AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews (https://www.avsforum.com/forum/)
-   Home Automation (https://www.avsforum.com/forum/162-home-automation/)
-   -   HA Standards and Costs (https://www.avsforum.com/forum/162-home-automation/1225034-ha-standards-costs.html)

rtbatch 02-21-2010 09:49 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Haddad View Post

BTW rtbatch, I just happened to be visiting Dean's forum and couldn't help but laugh when I saw this thread where he says:

Your post here was on the 18th and his was on the 19th. So as you can see Dean does pay attention to feedback. I'm sure he's been meaning to improve his site for some time but I also suspect your post motivated him.

I read Dean's thread. Tell him to hire a pro. Wrestling with FrontPage?! As a web designer, I'm sure he's a great HA engineer :-) Perhaps his loyal community can throw him a few bucks to do that. He probably deserves it. He most certainly needs it. He probably needs an angel investor too.

Would you buy an HA infrastructure for a seven figure home from this guy? Still persuadable tho, even if I'm not sure that "Heathkit HA" is the way I want to go.

rtbatch 02-21-2010 10:07 AM

Well folks,

You've been a great source of insight. Feels like a good next step will be to analyze and summarize your thoughts. Gonna start working on that. Keep the insight flowing. Thank you!

If any of you have seen a Gartner "Magic Quadrant" they summarize a vendor space on two axes: Completeness of vision and Ability of execute. Of course, Gartner enumerates what criteria they use to rank on those axes.

IMHO, that's what I think the HA market needs, a Gartner MQ. As they are very protective of their IP, I guess I'll have to syntehzsize one for myself, as what's out on the web is pretty feeble / incomplete.

BTW, the Heathkit <-> Lamborghini marketspace is most intriguing, especially to a (technologically literate) guy who's trying to make an informed decision and get something built (on less than investment banker money). No wonder this has been an emerging market for 30 years.

39CentStamp 02-21-2010 10:27 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by rtbatch View Post

David,

Fear not. My HA budget is $10 - $15K, a very respectable amount of money (except for investment bankers). Of course, I'm excluding, AV servers / equipment. But for the HA controllers, lighting controls and communication backbone (and a few itouches) that should be more than sufficient. The rest is sweat equity.

$10-15k for the control system & controllers would probably be better spent with Charmed quark & their hardware partners.

As a DIY'er, C4 is going to be a bit of an uphill battle. I am sure you will be able to find a dealer who is willing to sell you design and hardware and let you attempt to install it yourself. But i promise you that this dealers patients will wear thin as you constantly call for support when the hardware doesn't do what the control4 website says its supposed to. After a little bit of back and forth he will eventually completely ignore your phone calls and you will have no direct access to support from Control4. At the end of the day you will have spent as much $ or more than if you had just hired the Control4 firm to do the entire installation.

With Charmed Quark you will find an entire community to answer support questions.

rtbatch 02-21-2010 12:37 PM

Is Control4 really that un-baked?

rtbatch 02-21-2010 12:57 PM

Folks,

I respectfully submit for your comments. The Savant quote is most interesting:

http://www.cepro.com/article/crestro...ation_systems/

rtbatch

David Haddad 02-21-2010 01:43 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by rtbatch View Post

I respectfully submit for your comments. The Savant quote is most interesting:

http://www.cepro.com/article/crestro...ation_systems/

Yawn to that quote . If I could have a dollar for every time I've heard someone say that over the past 15 years I wouldn't have to be working at all . Usually the person saying it has a strong self-motivation or bias in doing so, rather than performing an objective analysis of the market. Or they just aren't very good at understanding the marketplace, love the PC market, and are convinced that every market in the world is going to follow that model. That is not to say I don't think there is some truth in the statement. And generally if you predict something for long enough, the likelihood that it will happen increases.

Dean Roddey 02-21-2010 02:18 PM

You have to keep some perspective on the web site thing. Products like this almost never sell directly to an end user, so spending time on something that appeals to end users it pretty much a waste of time. The number of folks who really want to DIY on this level are TINY. It's really pro systems that count, and therefore it's installers who you have to appeal to.

I can honestly say that I've never ever once had an integrator contact me and say he wanted to use our product but the web site sucks. The only questions they have are, can it do X, Y, and Z and what does it cost? If it can't do X, Y, and Z, then however much they like it, they can't use it. It doesn't take too many years of such 'training' for even someone as slow as me to figure out that probably the web site isn't nearly as important as having competitive features.

And really no integrator is going to choose a product in this area by just going to someone's web site and browsing. They are going to go to integrator related online (or physical) communities and see what other people are using and what they think about the products. They'd never take anything on our web site as gospel.

