LIFX Developer Zone

Let's address the HomeKit elephant in the room

Hi all,

I would like the LIFX team to finally address one of the biggest questions regarding their products.

If you look at the @LIFX twitter account, you can see that the question is being raised daily, and most of the replies are vague at least.
One thing has changed however. What we’ve learned in the past month or so is that the current Color 1000 bulbs won’t support HomeKit. Looks like all of the effort is going in releasing a new series of bulbs and asking customers for more money.

The question I ask is: WHY? We have proof that it’s not that hard to make a HomeKit HUB, just look at the Homebridge topic. Philips has done this for their customers.

The only reason most of us that are a part of Apple’s ecosystem bought the bulbs in the past year or so is that we were told HomeKit support is on the way. I mean, I was waiting for three years for smartbulbs to get to where they are now, and if I knew the current Color 1000 bulbs wouldn’t get HK, I woud have easily waited a few more months for a new bulb. I feel cheated!

If you scroll long enough through all of the replies on @LIFX twitter account you can find answers like: “We are working on HomeKit” that go as far as 2014. Color 1000 was released a year later. A whole year filled with unfulfilled promises. But it was OK, since we were told AGAIN AND AGAIN: "HomeKit support is on the way."

But whe now know it’s not! All because you can get more money from selling a new bulb instead of adding funcionality to the current one.

If things go the way I believe they will, my bulbs are going the eBay way, and I’ll be switching to Hue. Which quite frankly kinda sucks, since I love everything else about these bulbs!

5 Likes

I totally agree with this sentiment.

May I add: the reason some of us like HomeKit is that it’s designed securely, end-to-end encrypted. We don’t want some cloud service that is hooked into everything, including the kitchen sink.

Where’s LIFX’s description and detail of the security configuration of their cloud service? What assurances do we have that these aren’t devices that are waiting to be exploited?

As @zduhac mentioned, a HomeKit bridge would go a long way to addressing this shortcoming, with of course an option to disconnect the devices from the LIFX cloud, and while you’re at it, why not stop requiring users to sign up with an email address if they just want to use the lights locally on their network?

1 Like

Pulling across the response to this from Jon on Reddit:

Hi guys, I’ll take this opportunity to answer this for you.

The current LIFX bulbs available are not HomeKit compatible. This
isn’t an us thing this is an Apple thing. We’ve been talking to Apple
since they announced HomeKit. Trust we’re all big Apple fans over here,
all our computers are Apple, everyone on staff owns iPhones, some of us
multiple.

Recent article that explains it better than I can:
http://www.businessinsider.com/apple-home-smart-home-iphone-2016-6

That said we will be releasing a line of products that are HomeKit compatible in the future.

We encourage everyone to take advantage of the great services out
there that do support voice control with LIFX at this time. Amazon Echo,
Google Now, and Mircosoft Cortana.

On a side note, as an industry we’re experiencing a split between
different providers, we have deep partnerships with many of them. We
have every desire to support all of them, but remember, this industry is
still very young. HomeKit was announced 2 years ago, but Apple
themselves took 2 years to provide an app to control them. Think about
that one, before apple announced the app, and we were not told this
before they launched it, no one knew if HomeKit was ever going to
actually be a thing that made it mainstream.

I hope this gives you guys the answers that you were looking for. I’m happy to answer any other questions.

Email me at social@lifx.co

1 Like

This has been a major point of contention for me and it’s damaged my trust in LIFX to a point it is now beyond repair, I think LIFX has handled the whole Homekit situation horribly. I also feel it’s very disingenuous to try and pass the blame onto Apple, after all it wasn’t Apple who spent the last year or two telling it’s customers that HomeKit support would come to LIFX bulbs, that was all LIFX.

I’ve been badgering them for months about this issue and I have a slew of email and Twitter correspondence where they are basically vague and evasive but always sticking to the line that HomeKit support was coming, eventually back in April I managed to get them to admit it wasn’t happening but even then I had to read it between the lines as they wouldn’t address the situation directly.

Fast forward to today and if you check their Twitter they are still giving the same misleading information and refusing to be honest with their customers, as a result they are stringing people along and encouraging people to buy a product that is never going to do what they need it to do.

I personally bought a single LIFX bulb to test the water, I then got stuck in limbo waiting for LIFX to either add HomeKit support or be honest about the fact they couldn’t, as a result I’ve basically sat for the last year while the world of smart things passed me by and everyone else was having fun. I ended that experiment last week by kitting out my entire house with Philips Hue bulbs and chucking my LIFX bulb in the bin.

I don’t think that’s fair to LIFX. Apple has done a shit job of siloing themselves into their own proprietary homekit platform (not that that is surprising - typical Apple behavior), whereas LIFX has been spearheading an open platform (AllJoyn) by being a major leader in the AllSeen Alliance and pushing open home automation standards. HomeKit isn’t just a proprietary protocol. They even require their own chip to be embedded in the device, meaning not even a software update is possible.

