Zipato, Vera, SmartThings or? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
Forum Jump: 
 3Likes
Reply
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 44 Old 02-10-2017, 04:29 AM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 6
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked: 0
Zipato, Vera, SmartThings or?

Hi, I'm new here, and I want an opinion on which controller I should buy for my home. I decided to start with turning my home into smart home.

I'm still new at this, and after reading about all of them, I'm confused more then I've been before
For now the best seems Zipato, but I'm still not sure.

If anyone have any experience, please share.

Thank you
mark_degrasin is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 44 Old 02-10-2017, 05:23 AM
Advanced Member
 
ahard's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: I'm in Florida
Posts: 559
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 53 Post(s)
Liked: 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark_degrasin View Post
Hi, I'm new here, and I want an opinion on which controller I should buy for my home. I decided to start with turning my home into smart home.

I'm still new at this, and after reading about all of them, I'm confused more then I've been before
For now the best seems Zipato, but I'm still not sure.

If anyone have any experience, please share.

Thank you
Personally, I've never heard of Zipato. In building your smart home the things you should be concerned about are reliability, security and whether the company will stand behind the hub they sell. In the last 3 years we've seen too many smart hub manufacturers fall by the wayside. That being said the ones I would consider are as follows (in no particular order):

Smart Things is backed by Samsung.
Wink which is backed by a large global company.
Vera also get good reviews.
Nexia which is also backed by a large global company in Ingersoll Rand
Lowes Iris which is backed by Lowes.

I don't think that you'd go wrong either way. Do your research. You can search for a couple of my posts and you'll see where I briefly discuss my system, which is Nexia.

XBL: Stunt1on1
ahard is offline  
post #3 of 44 Old 02-10-2017, 09:12 AM
Member
 
vc123's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 25
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Liked: 13
Unfortunately, the situation with commodity automation controllers, either based on zwave or other protocols, is pretty abysmal primarily due to reliability issues. I happened to have experience with the first three systems by virtue of helping a non-technical friend who went through them (ST, W, V) and settled temporarily on ST.

His network is based on zwave switches which are notorious for absence of instant status feedback (about 90% mass produced zwave switches). Other significant issues in no particular order: unpredictable and substantial latency due to the cloud based architecture, reliability partially explained by cloud reliance, although Vera has reliability issues even without a cloud.

A year ago I'd probably try to push him towards RadioRa2 but not today, not yet at least.

For a non-technical user or anyone not wishing to play with half-baked products or public domain attempts, there's simply nothing good as a commodity (aka inexpensive) automation controller on the market today due to various technical and other reasons.
turls likes this.

Last edited by vc123; 02-10-2017 at 09:15 AM.
vc123 is offline  
 
post #4 of 44 Old 02-10-2017, 10:28 AM
Advanced Member
 
ahard's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: I'm in Florida
Posts: 559
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 53 Post(s)
Liked: 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by vc123 View Post
Unfortunately, the situation with commodity automation controllers, either based on zwave or other protocols, is pretty abysmal primarily due to reliability issues. I happened to have experience with the first three systems by virtue of helping a non-technical friend who went through them (ST, W, V) and settled temporarily on ST.

His network is based on zwave switches which are notorious for absence of instant status feedback (about 90% mass produced zwave switches). Other significant issues in no particular order: unpredictable and substantial latency due to the cloud based architecture, reliability partially explained by cloud reliance, although Vera has reliability issues even without a cloud.

A year ago I'd probably try to push him towards RadioRa2 but not today, not yet at least.

For a non-technical user or anyone not wishing to play with half-baked products or public domain attempts, there's simply nothing good as a commodity (aka inexpensive) automation controller on the market today due to various technical and other reasons.
I haven't used Smart Things, Vera or Wink so I can't personally speak to those systems. Most of the reviews I've seen of those systems have been positive. Smart Things had/has some issues that the poster will have to determine if they're issues he/she can overlook. Wink has gone through their problems, but based on what I've heard on smart home related podcasts of the last 6 months, Wink has taken care of their previous issues.

