First spotted by Bradley Chambers at 9to5mac, Starling, the company that makes the Starling Home Hub, has released an update that now enables 2-way audio for Nest cameras in HomeKit. Version 5.0 of the hub’s firmware is available now, and prior to this, as with some other unofficially supported cameras added to HomeKit via HomeBridge etc. two-way audio has been unavailable. This addition pretty much brings Nest cameras on a par, in terms of functionality, with officially supported cameras and *video doorbells.
If you’re not already familiar with the Starling Home Hub, it essentially exposes your Nest devices to HomeKit, albeit unofficially. According to Starling, the list of compatible devices in the Nest range include all models of Nest Thermostat, as well as the Nest Temperature Sensor, Nest Protect, Nest Cam Indoor/Outdoor/IQ, Nest Hello, Google Nest Hub Max and now the Nest × Yale Lock. The company do state that when you add these devices via their hub, the Home app will present the ‘This accessory is not HomeKit certified’. So essentially it would seem that the Starling Hub is a HomeBridge device on a Raspberry Pi (Nano Pi), specifically set to work with Nest products. Whilst this isn’t exactly a surprise, given that Nest products are part of Google’s own line of smart home range, it does allow people that already have a suite of Nest devices to add them to HomeKit as well as keep them tied to their Google Nest/Home/Assistant setup.
The v5.0 firmware update also includes support for 2-factor authentication for Nest accounts, functionality to get low battery alerts on temperature sensors, along with a variety of bug fixes. If you order one of the Home Hubs from today, the update will already be in place, but if you’re already a customer, you can simply update your existing firmware to the hub in the usual manner.
Check out Erik Welander’s take on the Starling Home Hub below;
* there’s still only one HomeKit video doorbell at this time