Just on a side note:

“we’re all big Apple fans over here, all our computers are Apple, everyone on staff owns iPhones”

No wonder the Windows 10 app is so poorly maintained and - lets be frank - near unusable and buggy.

1 Like

I have read this forum and others with similar complaints, plus all the articles that I could find… and I understand both sides, but there many ways to deal with a problem like this.

I do understand that until a later date Apple didn’t say anything about including a chip inside every product that had to be compatible with HomeKit, so the unlucky of us that bought Lifx Bulbs as soon as they appeared in the market with the promise of HomeKit integration feel really bad about it.

One solution would be for Lifx to create a hub that would connect all their bulbs and make that hub HomeKit compatible. They would be selling many of those hubs to all of us and that way they would only pay to Apple for one chip per hub, not one chip for every bulb sold.

I would not understand why this option would not be feasible or desirable, so I hope someone in Lifx could elaborate.

But if that option is not possible, Lifx could do the likes of Ubiquiti Networks. They recently cam up with their 3rd generation of surveillance IP cameras, but this new generation breaks compatibility with everything they previously had. Their solution is a recall program, where you send your old generation 1 or 2 devices and pay only a very reasonable “upgrade” fee + S&H if necessary.

So Lifx could do something like this to make us already customers loyal for life. This would be a really compelling reason to keep us customers happy and a marketing bomb for new customers to kick in.

Aside from the things already mentioned here (e.g. The requirement to use the MFi chips and proprietary Apple tech), I also have personal experience with HomeKit and other devices, like my Ecobee thermostat (which is HomeKit supported).

I don’t use my thermostat with HomeKit though. The reason is I lose functionality because when devices work with HomeKit they can only support concepts that Apple supports. I live in a climate where nights can be cold but days very hot, so I like that the Ecobee supports a range on the thermostat. I can ask it to make sure temp is between 75 and 70. It will turn the AC or heat on accordingly. When it’s linked to HomeKit though I can have either the AC or heat - but not both, set to a single temperature - because HomeKit doesn’t have a concept of a “range” for thermostats (according to Ecobee). I imagine it’s like this for other HomeKit devices, so you end up with very generic features and don’t realize the full potential of your products.

My Ecobee and LIFX both work fine with my Amazon Echo (and support all the features of my products) - so I integrate everything with that. I am an Apple fanboy as much as the next person - but I’m under no illusion that they’re perfect. They don’t even have a home assistant product yet while Amazon has had Echo/Alexa for a while and Google is coming out with theirs next year. I am not waiting around.

Moral of the story - don’t be hating so much on LIFX about HomeKit support. Apple’s home automation landscape is pretty immature and who knows what’s going to happen with it.

1 Like

I understand that LIFX are unable to simply release a firmware update to enable support, as HomeKit enabled devices require an Apple-certified chip.

However, it’s unfortunate that customers have been mislead that it was coming. In fact, before my last purchase in July this year I contacted support to confirm the bulbs would receive HomeKit support. Here was the response:

Considering LIFX bulbs are meant to last for decades it would make sense to offer a ~$60 HomeKit bridge for all the existing LIFX bulb owners.

So far, this is the best response to this post. As much as I love Apple, they do so many things that make me wish I had a comparable alternative. They have a God complex that drives them to make decisions like eliminating the headphone jack from iPhones. It’s great for the Bluetooth industry, but it’s just another chunk of change that consumers are forced to fork out, all thanks to Apple. But I guess we could all just use the adapters that they so generously provided with iPhone 7.

Anyway, my biggest reason for becoming indifferent toward HomeKit is that it will always be limited to products and services dictated by Apple. LIFX is vastly superior to Hue in nearly every aspect. From the perspective of a stage lighting designer, LIFX is the closest you can get to incredibly bright, smooth-dimming, professional-quality color LED smart bulbs. I’d take a quality product like LIFX and sacrifice HomeKit instead of settling for the mediocrity of Hue any day. The more I learn about LIFX, the happier I am that I chose them over Hue. I’m confident that LIFX will continue to develop and improve their products and find even more meaningful ways for customers to integrate LIFX into their home automation, and their lives.

Just wanted to keep us in the loop.

The Lifx/Homekit Support page (Will LIFX support Apple’s HomeKit?) was updated to say…

Update: LIFX HomeKit support is in the works, and slated to be released as soon as possible. More information will be available via lifx.com as well as our Facebook and twitter pages, as details are released.

At least we are getting some movement and progress. regardless of how slow it has been compared to others.

This has given me so confidence to build on my collection knowing it WILL (hopefully) work on my current system someday.

I’ve been with lifx since Kickstarter. so I’m massively biased against Hue! lol

Ok. First of all, I do agree that Apple’s done a really sh*tty job with the whole HomeKit implementation thing. And yes, they have a closed system that has a lot of nonsense requirements.

That doesn’t change the fact that there are now millions of phones around the world that have HomeKit baked in them, whether the owners are going to use them or not. And I do agree with Lifx developers/employees with almost everything that they had to say about it.

