In the summer, my family went out of town for a few days. A dog sitter came by a few times a day to walk our dogs and use the toilet. One challenge I had was showing her how to use our smart home. For our Level Lock+, I found it easier to just give her a key, since there's no easy way to share a Home Key with anyone outside your iCloud family account.
While I can share access to our lights, I find it much easier to use a product like the Onvis Smart Button instead. HomeKit Weekly is a series focused on smart home accessories, automation tips and tricks, and everything related to Apple's smart home framework.
What's in the hardware? The Onvis Smart Button is a battery-powered HomeKit remote built with Bluetooth and Thread. This allows you to control multiple smart lights, smart plugs and literally anything in HomeKit. It has a total of five buttons (one large and four on the outside) and each button can be used for up to three HomeKit functions. It has options for single press, double press, and long press. It's battery powered and comes with a wall bracket for easy storage.
Setup and Installation Once you take the remote out of the box, you will need to unscrew the back plate to install the included battery. Onvis has the HomeKit code listed on the side, but it also adds to the manual. I always recommend using an app like Homepass to backup your codes. If you lose them in the future, you won't be able to reload them if you need to move them to another HomeKit home or reinstall them for a troubleshooting step.
Once you've chosen a room for the Onvis Smart Button Remote, you have to actually go into the room to find the remote. In the accessory settings screen, you'll see a place where you can actually choose which accessories and scenes go to which buttons. I use this to automate our blinds that we open and close daily. We generally open them in the morning and close them in the evening. We generally close them when our kids go to bed – which can vary from night to night, so I didn't want to put them on a timer.
With the Onvis Remote, I can tap the main button to close them and long press to open them (or some other variation of this combination). I don't have to pick up my iPhone or wait for Siri to respond. One of the things I appreciate about the devices is that everything stays within your HomeKit environment. No Onvis cloud environment is involved. It works via Thread to trigger the automations. If you want to use the Onvis app to keep track of what's been done, you can, but it's completely optional.
Summary of the Onvis Smart Button Overall, the Onivs Smart Button Remote is a solid addition to HomeKit. If you occasionally want physical devices to trigger HomeKit scenes and turn devices on and off, this is a great product to have. I love that Thread built it, and I've found it to be incredibly fast and responsive. It's a perfect way to give guests easy access to HomeKit products without having to share access or teach them how to use a HomePod mini.
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