Personally, over a 4 year period of using Nexia in a Z-wave only system, I've never experienced any of the issues listed above. My Z-wave light switches are all made by Jasco and I get immediate status feedback via Nexia's app or the Nexia's website. I don't get any lag between turning on a switch via the app or website. Jasco makes very good and reliable switches. And most of the Z-wave light switches sold are made by Jasco. If they were not reliable Lowes and Amazon wouldn't carry them and GE wouldn't let Jasco make the switches under their name. Let's be fair. My Nexia system is rock solid and up-time is somewhere in the upper 90 percentile over the last 3 years. Has my hub gone offline over the 4 year period? Yes. Has it happened very often? No. I can count on one hand how many times the hub has gone offline. The good thing is that Nexia is responsive and works on issues as they arise. Is it perfect? No. Nothing is perfect. But I would recommend my system to anyone, whether they're a technical personal or not without hesitation. The system just works. I don't tinker with it like I'm a hacker or something; Nexia isn't that type of system, which is good for the non-technical person.

As far as cloud based architecture is concerned, it can be very reliable; see Amazon Cloud Services (AWS), which is used by numerous companies including Fortune 500 companies and Microsoft's cloud service which is used by numerous businesses. The cloud provider for some of these home automation companies are probably running on AWS or Microsoft's cloud service. So I wouldn't be so quick to paint all cloud services with a broad brush of unreliability. It's just not true. All home automation systems will have hiccups. That's the nature of connected electronics.

XBL: Stunt1on1

Last edited by ahard; 02-10-2017 at 10:32 AM.
ahard is offline  
post #5 of 44 Old 02-10-2017, 10:46 AM
AVS Forum Addicted Member
 
Dean Roddey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Posts: 18,957
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 406 Post(s)
Liked: 331
You have to consider how a system like Z-Wave is used. There are simple systems, which are basically just remote controls on a phone, and then there are more serious automation systems. The latter need to know the state of all of the hardware all of the time, with the least amount of latency possible, and very reliably. That allows it to pass out that information to various consumers of that data around the network in a timely manner, and to react to changes in a timely manner in order to do things that you want to happen when those changes occur.

It's in this latter scenario that products like Z-Wave tend to struggle. The only way it will really work is if all of the models provide instant feedback of changes. The Jasco switches mentioned above for instance, AFAIK, don't provide that. And, for those that do, the way that Z-Wave implements instant feedback on changes is a brittle system, easily messed up. It was never designed to do that kind of thing, so the capability was added after the fact and it's not a strong implementation. You can't really poll Z-Wave modules for status once you get beyond a small number of them, because Z-Wave just isn't fast enough and the harder you try the more load you put on the Z-Wave network and just make things worse.

If you you are doing is the remote control on a phone, then it doesn't matter so much. Mostly the only time anything happens is when you press a button. It sends a command to the module, probably sends it a few times just to make sure, then turns around gets the status of the thing to update its screen. That's a very different scenario from a real automation system. And a lot of times people don't understand the differences, and they hear some people saying it's not very good and other people saying oh it's fine. And of course in some cases those latter folks have only modules that report status, and they have carefully set them up to do so correctly, and they have no environmental interference or anything.


BTW, the issue with cloud based automation systems isn't so much AWS or Azure, it's all of the stuff in between you and them. Your own ISP being often biggest culprit. And I'd imagine most businesses who rely significantly on these services probably have multiple connections to the internet via different providers and use commercial level hardware and have a team of worker bees to make sure everything runs smoothly.

Dean Roddey
Chairman/CTO, Charmed Quark Systems, Ltd

www.charmedquark.com

 

Dean Roddey is offline  
post #6 of 44 Old 02-10-2017, 11:35 AM
Advanced Member
 
ahard's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: I'm in Florida
Posts: 559
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 53 Post(s)
Liked: 33
Valid points Dean and thanks for the information. I appreciate it and I hear you on all of the points you made about Z-wave.

Not sure what you mean by a serious system and simple one that just uses a phone for control. I think that you're saying a system that is strictly operated by phone isn't serious. I can get behind that statement. I can only speak for myself, but I don't use my phone to control my system. I can use my phone and tablet to operate the system but I don't need to. The system runs on scenes and modes that I created via Nexia's website in addition to geofencing & Amazon Alexa integration into those scenes and modes. All that I can say is that it just works. Everything from the ceiling fans, to motion detection, to thermostats, garage door, door locks, temp sensor, door bell sensor, lights. Is it integrated with my A/v system? Not directly. But with Amazon Alexa and Harmony I can group my Harmony A/V scenes with my Nexia scenes to create scenes where everything interacts together. Everyone will have a different experience. I just wanted to provide the original poster with info as it relates to the product that I use. Others should chime in with their personal experience in using smart home hubs so that OP can make an informed decision.

Thx

XBL: Stunt1on1
ahard is offline  
post #7 of 44 Old 02-10-2017, 12:08 PM
Member
 
vc123's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 25
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Liked: 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey View Post
You have to consider how a system like Z-Wave is used. ..

