Ok, so we’ve been using Apple Home and the underlying Homekit for the last two years. Given the privacy benefits, we ended up turning off Amazon Alexa, Ring and Google Home as well.
The main issue is that there only a limited number of manufacturers who support Homekit natively. So for instance Eufy does a great job, Eve as well with less reliable support Satechi, but there is this open source escape called Homebridge which bring non-Homekit devices into that world. It does need a controller or a bridge which is really just a small node application running.
You can run this in a docker container on your Synology, but in my case, I really would like all these devices physically separate because, well you don't know what is going on with bugs and breaks, so I ended up buying a $50 Raspberry Pi 4 for this. It is complete overkill for it, but I can use that Raspberry Pi for other things and then just run Homebridge on our Synology box if I need to. The nice thing is that there is already a docker image for Homebridge and the docker support on Synology makes it easy to run.
If you do want to use a Raspberry Pi, then you buy one and hook it up. And there is a prebuilt Homebridge disk image, so you just crank up Raspberry Pi Imager and blow it onto your SD. And it just works.
The interface is a web interface and they have a nice plugin store, so you can load the various non Homekit devices and they automatically appear in the Apple Home.
The system fully supports Bonjour, so just go to https://homebridge.local and you will have everything you need to get started. The only gotcha is that the security certificate is self-signed, so on most modern browsers, you need to acknowledge that. And it even supports two-factor authentication. Just make sure to disable the default account.
In terms of plugins that I use (and have good experience with):
- Homebridge Harmony. This integrate the now discontinued Logitech Harmony remote so you can control your audio/visual systems with Homekit. It is a little clunky as Apple Home doesn't really get this and you mainly get user buttons and not pretty remote controls, but it does work. It is also a little confusing since various devices like late model LG TVs also publish directly into Homekit, so you end up with two ways to get the same thing.
- Homebridge Tesla. This exposes all the Tesla controls into Homekit. I actually don't use this that much because the Tesla application works pretty well. This let's you see the lock services for doors and also you can start it.
- Homebridge UniFi Protect. This let's you integrate with G4Pro and other cameras. The latest version integrates with HomeKit Secure Video (HKSV) and is supposed to allow recording of video and detection. It says that it will