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Broadcom hardware platform gains support for Apple's HomeKit

Broadcom hardware platform gains support for Apple's HomeKit

Broadcom is the latest company to announce a product that works with HomeKit

Apple's efforts to allow people to control household appliances from their iPhones through the company's HomeKit framework are gaining momentum.

Chip maker Broadcom announced Tuesday that the SDK for its WICED hardware platform, which allows manufacturers to build so-called smart devices that can connect to the Internet, is fully compliant with HomeKit. The HomeKit protocols from Apple allow manufacturers to create products that can be controlled from an iOS device.

For example, if a smart lock was integrated with HomeKit, people could use an app on their iPhones or speak a command to Siri, Apple's voice-controlled virtual assistant, to unlock a door. Using Siri to handle voice commands when a person isn't in his house requires an Apple TV, which works as a gateway to a home network.

With HomeKit, Apple essentially developed a common language that allows smart devices from any company to understand basic commands. The framework is Apple's attempt to spur home automation.

Broadcom's platform also works as a hardware bridge that will allow accessories without HomeKit to work with the protocol. A Bluetooth light bulb, plugged into a socket that contains WICED hardware, could be controlled with a HomeKit app.

Apple announced HomeKit last June at its developers conference. Since then, the company hasn't said much on the framework, which appeared in iOS 8 in September.

Some companies have recently revealed products that work with HomeKit, however. Last week, GE showed LED bulbs that are compatible HomeKit, and two months ago, semiconductor company Marvell said its IoT platform would support the protocol.

Fred O'Connor writes about IT careers and health IT for The IDG News Service. Follow Fred on Twitter at @fredjoconnor. Fred's e-mail address is fred_o'connor@idg.com

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