All very good points.

Just wanted to add that neither GE nor Jasco switches provide instant status. Worse, even though the insane Lutron patent has apparently expired, none of the new gen5 switches on the market provide IS. Homeseer claims that its HS100+ does, but in fact what it provides is not IS (e.g. the dimming level == 65%) but what (and how) button was pressed which obviously not the same thing. It is still only the ancient Cooper and Vizia RF+ switches that have this kind of functionality.

As to subjectively instant bulb reaction, I find it hard to believe. It is very easy to exceed the 100 ms magical reaction-to-action time especially with a cloud based system. I do not have much statistics but would estimate that in the majority of cases, the delay between the moment you press the button in cloud based system UI and the moment the light comes on would be noticeably higher in comparison to a simple mechanical switch. At least, that's what I observed with wink and ST.

N.B. 100ms is know in the gaming community as reaction-to-action latency comfort threshold.
vc123 is offline  
post #8 of 44 Old 02-10-2017, 12:21 PM
Member
 
vc123's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 25
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Liked: 13
Lutron fares so well in the latency comfort department solely because there are much fewer delay contributors, usually just two counterparts. Typically, the delay is close to 40-50ms as observed with Lutron dimmers and Pico remotes. Zwave reaction for two actors is about the same.

I do not have much experience with software based local systems such as HS or CQC or Indigo. However, I believe with some effort additional latency introduced by software can be contained below 50ms. With cloud based systems, all bets are off wrt latency.
vc123 is offline  
post #9 of 44 Old 02-11-2017, 11:05 AM
AVS Forum Addicted Member
 
Dean Roddey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Posts: 18,957
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 406 Post(s)
Liked: 331
Quote:
Originally Posted by ahard View Post
Valid points Dean and thanks for the information. I appreciate it and I hear you on all of the points you made about Z-wave.

Not sure what you mean by a serious system and simple one that just uses a phone for control. I think that you're saying a system that is strictly operated by phone isn't serious. I can get behind that statement. I can only speak for myself, but I don't use my phone to control my system. I can use my phone and tablet to operate the system but I don't need to. The system runs on scenes and modes that I created via Nexia's website in addition to geofencing & Amazon Alexa integration into those scenes and modes. All that I can say is that it just works. Everything from the ceiling fans, to motion detection, to thermostats, garage door, door locks, temp sensor, door bell sensor, lights. Is it integrated with my A/v system? Not directly. But with Amazon Alexa and Harmony I can group my Harmony A/V scenes with my Nexia scenes to create scenes where everything interacts together. Everyone will have a different experience. I just wanted to provide the original poster with info as it relates to the product that I use. Others should chime in with their personal experience in using smart home hubs so that OP can make an informed decision.

Thx
The difference is that some very simple systems are really mostly just a remote control on a phone (or tablet or whatever touch screen type device) in the sense that you press a button there and it controls one thing, as a remote control does. It might have some simple 'macro' capabilities where it can send out a string of commands or something, but still mostly just no smarter than a learning remote control.

That doesn't mean that phones and other touch screens aren't important in automation, they are very important. But they aren't really point. They just expose whatever level of functionality the underlying automation system provides.

A 'serious' automation system can't be phone based, because it has to be constantly monitoring the hardware under its control, so that it can respond to change in that hardware and things autonomously. It also generally is doing things autonomously on a schedule (every other Friday, at 2AM, start the pool cleaner, or whatever.) That means it has to have a constantly on presence in your home. The touch screens just provide the interface to that 'back end' controller (or controllers, since there can be multiples in a product like ours.)

That also allows it to coordinate and limit access to those devices. The touch screens are never talking to the devices directly, they are talking to the controller which talks to the devices. And, since the controller is always monitoring the devices, it can serve up current device status to the touch screens immediately. There's no need to go query the devices first (which wouldn't be remotely practical once you have a certain number of them.)

Voice control is also part of it. But, as above, the voice control is talking to the controller, which talks to the devices. So all of the 'logic' is on the controller, where it can be invoked in any of the ways that such logic might be used (voice, touch screen, triggered event, scheduled event, IR command, IP based trigger from another system, etc...) And it can go the other way as well, talking to you to let you know things have happened (someone is at the door, take out the garbage, there was outside motion inside the fence and the security system is armed, etc...)

