Ecobee’s room sensors get smarter with HomeKit


Ecobee’s temperature and presence room sensors now officially work with Apple HomeKit.

Photo by Tyler Lizenby/CNET

If you’ve been waiting for Ecobee’s room sensors to make the official jump to
HomeKit
compatibility, your wait is over. Firmware version 3.7.0.969 of Ecobee’s iOS app is currently rolling out to customers and the updated software now displays connected Ecobee room sensors directly in Apple‘s HomeKit Home app for iOS 10.

Ecobee’s $249 Ecobee3 thermostat (a rough conversion to £204 or AU$332) comes with a room sensor that can track both ambient temperature and motion. The idea is that you’ll stick this sensor anywhere in your house so it can act like an extension of the thermostat’s own sensors. In theory, then, it does a better job monitoring your home and away patterns, as well as the temperature in the house (since it isn’t just gathering data in the hallway where your thermostat is installed).

Apple’s HomeKit smart home platform for iPhone is somewhat similar to Amazon‘s Alexa devices and the Google Home. However, instead of setting up a dedicated speaker in your house, Apple’s voice control smarts come straight from Siri via your iOS-equipped mobile device.

While HomeKit is more portable than Amazon and Google‘s smart home platforms, it has integrated with smart products from other manufacturers more slowly than its competitors. This is due in part to Apple’s requirement that developers add a chip to their hardware before it can work with Siri and the broader HomeKit system.

Previously, Ecobee3 customers could only monitor their thermostat on Apple’s Home app. This firmware update extends access to room sensors as well, so you’ll be able to check in on the ambient temperature and motion activity of those remote devices too. You’ll also be able to add in Siri commands such as, “What’s the temperature in the basement?”

Ecobee added a budget version of its $249 Ecobee3 thermostat in 2016 called the Ecobee3 Lite (video below). While this $169 HomeKit-enabled “lite” model (roughly converted to £138 or AU$225) has a lot of the same functionality as the Ecobee3, it doesn’t work with room sensors.

Ecobee’s firmware update 3.7.0.969 is currently making its way to customers, so don’t fret if yours hasn’t updated just yet. In the meantime, check out this Reddit feed detailing the update.


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