Anyway, none of this is an 'excuse' for not having a better web site. But I've not adopted the balance of application of time that I have because I'm an incompetent business person, but because it's never been the deciding criteria for whether a professional would use the product or not. It's always driven by what can it do. So, I concentrate mostly on making it able to do more things.

The post on the forum about the web site really wasn't related to this thread at all. It was just more about a long discussed effort to simplify it, and to segregate out the technical information where it's available if you want it, but having most of the main content related to more 'markety' stuff.

And, no, I wasn't slagging off on Lifeware, just pointing out that money and a great web site has little to do with vendor risk. Lifeware probably spent more on the bagel budget than I've ever earned, but that ultimately didn't help them. Why? Because of what I indicated above. It's not how many customers you impress, it's how many integrators you convince to install your product. And integrators are technically competent people who wouldn't be much influenced by the web site and the amount of advertising (and the free coverage that they got in response to that.)

Not that I wouldn't want to be in the position to squander millions of my hard earned internet bubble billions. And being a struggling startup doesn't make my soul any purer than theirs. But it really isn't too related to vendor risk. People have been saying I wasn't going to be around since 2002'ish when I started. A lot of companies have fallen by the wayside, all of them with more bucks (and probably nicer web sites) than me.

And, finally, yes, I am an actual human being, not a robo-quote marketer. So I do actually say things I mean in public. I know it's considered bad form by many. But I think that more people appreciate knowing that they are getting the truth than most marketers believe. The buck starts and stops with me, and everyone knows it. As soon as people get over that and judge the product on its merits, hopefully there won't be just a me, and I can start speaking in the royal third person about the company.

Quote:


I very much appreciate the tone / information value of the second half of your post. That said, as a "large" system (your words), I would only offer one final piece of advice. What I am looking for in a supplier is someone who is passionate about making complexity yield to simplicity - with elegant, reliable, affordable solutions. If you can convince me of that, you'll earn my business.

Everyone in this busyess is passionate about that. But reality is reality. It's either a closed and simple system, in which the number of possibilities is closer to zero than to infinity, or it's an open system in which the number of possibilities are closer to infinity than zero. If it were possible to have a system that is both simple and unlimited in possibilities, someone would have long since done it.

Not that our product couldn't be simpler. Everyone's could, and we are addressing it where we can. But basically it's either something in the Control 4 land, and the limitations for customization and third party hardware support that implies, or it's not. Control 4 has done well with themselves in that entry level world by creating a simple and limited system. But I don't think that they will be able to move too far up the food chain without losing a lot of that simplicity. You eventually have to start dealing with all of the random hardware that each customer has, and at that point the complexities start to multiply.

rtbatch 02-21-2010 02:55 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey View Post

You have to keep some perspective on the web site thing. Products like this almost never sell directly to an end user, so spending time on something that appeals to end users it pretty much a waste of time. The number of folks who really want to DIY on this level are TINY. It's really pro systems that count, and therefore it's installers who you have to appeal to.

I can honestly say that I've never ever once had an integrator contact me and say he wanted to use our product but the web site sucks. The only questions they have are, can it do X, Y, and Z and what does it cost? If it can't do X, Y, and Z, then however much they like it, they can't use it. It doesn't take too many years of such 'training' for even someone as slow as me to figure out that probably the web site isn't nearly as important as having competitive features.

And really no integrator is going to choose a product in this area by just going to someone's web site and browsing. They are going to go to integrator related online (or physical) communities and see what other people are using and what they think about the products. They'd never take anything on our web site as gospel.

Anyway, none of this is an 'excuse' for not having a better web site. But I've not adopted the balance of application of time that I have because I'm an incompetent business person, but because it's never been the deciding criteria for whether a professional would use the product or not. It's always driven by what can it do. So, I concentrate mostly on making it able to do more things.

The post on the forum about the web site really wasn't related to this thread at all. It was just more about a long discussed effort to simplify it, and to segregate out the technical information where it's available if you want it, but having most of the main content related to more 'markety' stuff.

And, no, I wasn't slagging off on Lifeware, just pointing out that money and a great web site has little to do with vendor risk. Lifeware probably spent more on the bagel budget than I've ever earned, but that ultimately didn't help them. Why? Because of what I indicated above. It's not how many customers you impress, it's how many integrators you convince to install your product. And integrators are technically competent people who wouldn't be much influenced by the web site and the amount of advertising (and the free coverage that they got in response to that.)

