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Wemo Mini Smart Plug first HomeKit product to use software authentication

A firmware update to the Wemo Smart Plug makes the product the first of its kind to offer Apple HomeKit software authentication.

Wemo Mini smart plug



Wemo said that an update to Wemo Mini Smart Plug is being rolled out to users that will give them the ability to add Apple HomeKit software authentication to their devices. The capability will arrive via a firmware update, starting Thursday and continuing through July 27.

According to Wemo, users will now be able to add their Mini products to the Apple Home app, control them with Siri, and get them to work with other products that are part of the Home ecosystem —and do so without a hardware network bridge.

"We have sold more than one million Wemo Minis and with Apple's new software authentication of HomeKit, our customers can easily integrate their Wemo devices with the Apple Home app and Siri, to enjoy the full Apple experience of home control," Justin Doucette, senior director of product management for Wemo said as part of the announcement.

Apple formerly required hardware encryption for HomeKit devices. As the chips were expensive, HomeKit bridges or hubs were used to connect multiple products from one vendor.

To change the landscape, Apple previewed software authentication at WWDC in 2017, at the same time that it opened up HomeKit development. It finally rolled out with iOS 11.3 earlier this year.

With authentication enabled, devices running iOS 11.3 (or tvOS 11.3) can use software in a HomeKit device for encryption of network communications. And Apple hinted at the time that HomeKit would be enabled directly on some older devices, through firmware updates.