The controller becomes the core of a potentially quite elaborate system, with all of the other bits sitting around it. It provides the 'smarts' of a smart home by way of being able to do things on its own, whether you are there or not. And it is the central brain that always knows the state of the state, which a phone based system cannot do. Instead of a hodgepodge of control mechanisms, everything feeds through one point, and you have a single, consistent means to create logic and control devices. It also means that, since it has status on devices, your logic can react to the state of things, skipping unneeded steps and taking alternative actions where necessary.

Dean Roddey
Chairman/CTO, Charmed Quark Systems, Ltd

www.charmedquark.com

 


Last edited by Dean Roddey; 02-11-2017 at 11:11 AM.
Dean Roddey is offline  
post #10 of 44 Old 02-13-2017, 01:45 AM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 6
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked: 0
Thank you all for the feedback. Now I have more insight of what to look and what to be aware.
Can I relate on cloud stability? Are there any negative side of it? Like my status won't update, devices going on/off...
mark_degrasin is offline  
post #11 of 44 Old 02-13-2017, 08:22 AM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
NickTheGreat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
Posts: 2,638
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 408 Post(s)
Liked: 284
I have had a Vera 3 for many years now. I just retired it recently (still working on it) as I'd kinda outgrown it. For what you pay, it worked okay. I had some reliability issues, with the thing needing power cycles and delays inherent to it. I never had any 'cloud' issues with it. I believe it would work without internet connection, though I'm not 100% sure.

I am now on Homeseer 3, on a standalone PC. It is far better in nearly every way, but it also cost 5x more, considering the PC. But I'm not sure it'd be a good starting point for a guy, who isn't 100% committed to Home Automation yet.

If you're wanting a toy to tinker with, I'd look hard at Smartthings. I've never seen it or know anyone who used it, but it seems like it's fairly popular out there.

Be careful, Home Automation is a DEEP and expensive rabbit hole to go down. You probably should just take the blue pill and forget any of this ever entered your mind!
NickTheGreat is offline  
post #12 of 44 Old 02-13-2017, 09:16 AM
AVS Forum Addicted Member
 
Dean Roddey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Posts: 18,957
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 406 Post(s)
Liked: 331
Our own product of course is also a software based system. It's more professional/commercial oriented but still DIY friendly. Like any such tool, it has a little learning curve, but the payoff is enormous power to create whatever sort of solution you want.

Dean Roddey
Chairman/CTO, Charmed Quark Systems, Ltd

www.charmedquark.com

 

Dean Roddey is offline  
post #13 of 44 Old 02-13-2017, 10:29 AM
Member
 
Florian Loxone's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Media, PA, USA
Posts: 16
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked: 1
@Dean Roddey
Excellent points. It always strikes me how those things get unmentioned in most discussions about Smart Homes these days with all the hype on IoT devices and gadgets. A lot of tech blogs and magazines these days don't even mention serious automation systems.

I would be careful with systems that rely on a cloud connection to get them up and running and to function properly in your home. Homes are built to last and so should home automation systems. You can't just swap them like a Smartphone. What happens when the manufacturer decides to stop the service or goes out of business? There are plenty of systems out there, that work without being constantly connected to an online server. They will also keep your data securely stored in your home instead of on an online server.

Florian

Loxone Smart Home
www.loxone.com
Florian Loxone is offline  
post #14 of 44 Old 02-13-2017, 11:26 AM
AVS Forum Addicted Member
 
Dean Roddey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Posts: 18,957
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 406 Post(s)
Liked: 331
One thing that bothers me, is that all these new folks show up on forums who have never heard of anything but a 'hub'. So they refer to our product as a hub, and I tell them it's not a hub, that they really should distinguish between hubs and automation systems for clarity. Most of the time, being the internet, they just get irate and tell me if they say it's a hub, then damn it, it's a hub, and who am I to try to impose my point of view on them.
turls likes this.

Dean Roddey
Chairman/CTO, Charmed Quark Systems, Ltd

www.charmedquark.com

 

Dean Roddey is offline  
post #15 of 44 Old 02-15-2017, 03:28 AM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 6
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked: 0
Quote:
Originally Posted by NickTheGreat View Post
You probably should just take the blue pill and forget any of this ever entered your mind!
That came to my mind, but I want to make my home smart, and to be able to relate on chosen controller.
mark_degrasin is offline  
post #16 of 44 Old 02-15-2017, 11:05 AM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
NickTheGreat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
Posts: 2,638
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 408 Post(s)
Liked: 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark_degrasin View Post
That came to my mind, but I want to make my home smart, and to be able to relate on chosen controller.
Oh I was mostly joking. But I think what Dean says is quite true. My Vera 3, a hub, was okay but never a robust system. It had issues, but was cheap and simple. But the softwares, his CQC, or in my case Homeseer are a so much more sophisticated, actual system.
NickTheGreat is offline  
post #17 of 44 Old 02-25-2017, 06:51 AM
Advanced Member
 
meburdick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 683
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 462 Post(s)
Liked: 210
I have had a VeraLite for about 2.5 years and have had my share of "issues" with it over that time. But, in general, it does work reasonably well for me.

