Bare Minimum HomeKit

I’m frequently asked about what it takes to kick start a bare minimum HomeKit.  And my question in return would be “What is your daily routine like?”.  First thing to do is to work out a schedule and figure out what you happens through out the day.  Be mindful as the investment could get heavy.  Below is an example of what I would do:

Example of Home Automation for a Living Room

Before you buy any HomeKit accessories or devices you will first need the main ingredient which is an Internet connected Wireless Router.  The next would be a mobile phone or device that can install Philips Hue app.  In my case, as I’m focused on HomeKit, I have iPhone and iPad installed with the Home App too.  For the Wireless Router have a read of my review of the Linksys Velop.  You don’t need this at the moment, unless you’re looking to go really deep into home automation and add a lot of accessories.

Next, based on the table above, what you will need is ideally a Philips Hue system which comprises of the Philips Hue Hub, Bulbs, Motion Sensor, and the Dimmer Switch.  I won’t discuss on the cost of this setup as it would differ from country to country, and also re-seller to re-seller.

Then, installation.  Follow the instructions of the devices, which is pretty straight forward.  Bulb placements are easy, they go into the existing bulb sockets that you have now.  Dimmer switch is easy too.  Place it next to the current light switch.  The remote is battery operated and sticks to a back plate magnetically.  As with any remote controls just remember where you placed it.

The motion sensor is the tricky part.  Suggest to use some blue tac or tape first before securing it’s location.  Point it towards where the action will happen.  Make sure the sensitivity is controlled if you have pets moving around the place because you wouldn’t want constant activation.  Read my post motion sensor tricks for more ideas.

Philip Hue Starter Set : Hub, Light Bulbs, Motion Sensor, and Dimmer Switch
Consider Energy Saving ideas to save energy and extend your bulbs life span, consider the following:
  • Using the motion sensor to dim the bulbs by about 30% if there’s no motion detected
  • Set the light intensity to a lower setting (for example 70%) for places that don’t require bright lights.
Other smart ideas:
  • Get a Motion Sensor No more fumbling around for light switches. This can also serve as a deterrent for would be intruders.
  • A power switch would be great too, and ideally placed near the lights physical switches.
  • Use Hue light bulbs capabilities of changing colors to indicate motion outside the room. Place a motion sensor at the front door so that when there is motion detected the living room lights turn RED.
Hope this helps to give you a good idea on how to kick start a bare minimum HomeKit or Home Automation.