Not that I wouldn't want to be in the position to squander millions of my hard earned internet bubble billions. And being a struggling startup doesn't make my soul any purer than theirs. But it really isn't too related to vendor risk. People have been saying I wasn't going to be around since 2002'ish when I started. A lot of companies have fallen by the wayside, all of them with more bucks (and probably nicer web sites) than me.

And, finally, yes, I am an actual human being, not a robo-quote marketer. So I do actually say things I mean in public. I know it's considered bad form by many. But I think that more people appreciate knowing that they are getting the truth than most marketers believe. The buck starts and stops with me, and everyone knows it. As soon as people get over that and judge the product on its merits, hopefully there won't be just a me, and I can start speaking in the royal third person about the company.



Everyone in this busyess is passionate about that. But reality is reality. It's either a closed and simple system, in which the number of possibilities is closer to zero than to infinity, or it's an open system in which the number of possibilities are closer to infinity than zero. If it were possible to have a system that is both simple and unlimited in possibilities, someone would have long since done it.

Not that our product couldn't be simpler. Everyone's could, and we are addressing it where we can. But basically it's either something in the Control 4 land, and the limitations for customization and third party hardware support that implies, or it's not. Control 4 has done well with themselves in that entry level world by creating a simple and limited system. But I don't think that they will be able to move too far up the food chain without losing a lot of that simplicity. You eventually have to start dealing with all of the random hardware that each customer has, and at that point the complexities start to multiply.

Dean,

I think your posts have amply served to definine your target market, unique selling proposition and disdain for the importance of marketing. As this is AVS Forum, not the Harvard Business Review, I have nothing further I wish to say about your business philosophy or practices here - other than to sincerely wish you the best of luck.

As a professional courtesy to you, I'll send you my personal email (via other means) should you desire to discuss my comments further. The option will be yours of course - as I seek neither favorable commercial terms as a potential customer, nor to offer services for which I would charge (were my profession management consulting or venture capital). (I hope this offer doesn't violate the code of conduct for AVS Forum).

You're obviously a passionate and capable engineer. Perhaps, in some small way I might be able to assist you to be a better businessman.

Respectfully,

rtbatch

Dean Roddey 02-21-2010 03:40 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by rtbatch View Post

Dean,

I think your posts have amply served to definine your target market, unique selling proposition and disdain for the importance of marketing. As this is AVS Forum, not the Harvard Business Review, I have nothing further I wish to say about your business philosophy or practices here - other than to sincerely wish you the best of luck.

As a professional courtesy to you, I'll send you my personal email (via other means) should you desire to discuss my comments further. The option will be yours of course - as I seek neither favorable commercial terms as a potential customer, nor to offer services for which I would charge (were my profession management consulting or venture capital). (I hope this offer doesn't violate the code of conduct for AVS Forum).

You're obviously a passionate and capable engineer. Perhaps, in some small way I might be able to assist you to be a better businessman.

Respectfully,

rtbatch

I don't disdain marketing at all. I'm just explaining to you that the people who are responsible for the sales of a product like ours are not the end user. They are technically savvy (and generally pretty cynical) people with a 'show me' attitude. No amount of marketing is likely to make them use a product. It has to work, and it has to be reasonable for them to use, and it has to make them money. That's basically the criteria for acceptance of a product like this.

If I had the budget for it, I'd certainly be happy to inundate them with marketing material. But I have no belief at all that it would work. And I believe that examples such as Lifeware prove this point. They spent huge amounts of money on advertising, and it didn't help, because ultimately they could only succeed by convincing installers to install the product, and they cannot do that by marketing.

This is not a 'pull' market, it's a push market. Customers aren't really asking for a specific solution, they are asking just for a solution, and the installer provides that solution, using a product that meets those critiera mentioned above.

There's really only one industry rag that I know of, CE Pro. It's a pretty small world. The industry players hardly even seem to advertise in that. I don't think that they really have to, because it is such a small world, and there are online communities where probably the bulk of them hang out and discuss what works and what doesn't (and fight and bicker just like on any other online forum.)

Anyway, you really are misrepresenting my position. It's not that I'm anti-marketing. If there was money to do it I'd do it just to play the game in the usual way. But this isn't a market like DVD players or coffee makers. You can't really 'lifestyle' these people. They are the ones who 'lifestyle' their customers. We are really a wholesaler type company. So, I'm saying that my not being able to do so isn't as big an issue as you might think.

Within that small community they all know who we are. Their reasons for not using the product would have more to do with vested interest in the systems they already support, some amount of anit-PC sentiment though that has been reduced somewhat over the years, the same vendor risk issue that you raised, and the 'how do I make a profit with it' issue.

