Mqtt2homekit integration for local control of cloud-only devices


I am new to hubitat - still waiting for mine to arrive. Anyways, I have been considering getting the new ecobee switch+. I already have an ecobee3 thermostat and the cloud requirement has been inconvenient at times, and I see that they only support some kind of local control via Homekit.

I was looking for a way to leverage Homekit that did not involve introducing an Apple device to my setup, and I stumbled onto something called mqtt2homekit which can be leveraged to use MQTT to control Homekit enabled devices. The project even specifically mentions the ecobee3 and being able to control it locally via this project.

So, since hubitat is all about local control whenever possible, has anyone heard of and looked at this project or other similar project for integration into hubitat to leverage local control of otherwise cloud-only controlled devices such as ecobee thermostats?

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Hubitat MQTT Integration start here :slight_smile:

Thank you, I will look into that more once I get my hub. However, my intention was to inquire more specifically about leveraging Homekit for local control. The spirit of this hubitat project seems to prefer local operation rather than cloud. Unfortunately, for some devices the only avenue for local control is Homekit. So, I was wondering more about whether anyone has ever investigated looking into implementing a Homekit client natively in hubitat to get around the cloud-centric devices.

If you’re willing to run a Homebridge server (e.g. Raspberry Pi), you can integrate Hubitat devices into HomeKit. But to run HomeKit automations, you’ll need an Apple TV or similar on your home network.

Thank you, but I am looking for the opposite of Homebridge actually which is why I brought up the mqtt2homekit project. I was hoping others might have investigated that solution or looked into something more integrated or considered in a general sense implementing a Homekit compatible client solution that did not involve dependency on an Apple device. So far it seems that mqtt2homekit project is the only one of its kind so I may start there along with the mqtt bridge I saw mentioned. Thank you though.

While not exactly what you’re hoping for, another user has successfully used Homebridge to bridge two systems.

I get what you’re wanting to do. Instead of exposing hubs and bridges to Homebridge in order to control them, you want to expose HomeKit to a hub for controlling it. I can see Apple continuing to allow Homebridge with no legal action, becuase it requires iOS devices and an Apple TV to do automations, and most people will not use this web UI for configuration, they’ll still use an iOS device. Plus you still need an Apple TV 4 for automations. What I cannot see is them sitting idly by and allowing the reverse to happen. So the next best thing would be a new version of homebridge that allowed automation of devices, without duplicating Apple’s interface. Since we don’t have that, just buying an Apple TV 4 and using an iOS device to create the automations is the next best thing. I was able pickup an Apple TV 4 (non-4K) from ebay for $100 CAD. Not that big of an expense considering what I can automate together with it, and all local, plus we’re enjoying the benefits of the newer generation of Apple TV vs our older gen 3.

For me, I was really wanting to bring my Insteon devices under local control by Hubitat, and with this setup, I have it. Doesn’t allow me to dim, but of the Insteon dimmers I have, the only one I ever dim is our deck light on summer nights, and I can just do that at the switch, their app or Alexa. Doesn’t matter to me that I need cloud for that rarely used function. It’s the daily ON/OFF control I don’t want to be dependent on cloud reliability.

I have an Ecobee 3 as well. I may be mistaken, but I believe that no matter what you do, outside of HomeKit, it is still going to need some element of cloud for automation. There is a port of the Ecobee SmartApp and DTH (called app and driver on Hubitat), but it still needs OAuth, and I recall one of the Hubitat team members stating they need cloud for OAuth. So it’s still not pure local. Honestely, I have had so very few incidences I can remember in almost three years of owning an Ecobee 3 that I can recall not being able to access it remotely. Plus, there are advantages to some of the cloud integrations that cannot be done via HomeKit. For example, I don’t have A/C, but I can integrate it with Stringify, so if the temp in any room rises above a specified level in the Summer, the fan will turn on, even though the mode is set to OFF.

Cloud has its place. SmartThings cloud is so unreliable in comparison to other manufacturers, that I get why you’re wanting to run from it. Once you’re enjoyng the stability of Hubitat, you’ll probably feel more comfortable with a balance of cloud and local. I’m really liking the Homebridge and Apple TV combination. Thanks to the work of @pdlovelace and @tonesto7, the Homebridge-Hubitat plugin has allowed me to locally control another hub from Hubitat via the automations, even though there are no direct Hubitat integrations ready, and so far it’s proving to be very fast and stable. In fact, there are so many easy to install, and generally easy to configure Homebridge plugins for devices that don’t already support HomeKit, you can practically automate interactions between any other ioT device and Hubitat.

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OK, Thank you for your response. I appreciate the detail and the suggestion. I might look to that route if I end up getting the ecobee wifi switch with Alexa. Relying on the cloud for the simple switch functionality seems inefficient and possibly unreliable. I have tried other wifi cloud-processed outlets before and was not impressed with their dependability. My ecobee3 issues are few and far between so far to invest in additional hardware, so I will wait and see after I get a chance to get my feet wet with the hubitat once I receive it. Thank you again.

I haven’t used this but don’t see why it wouldn’t work. However, you’ll need more than just homekit2mqtt; you’ll need an MQTT broker, the Hubitat/ST-MQTT bridge app and Hubitat app/SmartApp (someone ported one for Hubitat but I’m still using the one from ST that I already had set up; I’m sure some things like buttons don’t play well with it but everything else seems to do what I need–but you’ll need this in any case since the Hubitat app/ST SmartApp wasn’t written to talk to the broker directly), and some way to integrate the MQTT “device” into Hubitat. For the last part, I’m pretty sure creating a virtual device with the exact name the homekit2mqtt app is expecting will work (and then changes made in either Hubitat or HomeKit should be reflected in the other), but I haven’t tried that and don’t think that always worked for me when trying to use MQTT between ST and Hubitat directly (I started using it to use devices from ST in Home Assistant and vice versa).

I definitely wouldn’t do this for a thermostat, but I totally understand why you’d want to for a switch, outlet, or similar—even on a good day, the cloud usually introduces at least a few hundred milliseconds of delay, which can be annoying if timing is important (e.g., motion-sensored lights). Not sure if it would really be faster after hopping through all these steps (and hope none of the services you need to run to do this go down) and still needing to communicate through HomeKit, but at least you’ll be protected from Ecobee cloud outages should they be anywhere as bad as ST’s. :slight_smile:

Not sure if you’re looking for the remote sensor capability, or the Alexa integration is more what you want, but I would also look at the iDevices Instinct. They also have a fan controller version coming. I reviewed their switches and although a little tricky to get setup, it had solid performance on stable WiFi. The one thing I’m not a fan of with iDevices is their isolation where integrations are concerned. It’s their app, the two assistants and HomeKit, but nothing else. Still, their products are expensive, but very good, and they’re experienced switch makers, now owned by Hubble.

There’s also the GE C, but you’re going to need Bluetooth bulbs for that :roll_eyes:

None of these switches are going to allow Alexa multi-room audio or drop in. So an actual Echo or Dot (perhaps mounted in the ceiling is a better option for Alexa in the room.

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