Broadcom today announced that its new SDK for the Internet of Things (IoT) now officially supports Apple’s home automation HomeKit platform, bringing us a step closer to widespread availability of Siri-controlled smart home devices.
Broadcom notes that its SDK is the first to officially support HomeKit specs for WiFi and Bluetooth Smart accessories, allowing developers to use its Wireless Internet Connectivity for Embedded Devices (WICED) platform to build apps for Apple’s new Siri-controlled, home automation platform. They will also be able to build products that double as a hardware bridge for non-HomeKit accessories.
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Broadcom’s WICED platform enables developers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to take advantage of the growing HomeKit ecosystem with a complete solution. By helping companies create IoT products that are HomeKit compliant, Broadcom is reducing time-to-market and improving the consumer experience by delivering home automation devices that enable a seamless connection to their home network and can be controlled from a HomeKit-supported app on their iPhone, iPad or iPod touch
Using the company’s WICED platforms will also allow the HomeKit accessories to act as a bridge, allowing you to connect non-HomeKit devices using competing home automation platforms:
Broadcom’s WICED platform can also connect endpoints through a process known as bridging that delivers the benefits of HomeKit through a hardware module. This allows a product like a Bluetooth Smart light bulb to connect to a smart plug containing Broadcom’s WICED module, creating a bridge from the light bulb to the user’s HomeKit-supported app on their iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.
We previously detailed Apple’s guidelines for compatibility with competing home automation platforms including the use of a hardware bridge for non-HomeKit accessories as supported by Broadcom.
Alongside the announcement, Broadcom today released its latest Bluetooth Smart chip for developers that it says “significantly improves performance for IoT applications by enabling twice the data rates over a Bluetooth Smart link.” It’s also future proofed for Bluetooth 5.0 specs:
The BCM20706 integrates Bluetooth and Bluetooth Smart onto a single chip with a built-in microcontroller (MCU), reducing cost, footprint and time-to-market for companies developing home automation, audio, industrial, wearables and other applications. Broadcom’s WICED Smart Ready SoC also offers dual-mode Bluetooth and Bluetooth Smart applications so OEMs can select either technology based on their end product needs. Additionally, by enabling twice the data rate over a Bluetooth Smart link, Broadcom is future-proofing the WICED platform with high data rate and power-efficient 2 Mbps mode, anticipated to be standardized in Bluetooth 5.0.
Apple officially introduced HomeKit with iOS 8 and began accepting product plans through its Made-for-iPhone accessory licensing program late last year, while a number of companies began showing off upcoming solutions using the platform at CES. The majority of accessories were planning a launch for later in 2015, including GE’s new lighting products announced last week.