Hubitat + HomeKit + HomeBridge + HomePod Mini = WOW

Howdy all, I got a HomePod Mini very recently for my study (the audio quality is great and hand-off is magical) and to replace my iPad as the main HomeKit controller for my house (we use HomeKit mainly for Presence detection which is IMO best in class).

We also have a dozen Amazon Echo's of various flavors around the house (they are very good and my family loves them). However, I had never tried using my HomePod Mini for voice commands until today .... Holy Crap they are fast!!! I mean really significantly faster than the Echo's at carrying out commands.

eg Lights On/Off:
Alexa - Echo Dot Gen2 = 1.5-2.5 seconds
HomePod Mini = too fast to measure!!!

I'm guessing this is due to the HomePod's being powered by Apple's powerful A8 SoC to perform most of the processing locally. In comparison iirc Echo's rely mostly on cloud-based processing.

I'd love to replace the rest of my Echo Dot's with HomePod Mini's but at triple the price of what I've previously bought the Dot's for I doubt I'll be doing that any time soon. Plus my wife and kids use the Alexa Shopping list and "find answers" functions extensively.

PS, Im using "Homebridge v2" on Hubitat to connect to my HomeBridge server.


Siri is a lot more flexible than Alexa as well. Here's a couple of things you might want to try:

Hey Siri, it’s hot in here. (Works with cold as well)
Hey Siri, how many lights are on?
Hey Siri, what's the status of the front door deadbolt?
Hey Siri, what's the status of the deadbolts?
Hey Siri, what's the temperature in the master bedroom?
Hey Siri, is there any motion in the house?
etc, etc.... and the list goes on.


Cheers, I'll try some of those!

This is my setup as well and I must say it's been working very well. "Homebridge v2" app has been a key part of that positive experience. I have a C-7 (with most of my z-wave devices) and an old C-4, both with Hub mesh enabled. I'm running 2 instances of Homebridge (one for each HE) on an old Mac mini running Ubuntu. So far the setup has been pretty snappy, and most importantly, my wife has been happy! :smile:

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Curious why two Homebridge instances if you’re also using Hub Mesh? Seems like a lot of unnecessary extra traffic on the network.

Why not just share the devices via Hub Mesh and add them to HomeKit from a single hub? This is how I’m managing multiple hubs and Homebridge. There’s no difference in speed from devices on the hub with Homebridge, versus devices shared via Hub Mesh to Homebridge.

Would this also be true for Hub Connect? Haven't set this up yet, just researching.

Should work. Can't speak to the speed as I don't use it. Hub Connect is still the choice for ST to HE, but for HE to HE I would suggest Hub Mesh. Far easier to setup and doesn't require special drivers for anything.

I may to have try that. I had the two Homebridge instances before I started using HubMesh. On my C-4 instance, I have a couple of non-HE plugins (eg. opensprinkler), whereas on my C-7 instance, it's all HE. My original thought was that if the C-4 instance ever slowed or crashed, my C-7 one would still keep my most important devices available.

Quick question: In a home with multiple Homepod minis, do you know which one is running the commands so you can localize light controls? Haven't looked at Home bridge capabilities yet, no time to play right now, but that would be killer!

You assign the HomePod to a room in your house (just like you do with other HomeKit accessories), then when you say to turn off lights, it defaults to those in the same room. You have to be more specific if you want "all" or another room.

Can you do room aware automations with homekit? Like based on the room do specific things or is it only available for lights specifically?

No, generally not room specific. HomeKit Automations are generally pretty simple. You can base them on presence (first person home (i.e., somebody is home), last person leaves (i.e., nobody home), specific person home or leaves, time of day, sensor state, and accessory state). At least some of these can be combined. For example, "light X turns on between 9:00 pm and 12pm when nobody is home"

I say "generally" not room specific, since there is (sort of) one exception. You can create "scenes" which are pre-set arrangements of the devices in HomeKit. The button to control the scene appears in the room with the accessories being controlled. If the accessories are in multiple rooms, the button appears in each room. So, if the "room specific" automation you are looking for is to set lights / devices to a specific arrangement, you can do that by creating a scene which can then be activated on arrival, departure, or by Siri.

For more complex automations, you can also create a virtual on/off switch in Hubitat and add that to the HomeKit room. That virtual swtich can then be used to trigger the more complex automation on Hubitat. For example, when the switch is turned on from your iPhone, you can then run the desired Rulemaker rule on Hubitat. After running the rule on Hubitat, the Hubitat rule pauses 10 seconds (or whatever you want -- basically, so the user sees a period that the switch is on) then turns the switch back to the "off" position so it is ready to be used as a trigger again. Give the switch the name you want to use in Siri (e.g., "Movie Mode") and you'll be able to say things like "Turn on Movie Mode" to trigger the Hubitat rule.


You also got yourself a Thread border router included, one of the first devices to include this. The HomePod (big brother) doesn't include this. Not many thread devices available yet but I can atest they work over large distances and very fast.


It should be interesting to watch how Thread develops.

Btw one thing I’ve been using lately are NFC tags combined with Siri Shortcuts.

I have a few in my office and workshop.

I love the workshop ones in particular as I can tap my phone on them to turn on or off my garage lights, workshop tools and bench lighting all in one tap. These are a scene in Hubitat that Siri activates.

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How would you use this? To connect thread devices to Apple? Can it go the other way?

The Apple HomeKit hub (namely the HomePod Mini at this time) is the Thread hub. You won't be able to pair Thread devices with HE, nor can you pass downstream Thread devices from the HomeKit hub to HE.

Apple HomeKit and Thread are essentially direct competitors to HE and Z-wave/Zigbee.

P.S. This is coming from a HE + Homebridge + Apple HomeKit + Apple HomePod user today.

No I think I understand that part - however I was thinking that there should be some sort of server that could be use to bridge communication - kind of like HomeBridge.. or MQTT.

Doubtful, it's not in Apple's interest to expose that functionality. They want their users to stay completely in Apple ecosystem. Now later once other companies make Thread enabled hubs, maybe.

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Yeah you are right I'm not expecting Apple to expose their homekit devices.. they don't now. I guess for them Threads will be another way to use non HK devices. I don't care all that much - much more interested in bringing non-HK devices TO the Apple hub.

Which is exactly why I bought HE in the first place, to bring my Z-Wave and Zigbee devices into Apple HomeKit. I use Apple HomeKit as my entire front end (no HE dashboards) but don't have a single device added directly to HomeKit, all come in via HE>Homebridge.

Maybe one day Thread will come to HE, but I am not holding my breath. I think the future of HE is Z-Wave Long Range. They don't seem interested in Zigbee 3.0 nor Thread.

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