Elgato's Eve Energy opens up the HomeKit home

HomeKit, not CrimeKit

If you want the convenience of a smart home and (for the present, at least) the kind of end-to-end encryption security Apple provides, preventing prying eyes from peeking into your business, Elgato today introduced an affordable way to put intelligence inside your home.

Eve Energy

Eve is Elgato’s family of Homekit-compatible smart home devices. New to the US, the Eve Energy ($49.95 direct; check Amazon price) is a wireless power sensor and switch. All you need to do is plug the device into any wall socket and then plug other electronic devices into that. You can then switch those devices on or off using the app or Siri, and monitor energy consumption through reports delivered via the app. You can also use Eve with HomeKit to create difference scenes. It works using Bluetooth Smart.

There are some limitations, and perhaps the biggest is that because of Apple’s end-to-end encryption, controlling HomeKit-enabled accessories away from home requires an Apple TV (3G or later) running tvOS 7.0 or later and an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch running iOS 8.1.

Apple TV as hub

However, if you have all those things (Eve, Apple TV and iOS device) you can deploy multiple Eve Energy devices across your home to control any electronic devices you own. When used with an Apple TV you can set your home up to appear occupied even when it isn’t.

Now you might be put off by the need to use an Apple TV with the solution in order to control these devices, but you really should not be. When governments and criminals are already actively probing smarthome for whatever purposes they choose, it’s important to know you’re safe.

HomeKit technology provides advanced security with end-to-end encryption and authentication between Eve and your iOS devices.

That’s incredibly important, because at this point in the evolution of the connected home many of the available solutions are simply not secure.

Insecure by design

Many existing connected Internet of Things (IoT) devices rely on no password or insecure passwords such as 1,2,3,4. Many are impossible for users to change – but provide a gateway into a person’s home network all the same. Think about it: if you use an insecure smart lock to protect your home, you’re effectively leaving your door open. It is in your own best interests that you only deploy secure devices in your smart home.

Take this one step further and you’ll know that this isn’t confined to the bad guys – as Apple CEO, Tim Cook argues, if you leave any kind of backdoor to your front door, people will eventually find that key. It really doesn’t matter who that key was left for.

I won’t labor this point – for further data take a look at Can Apple keep us safe in the Internet of Things? This is really important when IDC reckons we will have 212 billion connected devices in our homes by 2020.

HomeKit, not CrimeKit

Apple’s recognition that HomeKit devices need to be secure in order to avoid becoming CrimeKit contraptions is why new devices offering compatibility with the company’s smart home software took time to develop. We learned last year that Apple was demanding hardware makers use HomeKit certified chipsets and specialized firmware for security reasons.

HomeKit also prevents smarthome device manufacturers gathering too much data about you by insisting all data from HomeKit products goes through iCloud and is controlled by your Apple ID.

Encryption is your friend

The need to ensure smarthomes are secure homes is certainly quelling faster rollout of these solutions, but if you want to get a taste of what’s to come, then I think Eve Energy may be a nice place to start, though you should also take a look at these interesting HomeKit-compatible products.

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Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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