of-home connections? I wonder if it's related to that.

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I haven't seen that. I did have some issues with the homebridge executable either crashing or simply exiting (despite using nohup and putting it in the background), and that had the same effect that you're describing. I couldn't figure out what was happening and it hasn't happened in a while.

Do you have an Apple TV 4, or another device that serves as a bridge for out-of-home connections? I wonder if it's related to that.

Yeah, I have two Apple TV 4's. Just to rule them out as well as my own iOS devices, I did another test by wiping out the persist and accessories folders in Homebridge and used my parents iPhone 7 (not tied to my iCloud account) and got the same result. What's even stranger is that after a while ALL of my devices completely disappear from the Home app and cannot be recovered without repeating the entire setup process. So close yet so far away,..

 

Chuck

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