The Sad (But Improving) State of HomeKit Cameras

While HomeKit, as a platform, has made a lot of progress over the last few years, the Achilles’ heel remains cameras. There are very few options, and all of them are expensive. In June, Apple announced new support for cameras in HomeKit, including a service where, as part of your iCloud subscription, you can store HomeKit connected camera video safely on Apple’s iCloud. It’s called HomeKit Secure Video. This makes a lot of sense from a security standpoint and it will save HomeKit users some money. 

As I sat in the room and listened to the announcement, however, I couldn’t help but wonder which vendors would support it. Most of the camera vendors make a lot of money charging customers to store their video in the cloud. Generally, you should expect to pay about $100 a year to have someone manage that storage for you. Why would vendors build in support with their cameras for a system that makes their lucrative add-on service obsolete?

This is an issue of particular interest to me because I want to upgrade my cameras and home security system to something more HomeKit friendly but have been unhappy with the available options.

In the last few days, we’ve had some promising news. The popular Arlo system now supports HomeKit. However, Arlo isn’t currently planning on making its cameras work with Apple’s HomeKit Secure Video. (Arlo has its own cloud storage subscriptions component for $10/month.) We also got news of an upgrade to the Eufy Cam 2 camera system. The company behind the Eufy cameras is Anker. I have been buying their portable batteries for years, and I’m glad to see them expanding. Indeed, it appears they have a lot of interesting home security/camera products in the pipeline. They don’t have a cloud service but instead, give you the ability to save video directly to a memory card on your local network. Not surprisingly, it appears the new Eufy Cam 2 will support HomeKit Secure Video. The new Eufy Cam 2 ships next month.

It is too early to tell, but these announcements are promising. I’m going to sit tight for a few more months to see how things pan out, but the ability to build my security system inside HomeKit is starting to look more like a possibility and less like a pipe dream.