The latter is probably the biggest one. Most of them make their profit on hardware margins. There isn't much hardware margin in a system based on commodity hardware. And they have to try to sell something to the customer that he can go look up the prices for and argue with them about it. Though I agree with some of the sentiment in that Savant article about people needing to make more on the service side, I don't think that many installers agree with that.

We do have a partner called Vidabox who sells non-commodity hardware that is based on CQC. But as with anything that is intended to be solid and pro level, the price is generally way above the huge price sensitivity of the do it yourselfer, so still the pro world is the only market that is viable. And the installer who accepts that this gets them over the hurdle profit margin, then probably falls back to the vendor risk issue. So it's a tough cycle to get out of .

39CentStamp 02-21-2010 05:23 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by rtbatch View Post

Is Control4 really that un-baked?

I don't know what you mean by un-baked. My comments were more about the fact that its a dealer product vs a DIY product. That means your service and warranty is routed thru a dealer. You as the end user have no access to service or support from Control4.

Based on experience, if you find a Control4 dealer who is willing to sell gear directly to you and provide you with a wiring plan/schematics.. the relationship will go south very quickly once you start asking questions.

The "quick sale" will no longer be quick if the dealer now has to support you as you learn to install Control4 and tame it. The saved money will no longer be savings if the dealer charges you for this support.

The dealer can contact Control4 whenever he wants. Its part of his dealer agreement. You cant. With CQC you can contact the dealer. You can ask for help at the forum without hearing "hire a pro".

Control4 (or CQC or whatever) is not plug and play. Getting it installed and operating is not in a manual that you can find online. Its a combination of manuals, manufacturer training, support calls and trial and error.

So IMO its an uphill battle from the beginning if you choose to DIY a product that is not meant for DIY. Not that its any easier or harder to install than anything else, just that there is no support network in place to walk you thru it.

39CentStamp 02-21-2010 05:26 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by rtbatch View Post

Folks,

I respectfully submit for your comments. The Savant quote is most interesting:

http://www.cepro.com/article/crestro...ation_systems/

rtbatch

Savant is what happened when Control4 and B&0 had a baby.



Savant is already selling the iPhone and iTouch as a controller. I guess they dont care if their clients are paying for high end and getting a science experiment.

Adding...

Quote:


"The days of living strictly off hardware margins are numbered. If anyone thinks they can hold onto that model, they’re going to be extinct - a dinosaur."

This is a pretty funny quote coming from one of the most expensive players in the game.

Dean Roddey 02-21-2010 05:33 PM

Maybe the Savant quotes I've seen are not representative, I dunno. But they were all very high dollar.

IVB 02-21-2010 06:26 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by rtbatch View Post

Fear not. My HA budget is $10 - $15K, a very respectable amount of money (except for investment bankers). Of course, I'm excluding, AV servers / equipment. But for the HA controllers, lighting controls and communication backbone (and a few itouches) that should be more than sufficient. The rest is sweat equity.

Hmmm, not sure what that "av server/equipment" exclusion means as my AV server *is* my HA controller, but as of a year ago I was at $17K and I bought my stuff way cheap & used off eBay. (see the technical details tab in the website in my sig for a breakdown of that cost). In the past year, I probably spent another $2K, or just under $20K.

I put in 1000 manhours on the website, but that calc was done 18 months ago. With some of my latest drama, i'm easily at 1500 manhours.

Now that Vidabox exists and uses CQC as their software engine, if I were to do this again I'd just go get one of their servers, Vidabox customized S70. My server ended up being about $4K, but has taken me forever to determine what pieces/parts are most stable. Those guys have done all that work, and I think MSRP is somewhere around $7K.

I'd bet that bill would end up being about $30K, with the only true upgrades being servers & touchscreens/nicer remotes. IE, same old used crap being controlled.

Quote:


If any of you have seen a Gartner "Magic Quadrant" they summarize a vendor space on two axes: Completeness of vision and Ability of execute. Of course, Gartner enumerates what criteria they use to rank on those axes.

IMHO, that's what I think the HA market needs, a Gartner MQ. As they are very protective of their IP, I guess I'll have to syntehzsize one for myself, as what's out on the web is pretty feeble / incomplete.

It's a shame that the CQC forums got corrupted a few years back. I'm a management consultant by training, spent many years in the big 5 (well, when there *was* a big 5), and now am one of the lead strategy guys for an $8B company. I repeatedly bemoaned the lack of a coherent methodology and value matrix for HA, only to be told in public that the industry is too immature & individual needs are too fractured for that. As this 127 page thread shows, nearly 4 years later, I still can't find a way to map it in a way that would make me enough $$ to quit my day job. And if anyone has the skills to create a methodology, roadmap, or value quadrant, it's me. (0.9 probability)

BTW, vision & ability to execute are *not* the right dimensions to create an HA-MQ. Sure, you could perhaps define individual vendors on that basis, but in this space you need to pull together many different vendors to create a coherent solution. I'd tell you what I think are the right dimensions, but then I wouldn't be able to charge you $25K for my HA industry report...

santiagodraco 02-23-2010 07:18 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by IVB View Post

The Toyota of HA is *not* kick-the-plug reliable. If you want 100.00% reliability, you're going to have to pay for it.


