June 6, 2017
Nearly a year after Apple announced housebuilders would start putting HomeKit devices into new properties, the first iOS-powered homes are ready for their new owners to move in.
At last year's WWDC, Apple revealed that four property companies -- KB Home, Lennar, R&F Properties, and Brookfield Residential -- were planning to support HomeKit gear in new properties. Earlier this month, Brookfield Residential became the first to realise its connected home plan.
Apple's smart home vision will be going live in a number of neighbourhoods in southern California, including Vientos, Candela; Terracina at Rancho Tesoro in San Marcos; Flora, Prado; and Haciendas at Escaya in Chula Vista.
When the new owners walk through the door of their properties, they'll be able to automatically control the lighting, temperature, and even the locks through Apple's Home app or just by asking Siri.
In the year since the WWDC announcement, Brookfield Residential has been working with tech staff, creatives, and product management execs to define a standard for its future smart homes -- covering not only which equipment will be included but also the broadband spec needed to support current and future generations of connected home gear which the company plans to offer.
After testing smart home setups in pilots with some of its homebuyers, it settled on using Lutron Caseta lighting, a Honeywell Lyric T6 smart Wi-Fi thermostat, and Schlage Sense Smart deadbolts, along with a Ubiquiti wireless access point across its new properties. "We ended up scaling back to what we knew would work on day one," Brookfield Residential COO Adrian Foley said. The company has already sold 18 connected homes so far in the Delano neighbourhood.
The combination of lights, locks, and thermostat "represents the backbone of the core benefits of the smart home -- being able to have the home recognise you when you come home, and open up with lights, locks, and thermostat settings, or have the home wake up for you with light and thermostats settings," he added.
The Apple home tech can also let people check on the state of their home when they're out of the house, to confirm they locked the door on the way out, or that they shut the lights off when they left, for instance. It could even allow residents to let other people into the house when they're not there -- for example, when out-of-town guests arrive or when there's a delivery.