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Recommendations for home automation? ...

Discussion in 'Electronic Devices' started by speedmaster, Dec 23, 2015.

  1. speedmaster

    speedmaster Loaded Pockets

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    What hardware and ecosystem would you recommend? We're an iPhone family and I have an Amazon Echo on the way. Would like to maybe use IFTTT as well.

    Would like to start with lights.

    Thanks in advance,
    Chris
     
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  2. ArkansasFan30

    ArkansasFan30 Loaded Pockets

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    What else do you use to increase efficiency?
     
  3. speedmaster

    speedmaster Loaded Pockets

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    Not sure what you mean?
     
  4. ran23
    • In Omnia Paratus

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    Just controlling lights, or fun stuff like door locks, HVAC, etc?
     
  5. speedmaster

    speedmaster Loaded Pockets

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    Definitely just lights at first. Then if that goes well maybe thermostat and garage door?
     
  6. FeeSimpleAbsolute

    FeeSimpleAbsolute Loaded Pockets

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    I've been looking at the Phillips Hue line. I don't have a place for it or the money to do it yet, but one day, I am going to be able to turn all my lights red when I get an email and dumb stuff like that. Pair it with IFTTT or something along those lines, and you can do some crazy stuff.
     
  7. phatch

    phatch Loaded Pockets

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    I think it's premature in the market to try and do more than one or two things. Most things you're looking at automating have a pretty long lifespan, outside of light bulbs. But the automation market is not well standardized. And they're obsoleting products at a ridiculous rate.

    Once you buy a product, you're stuck with the tech of the time of the design. So consider wifi standards. These are upgrading significantly about every two years and they recommend you turn off your older antenna standards to improve performance. I should turn off my B/G support in my router for example. Not a problem as I don't have any B items. I have a lot of things that still run G but most of those also support N right now. But that's over a period of 5 years from when those were new.

    None of those products have an upgrade path to modern standards. How will you support what quickly become legacy devices? Will the manufacturer offer modular swaps to upgrade your thermostat, your door lock, your central hub to the current tech level?

    Wifi isn't secure at any appreciable level. Everything that connects via wifi in your home is quite hackable.

    Who are your devices sharing data with? Do you really know?

    My door locks are over 25 years old. My thermostat over 10. They have decades of useful life left in them. There is no tech standard ready for the long haul in home automation. There is no long term support path in any of these products either. The market needs to mature. The market needs to design for long term support. And they're just not doing it.

    Cnet recently bought a home and has been running the various smart home products in it as a test bed. They've run into problems with conflicting standards and multiple users among many other things.
     
  8. speedmaster

    speedmaster Loaded Pockets

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    Great thread, guys. Thanks.
     
  9. Sriracha

    Sriracha Loaded Pockets

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    I agree ^^^. Remember central vacuum?

    I would start by placing electrical outlets in strategic places, maybe run some Cat6 and co-ax to every room, but wireless, even for set top boxed is about to be standard. This way, when the newest gadget comes out, you will be ready to mount it/wire it. If your house is big enough, you may need a WI fi extender, or a separate router on the other side of the house/basement.

    Besides the cool LED lights and the thermostats and cameras, I don't know of many other things you could install. But all of these require a good Internet connection.
     
  10. Sriracha

    Sriracha Loaded Pockets

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    And when I first read the title, I saw the robot Jetsons butler with a big martini in my head.
     
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  11. EZDog

    EZDog EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    I sell Savant/Install Automation and it was called Rosie when it first came out,guess why?


    There is no real standard in the industry and especially at the entry level you are pretty much just on your own to guess/predict what might or might not stick as the manufacturers scramble oblivious to each other to establish their system as "The ONE" if they even care which many seem not to.

    The pricier complete systems are really Boardroom systems scaled to work in homes in the DNA of the system.
    They work well and are pretty reliable and full featured but are not DIY systems at all either.

    Every major system now uses a combination of hard wired and wireless to offer options for every conceivable issue and WiFi and iPhone interface is the standard but most also offer some level of Android function to an interface as well.

    Savant showed a fresher new approach to a DIY system that is due to debut in a few months but right now everyone in the business is waiting to see what it ends up being in contrast to what they showed us and want us to pre-order.

    None of this means to imply that you can't have fun going it on your own and trying to match things together to get a system going,its only money right!

    One big challenge is that some devices use WiFi and other IR for control. Some also use an IP based addressing system while others use device MAC address to talk to components so any system that really can tie it all together needs to be able to talk to every possible protocol for control out there to be able to be considered truly universal.


    Good Times!
     
    Last edited by EZDog, Dec 23, 2015
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  12. ncpilot

    ncpilot Loaded Pockets

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    What??????????

    You can't do it all with X10?

    ;)
     
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  13. kd7dvd
    • GITD Manix 2XL Owner
    • In Omnia Paratus

    kd7dvd EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    Create jobs. Hire servants.

    Never mind, that'll just devolve into a discussion about what implants to use. Just go with X10... :D
     
  14. EZDog

    EZDog EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    Screw that,I have to eat too!
     
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  15. Stonerman33
    • In Omnia Paratus

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    The prospect of home automation is one I find very interesting. I look forward to it becoming a reality, but I still think we are a few years away from it all clicking together like it needs to. I would hate to invest hundreds to thousands of dollars on a system that works right now to have it lose out to another standard inside of a year or two. I am considering a Nest thermostat when I purchase my first home in the next year or two, and I do have a few of the Wemo switches at this point that I mess around with. I did manage to figure out a way to use a Wemo switch paired with IFTTT to automatically open and close my garage door when I pulled into or out of my driveway. Worked wonderfully for a few months until it started dropping connection with my router. I'm currently in a rented apartment so I don't have the option of running extra wires where I'd want to in order to make the setup more effective. In any case, when I'm ready to purchase a house in the near future, I am very much interested in trying to automate a bunch of things. Not sure I trust bluetooth deadbolts, yet, though.
     