But they simply chose not to explain why they have been misleading their customers for 2 years. There are replies on twitter and probably elsewere where they said that “current lightbulbs will be HomeKit compatible at some point in time”. And suddenly that changed in the last 6 or so months. Now you’ll need a new lightbulb (one that isn’t released yet) to have HomeKit. Basically, they gave a middle finger to all of their current customers that are using iOS.

And then, just days after their BIG HomeKit announcement, they release LIFX strips and new Lifx+ ligthbulbs, and guess what? No mention of HomeKit support! Are they really expecting me to preorder something that probably will not support HomeKit in a time when “HomeKit is a priority”? Again, another really sh*tty move!

And to get one thing clear. HomeKit is not about asking Siri to turn the lights on. I, myself don’t even use Siri. Most people should really google HomeKit first before posting.

Cheers

I really hope LiFX are able to offer a LiFX Homelink Hub that those of us who have invested considerable funds into LiFX products and are interested in Homelink can purchase to control our lights using Homelink.

As I understand it someone on these very forums has developed a way to integrate LIFX with homekit. Obviously native support is nicer, but for now there is a solution available.

I was also a little underwhelmed about the new bulb release, strip lighting looks awesome, but I haven’t really seen any discussion asking for IR wavelengths, cool as that is. I think we can expect homekit integration with the next release though, you guys are making a bunch of noise about it.

This is super disheartening. I’ve dropped over $200 on Lifx bulbs “knowing” that I would eventually get HomeKit support on my current bulbs. I got that email yesterday advertising $20 off the current lights which of course I took advantage of buying two more lights. I think those will be getting returned.

I do think the bulbs are definitely better than Hue performance wise and usability wise. I love that they’re Wifi connected and do not require us to spend money on a hub just for my lights. The colors they can achieve are great and are overall a great light.

I will say that I feel duped in a way. I agree with most above that Lifx needs to be clear with their customers on what the plan is for Homekit. I’m a sales engineer and if there’s one thing I know it’s that lying to customers is the fastest way to lose them. I understand Lifx is probably in a difficult spot since they already have an install base and the Apple requirements are out of their control. However, being vague about what the plan is or just lying about it is the path to alienating customers.

I do have the pseudo HomeKit Homebridge working with a raspberry pi but there have been some pains along the way and it’s far from perfect. I realize that could be my newness to raspberry pi and programming with it but this was meant to be bridge to carry me over until we got native homekit support.

The beauty of Apple products and the devices that live in their ecosystem is that they just work. It took me a long time to move to apple as I always thought the control you had with windows/android made them better. However, once I switched I loved that I never had to go through my android phone killing apps because I was out of ram or having to end processes in Windows. My apple devices just work and work together.

With all that being said I won’t be buying any more bulbs (or light strips) until there is a clear Homekit path defined. As a consumer, this also opens the door for other products to possibly win me over. I hope we get some resolution to the Homekit topic soon.

There is a solution

Hi, guys. I recently switched to iphone and was wondering if I could use Siri to control my LIFX bulbs. After a couple hours of search It turned out - that yes. Now I control everything from my Apple Watch and iPhone.

In my case I use my Windows laptop as a Homebridge “server” (it is always at home and always powered on). So I did not purchase any additional equipment at all in my case (such as Raspberry Pi). Basically the whole setup cost me 0$ (but it did cost me several hours of my time :).

You need to do the following steps:

  1. Follow this guide to install Homebridge “server” (which will be a bridge, obviously, between LIFX and Apple): https://github.com/nfarina/homebridge/wiki/Install-Homebridge-on-Windows

  2. Install this homebridge-lifx plugin: https://www.npmjs.com/package/homebridge-lifx-lan

  3. Modify config.json as it is described in the link abiove (for lifx-lan plugin). My file looks like:

    {
    “bridge”: {
    “name”: “HomeBridge”,
    “username”: “CC:22:3D:E3:CE:30”,
    “port”: 51826,
    “pin”: “123-45-678”
    },

     "description": "HomeBridge HTTP Status Control",
    

    “platforms”: [
    {
    “platform”: “LifxLan”,
    “name”: “LiFx”
    }
    ]
    }

  4. Start homebridge and keep it running. Add Homebridge to the iOS Home app. That’s all.

P.S. The whole process took me 4-6 hours but it worth it.
P.P.S. During one step (first link - step 4 - item 2) some libraries were still missing (even after workaround 2.1 applied). I found them on web.
I won’t read this thread often so if you have any questions e-mail me to a.kurapov@gmail.com

See my quick demo here: https://twitter.com/SpeedFire_/status/784657391509962752 (in Russian)

Apple always had a demo Homekit app that you could download and compile yourself to use. It was not as polished a the current home app but it was 100% funcitonal

Unfortunately, I threw all the boxes away :angry:

this looks promising - Homekit Bridge for Lifx

Offtop. I’ve recently purchased Logitech Pop Switch and it’s really really awesome.
It is even more convenient than HomeKit in a daily use (at least for me).
A quick video:

1 Like