Its been a while since I posted and I wanted to share my recent adventures into Automating, Apple Homekit, lighting, etc.. After all of my testing I decided to implement Home Assistant which is an open source Home Automation platform. I had a spare Macmini (2012 Model) that I was only using for a media server, so it only made since to use it for home assistant. It also serves as my NVR for my security cameras and its a great multifunction box for me. I use the Hassio version of Home Assistant, which is installed in virtual box (open source virtual machine software) on my Macmini, which allows me to easily migrate Hassio to a different systems down the road and make easy backups to restore my setup. If I want to play with a new feature of Hassio, I make a copy or snapshot of my virtual machine and make the tweaks I want. If I don't like those tweaks or something goes wrong, I can restore my prior/functioning setup back in minutes. If your a bit of a tinkerer, you do not need programing experience, just some patience and time. If you want to keep it simple you can start with a basic/standard configuration that should discover most of your devices with little customization, then initiate the Homekit integration, or google home integration, Alexa etc.., whichever you prefer. I use Apple Homekit and Siri, so a lot of my basic automations are setup in Homekit, not Home Assistant.
I have 10 z-wave switches, three hue bulbs, a Homekit Smart Lock and a Z-wave smart lock, ecobee thermostats, smart alarm, and Logitech Harmony one remotes at every end point/Tv. I decided to use Home Assistant because (1) it was open source, (2) it is local, not cloud based, and (3) it was very user customizable. Home Assistant integrates very seamlessly for Homekit currently as a hub, although it is currently unsupported by Apple, so it should be stated that Apple could lock out unsupported devices/hubs at anytime. At which point I think it would be time to give them the finger and move on if they choose to not be open to the DIY community. It has been working this way for several years and so far there is no indication that Apple will close or lockout these types of hubs.
All of my Z-wave lights, dimmer, etc.. work smoothly with HomeKit as well as my smart locks, wether Z-wave or HomeKit and I can use Siri control them all. I do have to unlock my phone or use touch id to open my garage doors or unlock my door locks. Any custom switches, automations, scripts, etc I create in Home Assistant can be brought into Homekit for further automation or control. So far its exactly what I was looking for to expand my DIY automation adventure.