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Hands On

After you complete the setup, you land at the page shown below when launching the app. Across the top of the page, you have choices for Rooms (left) or Zones (right). Note the plug is assigned to the Office. As noted earlier the room names and zones shown were originally created for the Insteon HomeKit enabled Hub. But none of the Insteon devices appeared in the iHome Control app, I assume because they were not currently active.

Across the bottom of the screen is the navigation bar. By default, you land at "Home". You can also choose to view/add devices, add/edit scenes, add/edit rules and review settings. Scenes allow you to group devices that span zones. So, for example, you could create a scene called "All off" that would permit you to select devices, regardless of the rooms or zones in which they reside. Since I had only a single SmartPlug, I couldn't test the scene feature.

iHome ISP5 Control app landing page

iHome ISP5 Control app landing page

Adding rules is quite straightforward. You create a name for your rule, select the device(s) to include, set the on and off time and select the days of the week for the rule to execute. The scheduling rules are pretty "bare bones". Unlike some other products like WeMo, you don't have the option of creating a schedule based on sunrise or sunset. Nor can you create a sleep timer turns off the SmartPlug after a certain period of time.

I created several rules and tested them. The light plugged into the SmartPlug turned on and off according to the schedules I created. The gallery below shows the rule creation process.


One of HomeKit's attractions is you can use Siri to control devices. While reviewing the Insteon products, I found a pretty good summary of the vocabulary that Siri understands. The image below, taken from the Insteon Hub Pro instruction manual, is pretty useful, so I've included it again in this review As you can see, the vocabulary is fairly limited.

Siri Commands from the Insteon user guide

Siri Commands from the Insteon user guide

To use Siri to control your SmartPlug, you just double tap the button on your iPhone and say the action that you want to perform. The screenshot below shows my first attempt to use Siri with the ISP5 SmartPlug. I instructed Siri to turn on Office since that's the room assigned to the ISP5. The ISP5 turned on and off properly, but note Siri's comments that "some of them aren't cooperating" and "some of them seem uninterested".

When I asked Siri "which outlets are not interested", I got the Siri "fail" also shown below. Siri's response could have been more helpful, since it obviously knew which outlets were not responding. At some point Apple should expand Siri's vocabulary to allow problem diagnosis.

Siri executing commands for the iHome ISP5

ISiri executing commands for the iHome ISP5

It occurred to me that perhaps Siri was having problems because some of the other HomeKit devices assigned to "Home" were currently packed away in a box in my closet. So I reconnected the Insteon HomeKit enabled Hub and On/Off module assigned to the Kitchen zone and LED bulb assigned to Office.

I also retried issuing commands to test addressing devices by name, by room and by zone. As shown in the screenshot below, Siri now executed commands to both iHome and Insteon Hub connected devices with no complaints. Frankly, I was pleasantly surprised that Siri worked so well across two vendors' devices.

Products from two vendors responed to name, location and zone commands

Products from two vendors responded to name, location and zone commands
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