What would you rather use in a mission-critical application where network dropout = kiss of death? A wireless G network, or a hardwired connection?

Although to be fair, it depends on your definition of reliable. My definition is that if I press a button, I know for a fact that:
1) it *will* do whatever it's programmed to do, every single time, no ifs/ands/buts.
2) it *will* work incredibly fast. No noticeable time delay.

As of this writing, there is no wireless protocol (except perhaps Lutron RadioRA2 & HomeWorks) that does that. Since you feel that Lutron is overpriced, then you have to decide what's more important to you, reliability or $$. (or just accept it and run the hardwires)

Take it from me - anybody who tells you anything different is trying to sell you something.

To be honest it sounds more like you are trying to sell something, no offense intended.

I've just purchased several Z-wave devices and have installed several, and so far they are working perfectly. I simply can't see how you can imply that there is some inherent failing in Zway (or another good wireless solution) where it justifies spending orders of magnitude more money on dedicated wired solutions. I also don't think "mission critical" is a valid argument for a home system. First off electronics can fail, in a wired control box or a wirelessly controlled system.

Assuming you don't have devices so far apart in a home that they can't reach each other I simply can't see it justified to spend the money to wire and to purchase the overpriced wired system components.

amirm 02-23-2010 07:43 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by santiagodraco View Post

To be honest it sounds more like you are trying to sell something, no offense intended.

He is not selling anything. He is an end user like you. And unless something has changed, while he likes Lutron, he hasn't installed one.

Quote:


I've just purchased several Z-wave devices and have installed several, and so far they are working perfectly.

Give it some time. I had a friend who installed Insteon and at the beginning, was exceptionally happy. Fast forward a year later and he had a closet light that wouldn't turn off, making his wife very unhappy.

Quote:


I simply can't see how you can imply that there is some inherent failing in Zway (or another good wireless solution) where it justifies spending orders of magnitude more money on dedicated wired solutions.

Touch your dimmer switch. Does if feel warm? If so, that is one thing centralized wired systems do better. The dimmer control is not stuffed in a little box, shortening its life due to heat. Centralized systems have nice large heat sinks and have open air flow.

Quote:


I also don't think "mission critical" is a valid argument for a home system. First off electronics can fail, in a wired control box or a wirelessly controlled system.

I think you missed his point. He is saying lighting control must be treated as mission critical. It is night time, you hit a light switch to light up the stairway, it needs to work. If your DVD player doesn't play when you hit a button, that is OK. But not lighting. And certainly not if you are married and the other half doesn't consider this "hobby" fun .

Quote:


Assuming you don't have devices so far apart in a home that they can't reach each other I simply can't see it justified to spend the money to wire and to purchase the overpriced wired system components.

Justification is hard no matter which way you go. $60 for a wireless dimmer is incredibly high compared to $2 standard switch. Sure, going up to $300+ makes the hole in your pocket bigger . But ultimately you need to decide how much you value the last bit of reliability. For me, it meant hardwired despite the huge increase in cost. The value was there the first day I powered it on and as long as the end points where correct, the system worked. I had no unknowns I could not "see."

The other way to look at this is the total value of the house. It doesn't make sense to spend $20K on lighting for a $150K house. But if the house is worth $1M+, then that is another matter.

Neurorad 02-23-2010 08:59 PM

Any Centralite dimmer failures yet, Amir? Maybe you should have splurged for the HomeWorks, you know, an arm and 2 legs.

I'm itching to get my distributed audio, lighting, and alarm installed, so I'll have something to control with CQC.

rtbatch, make sure you get some sturdy stands for your ipads, so they don't tip over when you poke 'em. Maybe you can lay them flat on some tables, and use some Velcro so they don't slide around.

j/k, look to Peerless or Chief Manufacturing for some slick mounts like this, for your ipads

Maybe for a couple of them, and the others you can carry around.

Edit - Don't forget the recessed back boxes, with 110V outlets, for the transformer bricks.

