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It seems like just yesterday we were all relishing the end of 2023 and looking ahead to 2023. Now, 2023 is nearing its end, and many of us are preparing to enjoy the Christmas season. Adding HomeKit support to my Christmas decorations was my first introduction to HomeKit, so it’s only fitting that we kick off the season with my official guide to automating your Christmas decorations.

HomeKit Weekly is a series focused on smart home accessories, automation tips and tricks, and everything to do with Apple’s smart home framework.

Required Gear

As long as these devices are signed in to iCloud, you’ll be able to manage devices and run automations while you’re away from home. It’s not required for HomeKit but is certainly highly recommended.

The Christmas Tree

If you keep your Christmas decorations reasonably simple, an easy way to use HomeKit to automate them is by turning off and on of your Christmas lights with an outlet adaptor. Here are a few of the ones I recommend:

The outlet from Eve is the most expensive, but it does add Thread support to your network. To put it simply, Thread is a purpose-made mesh networking protocol for HomeKit and other types of smart home devices that create direct peer-to-peer communication. It’s self-maintaining, self-healing, and self-routing, allowing all your devices to communicate directly with each other with ease.

When you get the devices installed, you’ll then have the option to turn your tree on and off from Siri or the Home app. You can also create a HomeKit automation to automatically do it at Sunset or a particular time (I explain how to configure these automations at the end of the article).

Now, I am not allowed to touch the Christmas lights on the tree at my house, but if you are, check out Twinkly. With Twinkly, you’ll restring your tree with smart home-enabled lights. Twinkly has just added native HomeKit support to their product (Gen II and Plus models), so I’ll have a full review in the coming weeks. If the model you’re using doesn’t natively work with HomeKit, you can use HOOBS to bridge it to HomeKit. Twinkly also sells prelit Christmas trees and outdoor lights.

Outdoor lightning

I mentioned Twinkly already in this article, but what if you already have some outdoor lights that you want to use with HomeKit? Here are a few products I recommend.

You want to stick with outdoor rated plugs when using outdoor lights because ones rated for indoor aren’t made to withstand extreme cold, moisture, or rain.

The concept with these plugs is the same. You plug the lights into the adaptor, and then the adaptor goes into the wall.

Creating automations

Once all of your devices are in the Home app, you can interact with them in multiple ways. Of course, the easiest is to use the Home app to turn them off and back on whenever you please.

If you have a HomePod, you can use Siri to turn them off based on the device’s name: “Hey Siri, turn on my Christmas Tree lights.”

If you want a more hands-off approach, it’s ideal to let HomeKit manage the timing for you. Go to the Automations tab in the Home app, tap the + button, choose Add Automation, Choose A Time of Day Occurs, and then choose your timing. For example, an easy way to work with Christmas is to have them turn on at Sunset. You’ll then want to create a second automation to turn them off either at Sunrise or when you go to bed.

Wrap up

There are a lot of fun ways to automate your Christmas decorations using HomeKit with low-cost devices. It’s easy to start small with a single HomeKit plug for your main tree and interact with it in the Home app.

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Homekit Integration Begins Rolling Out To Linksys Tri

Belkin’s Linksys brand has confirmed that it is now rolling out support for HomeKit integration to users of the Linksys Velop Tri-Band mesh routers. This gives Velop users additional security controls over the smart home accessories connected through HomeKit.

The benefits of HomeKit-enabled routers are primarily related to additional security features, including the ability to firewall off accessories to prevent them from accessing your entire network. Apple describes it as the ability to “enhance security by monitoring the network activity of your Home accessories and preventing unsafe connections.”

In the Home app on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac you can customize the level of connection security for each HomeKit accessory. The most secure option will ensure that your HomeKit accessory can only interact with HomeKit through your Apple devices. Here’s how Apple explains the options:

Restrict to Home: Most secure. Your accessory can interact only with HomeKit through your Apple devices. The accessory won’t connect to the Internet or any local devices so any third-party services, like firmware updates, might be blocked.

Automatic: Default security. Your accessory can communicate with HomeKit and connections recommended by its manufacturer.