I have a controllable garage door opener, driveway sensor, sensors on two entry doors and an interior door, and eight light switches (and a ceiling fan) all connected in currently. I also have two plug-in controllable outlet devices (one is an outdoor plug for holiday lights) and two additional one-outlet plugs as well. I have a half dozen more "micro controllers" ready to go in.

Some of my switches are GE/Jasco, and they work just fine. Although they do not support Instant Status, they do support a notification frame that the Vera (or other controller) will leverage much like instant status, so long as the controller and the switch are able to communicate directly with each other and do not rely on other devices to retransmit the communications (part of the mesh network and repeaters).

My Leviton switches all support instant status and a couple of them are set up as dimmers (including one in a three-way switch configuration).

The one item I'm disappointed in is my Yale lockset. It constantly loses communication with the controller, and that's essentially because it's battery operated and not close enough to the controller to be regularly polled.

The long and short of Home Automation is this: They all have their issues. Period. What works well for one is a headache for another. And, you WILL spend a lot of money. I've probably got a couple grand in my setup owing largely to the cost of the Yale lockset and the Garage Door Opener totaling up somewhere around $600 for the pair. The two Amazon Echo devices I use for voice control (using some software that emulates a Philips Hue Bridge) certainly add to the cost. I did not invest this all at once - it's been a slow progression. But, having the automation is something that I've come to enjoy. It's nice to come home at midnight to a pitch-dark house and have the garage automatically open and the front lights come on as I pull into the driveway.
meburdick is online now  
post #18 of 44 Old 02-25-2017, 04:51 PM
Member
 
vc123's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 25
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Liked: 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by meburdick View Post
The one item I'm disappointed in is my Yale lockset. It constantly loses communication with the controller, and that's essentially because it's battery operated and not close enough to the controller to be regularly polled.
I have had zero issues with my two Yale locks. One of them is located two hops away from the controller (VRC0P+) and works just fine, never failed to communicate with the controller via an intermediary device (a thermostat). Besides, neither lock needs to be polled -- they provide their status whenever necessary without controller initiating the conversation.
vc123 is offline  
post #19 of 44 Old 02-27-2017, 01:21 AM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 6
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked: 0
Thank you all for your answers. I'm sorry I couldn't reply sooner, I was at business trip.

If any of you have time, can someone look into Zipato, I asked about them because I read they got 2017 CES innovation award, so maybe this controller is also good.
I looked at prices and for ZipaTile it's 379€ (this device has an display, and looks like cheaper tablet), compare to Vera which is around 250, and smartthings 99...
mark_degrasin is offline  
post #20 of 44 Old 03-12-2017, 05:50 AM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 2,929
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 75 Post(s)
Liked: 112
If you want easy and inexpensive, Vera or Smartthings are good bets, but they're far from perfect. Homeseer is nice as it runs on a local machine and isn't dependent on your internet, but it costs a pretty penny. If your technically able, another option is to look into DIY systems like Domoticz and HomeGenie.
rnatalli is offline  
post #21 of 44 Old 03-12-2017, 07:57 AM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
smoothtlk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Michigan
Posts: 1,674
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 72 Post(s)
Liked: 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by rnatalli View Post
If you want easy and inexpensive, Vera or Smartthings are good bets, but they're far from perfect. Homeseer is nice as it runs on a local machine and isn't dependent on your internet, but it costs a pretty penny. If your technically able, another option is to look into DIY systems like Domoticz and HomeGenie.
"pretty penny" it's all relative...Homeseer, CQC and Allonis myServer are priced very reasonably with systems that offer similar capability (C4, Crestron, Savant, etc).
And, the three have no requirement for dealer installation (though that is available if that expertise is wanted). All three cater to the DIY'rs.

Like Dean stated - they aren't "Hubs". They are "Master Controllers" (new term). Hardware hubs (Wink, SmartThings, Vera, ISY, SmartHub Pro, PLMs, etc) are even required to be included with the Master Controller depending on the communications technology you would like to control (Z-Wave, RadioRA, Caseta, Insteon, UPB, etc).