IVB 02-23-2010 09:01 PM

Amirm hit the points I'd have made. In the end, it is not possible to argue against my position, because mine is based on first-hand experience in my house. I had to get to something like 13 switches before I had even 50% reliability; until then, it was plug-n-pray-real-hard-and-it-still-won't-work. And, I had to go to 3 dimensions (put a few in the basement, put a few in the attic) to really create the mesh. In the end, even with 23 devices, I still don't have 100.0% reliability. Nobody can argue with that because its true.

Finally, Amirm hit the nail on the head about housing costs. I live in NorCal, my remodel will cost a min of $400K and thats if I go cheap and just add 1500ish sqft. The house itself was built in 1911, and all the wiring is decrepit, so i'm likely allocating $50K-ish to hardwired lighting, re-doing all electrical runs, etc.

BTW, if you think the point of automated lighting is an alternate on/off mechanism, then you're missing the point of automated lighting. I wrote a post somewhere here or on CQC about that, i'll try and find it. Deployed correctly, it really is a mission critical system.

amirm 02-23-2010 09:06 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post

Any Centralite dimmer failures yet, Amir? Maybe you should have splurged for the HomeWorks, you know, an arm and 2 legs.

I went ahead with Crestron lighting instead. So no experience with Centralite although it was half the cost of Crestron. As a comparison, Crestron bag of parts was more extensive than Centralite. And the dimmers easier to configure.

Quote:


I'm itching to get my distributed audio, lighting, and alarm installed, so I'll have something to control with CQC.

I looked at both CQC and ML and didn't find either to be my cup of tea but I do appreciate others favoring them.

amirm 02-23-2010 09:14 PM

I should add that I did go with Lutron for shades. They work quite well but don't even think about doing them yourself. The Lutron site is a disaster as compared to Crestron when it comes to documentation and searching for things.

Neurorad 02-23-2010 09:43 PM

Good choice with the Crestron, Amir.

I think Lutron's documentation is unbelievably detailed, compared with other manufacturers'. A CI showed me an old HomeWorks Install Guide, and it looked like a child could install the devices.

I think window treatments in general can be difficult, it's like another world. The extent of Lutron's customization options are really overwhelming, I've seen their order sheets. If I could afford Sivoia shades, I'd probably pay the extra to involve the local Lutron shade pro. Maybe you get a magic shade documentation book when you go to PA for special PSP training.

(Tried to talk the wife into 3 Sivoia drapery tracks in the MBR, yeah, no way in hell. Automated Lutron drapes would be more than 10 times the cost of the drapes she wants to use.)

Edit - I'm still pushing for the Sivoia shades for the kitchen remodel, though.

David Haddad 02-23-2010 10:11 PM

Unless something has changed Lutron has a huge ~300 page QED shade manual right on their website that anyone can download.

santiagodraco 02-24-2010 12:12 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post

He is not selling anything. He is an end user like you. And unless something has changed, while he likes Lutron, he hasn't installed one.


Give it some time. I had a friend who installed Insteon and at the beginning, was exceptionally happy. Fast forward a year later and he had a closet light that wouldn't turn off, making his wife very unhappy.


Touch your dimmer switch. Does if feel warm? If so, that is one thing centralized wired systems do better. The dimmer control is not stuffed in a little box, shortening its life due to heat. Centralized systems have nice large heat sinks and have open air flow.


I think you missed his point. He is saying lighting control must be treated as mission critical. It is night time, you hit a light switch to light up the stairway, it needs to work. If your DVD player doesn't play when you hit a button, that is OK. But not lighting. And certainly not if you are married and the other half doesn't consider this "hobby" fun .


Justification is hard no matter which way you go. $60 for a wireless dimmer is incredibly high compared to $2 standard switch. Sure, going up to $300+ makes the hole in your pocket bigger . But ultimately you need to decide how much you value the last bit of reliability. For me, it meant hardwired despite the huge increase in cost. The value was there the first day I powered it on and as long as the end points where correct, the system worked. I had no unknowns I could not "see."

The other way to look at this is the total value of the house. It doesn't make sense to spend $20K on lighting for a $150K house. But if the house is worth $1M+, then that is another matter.

Good points and that helps me understand better some of the concerns. I'll have to wait and see. In any case since I'm using Homeseer, for example, I can even mix and match devices and see how it goes. But I think it would be easier to simply have spares than to pay for a complete rewiring

Adidas4275 02-24-2010 07:34 PM

this is a large discussion and i will throw my limited experience in the ring
I have about 10 z-wave light switches and have had them now for about 3 months and all is good... instant on and off and i could not be happier with homeseer.

if the OP is still looking for DIY there is some great stuff over at homeseer's forum.

Dahwoo 02-24-2010 08:00 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by 39CentStamp View Post

Savant is what happened when Control4 and B&0 had a baby.



