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What is Siri and What Can it Do?

Today digital assistants are becoming more commonplace in our computers, phones and smart speakers. With simple voice commands, these assistants can play music and other media, generate information such as news and weather and answer questions, and not least control the devices in our smart homes.

This is a simple and clever way to use smart technology around us. We just need to say simple commands like: “Alexa, play some jazz on Spotify,” or “Hey Google, turn on the lights in the living room,” and the assistant will fix what we ask for.

Today, perhaps Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa are the digital assistants most people talk about, but it all started with Apple’s Siri and Siri has kept up with the evolution of smart home features. Here we talk about what Siri can do and how to use the assistant to control the smart devices at home.

Apple is leading the way with Siri

When Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa saw the light of day in 2016, Apple users have long been accustomed to having a voice-guided digital assistant to help. When the iPhone 4S was launched in 2011, Siri was one of the biggest news. It was also the first assistant who began to speak Swedish. The users just had to say “Hello Siri” and then the command you wanted to execute, for example “Hello Siri, how is the weather today?” to get a current weather forecast.

Today, Siri is found not only in the iPhone but also in devices such as iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV and the smart speaker Homepod.

Like most other digital assistants, Siri can make phone calls, send messages, launch apps, change settings, play media, respond to questions, generate information, translate, give reminders, manage calendars and set alarms and much more. Thanks to the new Apple Homekit platform, Siri can now also control your smart home.

So you control your smart home with Siri and Homekit

Homekit is the name of the platform Apple uses to control smart devices and accessories in our homes. Thanks to the Home app and Siri’s help, it is now possible to control lighting, thermostats, cameras, locks and more via various Apple devices.

Getting started with Homekit is pretty easy. Here’s what you need:

  • A WiFi network
  • An Apple device with iOS 10 or later
  • Home App (Home in English)
  • A device that acts as a home hub. It is common for Homekit users to choose their iPad or Apple TV as a hub. Although the smart speaker Homepod has Siri integrated, it has so far limited features and also cannot distinguish between different voices, which is why most people prefer a different device. Who said it must be a smart speaker to control?

Devices and accessories compatible with Homekit

The difference between Apple’s Homekit and Amazon’s and Google’s systems is mainly that you do not control your smart home from a smart speaker (such as Amazon Echo or Google Home), but through the Home app and Siri. This means that you get more choice when it comes to which device you want to use. If you use your Apple Watch, for example, you always have Siri close at hand and do not need to go to a speaker to give their command.

Works with Apple Homekit

While the technology and layout of Apple Homekit are very similar to those of Amazon and Google’s smart home solutions, Apple, on the other hand, has a more restrictive stance on which devices can be connected. Connected accessories must have a special certification that ensures that the accessory complies with Apple’s Homekit security rules. That certification is called “Works with Apple Homekit”.

If you are thinking of building your smart home based on Apple Homekit, it is important that you ensure that the devices and accessories you choose have this marking.

This strict attitude towards compatible devices has meant that Apple Homekit does not have as many gadgets that can be connected to the system as Amazon and Google have. But that does not mean that it would be bad for devices that can be used. Most major manufacturers of smart home gadgets have made sure their products work with Apple and can be controlled via Siri.

Here are some of the accessories that can be used with Apple Homekit:

  • Lighting from Philips Hue and LIFX
  • IKEA Cordless
  • Sonos speakers
  • Apple TV
  • Surveillance cameras from Arlo, D-Link and Logitech
  • Thermostats and temperature control from Netatmo and Eve
  • Logitech Harmony Remote Controls

Thus, it is no problem to find accessories to control the media, lighting, temperature and safety via Homekit and Siri.

More function with one scenario

You can also create automation and control multiple accessories at one and the same time with just one command. You do this by creating a so-called scenario (scene in English) in the Home app. Then you can, for example, via the command “Hi Siri, I’m home” let the scenario unlock the door, turn on the lights, turn up the heat to some degree, and maybe play some relaxing music.

You can also group the accessories by room (for example, “The Kitchen” and “The Living Room”), or by zones with multiple rooms (for example, “Upstairs”) to more easily control your units and accessories (“Hi Siri, turn off the upstairs “).

A solution for Apple users

Apple may have been the first with its digital assistant Siri and smart solutions that can easily be controlled with a voice command, but even so, Amazon and Google dominate the market today. It probably doesn’t have as much to do with features or quality as Apple being a more locked system compared to its competitors.

However, if you have several Apple products in your home, it is not so stupid to use Homekit and Siri to control your smart home. Just remember to make sure the accessories are certified for Apple Homekit, so you can enjoy full control and the technology’s beautiful solutions.

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