Foxtrot integration, resp. the entire installation, which Foxtrot manages, on the Apple HomeKit platform is enabled by the "Teco-homebridge". software package. It is available on the configuration website on Foxtrot 2. HomeKit is Apple's software framework for configuring, communicating and controlling smart devices in the home.
Its advantage is that the communication protocol is applied within the local network. It is therefore not necessary to connect the device to the cloud, etc. The central member in the household is, for example, an iPad hanging on the wall or an Apple TV. This element, called the Home Hub, then ensures the collection of data from individual devices and their availability within Apple services.
The disadvantage of the HomeKit solution is the need for terminal certification by Apple. To solve this problem faster and more efficiently, Teco used a popular open-source platform called Homebridge (https://homebridge.io), for which we added a plug-in for communication with Tecomat systems. Homebridge is designed for the Node.js runtime environment and serves as a communication bridge between HomeKit and the PLC system.
The teco-homebridge software package then simplifies the installation of all necessary components on Foxtrot 2 systems. The configuration web interface of the package simplifies the parameterization of sub-tools and the generated QR code facilitates the pairing of devices to the HomeKit application. The QR code is automatically generated in the user's web server so that it is available to the end user.
The HomeKit framework defines a fixed set of device types and their properties, and therefore to emulate such devices, the function blocks from iControlLib must provide adequate data. Therefore, a set of function blocks that meet these requirements was selected from the library. Currently, there are 17 compatible function blocks implementing various types of lights, sensors, sockets and more. Additional function blocks will be added.