Homebridge is an open source software package you can run on your home network that emulates Apple's HomeKit hardware protocol. It supports Plugins, which are community-contributed modules that provide a basic bridge from HomeKit to various 3rd-party APIs provided by manufacturers of "smart home" devices.
Since Siri supports devices added through HomeKit, this means that with Homebridge you can ask Siri to control devices that don't have any support for HomeKit at all. For instance, using the Control4 Homebridge driver and a properly configured Homebridge device, you can say:
- Siri, unlock the back door.
- Siri, open the garage door.
- Siri, turn on the living room lights.
- Siri, good morning!
- Siri, set the theater lights to 20%.
In addition to controlling your Control4 home with Siri, you can also control your home via the Home app on an iPhone or iPad. The Home app provides local notifications for changes in your home (when doors open, or when the security system is armed), and allows you to manually control devices from the lock screen or the control center.
-- FAQ --
What makes this driver better than the free "do it yourself" approaches out there, using the Http Events driver?
When Varietas Software started looking at HomeKit integration for Control4, we started with these other methods as well, but we quickly realized that what they offered was not "good enough". In particular, all the other methods:
- Supported Only One-Way Events - You could use HomeKit to turn things on and off, but if you changed the device state manually (by actually turning on a light via the device) or if any Control4 events or actions changed the device state, this updated status wouldn't be reflected in HomeKit.
- Only Supported Lights - Every "device" shown in HomeKit showed up as a light, which meant you could only turn it on and off. There was no level control.
- Required Extensive Programming - You had to manually program every event for every device in Composer. For a reasonably sized project, this would yield many pages of custom programming code, which is easy to screw up and hard to trace and fix when things go wrong.
- Required Polling - All other solutions require regular polling to keep HomeKit status updated. If you wanted to keep things snappy, this produced a lot of network traffic and issues on the system. Our solution is entirely event-driven, and status updates are pushed from Control4 to HomeKit in real-time when they happen. This means HomeKit is always responsive, and your Control4 system doesn't have to work to keep up.
- Are Insecure - Network commands sent via other solutions are blindly processed by the Http Events driver. Our solution, when installed with a Varietas Software network appliance, protects the incoming traffic so nobody else can control your system without permission.
The Varietas Software solution solves all these problems. Control4 system status is always accurately reflected in HomeKit, and Control4 devices are displayed as what they are in HomeKit. Dimmers can have levels set. Fans show up as fans. Fan Speed Controllers can set the speed. Garage doors open and close. And best of all, absolutely zero Control4 programming is required.
What can I do with this driver?
There are a lot of features offered by HomeKit, and with a little creativity, you can do even more with it in Control4. Siri even supports HomeKit commands on the AppleWatch.
A few basic examples are:
- Use Siri to turn light switches on and off
- Use Siri to set dimmers to a particular light level
- Use Siri to open or close your garage doors
- Use HomeKit notifications to alert you when your kids get home from school (the front door opens)
- Use HomeKit notifications to verify your pet sitter showed up on time (alarm panel disabled, then activated)
- Use the Home app to set a fan speed controller to "medium" speed
- Use the Home app to set a security system to Home or Away modes
- Use Siri to unlock the front door
- Use HomeKit "Location" triggers to set scenes when you arrive or leave home.
- If you have an iPad or Apple TV 4 at home, use HomeKit to securely control your home while you're away
With a little programming and some creativity, you can get even more control. Using the free Clipsal Relay driver or any other "Virtual Switch" driver, you can combine programming and HomeKit switches to enable more complex interactions.
- Use HomeKit to enable/disable alarm clock "wakeup" functions. When alarm clock is enabled, lights and music automatically turn on at the pre-configured time.
- Use HomeKit to start playback of a favorite radio station in a particular room and turn off the room when done.
- Use HomeKit to set particular scenes and start certain AV devices in the theater.
- Use HomeKit location triggers to set "presence" variables and program certain actions when everyone has left the house, or when the first person arrives home.
Any other cool things about this driver?
Due to the way HomeKit works, nearly all functionality happens directly on your local network. There are no external services that have to be contacted. There's no remote push notifications to wait for. Most interactions in HomeKit will happen with almost zero perceptible delay. Thanks to Apple's design, interacting with your home via HomeKit is as smooth and responsive as if you were using the Control4 system directly.
Do I need to rely on my dealer to update programming?
Absolutely not. Only a single instance of this driver is required to control all of your compatible Control4 devices, and once the driver is installed, there is no additional programming required in Composer.
What devices does the driver support?
The driver currently supports:
- Motion Detectors
- Contact Sensors
- Door Locks
- Fan Speed Switches
- Security Systems (via the new Security Panel proxy only, older devices not supported)
- Garage Doors
We will be adding additional device support (Blinds, etc) in a future update. As new devices can be represented by HomeKit, we will continue to add additional support. If you have hardware that is not being recognized by the system please contact us at our support email address and we'll try to work with you to get your devices added.
Do I need to purchase anything else to make this driver work?
Not necessarily, but it may make things easier, and due to technical limitations, we only support security features if you're using Varietas hardware. If you want to try a do-it-yourself approach, read on.
Homebridge is an open source project and is available from here on GitHub. The Varietas Software plugin for Homebridge, homebridge-control4, is also freely available via the npm package manager. If you're relatively tech-savvy and don't mind using your own hardware and working through the instructions Homebridge provides, it's straight-forward to setup your own Homebridge system at no further cost to you.
If you just want something that works quickly out-of-the-box, we can provide a pre-configured Homebridge Network Appliance that has everything you need already installed and ready to go. Just plug it in, follow some basic setup instructions, and then you're all done. A proprietary built-in browser-based configuration portal makes setting up the system extremely easy. You can purchase this device directly from Varietas Software here.
I want to try this driver out before buying it?
All Varietas Software drivers come with a 48 hour free trial. This is activated once you add the driver to the project. No further steps are necessary. Varietas Software also offers a 7 day return policy for hardware purchases. If you don't like what this solution provides, return the working hardware shipped within 7 days for a full refund, minus the cost of shipping.