No Restriction: Least secure. This setting bypasses the secure router and allows your accessory to interact with any device in your network or Internet-based service.

Amazon’s Eero was the first networking company to add support for HomeKit routers, bringing the feature to the Eero and Eero Pro systems. Linksys was touted as a partner for HomeKit router functionality when Apple announced the platform and WWDC 2023, so today’s rollout has been a long time coming for Linksys Velop users.

The full press release from Linksys is below. If you use the Velop Tri-Band mesh routers, you can check for the HomeKit software update in the Linksys app for iOS. Linksys says this will be a “phased rollout” and that it will roll out slowly to a “limited number of users in the United States” to start.

Linksys Velop Tri-Band Mesh Routers Now Support Apple HomeKit For Added Security

A Free Software Update Offers More Secure Management of Smart Home Accessories Connected to Linksys Velop Routers

LOS ANGELES – Sept. 22, 2023 – Linksys, the connected home division within the Belkin International and Foxconn Interconnect Technology (FIT) (HK: 6088) entity, today announced HomeKit support for its Linksys Velop Tri-Band mesh routers, providing customers even more privacy and security of their smart home accessories. 

Using the Home app on iPhone, iPad, and Mac, Linksys Velop Tri-Band mesh router customers are able to manage secure access to their HomeKit-enabled accessories and define how each accessory is allowed to communicate inside the home and through the internet. With HomeKit support, Linksys Velop Tri-Band mesh routers can firewall HomeKit accessories, preventing them from communicating with other Wi-Fi devices connected to the home network and untrusted services via the internet. 

“At a time where much of the world continues to work, live and learn from home, we’re excited to offer our customers a simple way to enhance the security of their Linksys Velop Tri-Band routers with HomeKit to offer even more robust privacy features within the home,” said Matthew Keasler, senior global product manager, Linksys. “These routers are powered by our Intelligent Mesh Technology so we can continue to additionally serve users with value-adds such as software security, health and wellness services like Linksys Shield, Linksys Aware, and more to come over time.”

Linksys customers can enjoy these added security and privacy features available through HomeKit with a free software update to their Velop Tri-Band mesh routers, which will soon be available in the Velop app for iOS and iPadOS. This feature initially will be available to a limited number of Velop Tri-Band users in the United States and later in a phased rollout to most countries worldwide. Security settings for all HomeKit accessories are available in the Apple Home app on iPhone and iPad.  

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How To Use Home App And Customize Homekit Accessories On Iphone

Home makes incredibly easy to manage and control your HomeKit-enabled accessories. The easy-to-use interface and the ability to let you customize the accessories as per your convenience makes Home very helpful for users.

Depending on your need or the desire to get the best out of your accessories, you can fine tune them. As for instance, you can change the location or name of the accessory, create your favorite scene or set any accessory your favorite. Let’s walk along with me to customize the accessories perfectly.

How to Use Home and Manage HomeKit Accessories Perfectly on iPhone

How to Add an Accessory in Home on iPhone

First off, you need to add locks, lights, thermostats along with other HomeKit-enabled accessories to get started. Keep your accessory near your iPhone and make sure it’s powered on. Do check out the accessory manual to find out whether it requires extra hardware in order to work with HomeKit.

Step #1. Open Home app on your iPhone.

Step #2. Tap on Add Accessory.

Step #3. When your accessory appears, tap on it. If you are asked to add the accessory to network, allow it.

Step #4. Now, you need to scan the eight-digit HomeKit code on the accessory or accessory documentation using your iPhone camera. You can also enter it manually.

Step #5. Next, you will have to add some information about the accessory. As for instance, you need to add its name and the room in which it’s located in. Siri will quickly identify the accessory you have added by the name and the located in which you have added it.

Step #6. Tap on Next → Tap on Done to confirm.

Note: There are some accessories like Honeywell thermostats which need additional setup through their app.

How to Add Room in Home App on iPhone

You have the option to divide your house into two different rooms. Add some cool items in those rooms and control them with ease.

How to Customize Your Accessories in Home App

Home allows you to edit details such as name, location about your accessory.

Step #1. Launch Home app on your iPhone.

Step #2. Tap on Home tab at the bottom.