  16. TonyNoOne

    TonyNoOne Loaded Pockets

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    I've been in the business for sixteen years and can't say I agree with you. On several points. You hellothere is no real standard. I call :censored:. There are a number of standard communication protocols. RS232, TCP/IP, IR, ZigBee/ZWave/802.15.4, hell, even analog and digital GPIO, relays, etc. The holy grail is a single API that translates between them and that ain't gonna happen anytime soon.

    Pricier systems are boardroom systems scaled up? Maybe if you're looking at small AV centric rigs. I've worked on $60M homes with $3M budgeted to the AV and stems integration and it doesn't even remotely resemble board room controls. Resi and commercial are two very different animals.

    Vendors are oblivious to each other? Oh, hell no they aren't. They watch each other like hawks and often times work together.

    Savants new line is a fresh approach? No. It's modeled after the IR blaster systems that were abandoned by our industry ten years ago. Their new stuff is a joke. I say that as a fellow Savant dealer. Further, is say Savant is a solid control platform and a piss poor automation system.

    Lastly, IP, MAC address, whatever. On the LAN, it's just a layer 2/layer 3 issue. That doesn't equal different standards. They're both on the OSI model.

    Not trying to be a jerk. I will say that the current crop of DIY gear is a mess. I wouldn't invest heavily in any of them. I'd stick with solid vendors for individual subsystems and layer control/automation over the top.
     
  17. EZDog

    EZDog EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    Maybe you are saying this more succinctly than I did but we agree pretty much on everything you say,except that the most AV based systems I know of that offer full integration are indeed just Boardroom systems gone sideways.
    There is almost no difference between Residential and Commercial systems outside of the size and scale of the system.
    I have also been at this since before this was being done and while I agree that there are several companies in many different standards there has yet to be any real unified,affordable,reliable and open ended or practical way to put it all together that is truly universal.

    Companies profess to want to work together but then that always goes sideways too to various reasons,if you think this Lutron/Savant thing is going to be a long term viable thing I am sorry but I am tired of trying to accept that anything can ever happen between the different ideas and ethos of companies involved in the game of unifying these ideas long term.

    I think Savant at least has an eye to making this approachable and affordable but they are also one of the worst companies to have to deal with that I have ever known.

    Yes the new system is a glorified Harmony essentially but I also have a lot of Harmony stuff out there and people seem to love the stuff and it is available to almost any budget though it is hardly a robust solution at the same time.
    It is what it is and our job has always been to try to extend things beyond what they can do and like it which can lead to issues at every turn.

    In the end it is up to the integrator to try to kluge this stuff together and then pretend we think that it will last.

    I do think the real fun in all of this is at the bottom end of the market where people can play around and try to merge this stuff into something that will work and endure but 35 years of experience has shown me it is not that practical just yet.

    I have to fly across the country next week to service a system that is less than 5 years old that the manufacturer "no longer supports" and try to make it work again with parts I had to source from Ebay?!?
    This is a middle 6 figure system that is not supported any more? they actually told me I would need to do a massive upgrade just to get back into the support zone and the client would also lose some favorite features as they have now retired them as well.
    They would not even tap about it with me as the OS is not even supported anymore and I am just left pout in the cold……again,on my own to come up with a fix.
    I always do and have confidence that I will but come on?

    Another client got a new Directv receiver when his old one died recently and again they changed the control scheme required to address it from his huge system.
    In short he seems to need a 6 thousand dollar upgrade if he wants to be able to change channels on his Sat. like he could before?
    How can I possibly try to sell that?
    Back to IR for that one….oh wait he needs more IR ports now and of course another upgrade.

    Of course this is what I do and the client knows going in that this game is not for the faint of heart or pocket book but where does it make any sense?

    This crap illustrates the general trend that I am seeing the more upscale we go trying to provide a solution,selling the client but then ending up at the mercy of manufacturers who can no longer build products that will last or remain relevant no matter high crazy much they cost.

    It is driving me crazy!
     
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  18. TonyNoOne

    TonyNoOne Loaded Pockets

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    Driving you crazy? Yeah, I get that. I'm focused on gathering a bunch of acronyms after my name (certs) in 2016 and getting the hell out of this silly industry.

    Also, you're my new best friend. I, too, despise Savant. Worst support model in the industry, stupid decision making (note that they released their garbage Wi-Fi lighting controls on April Fools day) and the arrogance.
     
  19. EZDog

    EZDog EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    Yeah I only brought them up because of Rosie which someone else eluded too.
    Who they by the way KILLED in an attempt to become a Hipster Upscale even more arrogant bunch than they already were!

    They actually told me to let them know if I can get it working right after telling me they would not help me with the system?
    I can't even find documentation on the part I need anymore,when they stop support they really stop support.

    How is that helping anyone?

    I actually had to remove and eat a dozen touch screens I had installed weeks before the iPad was released yet I still did not learn evidently?

    Merry Xmas!
     
  20. Chimay

    Chimay Loaded Pockets

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    I bought into the Nest product line after buying some of the Belkin Wemo lights. It's nice etc, but all of the criticisms are valid. Unless you really plan everything out you'll have multiple apps and what not to deal with. The Belkin stuff will randomly stop working and it takes some tinkering to get it back. Not often but maybe once to twice a month.

    I needed to replace a wired smoke detector, wanted to have better control over the thermostat and wanted automated lights to make it more difficult to tell when we were home or away. So I really didn't have a big list of stuff I wanted to do.