Article by: Budget Home Automation. Are you looking for an easy way to control your Nest devices from the Apple Home app? The Starling Home Hub is an out-of-the-box solution for doing just that. Connect your Nest Thermostats, Smoke/CO detectors, Indoor/Outdoor Cameras, including the Nest Hello, Nest Secure, and Nest x Yale lock products to HomeKit.

Starling Home Hub – What does it do?

Beyond the management of your Nest devices, the Starling hub exposes very useful features such as motion, temperature, and home occupancy sensors you can utilize for HomeKit automation. We have a few automation set up to turn on lights triggered by motion or when smoke is detected using our Nest Protect. We also set up automation to set different light colors based on the Package Delivered/Package Retrieved sensors for the Nest Hello. We don’t have the Nest Thermostats but the temperature sensors would be another great trigger for HomeKit automation. They recently added an on/off control for each camera, which can be used to set up automation when you leave home to turn on specific cameras. You can even use Siri or the Apple Home app to arm and disarm your Nest Secure system. 

Starling Home Hub Features

Our most used feature is unlocking the August lock using the Room Control feature for quick access to devices in the same room directly from the live camera feed (see photos). This is also handy for deactivating the security system and controlling lighting. I can even talk to someone at the front door straight from my Apple Watch. Although most people want to personally answer their door, I find it handy for times when close friends or family drop-in, and inevitably I’m in some remote location and don’t want to leave them on the doorstep. Beyond convenience, it’s also an invaluable feature for people with limited mobility.

We’ve had the Starling Home Hub for over two months now with no issues. Well, no issues with the Starling Hub, but there have been some outages with the Nest camera service. Google did refund our Nest Aware subscription for each of the months affected. We put in the Nest Hello video doorbell about six months ago and have only experienced two or three service disruptions. We did a lot of research before purchasing the Starling Hub and found nothing but positive feedback, which has been our experience as well. 

Starling Hub Setup and Support

Setting up the Starling Hub could not be any easier. Plug it in, log in, scan it into the Apple Home app, and you are done. There’s a lot to love about the simplicity! You will need an available port on your router for the supplied Ethernet cable. Starling is committed to privacy and security. 

From their website FAQs: “Is my home data shared with Starling, or stored in the cloud? No. Starling does not have a cloud service, and no data of any kind is ever shared with us. Starling Home Hub accesses the Internet only to connect to Nest’s service, and to receive firmware updates.” 

The most recent 6.0 firmware update is the result of a complete redesign of the hub’s security architecture, introducing enterprise-grade TLS encryption and API authentication. They also added support for additional Nest x Yale Lock features: Privacy Mode, Auto-Relock, and One-Touch Lock along with several other enhancements and features. 

An interesting fact about the Starling bird is they are masters of mimicry. True to its namesake, you will forget the hub isn’t a native HomeKit device. Although the hub is an unsupported accessory when it comes to Apple, this doesn’t mean it lacks support. There have been at least two updates in the short time we’ve had our hub adding two-way audio, additional security features, the capability to create Shortcuts for the Hello doorbell press event (see example below) which turns on a light at night when someone rings the doorbell. In the 5.2 release, two of the most requested customer features were added: the capability to select which devices are added to HomeKit and new configuration control to trigger camera event notifications based on the Activity Zone defined in the Nest app. There is no doubt of Starling’s commitment to continued product support and enhancements. They have an active Facebook community used to engage with their customers.  

Nest Device Apple Home Kit Integration with Starling Home Hub

What can we expect to see from Starling in the future? Doing what they do best in continuing to build out the Nest integration as they release additional products. But why stop there? There are a lot of great devices that lack HomeKit support. Starling is looking into spreading their wings by making additional home hubs for popular products, such as Ring and Wyze. So, perhaps we can look forward to seeing even more home hubs from Starling and a murmuration of Starlings would be truly amazing!

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