The explosion of smart home products from various manufactures pretty much mirrored a similar scenario when mobile phones landed on the market. Each one communicated only with others from the same brand unless some third-party platform tries to orchestrate the communication between different devices. Apple HomeKit is one such smart home platform and brands like ecobee are only too happy to boast support for such a big name, even if this new capability for its SmartCamera with voice control almost seems like a loss for the home automation company.
To be clear, the ecobee SmartCamera with voice control has long had support for Apple’s HomeKit. It allowed users to the camera from the Home app or even get remote notifications, presuming you already have a device that serves as a HomeKit Hub, like an Apple TV, HomePod, or iPad. What ecobee is proudly announcing now is support for a new and lesser-known HomeKit feature that pretty much bypasses ecobee’s subscription service.
HomeKit Secure Video pretty much allows owners of select smart security cameras to use their iCloud accounts to store video recordings. Depending on the setup, this could be a lot cheaper than using ecobee’s own $5 a month subscription. It also takes advantage of iCloud’s encryption for those worried about ecobee’s security and privacy capabilities.
The addition of HomeKit Secure Video support in the latest firmware update also allows users to use the Apple Home app to control and configure some of the SmartCamera features. Those include scheduling when the camera will start recording, for example.
There are, however, some caveats to this update that will cause ecobee SmartCamera with voice control owners to think hard. They will most likely want to hold on to ecobee’s dedicated mobile app as some settings and controls are not available on the Apple Home app. And while iCloud storage might seem cheaper on the surface, it is also limited to just a few cameras and to holding on to footage for just 10 days before they’re deleted.