The Master Controller does just that - it integrates ACROSS the technologies into one eco-system (one set of event rules, one voice portal, one set of user interface screens, and NOT reliant on the cloud as they are all typically installed in the home or business that they are controlling).

So, no "box of apps (remotes)" to select from to control X, Y or Z devices.

No latency / reliability issues that the end to end Cloud interjects (unless the system has an integrated "Hub" that is cloud based, then that subset of capability is still subject to Cloud issues)

We don't recommend any dependency on cloud, if you can help it for ANY daily use tasks (lighting, AV control, Irrigation, Security etc). My state just went through a major wind storm and 500,000 people are without power. The news press doesn't say how many are also out of Internet, but since the wires are typically on the same poles, I can imagine it's similar numbers...local based automation systems (like mine) continue to run just fine, even when on generator. Thankfully this time, my services are back up and running again the same day.

Purchase a "Master Controller" when you want further capability beyond the "Hub" (like media control, irrigation, security integration) and would like customization (my home's system isn't like yours, yours isn't like the next families, etc). They are very reasonable when you consider how many years it takes to develop such capability. All three have those years.

Last edited by smoothtlk; 03-12-2017 at 08:11 AM.
smoothtlk is offline  
post #22 of 44 Old 03-12-2017, 06:15 PM
Advanced Member
 
meburdick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 683
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 462 Post(s)
Liked: 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by rnatalli View Post
If you want easy and inexpensive, Vera or Smartthings are good bets, but they're far from perfect. Homeseer is nice as it runs on a local machine and isn't dependent on your internet, but it costs a pretty penny. If your technically able, another option is to look into DIY systems like Domoticz and HomeGenie.
Only if you pay full price. If you catch one of their seemingly twice per year sales for 50% off, it's only a modestly ok looking penny.

There are things about my VeraLite that I like, like the fact that I have access to Geofencing with the iOS app. There are things that I absolutely hate like the dependency on the cloud for many things, zero local security beyond ensuring your WiFi network is secured (you can enable a secure mode, but that requires the cloud and authentication every time for everything), significant bugs in all current firmware releases, a Support team that's slow to respond and as first attempt at repair always pushing you to the "new BETA firmware", and the fact that the hardware is SORELY underpowered. There are apps that you can add to Vera to enhance functionality which is great. But, the more you add, the slower and less responsive the system is because it simply doesn't have the memory or CPU to handle more than a few.

Products like HomeSeer excel when it comes to performance because you are completely in control of how much horsepower you put under the hood. Of course, that means you're buying hardware AND software instead of things bundled together (even more $$$). I considered HS for a hot second until I realized that my Chamberlain garage door opener is not supported, probably never will be, and I at least have a community-supplied app on my Vera that allows me access to it.

For now, I'm going to continue building my device list out and will decide in the future if I want to make a switch (and to what).
meburdick is online now  
post #23 of 44 Old 03-12-2017, 07:18 PM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
smoothtlk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Michigan
Posts: 1,674
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 72 Post(s)
Liked: 42
meburdick,
At least one of the "MasterControllers" supports the VERA. So, if your Chamberlain is supported by Vera and the "MC" supports Vera, then it's possible "MC" supports Chamberlain.
Does the Garage door opener look like a lighting device to the VERA? ie: Turn On (Open) vs. Turn Off (Close)?

With regards to performance, the three MC's all use PC based hardware which far exceeds the performance needs of any home with the economies of scale of the PC industry.
Yes, the combined software and hardware will be more expensive than a "Hub", but does way more. It should be looked at as a major upgrade of your home / theater's equipment and experience.
smoothtlk is offline  
post #24 of 44 Old 03-12-2017, 07:28 PM
Advanced Member
 
meburdick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 683
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 462 Post(s)
Liked: 210
Not really sure the best way to answer your question.

On the one hand, yes it's just a simple "switch" type device. On is closed, Off is open.

