Fibaro Announces HomeKit Sensors
Poland-based smart home company Fibaro has announced it will soon offer HomeKit-compatible versions of its popular sensor products, currently available for Z-Wave. Fibaro is a company that has caught the attention of smart home owners over the past few years for beautifully designed Z-Wave products. There’s a legacy of chunky, dated industrial design for Z-Wave devices, and Fibaro’s products have been a welcome challenge to that tradition.
Fibaro has announced that it is bringing three of its most popular sensors to the the HomeKit world: its flood sensor; its award-winning motion sensor; and its small, designed-to-match door/window sensors. Each will use Bluetooth LE to connect and communicate in your HomeKit-enabled home.
The Fibaro Flood Sensor sits on flat or uneven surfaces to detect water with an audible alarm and a trigger that HomeKit can use to notify you or enable another scene or device like, say, turning on a camera. The device also senses temperature and tampering, and it’s designed to float—so significant flooding won’t drown out the alarm (or communication to the rest of your home).
Fibaro’s Motion Sensor is the prize in this collection of products. This multi-sensor detects motion, temperature, ambient light, and tampering, and it features a programmable, multi-colored light to signal operations. We’ve used and tested this device in its Z-Wave form, and this is a favorite of ours. The sensor is round, slightly larger than a ping-pong ball, and houses an internal indicator light that we’ve affectionately referred to as the Eye of Sauron. The onboard LED alone might scare off would-be intruders!
Rounding out the new offerings is Fibaro’s lineup of Door/Window Sensors. These dual-contact sensors are very small compared to most products in this category. And they contain a built-in temperature sensor. Perhaps more importantly, though, they’re available in multiple colors to match the decor of your door or window frames.
Where Fibaro excels in hardware design, the software suffers. The Fibaro for HomeKit Connected Devices UI is confusing and disorganized—it feels as if it was designed by a team that has never used HomeKit before. A seemingly non-configurable Dashboard view lists all your HomeKit devices in no apparent order, using fixed icons that may or may not represent their actual function and listing them by device type instead of by your assigned names. A Rooms view organizes your devices better, with rooms represented by a selection of ornate illustrations, but devices are still listed by product name rather than by device name.
Device control screens are also poorly designed, listing numerous functions and settings without context. For example, the settings for an Ecobee3 thermostat are represented by a series of sliders, including a slider for the Target Heating Cooling State (with values from 0 to 3) and Temperature Display Units (with values from 0 to 1). Similar problems exist for shade controls. Seemingly, Fibaro failed to test its app with third-party devices in various device categories and to create the appropriate layout scaffolding for those devices.
The good news is that there are plenty of HomeKit apps out there now that are fairly good, including Apple’s own Home app and many more from other third-party vendors.
Fibaro’s new HomeKit sensors are expected in the US by the end of 2016 and in other countries where HomeKit is enabled in the future. The US prices for the sensors are in line with their Z-Wave equivalents. The flood sensor will be $69.99, the motion sensor will be $69.99, and the door/window sensor will be $59.99. These prices may seem high, but we expect we’ll soon see better pricing on Amazon and at other retailers, as we have with their Z-Wave equivalents.