Step #3. Next, you need to touch and hold an accessory. Then, tap on Details.

Now, you can add the details about your accessory.

Name: You can name your accessory to identify it in Home and be able to control it with Siri

Location: It lets you assign a location for your accessory like a kitchen

Type: Choose what type of accessory it is. As for instance, a switch or light

Include in Favorites: Enable it to access your accessory in the Home tab, Control Center, and on Apple Watch

Status and Notifications: Enable it to check out which accessories are turned on at the top of the Home tab

How to Create your Favorite Scene in Home App

Scenes allow you to control multiple accessories at once. As for instance, “Bye” scene will let you, adjust the thermostat, turn on all the lights of your home etc.

Step #1. Open Home app → Home tab or Rooms tab.

Step #2. Tap on “+” icon. Then, tap Add Scene.

You have the option to use a suggested scene or create a custom one.

Step #3. Tap on Add or Remove Accessories.

Step #4. Tap on the accessories that you wish to add.

Step #5. Tap on Done to confirm the change.

Now, you can tap and hold an accessory to adjust its settings

In order to preview the scene, simply tap Test This Scene

To access your scene from the Home tab, Control Center, and your Apple Watch, you need to turn on Show in Favorites

In the end, tap on Done to finish.

How to Control Accessories in Home on iPhone

To turn accessories on/off, tap on Home/Room tab and tap on the accessory to turn it on/off

To control accessories like a thermostat, simply touch and hold the accessory to check out its controls. If you want to control accessory from your Apple Watch, add it as a Favorite

Check out the status and notifications to find out which accessories are turned on at the top of the Home tab

There are some accessories such as, lights and thermostats which provide features like brightness, color, and temperature controls. Just touch and hold the accessory to find and adjust additional features

How to Share Control of Your Accessories in Home App on iPhone

You can invite your friends to control your Home accessories. Make sure your friend’s iPhone is running iOS 10 and signed into iCloud.

Step #1. Open Home app → Tap on the Home tab at the bottom.

Step #2. Tap on Rocket button.

Step #3. Next, you need to tap on Invite.

Step #4. Now, enter the Apple ID of the person and then tap on Send Invite.

How to Accept Invite to Control Accessories

When anyone sends an invite to control accessory, you will get a notification in the Home app.

Step #1. Open Home app on your iPhone.

Step #2. Tap on rocket icon.

Step #3. Tap on Home Settings.

Step #4. Tap on Accept and then tap on Done.

Now, you can tap on the rocket button then tap on the name of the Home to control it.

How to Delete Home Data and Reset Accessories on iPhone

You may need to delete Home data and reset accessories when moving to a new home.

Step #1. Launch the Home app on your iOS device.

Step #2. Next, tap on Home tab.

Step #3. Tap on the tiny rocket icon at the top right corner of the screen.

Step #4. Next, you need to scroll down to bottom. Then, tap on Remove Home.

Step #5. Tap on Delete at the bottom to confirm.

To reset your accessories, look for the button on the accessory or check the manual.

How to Troubleshoot HomeKit Accessories Issues from iPhone

Just in case HomeKit accessories are not working properly, follow these tips to fix them.

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Author Profile


Jignesh Padhiyar is the co-founder of chúng tôi who has a keen eye for news, rumors, and all the unusual stuff around Apple products. During his tight schedule, Jignesh finds some moments of respite to share side-splitting content on social media.

#Seowishlist2023: All I Want For Christmas Is…

Oh, the holidays! It’s the most hectic time of the year.

Consumers are on the hunt for the perfect gifts for loved ones and friends, retailers are ramping up promos to attract more shoppers and maximize sales, and marketers are busy working on some last-minute campaigns with the hope of finishing the year strong.

Despite the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it’s a wonderful time we should all remember to enjoy. Everyone deserves to take a break and celebrate the festivities.

Not only is this season about giving – it’s about receiving, too! While we shouldn’t expect to get gifts from Santa 🎅 (he’s got a lot on his plate right now), surely there’s that special something each of us wants to have.

We got curious what SEOs wanted for the holidays, so we asked our Twitter community what their wishes were. Here’s what they had to say.


