I consider myself a technology enthusiast, but I am not someone who wants to maintain a complicated setup. I previously wrote about the Starling Home Hub and how it turned the Nest Homebridge project into a turnkey solution. This product is my ideal type of setup. It’s a turnkey solution that accomplishes something very technical. Homebridge is a growing platform, though. There are countless other projects going to make all of your smart home products HomeKit compatible. Suppose you want to take advantage of the growing Homebridge ecosystem (2,000 plugins) without the hassle. In that case, you’ll be delighted to hear that HOOBS is available as a Homebridge in a box setup.

HomeKit Weekly is a series focused on smart home accessories, automation tips and tricks, and everything to do with Apple’s smart home framework.

HOOBS comes in three different ways. The first is with an actual box that you plug into your network. The second comes preloaded on a micro SD card. The third is downloading the HOOBS image with a donation of $7. If you purchase the SD card or download the image, you’ll also need to buy and set up a Rasberry Pi, case, power adaptor, etc. to get it setup. I didn’t want to worry about the hardware aspect, so I went ahead and purchased the standalone HOOBS box.

Installation is easy after you unbox the device. Once you plug it up to your network and to power, you visit http://hoobs.local to begin the setup process. The main benefit of HOOBS is that you get all of the advantages of Homebridge without having to set it up yourself. The wizard walks you by configuring a username and password, adding the device to HomeKit, and adding devices. After you get it set up, you can have it run off of Wi-Fi as well. Since the box is so small, it’s easy to store next to your router. This entire process took around ten minutes from start to finished. If you want to browse the whole catalog, you can check out the directory that HOOBS has built.

What can it control?

There are countless Homebridge projects currently going on. They are all independently worked on, and now you’ll have the benefits of all of them. Do you want to use UniFi cameras, but like the benefits of HomeKit automations? You can do that with HOOBS. Do you want to activate your Neato vacuum cleaner using HomeKit? You can do that with the HOOBS. Do you want to use Ring doorbells with HomeKit? You can do that. You don’t have to go searching for plugins either. HOOBS includes a built-in installation wizard that allows you to search, add, and configure all of its supports.

Who should buy HOOBS?

If you are the type of person who wants to build and maintain your hardware, you can setup a Homebridge server for free. I know many of you are reading this article likely already have Homebridge setup on an iMac or Mac Mini, and that’s awesome. Since Homebridge is free, it can be set up on your hardware.

If you are the type of person who wants to buy a hardware appliance and have it be maintained with new updates and turnkey additions, check out HOOBS. I’ve run it for the past three weeks, and similar to the Starling Home Hub, it works flawlessly. I had my Neato D7 installed in under five minutes. Now I can start it using HomeKit, which nows opens up the world of HomeKit automations to a product that likely won’t ever see full HomeKit support natively. Obviously, some of the UI in HomeKit for non HomeKit devices might be a little off (The Neato shows up as a fan), but otherwise, it’s a pretty magical experience.

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About the Author

Bradley Chambers

Bradley lives in Chattanooga, TN.

Tips, feedback, corrections and questions can be sent to Bradley@9to5mac.com.