How to get started with HomeKit home automation

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Wemo WiFi Smart Plug is a nice start to home automation
A Wemo WiFi Smart Plug is a simple way to learn more about home automation with Apple’s HomeKit.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Controlling the lights and other gadgets in your home from your iPhone is convenient and fun, too. There are plenty of HomeKit and Alexa accessories that make home automation a snap.

I’ll go over some of the best options I’ve found that will get you started with as little trouble as possible.

It’s the hottest gifts, tech and stuff of 2019, this week on The CultCast

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CultCast 419
It's time to reveal all our favorite stuff of the year!
Photo: @YSR50

This week on The CultCast: From the hottest gift of 2019, to our favorite tech and travel locations, catch our picks for Best of the Year!

This episode supported by Squarespace

Easily create a beautiful website all by yourself, at Squarespace.com/cultcast. Use offer code “CultCast” at checkout to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.

Apple joins rivals to create open standard for smart home devices

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Abode Iota is a security system by itself
Building your smart home is about to get a whole lot easier.
Photo: Abode

Apple is teaming up with Amazon, Google, and the Zigbee Alliance to create a new open and royalty-free standard for smart home devices.

Project “Connected Home over IP” aims to increase compatibility among smart home gadgets and make development easier for device manufacturers. It should also simplify smart technology for consumers.

Abode Iota becomes first home security system with HomeKit

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Abode Iota is a security system by itself
Building your smart home is about to get a whole lot easier.
Photo: Abode

Abode finally scored HomeKit certification for its Iota home security hub. This allows iPhone and iPad users to arm and disarm the system, get alerts, and access the video feed coming from this gateway. Even better, sensors connected through this hub can also be controlled via HomeKit.

ProLine Compact doorbell brings HomeKit Secure Video

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Robin ProLine Compact is HomeKit compatible
You can securely answer the ProLine Compact with your iPhone, thanks to HomeKit Secure Video.
Photo: Robin Telecom Development/Cult of Mac

A follow-up to the world’s first HomeKit-compatible video doorbell from Robin Telecom Development will support Apple’s new system that makes video security systems more private and secure. It’s quite possibly the first video doorbell to do so.

Almost as importantly, the Robin ProLine Compact is smaller than its predecessor.

Apple steps up smart home fight against Amazon and Google

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The HomePod -- a beautiful body with the brain of an idiot.
Apple wants to make a bigger mark on your home.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Apple is ramping up its smart home efforts in a bid to better compete against Amazon and Google, according to a new report.

Cupertino is said to be hiring for a team that will be focused on revamping HomeKit software and devices. It also wants to encourage more third-party manufacturers to support its platform.