As the holiday season is fast approaching… have you thought about your #SEOWishlist2023?

Free tickets to a major SEO conference? 🎟️

— SearchEngineJournal® ☃️✨ (@sejournal) December 13, 2023

Conference tickets are on top of most people’s wishlists…

— annaleacrowe (@annaleacrowe) December 13, 2023

Ditto. I’ll take a free ticket to a major search show.

— Katherine Watier Ong (@kwatier) December 14, 2023

Free tickets to a major SEO conference

— Bhuvi Sharma (@bhuviseoexpert) December 14, 2023

Free tix to a major SEO conference!

— Jack Nolan (@Jack_Nolan) December 13, 2023

A free ticket to a major SEO conference, 🙂

— Timothy Musenga (@timothymusenga) December 13, 2023

…along with a few other items.

Let’s see #bitcoin , 2 6 gpu card mining rigs, chocolate, a coffee mug, free tickets to a major seo conference (that is if the #bitcoin request doesn’t work out) and most importantly. Peace on Earth and Goodwill to all.

— SnowWrite #techseo (@SnowWrite) December 14, 2023

I would opt for more traffic and conversion and free tickets to a major SEO conference.

— Sudeep Rao 🛵 (@sraosudeep) December 15, 2023

Of course, everybody wants better rankings and more traffic.

What we want the most is Top rankings for our customers! #SEOWishlist2023

— SE Ranking (@SERanking) December 14, 2023

Free tickets to major SE conference, where I learn tactics to increase traffic, and eventually convert them as clients, with whom I can have amazing conversation with a mug of coffee! 😊

— Meenakshi Nautiyal (@meenz72) December 15, 2023

Free tickets to a major SEO conference? 🎟️

— Shereen Badr (@shereen_badr) December 13, 2023

Some wish for more clients – and reasonable ones.

Definitely more clients! A free ticket to an SEJ conference won’t hurt, either 😉

— Kenneth Fong ✳️ (@klfong2) December 13, 2023

Clients who get that #seo is just a part of the marketing mix and not the whole story?

— Gordon Smith (@GordonSmithUK) December 14, 2023

And a few want to make sure they have an indexable and search-friendly website sans messy code.

Code that’s SEO friendly and not having to put more code into a site to fudge the code so its workable and spiderable

— Alexis Huddart (@Flexoid) December 13, 2023

Still, someone wishes for the courage to start her own SEO business.

The courage to start my own SEO business… Oh and more coffee… ^_^

— Val 🍕 (@valscissors) December 14, 2023

Everyone came up with great SEO wish lists for 2023! Hoping you all get what you’re yearning for. 🎁

Happy holidays from the SEJ team!

Homekit Has About 100 Certified Devices More Than Two Years Since Inception

HomeKit, Apple’s software framework for communicating with and controlling connected accessories in a user’s home, currently works with about a hundred certified devices, Reuters said Friday.

By contrast, there are currently about 250 devices that are certified to work with Alexa, thanks to Amazon’s open-systems approach and even financial incentives for some partners.

But HomeKit, which debuted alongside iOS 8 in September 2014, now has an agile competitor in Amazon’s Alexa voice-controlled digital assistant which can also control smart accessories in the home with a few spoken words. The Reuters report outlines some of the requirements Apple imposes on device makers who wish to become HomeKit-certified.

UPDATE: The original version of this article mistated that HomeKit has passed 100 certified devices whereas the Reuters article stated that it has “about” 100 certified devices.

“The number of HomeKit-compatible accessories continues to grow rapidly with many exciting solutions announced just this month,” said an Apple spokesperson.

With HomeKit, users set up their iPhone to configure, communicate with and control smart home appliances.

Using the Home app for iPhone and iPad, users can group smart devices and enable automatic actions in the house through a simple voice dictation to Siri or through apps. The fourth-generation Apple TV can double as a HomeKit hub allowing for remote control of any connected devices.

Like with other Apple products, HomeKit strives to protect user privacy.

To achieve that, Apple requires HomeKit device vendors to purchase a license and use a special encryption co-processor in their products to prevents sensitive data about a user’s home from being compromised and hijacked wirelessly.

