So this is another smart home update, because that seems to be what I do in my free time these days, when I get it. The HomeKit integration from Hubitat is ok, and I'm using HomeKit more and more for day to day control. Most automations are still in Hubitat, but I'm experimenting with the HomeKit ones. Not as configurable or powerful as Hubitat, but something that makes some sense.

Hubitat is a single device. A single point of failure should anything happen to it. HomeKit is the framework that Apple uses. It uses a more distributed management. I have a few HomePod Minis and an Apple TV. Any of them can be the "hub" that all the HomeKit devices and integrations connect with. When one is tagged as the hub, the others go into standby. If the one tagged goes offline for whatever reason, one of the other ones takes over the hub duties. No action required on my part. It's actually kind of slick.

Also, Hubitat has gone through some pretty bad updates as of late. It got to the point where I'd have to reboot it twice a day. For some reason, it just completely wigged out. And when it got to the wigging out part, my network went down. I can't say the Hubitat caused it or what, but one time I shutdown just the hub and the network returned to normal. So, that's pretty damning evidence. The most recent couple of firmware updates seem to have largely resolved this. But it has left me kind of leery of trusting the brains to a single device that has had issues.

Another thing I've done recently is install a Homebridge hub again. Along with a Hubitat plugin/app I can operate my Hubitat connected Zigbee locks via the home app now. Since Hubitat is trying for HomeKit certification and Apple rules prevent "barrier" devices from connecting to anything other than HomeKit hubs themselves, they were not allowed to be shared directly via Hubitat. Homebridge, which is not certified or even trying, has no problem with this. I can also expose the Ring cameras to HomeKit with Homebridge. It's not great. The lag is very noticeable, the quality is less because it requires re-encoding the video on the Homebridge itself, and it's dependent on an internet connection to the Ring api/dashboard. But, it's there. Just not ideal.

I installed a HomeKit enabled garage door opener for one of the doors, too. Something I've had for about two years and just never installed. Probably will add another one for the other door since it seems to be working well. I could get a model that works with all doors in one thing, but it's more expensive and frankly, unnecessary. It has 3 ports, all which will show up in HomeKit even when one is not in use.

I've also started looking into HomeAssistant. Open source home automation project. It's much more complicated than HomeKit or even Hubitat, but it does seem much more configurable. And if I can figure out the dashboards and such, much nicer looking than Hubitat. Downside is remote access, which requires a subscription. But if I get rid of Hubitat, then it's a wash. I don't think I'd subscribe to both. Anyway, it's running in a docker container on a cheap Intel mini PC I picked up, which, with a coupon, was less than what Raspberry Pi 4 devices are going for these days. Faster to ship, too. And HomeAssistant can connect to HomeKit as well. So it could potentially be a replacement for the Hubitat if it came down to it. Hook the Z-Wave and Zigbee devices into Home Assistant instead of Hubitat, expose to HomeKit, go from there.

So, the smart home continues to be somewhat of a moving target. But the pace has slowed down a lot. Not getting lots of new devices or anything. Just tweaking and playing with how the ones that are currently installed are being utilized and automated with what system. I'm getting to a decent place I guess. Time to start thinking about what's next.

The dog is generally good at home and pretty loving of everyone. At the vet, it's a completely different story.

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