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ConnectSense Bluetooth Extender lets you control BLE Apple HomeKit accessories away from home

Without a nearby Apple TV or iPad configured as a "Home Hub," Bluetooth Low Energy HomeKit accessories cannot be controlled remotely. But a new HomeKit-certified Bluetooth-to-Wi-Fi bridge from ConnectSense coming in 2017 aims to address that shortcoming.

The ConnectSense Bluetooth Extender provides Bluetooth Low Energy devices access to a user's local Wi-Fi network. The HomeKit-enabled accessory allows users to access their Bluetooth Low Energy devices remotely.

Some HomeKit devices —including Elgato products like the Eve Energy and Eve Light Switch, or the Schlage Sense deadbolt lock— connect to HomeKit through Bluetooth and do not include Wi-Fi support. Without a nearby HomeKit Bluetooth hub, those devices cannot be controlled remotely.

Initially, the only way to allow remote control of Bluetooth-only HomeKit accessories was to have an Apple TV within range. Apple improved on that last year with the release of iOS 10, giving users the ability to set up an iPad as a Home Hub, allowing the touchscreen tablet to serve as a Bluetooth-to-Wi-Fi bridge when the user is not home with their iPhone.

But the new ConnectSense Bluetooth Extender marks the first time that a non-Apple HomeKit-certified Bluetooth bridge will be available. Its 2017 launch should also make it easier for users to address potential "dead zones" in their home, where a Bluetooth accessory might reside too far from an Apple TV.

The extender connects to the ConnectSense Cloud, where sensor data is saved and notifications are relayed to a smartphone or email address.

Beyond the Bluetooth extender, ConnectSense has also announced a Smart Temperature & Humidity Bluetooth Sensor and Smart Water Bluetooth Sensor, both of which are also HomeKit-compatible. All of the products are scheduled to arrive sometime in 2017, though pricing and specific availability on the other smart home products was not announced.

ConnectSense does already offer a Smart Outlet, which sells for $59.95.