Tuesday , September 29 2020

Apple announces new HomeKit features, including personal identification

During the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2020, Apple announced updates to iOS 14 for HomeKit, the comprehensive framework for smart home devices. New automation features promise more powerful, customized lighting routines, while facial recognition notifies household members when a camera detects a familiar person.

When iOS 14 is launched with general availability, color temperature changes for HomeKit-compatible lights can be automated all day with Adaptive Lighting. While HomeKit has long had the ability to control light brightness, color and temperature, as well as automation and scene plans, it will soon be able to automatically adjust the color temperature over the day and choose cooler temperatures during the day and warmer temperatures during the night. If a user so desires, HomeKit gradually changes the lighting temperature in a natural, minimally distracting manner, which minimizes exposure to blue light, similar to the existing night shift features of newer Macs and iOS devices.

In iOS, the home app suggests automations, e.g. B. opening the garage door when someone comes home. (This feature is aptly referred to as "Suggested Automation.") The app also prioritizes the accessories that need your attention most, such as turning off lights that you forgot, and has an outstanding visual status at the top.

Above: Selection from suggested automations for HomeKit-compatible accessories.

The upcoming iOS 14 will also expand HomeKit Secure Video, which locally analyzes videos from smart home devices (such as surveillance cameras) before they are encrypted and uploaded to iCloud. Apple's updated Secure Video API, which is supported by all HomeKit-enabled cameras, including models from Logitech, Eufy, Arlo, Netatmo, and others, comes with options for face classification and person identification, and offers notifications to identify certain people. They are similar to the facial recognition functions that are integrated in devices such as the Netatmo Smart Outdoor Camera and the Smart Indoor Camera.

The HomePod reports when someone is at the door, and Apple TV gives you a picture-in-picture view of who is in sight of the doorbell camera. To recognize people, friends and family members are used who have been marked in the Photos app for iOS. "You can define activity zones that focus on key areas," said Apple chief engineer Yah Cason. "It's great if you're standing in front of a busy sidewalk and only want to be alerted when people are actually walking to your front door."

Apple HomeKit

Above: Viewing a live camera feed on Apple TV.

The Secure Video continues to draw users' attention to activities that are possible through processing on the device by a resident iPad, HomePod or Apple TV, and has them checked in iCloud. Secure Video does not charge a monthly fee, but requires 200 GB or 1 TB ‌iCloud‌ storage plans, which cost $ 2.99 and $ 9.99 per month, respectively. The 200 GB plan works for a single “HomeKit” security camera, while the 1 TB plan works for up to five “HomeKit” security cameras. Video footage doesn't count at the borders.

The developments follow the introduction of HomeKit-capable routers from various third-party providers last year. Linksys, Euro and Charter Spectrum devices offer data protection measures that go beyond home security cameras and automatically protect all connected HomeKit accessories. If one of them is the victim of a cyber attack, Apple says that they cannot access other devices or compromise personal information.

Apple WWDC 2020: Read all of our coverage here.

About Corrie Donnelly

Corrie Donnelly is a computer engineer originally born in Germany. He was writing articles about technology and computer games for websites.

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