Last week, a beta version of firmware for the Logitech Circle 2 cameras enabled use with HomeKit Secure video. As the user of a couple of Nest cameras, I’ve been keeping an eye on this, as storing footage in my iCloud account is quite appealing. I bought a Circle 2 camera on Amazon and set it up over the weekend.
I didn’t get very far before bugging Zac Hall at 9to5 Mac, as he writes:
HomeKit Secure Video cameras can be set to record clips and stream video, only stream, or turned off individually, and each mode can be assigned to when people are home or away.
But something Stephen Hackett asked me over the weekend is if it’s possible to turn cameras on and off without location. In his case, he would like to use HomeKit Secure Video in his detached home office when he’s not inside, but geofencing control isn’t an option since the house and office are too close.
You can manually turn a camera on and off by digging through the camera’s settings in the Home app, but that’s just not smart home automation. My suggestion was connecting the HomeKit Secure Video camera to a HomeKit smart plug as a workaround. It’s not as elegant as it should be, but it’s a solution for now.
Hall goes on to write about some of the other frustrating issues with HomeKit Secure Video, and on Connected this week, we spoke about it at length, starting at 1:06:53.
In short, this product doesn’t feel ready. Notifications are buggy, the motion sensitivity on the camera is way too high and it lacks many features found with competing products.
I also worry about HomeKit Secure Video being one feature of one app Apple ships. For companies like Nest and Ring, it’s the feature of the app they ship.1 I don’t want to have to wait until iOS 14 for Apple to fix what’s broken in HomeKit Secure Video, and honestly, I shouldn’t have to. If Apple wants to compete with these products, it should.
- There’s another conversation to be had about the fact that Ring is owned by Amazon and Nest by Google, but that’s for another day. I’m really just comparing features here. ↩