HomeKit/HomeBridge/HomeAssistant=>HomeConfused

Does anyone know of a good explanation for what each term means and/or what the associated software does? There are so many terms and options I'm getting super confused.

My goal? I want to use the iOS native HomeKit UI on my iPhone to control devices paired with my HE hub.

I can think of two reasonable ways to do this:

  1. Install some stuff that makes my iPhones talk to my HE directly... does that work?
  2. Install something on my Synology (I own one) so that my HE talks to my Syno and that, in turn, talks to my iPhones (err... "gets instructions from my iPhones to control devices it knows about").

I have

  • an HE hub
  • iOS devices (many, both residents and occasional guests)
  • a Synology running DSM6 (not yet 7)... I think this is extraneous, my HE can be the "HomeKit hub" right?
  • an AppleTV (actually a few, including a 4k 2nd Gen aka the current unit)... I also think this is unnecessary... right?

thx!

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You can install Homebridge your Synology DSM 6 / DSM 7. I use a Rasbarry Pi even though I own a Synology NAS. I didn’t want to mess up my NAS if something went wrong during the installation and I had a RaPi 3b just laying around. :slight_smile:

Then you need your HE to communicate with Homebridge. I use a method from dan.t and it has worked flawlessly since day one.

You also mention HA in the topic. For devices that HE dosnt support, I use HA with this integration from jason0x43. Has also worked flawlessly since day one. You can install HA on your NAS.

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Read up on homebridge. This is what allows non-HomeKit certified devices (like Hubitat) to be brought into the apple Home app.

There are a number of ways to set it up, but essentially it runs on an always-on PC (or NAS, RPi, etc.).

Then you need an integration between homebridge and Hubitat, there are two popular community apps that can do this (look here or here).

You can ignore home assistant for this goal.

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I am running HOOBS (pre-packaged HomeBridge appliance) in a Docker container on my DSM6 Synology DS918+, with the MakerAPI integration to Hubitat. This setup has been bulletproof, and more or less maintains itself versus my previous iteration running a self-managed HomeBridge deployment on a Raspberry Pi.

The Apple TV allows outside access to HomeKit-only devices when you are not home. One of my first purchases (mistakes) was a Schlage HomeKit smart deadbolt, which Hubitat cannot control directly. I set up a dummy switch in HE and four HomeKit automations in the Apple Home app that allow HE to lock/unlock and see if the lock was manually controlled, which I assume are being executed by the Apple TV. Given the reported issues that some have trying to use the Z-Wave version of this lock, I'm happy with the kludge since it always works for us.

In our house, 99% of the manual interactions with home automation stuff is via Siri on my DW's and my Apple Watches. HomeKit (via HOOBS or HomeBridge if you must) provides an awesome user interface to HE and other stuff.....

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No. Only an always on iPad, HomePod mini, or Apple TV can be the HomeKit hub.
Then you need something to run Homebridge, which is the program for communicating between HomeKit and Hubitat.
You also need a program to get Hubitat to communicate with Homebridge. The two that are available were both originally created by the same person. I’ve used both, but prefer Homebridge-Hubitat-V2. Install the app on Hubitat and the plugin on Homebridge.

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HomeKit offers an attractive UI and many people use it for just that purpose. It's relatively easy to get your devices into HomeKit and control them from there, e.g. via HomeBridge.

However you can't get any textual or numeric status values out of HomeKit to use elsewhere for example temperatures to use as logic triggers in HE for example.

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Awesome, super helpful!!

I had a prerequisite issue with my Synology Docker networking - I did not choose "net=host" during the initial image creation workflow and I guess that means I would have had to manually deal with some ports in bridged mode. I just went back and fixed the networking stuff, which was certainly helpful for at least some of my issues.

This time around I used the MakerAPI method and so far so good!

It took me a minute to figure out how to get homebridge (over on my Synology inside the Docker image) configured correctly, but I've succeeded. I'm currently doing a minimal version with literally just the app_url and access_token and I'll dial in my customization later.

thanks!

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ahhhh... this seemed to click for me "the Apple hardware is the 24x7 device that is your 'HK Hub' and it adds seamless cloud communication for when you're not on your LAN," which is nice and something I actually want!

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Nice thread. I’ll add that the original HomePod also works as an always on device. Apple doesn’t sell them any more but I have one and I love it. One oddity is if you have multiple Apple TV’s and a HomePod then HomeKit will pick one randomly to serve as the hub. I can’t figure out the algorithm but I guess it doesn’t matter. Like many others have said, I like the Apple UI and Apple ecosystem experience. My most often used one is talking into my Apple Watch to open the garage or operate lights. Sometimes that feels more cool to do than yelling at Alexa. I also set up a Google Home speaker just to see how well I liked it. I didn’t like it at all but it feels good to know that my HE is set up with all the major smart home platforms.

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What have you found is the advantage of HOOBS over the standard Homebridge? I have Homebridge running on a VM right now along with other things, have considered trying HOOBS but never really saw any good reason to switch.

It is more appliance-focused, and managed through a web UI. The HomeBridge deployment that it replaced was managed by editing text/JSON files. At the time, I was doing a lot of stuff in HomeBridge that was later moved over to Hubitat, so there was a lot of file edits going on.....

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Homebridge-config-ui-x is also easy to use (I haven’t tried Hoobs) and has a ui that takes over most of the file editing. It appears to be maintained by the same people that maintain Homebridge and is very well integrated.

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I started with HOOBS in my RPi but switch to native Homebridge because Homebridge worked a bit slow from time to time.
After the switch I haven’t noticed any slowdowns. HOOBS might be better now since it was a while ago I tried it but it’s not more difficult to install native Homebridge, st least on a RPi.

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For the devices that are HomeKit only or are native to HomeKit. Like my ikea blinds.
I pair the device to Home Assistant’s HomeKit controller and then add the device to HA’s homebridge to push it to Apple.
Pulling the device into HA first gives me the ability to push it into Hubitat as well using the Home Assistant device bridge.
Home Assistant runs on my Qnap as a VM.
The NAS also has 4 instances Homebridge using docker containers. Nest, Hubitat, FFMPEG and Hue Sync

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:exploding_head: but awesome to hear thanks!

Yeah have been playing around with HomeAssistant w/Node-RED addon (am a NR fanboi). These companion type servers really enhance the capabilities of HE. Of course the hoops you have to jump through...

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Download the Hubitat app