On the other hand, it is seen in the Dashboard as a lockable door device (there's a quick switch to Lock All or Unlock All). There is a categorization hierarchy that determines whether a particular device is truly seen as a switch, in-wall switch, dimmer, etc. This categorization also determines whether the device is seen as something entirely different like a Refrigerator (which, if memory serves, is how my ceiling fan control needs to be configured to NOT show up as a "Light" to be included in the all on or all off commands).
meburdick is online now  
post #25 of 44 Old 03-12-2017, 07:50 PM
AVS Forum Club Gold
 
MacroMotion's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 44
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by meburdick View Post
I considered HS for a hot second until I realized that my Chamberlain garage door opener is not supported, probably never will be...
Are you referring to the "MyQ" tech from Chamberlain? If so, a plug-in for that has been available for some time. It's in the security section of our plug-ins list on our main site. FYI

HomeSeer
www.homeseer.com
MacroMotion is offline  
post #26 of 44 Old 03-13-2017, 06:08 AM
Advanced Member
 
meburdick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 683
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 462 Post(s)
Liked: 210
HomeSeer is in exactly the same position as Vera - NOT an official partner, and any plug in or add-on that is available is not only not supported by Chamberlain, Chamberlain seems to go out of their way to identify those plugins and find ways to "break" them. They shut down SmartThings a while ago, have been targeting Vera of late, and have no idea who's next.
meburdick is online now  
post #27 of 44 Old 03-13-2017, 06:40 AM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
smoothtlk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Michigan
Posts: 1,674
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 72 Post(s)
Liked: 42
Looking at the Chamberlain (MyQ) forums, seems like a lot of upset customers (of theirs) looking for home automation integration.
Chamberlain chose a proprietary and unpublished technology to provide WiFi remote control of their door opener.

Are you sure the breaking of compatibility is intentional? I find most companies break workarounds unintentionally for the majority of cases. Especially if they are new to the "Internet of Things" game and don't have a solid integration / API strategy up front...so they change it as the needs change. For example - it's unclear on how Chamberlain will support HomeKit...some users saying only new openers will be compatible due to HTTPS requirements that Apple has.

I am thinking there are a few possible workarounds:
  • If they are supported by a hub like Wink2, myServer (at least) integrates with the Wink2. So that's one possible solution for a supported path. There may be more hubs that are on the Chamberlain "approved" list that are also supported by the "Master Controller" (like myServer and Homeseer).
  • IFTTT - I don't think this is supported by Chamberlain today, but tomorrow - who knows.
  • Homekit - this is on the official Chamberlain list...thats another possible way.
  • Replace the MyQ wireless, make the garage door opener "dumb" and then put a "smart" controller on it that is Z-Wave compatible.

This is part of the "Devil is in the details" to pick out devices that integrate with the Master Controller. And to pick the Master Controller that has the best fit with the existing hardware in the home, as well as what is planned. The planning will then be tweeked with what the Master Controller does supports. And, the nimble Master Controller companies do add new capability on a regular basis for popular requests.

Last edited by smoothtlk; 03-13-2017 at 06:44 AM.
smoothtlk is offline  
post #28 of 44 Old 03-13-2017, 06:57 AM
Advanced Member
 
meburdick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 683
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 462 Post(s)
Liked: 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by smoothtlk View Post
Looking at the Chamberlain (MyQ) forums, seems like a lot of upset customers (of theirs) looking for home automation integration.
Chamberlain chose a proprietary and unpublished technology to provide WiFi remote control of their door opener.

Are you sure the breaking of compatibility is intentional? I find most companies break workarounds unintentionally for the majority of cases. Especially if they are new to the "Internet of Things" game and don't have a solid integration / API strategy up front...so they change it as the needs change. For example - it's unclear on how Chamberlain will support HomeKit...some users saying only new openers will be compatible due to HTTPS requirements that Apple has.

I am thinking there are a few possible workarounds:
  • If they are supported by a hub like Wink2, myServer (at least) integrates with the Wink2. So that's one possible solution for a supported path. There may be more hubs that are on the Chamberlain "approved" list that are also supported by the "Master Controller" (like myServer and Homeseer).
  • IFTTT - I don't think this is supported by Chamberlain today, but tomorrow - who knows.
  • Homekit - this is on the official Chamberlain list...thats another possible way.
  • Replace the MyQ wireless, make the garage door opener "dumb" and then put a "smart" controller on it that is Z-Wave compatible.

This is part of the "Devil is in the details" to pick out devices that integrate with the Master Controller. And to pick the Master Controller that has the best fit with the existing hardware in the home, as well as what is planned. The planning will then be tweeked with what the Master Controller does supports. And, the nimble Master Controller companies do add new capability on a regular basis for popular requests.
I have a "generic" Z-Wave controller that was in use on my previous opener. I don't know that it will work with the new controllers like in the opener that I just recently installed (different switch signaling). Besides, it gave me false open alerts with too much frequency and the manufacturer had no remedy.
meburdick is online now  
post #29 of 44 Old 03-13-2017, 11:04 AM
AVS Forum Addicted Member
 
Dean Roddey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Posts: 18,957
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 406 Post(s)
Liked: 331
Ultimately, the automation controller is going to be the center of everything, and none of them are going to control everything. It's just not possible, because there are so many companies running in so many different directions out there. Sometimes you will have to compromise on some of the controlled gear, deciding if controllability is more important than some other features of the device itself. Is the overall meta-system's robustness and tightness more important that some best of breed capabilities of some specific individual components. Ideally that wouldn't be necessary, but until all the companies making the best of breed products get more serious about integration of their products, it will likely remain so.

