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Apple HomeKit software authentication arrives this Spring with iOS 11.3 update

Apple HomeKit software authentication arrives this Spring with iOS 11.3 update
Software authentication of Apple HomeKit is finally to be released along with the update of iOS 11.3 this spring. Apple said in a statement that “HomeKit software authentication provides a great way for developers to add HomeKit support to existing accessories while protecting privacy and security.”

Apple’s smart home platform was first introduced at WWDC 2014. However, the requirement to embed an MFi chip in manufacturers’ devices has made the adoption of HomeKit rather slow compared with other smart home platforms. The Alexa platform, with its open API, has been integrated into many smart home devices.

To meet the market challenge, Apple in June announced a change from the MFi requirement to software authentication, with the goal of speeding up the HomeKit certification procedure. The change will arrive with the release of iOS 11.3.

In addition, Apple announced that it will release its Business Chat feature within its messaging platform iMessage. Lowe’s is one of the first companies that adopt the functionality.

With the new feature, companies can communicate with its customers via private texting, which could make consumers feel closer to the companies as people tend to chat with their friends via texting. In Lowe’s case, the company can make an appointment with customers or recommend a smart home device directly in the messaging app. If consumers feel like to buy a product, they can make a purchase directly in the iMessage via Apple Pay.

Apple has just announced that its smart speaker HomePod will go on sale on February 9. With the HomeKit software authentication, more manufacturers may adopt the platform, so that the HomePod can provide greater value as the number of compatible devices grows.

If there aren’t many home products working with Siri, the US$349-priced HomePod could be a tough sell. Both Google and Amazon have built up large customer bases in the smart home space.

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