Getting Non-HomeKit Devices Working in HomeKit
My Homebridge UI with the current installed plugins for my smart devices
All my smart home devices end up connecting via Google Home. It was an easy entry point at the time via the inexpensive Google Home devices, and it turned out that voice activation was the key to usability.
Even being an Apple household, we never got into HomeKit. I figured that switching to HomePods was a bit too costly… and also some of my smart devices didn’t connect to HomeKit.
I’ve recently connected a smart switch for the lamp in my youngest son’s room. When my wife puts him down she’ll be laying with him, and wants an easy way to turn his lamp off (as it is across the room), I know… first-world problems. If she has her phone she can use that, but often she just has her Apple Watch.
I looked around, and it seemed to like controlling devices via HomeKit would be an ideal solution, and with WatchOS it is possible. Now to connect my non-HomeKit devices somehow…
A quick investigation led me to Homebridge.
Homebridge allows you to integrate with smart home devices that do not natively support HomeKit. There are over 2,000 Homebridge plugins supporting thousands of different smart accessories.
With my recently new Unraid server, I was able to spin up a Homebridge Docker container and had the majority of my devices working quickly!
Homebridge lets you install plugins to then act as the bridge between said devices and HomeKit.
As of now, I’m currently using the following plugins:
"ffmpegCodec": "copy"to avoid encoding the stream on my server (fewer resources).
docker-wyze-bridgeto first expose an RTSP (Real Time Streaming Protocol) stream for the Wyze cameras.
Advanced > Video Codec, again to avoid encoding.
After all was said and done, everything works as expected. We’re able to use our non-HomeKit devices in HomeKit and leverage it on our Apple Devices.
I did stumble across Home Assistant, which looks like an even more powerful automation system. This might be something I poke around with, as there is also a HomeKit Integration for this (amongst many others). One thing at a time though, too much change can be hard to cope with.