Savant is already selling the iPhone and iTouch as a controller. I guess they dont care if their clients are paying for high end and getting a science experiment.

Adding...



This is a pretty funny quote coming from one of the most expensive players in the game.

I can not believe B&O, who has on many occasions, had some very flashy/eye catching equipment and gear came up with that remote. That seriously has to be the worst thing I've ever seen. The guys who pitched that had to have blown a serious amount of opium into the vents of that entire engineering team for this thing to have ever hit the market. Rant Over

Neurorad 02-25-2010 05:55 AM

I'd like to try it for a few weeks, before bashing it. I think it's pretty novel, just a different form factor.

Edit - I think B&O is about style + function. Maybe function trumps style, in this case.

Edit #2 - reminds me of the round Savant RC, + a TS.

IVB 02-25-2010 12:50 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by santiagodraco View Post

Good points and that helps me understand better some of the concerns. I'll have to wait and see. In any case since I'm using Homeseer, for example, I can even mix and match devices and see how it goes. But I think it would be easier to simply have spares than to pay for a complete rewiring

The issue isn't having spares - that insinuates defective devices. My point is that wireless just isn't as reliable as wired. Want proof? AVS search on wireless video, wireless dropouts, RF interference, etc. Anybody who says a wireless network is as reliable as a wired network is delusional. Full Stop. Period. End of Line.

Throwing a signal across an ever-increasingly-crowded spectrum simply cannot be as reliable or fast as a dedicated physical circuit. How much lower that reliability is based on A) your physical environment & B) the quality of the merchandise you select. For example, I might be able to get to 99% reliability if I went with RadioRA2 and several RF repeaters. My lot size is only ~40' x 100', so houses are really close together. On a good day, I've got 8 wireless networks, 3 baby monitors, overhead power lines, 6 neighbors cordless phones, and much other stuff to interfere with signals. I'd need many RF repeaters. I was hoping zWave's mesh concept would help me, but it just hasn't. If I opted for a hardwired network, all that wireless crap wouldn't affect me.

And how does this help? Well, I'd like to put in a Homeworks style keypad at the front door where each button turns on a different scene (multiple different lights, potentially different levels). Imagine if, due to wireless/other reliability issues, pushing the 'turn light on' button resulted in, well, nothing. Now imagine that it's late at night and me/wife are holding one of our young children because we stayed at a friends house too late (or maybe bringing in the groceries). How happy do *you* think they'd be that the light switch isn't working? How long before they ask to rip out the keypad and just put in a $2 light switch because it's more reliable?

I'm not trying to stoke the fires here, but anyone who thinks the benefit of automated lighting is using a touchscreen to turn on lights, or using a few rules here/there to turn lights on & off is missing the point of automated lighting. That's not automation, that's alternative manual control, and you can measure annoyance by spousal units in terms of 'milliseconds after opening the credit card statement' since they also don't see the point. It's one of these "Hey Ma! Looky see what I can do with a computer!"

And we wonder why so many women think this hobby is a waste of time.

Fiasco 02-25-2010 03:06 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by IVB View Post

The issue isn't having spares - that insinuates defective devices. My point is that wireless just isn't as reliable as wired. Want proof? AVS search on wireless video, wireless dropouts, RF interference, etc. Anybody who says a wireless network is as reliable as a wired network is delusional. Full Stop. Period. End of Line.

Throwing a signal across an ever-increasingly-crowded spectrum simply cannot be as reliable or fast as a dedicated physical circuit. How much lower that reliability is based on A) your physical environment & B) the quality of the merchandise you select. For example, I might be able to get to 99% reliability if I went with RadioRA2 and several RF repeaters. My lot size is only ~40' x 100', so houses are really close together. On a good day, I've got 8 wireless networks, 3 baby monitors, overhead power lines, 6 neighbors cordless phones, and much other stuff to interfere with signals. I'd need many RF repeaters. I was hoping zWave's mesh concept would help me, but it just hasn't. If I opted for a hardwired network, all that wireless crap wouldn't affect me.

And how does this help? Well, I'd like to put in a Homeworks style keypad at the front door where each button turns on a different scene (multiple different lights, potentially different levels). Imagine if, due to wireless/other reliability issues, pushing the 'turn light on' button resulted in, well, nothing. Now imagine that it's late at night and me/wife are holding one of our young children because we stayed at a friends house too late (or maybe bringing in the groceries). How happy do *you* think they'd be that the light switch isn't working? How long before they ask to rip out the keypad and just put in a $2 light switch because it's more reliable?