Small volumes of these chips can cost anywhere between fifty cents to two bucks. Apple also requires developers to buy specific Wi-Fi and Bluetooth networking chips that cost more than competitors’ because they offer stronger security.

HomeKit devices must be built in one of the more than 800 Apple-certified factories though only a few facilities specialize in home automation products. Developers can ask Apple to certify an unlisted factory they want to use.

HomeKit product samples must be sent to Apple for testing, which can take between three to five months. “During that time, device makers aren’t allowed to say publicly that they’re pursuing HomeKit certification,” said Reuters.

Apple’s focus on ease of setup, privacy and security has made possible HomeKit-certified accessories that operate reliably without needing to be connected to the Internet, which also helps reduce latency.

Amazon, on the other hand, does not require smart home companies to use special chips. To earn the “Works with Alexa” label, device makers simply submit their software code to Amazon and have their gadgets physically tested in a third-party lab.

“Amazon acknowledges that unlike Apple, it can’t guarantee the security of third-party devices,” Reuters writes. “A company spokeswoman did note that sensitive commands like unlocking doors have an extra layer of security such as a voice-controlled PIN.”

Aside from Amazon and Apple, Google is another important player in the smart home market. While it’s investing heavily in Google Assistant, Nest devices and its wireless Google Home speaker, Google is currently behind in the race.

Mark Mahaney, an analyst and managing director with RBC Capital Markets, estimates that Amazon sold about 10 million Alexa-enabled devices over the holiday season. Apple, as you know, is wildly rumored to have been secretly developing a voice-activated speaker of its own.

Source: Reuters

How To Automate Your Marketing With Social Media Monitoring Tools

In today’s day and age, markets can change direction in the blink of an eye and huge trends can show up overnight only to die down a few weeks later. Plus, customers are better informed and require more than just your good intentions to pay attention to your brand. 

Therefore, businesses must adapt to the crazy fast pace of the market and find new ways to cope with the coming and going of the trends. That’s where

marketing automation

truly shows its value as it takes over routine tasks and frees up time for ingenuity, creativity, and strategy. 

But you can’t have marketing automation without the right tools. Luckily, the offer is incredibly diverse with smart automation tools that can help improve the customer experience while also shedding hours off your schedule. However, it can be a bit confusing when trying to decide which tools work the best for your needs. 

For instance, did you know you can use

social media monitoring tools

to automate and enrich your campaigns? Here’s how:

Use Social Listening

Social listening is the process of monitoring what people are saying about topics of interest to you online. With the right tools, you can learn more about your customers’ opinions about your brand, products, and more. 

You can check brand mentions across all platforms, so you don’t waste any marketing opportunities. Brand mentions mean people are talking about you, therefore, you have to make sure you’ll be a part of the conversation. 

Plus, you can use social media monitoring tools to take a peek at your competitors’ strategies and campaigns. After all, inspiration can come from a wide range of sources, right?

Overall, social listening is great for your marketing because it keeps you up to date with popular topics and lets you know what’s trendy on the market. 

Gain Valuable Insight

Luckily, some of these tools also have analytics built into the system, which means you can create default and customized reports to better understand trends and currents. With the right data, social media can paint an accurate picture of your customer, which is incredibly valuable information especially in today’s day and age.  

24/7 Customer Support

Customer support is the one service you know for sure it can improve your chances on the market when done right. When customers and interested buyers reach out, you must reply quickly and swiftly to keep their satisfaction levels high. 

Luckily, nowadays you don’t have to hire a call center company to cover basic interactions. Intelligent chatbots are not new technology, but small and medium-sized brands are not extremely keen on using them. 

However, with minimal initial investment and the data provided by social media monitoring tools, you can set up user-friendly chatbots that can take over routine questions and even basic actions. Plus, chatbots can stay active 24/7 and they use AI algorithms to learn from the collected data how to better talk with your customers. 

Quick note

: There are plenty of AI tools you can use to up your marketing and

social media strategy

. Also, these tools are quite affordable even for small brands, so there’s absolutely no need not to use them. 

Wrap Up

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