Marvell Targets Apple's HomeKit With IoT SDK

Marvell isn't standing still when it comes to the Internet of Things. It sees Apple as a way into consumers' homes around the world and has responded with developer tools of its own to speed up adoption of connected devices. Marvell claims to be the first silicon vendor to develop a fully supported SDK for HomeKit. HomeKit is, of course, the framework Apple added to iOS 8 that allows iPhone and iPad owners to control supported devices in their home using Siri.

Marvell's new SDK for HomeKit is available though its EZ-Connect IoT Platform. This includes the company's 88MC200 microcontroller and advanced Avastar 88W8801 Wi-Fi system-on-chip. The SDK lets developers tap into the power of these chips. Marvell says they are cost effective, easy to use and flexible and will lead to connected devices that can interact with mobile apps and the cloud. The result will be services that allow consumers to control lighting, HVAC and other home automation tools from their iPhones. The SDK connects Marvell's chips to apps in a hardware/software platform not available from other vendors.

“At Marvell we aim to expand the role of IoT in the home, which is a significant trend in the new era of ‘Smart Life and Smart Lifestyle,’ ” Weili Dai, president and co-founder at Marvell, said in a news release. “By adding HomeKit support, we hope to empower millions of consumers around the world with innovative connected applications and experiences.”

The crux of the offering is Marvell's EZ-Connect microcontroller platform. Marvell says the EZ-Connect Software SDK simplifies the development of HomeKit accessories and can shave months from development times. Simplifying the process allows developers to focus more on the end-user experience than the nuts and bolts holding everything together. With the framework in place, they need only dress up the skeleton with their own skin.

Developers can also use Marvell's Kinoma Create, which is a JavaScript-powered "construction kit" for creating IoT projects. Marvell says Kinoma lets developers prototype apps and hardware, as well as see how they interact with one another. Marvell recently open-sourced Kinoma Create. The KinomaJS source code is provided under the Apache License, version 2.0. It includes support for Linux, Mac OS X, Windows, Android and iOS.

Apple's HomeKit platform needs this boost from Marvell. Apple announced HomeKit back in June. It may be part of iOS 8, but it has been slow to see support from connected apps and devices. Perhaps Marvell's additional SDK for HomeKit will convince more device-makers to target IoT gear for Apple owners.

Eric Zeman I am a journalist who covers the mobile telecommunications industry. I freelance for ProgrammableWeb and other online properties.

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