It's becoming more and more of an issue these days. It used to be, you connected a serial cable, and you looked at the serial control protocol and wrote a driver. Nowadays, it's just as likely that whoever created the control interface on a device went out and found five different random web protocols, that no one is going to have any built in support for, and supporting every one of those types of devices becomes an issue of either putting in a lot of work to implement that protocol, or throwing yet another random third party library into the product. Or maybe they didn't even actually implement the protocol itself, but some slightly modified version or some part of it, so that the random third party library won't even work and the work you put into supporting that device won't help you support any other product that implements a differently slightly modified version of some part of that protocol.

It gets sort of silly sometimes these days. SO few of these newer companies to the scene seem to even bother to contact automation controller vendors and ask them for feedback on how to make their products easier to integrate.

Dean Roddey
Chairman/CTO, Charmed Quark Systems, Ltd

www.charmedquark.com

 

Dean Roddey is offline  
post #30 of 44 Old 03-14-2017, 04:19 AM
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 43
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Liked: 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark_degrasin View Post
Thank you all for your answers. I'm sorry I couldn't reply sooner, I was at business trip.

If any of you have time, can someone look into Zipato, I asked about them because I read they got 2017 CES innovation award, so maybe this controller is also good.
I looked at prices and for ZipaTile it's 379€ (this device has an display, and looks like cheaper tablet), compare to Vera which is around 250, and smartthings 99...
I looked into zipato a while ago. Their platform is locally operated but programmed by the cloud. What this means is that your rules and events are all run off the Zipabox and work even if the internet is down. HOWEVER you cannot reprogram the rules without the internet. Their rules system is supposed to be pretty good but the interface runs on their servers and then downloads the code to your unit.

I had a couple of email exchanges with them to ask if there was any means of manually loading rules onto the unit. They were very clear that there was not nor did they have any plans to provide any kind of offline rules editing.

This took it out of the running for me. I spent years working at a national ISP and now work at a Fortune 500 company and I know that outages happen for a variety of reasons and will always happen. Even the best network design can be brought down by an idjit with a backhoe. Or a drill. Or a leaky pipe. Especially leaky pipes!

I went with Vera3 and upgraded to a VeraPlus. Mine have been stable but I only upgrade firmwares after they have been vetted. I have a garage door opener, two door locks, three door sensors, three motion sensors, three smart plugs, smoke detector, leak detector, thermostat, one wall switch controlling my pipe heaters, a doorbell/announcer and a 1st gen hue starter kit. The hue are the only non-zwave devices I own.

The only issues I have is my doorbell sometimes chimes more than once when the doors open. The vera emulates an ecobee thermostat by using a logic plug in (PLEG) to use either the thermostat or a thermometer in the motion sensors to decide when to turn HVAC on/off. My house is much more comfortable now. My pipes never freeze any more which had been a regular occurrence. The hue bulbs are part of my alarm clock and they do a better job waking me up than buzzers. I get text notifications if I leave my garage door open in the mornings or if any of my doors open the "wrong" time of day. When I put in a full blown security system there will be at least a little integration and there are multiple systems I can choose from.

If vera ever goes bad as a company, I will switch over to Homeseer.

People talk about the expense of the hub like it's a deal breaker. And for your first devices, it is a barrier. But at your 15th device the hub price is much less of the total system cost but it is key to the experience. I have maybe a thousand dollars worth of devices but that's because I am a thrifty deal hunter and I am fine with mediocre door locks because my house has windows adjacent to EVERY DOOR IN MY HOUSE. The lock can be bypassed by a rock, or the paving stones I have so conveniently laid out. (This is a giant irritation source to me, my wife likes them all so they stay) so anyway, I have inexpensive zwave locks because they have been reliable and a schlage/Yale wouldn't be any more secure.

Thats another reason I like zwave; choice. There are multiple vendors with multiple features and price points for almost everything. And they almost all work with almost everything else.
ahard likes this.
Kigmatzomat is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply Home Automation

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off