The explosion of smart home products from various manufacturers mirrored a similar scenario when cell phones hit the market. Each communicated only with others of the same brand, unless some third party platform tries to orchestrate the communication between different devices. Apple HomeKit is one of those smart home platforms and brands like ecobee are very happy to support such a big name, even though this new feature for their SmartCamera with voice control almost feels like a loss for the home automation company.
To be clear, the ecobee SmartCamera with voice control has long supported Apple’s HomeKit. It allowed users to use the Home app camera or even receive remote notifications, assuming you already have a device that works as a HomeKit Hub, such as an Apple TV, HomePod or iPad. What ecobee is proudly announcing now is support for a new and lesser-known HomeKit feature that practically bypasses ecobee’s subscription service.
HomeKit Secure Video allows owners of selected smart security cameras to use their iCloud accounts to store video recordings. Depending on the configuration, this can be much cheaper than using ecobee’s own $ 5 monthly subscription. It also takes advantage of iCloud encryption for those who are concerned with ecobee’s security and privacy features.
The addition of support for HomeKit Secure Video in the latest firmware update also allows users to use the Apple Home app to control and configure some of the SmartCamera features. This includes scheduling when the camera will start recording, for example.
There are, however, some caveats to this update that will make ecobee SmartCamera with voice control owners think a lot. They will probably want to keep the ecobee dedicated mobile app, as some settings and controls are not available in the Apple Home app. And while iCloud storage may seem cheaper on the surface, it is also limited to just a few cameras and retaining images for just 10 days before being deleted.