I'm not trying to stoke the fires here, but anyone who thinks the benefit of automated lighting is using a touchscreen to turn on lights, or using a few rules here/there to turn lights on & off is missing the point of automated lighting. That's not automation, that's alternative manual control, and you can measure annoyance by spousal units in terms of 'milliseconds after opening the credit card statement' since they also don't see the point. It's one of these "Hey Ma! Looky see what I can do with a computer!"

And we wonder why so many women think this hobby is a waste of time.

You are absolutely right. Lights have to work... period.

If you automate someones house and the lights are only 95-98% reliable, that's a downgrade from a $3 dimmer.

rtbatch 03-04-2010 02:55 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by 39CentStamp View Post

I don't know what you mean by un-baked. My comments were more about the fact that its a dealer product vs a DIY product. That means your service and warranty is routed thru a dealer. You as the end user have no access to service or support from Control4.

Based on experience, if you find a Control4 dealer who is willing to sell gear directly to you and provide you with a wiring plan/schematics.. the relationship will go south very quickly once you start asking questions.

The "quick sale" will no longer be quick if the dealer now has to support you as you learn to install Control4 and tame it. The saved money will no longer be savings if the dealer charges you for this support.

The dealer can contact Control4 whenever he wants. Its part of his dealer agreement. You cant. With CQC you can contact the dealer. You can ask for help at the forum without hearing "hire a pro".

Control4 (or CQC or whatever) is not plug and play. Getting it installed and operating is not in a manual that you can find online. Its a combination of manuals, manufacturer training, support calls and trial and error.

So IMO its an uphill battle from the beginning if you choose to DIY a product that is not meant for DIY. Not that its any easier or harder to install than anything else, just that there is no support network in place to walk you thru it.

Here's how I got "unbaked" from your post, "But i promise you that this dealers patients will wear thin as you constantly call for support when the hardware doesn't do what the control4 website says its supposed to."

Are we dealing with lousy documentation, or lousy quality?

As a technical professional, I would most certainly do my homework before lunging for the phone.

Thanks :-)

rtbatch 03-04-2010 03:07 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by IVB View Post

Hmmm, not sure what that "av server/equipment" exclusion means as my AV server *is* my HA controller, but as of a year ago I was at $17K and I bought my stuff way cheap & used off eBay. (see the technical details tab in the website in my sig for a breakdown of that cost). In the past year, I probably spent another $2K, or just under $20K.

I put in 1000 manhours on the website, but that calc was done 18 months ago. With some of my latest drama, i'm easily at 1500 manhours.

Now that Vidabox exists and uses CQC as their software engine, if I were to do this again I'd just go get one of their servers, Vidabox customized S70. My server ended up being about $4K, but has taken me forever to determine what pieces/parts are most stable. Those guys have done all that work, and I think MSRP is somewhere around $7K.

I'd bet that bill would end up being about $30K, with the only true upgrades being servers & touchscreens/nicer remotes. IE, same old used crap being controlled.



It's a shame that the CQC forums got corrupted a few years back. I'm a management consultant by training, spent many years in the big 5 (well, when there *was* a big 5), and now am one of the lead strategy guys for an $8B company. I repeatedly bemoaned the lack of a coherent methodology and value matrix for HA, only to be told in public that the industry is too immature & individual needs are too fractured for that. As this 127 page thread shows, nearly 4 years later, I still can't find a way to map it in a way that would make me enough $$ to quit my day job. And if anyone has the skills to create a methodology, roadmap, or value quadrant, it's me. (0.9 probability)

BTW, vision & ability to execute are *not* the right dimensions to create an HA-MQ. Sure, you could perhaps define individual vendors on that basis, but in this space you need to pull together many different vendors to create a coherent solution. I'd tell you what I think are the right dimensions, but then I wouldn't be able to charge you $25K for my HA industry report...

I must admit I am deeply amused by this 30 year old emerging market, especially as a technology strategist / architect for an even bigger company than yours ;-)

BTW: By definition an MQ is completeness of vision and ability to execute. I know of what I speak ;-) It's main purpose is normalizing vendor qualifications / selection criteria.

What the HA space needs is a much more thoughtfully structured functional taxonomy - all the way from "Roll Your Own" systems like CQC to "Press Here Dummy" systems like Crestron. I'm deciding whether I need / want to do that, not only to help my own decision making but to rationalize this very wacky space for less informed customers. Until that happens we'll never see a $1 Billion HA company.

Thanks,

rtbatch

rtbatch 03-04-2010 03:12 PM

Very funny :-D. Savant clearly has Crestron in its sights. To rich for my blood.


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 01:02 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.

vBulletin Optimisation provided by vB Optimise (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.