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post #241 of 255 Old 03-14-2010, 12:39 AM
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Now, I know David said he was dropping out of this conversation until we returned to 2010, or something like that. But, he didn't say he was taking those last posts with him! I look like I've been just debating myself all night. Did I dream the whole thing!?
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post #242 of 255 Old 03-14-2010, 12:59 PM
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Google can give away forks for eating soup but that wont make it the right way to eat soup.

Those forks could come with a free car and 1001 additional features for eating soup but it will never beat an ordinary spoon.

Package that free car and 1001 additional features with the spoon and you have an improved product for eating soup.
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post #243 of 255 Old 03-14-2010, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by amirm View Post

I don't know about that. Google gives away Android OS to mobile phone companies.

The business plan therefore may be another method to make money. Maybe Google will run ads as you try to manage your home through their UI or maybe they subsidize it with no model.

The loss leaders are part of their larger business plan of global domination. Bill Gates could sink 1/3 of his resources into building a better lighting product thats controlled via the cloud and offer it for free but then what happens when the internet connection goes down?

We are right back where we were and it is my opinion that improvements made to the local processor beats any scenario that can be dreamed up for the cloud.
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post #244 of 255 Old 03-14-2010, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by crosen View Post

The cost to support a single home in this model - when operated in scale - is pennies per month. There is no way the price gets anywhere near where there is any comparison with a Crestron system. Say $3/month, for argument's sake. What's the least expensive Crestron system you put in? How many decades would it take before the cash out was on par? Then, consider the $36/year is less than the opportunity cost of investing even $1,000 in equipment up front at 4 points interest.

Where did you come up with the $36 per year? If you get to make up stuff then i do to. I can do a Crestron lighting system for 1/3 what your cloud based lighting system would cost and i will throw in a Blu-ray player and season tickets to the Cubs .

Obviously the hardware can be made available at a lower price when mass produced. Now lets throw in a piece of PC software that can be copied billions of times. Would you say that the hardware and ability to control it locally via PC software could be less expensive then paying a monthly fee?

If your goal is to create a business model that earns reoccurring fees then yes.. IMO the cloud is a good way to do that. And add in an additional point of failure.

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From a business viability perspective, keep in mind also that the value of a paying subscriber to a company is more than the current revenue stream from that user, since a paying subscriber is a captured customer with future revenue potential.

This is another topic but i might as well respond. It is my opinion that the home depot lighting customer is the guy who is not going to pay a monthly fee. Lighting will require electrical work which most people simply cant do on their own. So a professional shows up with his labor rates on paper, the hardware costs and before you know it the client could have called in a C4 dealer and avoided a monthly fee over the next 30 years of his life. And hes angry when his internet connection is lost.

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Once you require software to be run a PC, you just SIGNIFICANTLY increased the bar for technical competency as well as support costs and also lost a HUGE portion of the potential market. Plus, I bet the reliability of an Internet connection coupled with a well operated Web service exceeds that of a PC based application running on a typical home owner's computer.

Why are you SIGNIFICANTLY increasing the bar? Are you saying that a hardware manufacturer is smart enough to create an easy to use wizard for the masses to access but not smart enough to create a standalone wizard for a single user? Which is it?

This is the Harmony Vs URC debate. Online wizard vs local PC software. Harmony's wizard may be better but what you wont find at the URC forum is anyone complaining about not being able to access the configuration software when the internet goes down.
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post #245 of 255 Old 03-14-2010, 02:06 PM
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Where did you come up with the $36 per year?

From the "pennies per month per user" at scale. This is based on the assumption of around 100 transactions per home per day. I can provide the detailed analysis of this if that is of interest.

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If your goal is to create a business model that earns reoccurring fees then yes.. IMO the cloud is a good way to do that.

I understand the discussion to be around providing any home automation offering that is viable in the market place. The cloud offers an opportunity that should be explored, and not categorically ruled out on the basis that it has specific disadvantages. This has been my point all along.

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Lighting will require electrical work which most people simply cant do on their own.

Nope, not in the example I gave, which included lighting appliance modules and motion detectors that are wall wart style. Other wall wart style device possibilities include temp sensors, flood sensors (wall wart plus dongle), CO sensors, etc.

Again, this comes back to the assumptions you are making about the applications being deployed. For some applications, this approach won't bode well. For others, it does. The point is not to rule out the approach because it doesn't work in all cases.

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It is my opinion that the home depot lighting customer is the guy who is not going to pay a monthly fee.

That may be so, and this hard to argue without actual market data. It's worth noting that these customers are all paying monthly fees for phone, cable, Internet, etc. They are not opposed to paying monthly fees for home services. It may rest in how the solution in marketed.

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Why are you SIGNIFICANTLY increasing the bar? Are you saying that a hardware manufacturer is smart enough to create an easy to use wizard for the masses to access but not smart enough to create a standalone wizard for a single user? Which is it?

No, that is not the point. I am NOT saying vendors can create a Web-based software interface that is usable, but not a PC based interface that is usable.

Rather, the point is around installation, setup, operation and troubleshooting. In many cases, it is far, far, far more feasible for an enterprise to install, setup, operate and troubleshoot a service in a dedicated, commercial grade environment (i.e in the cloud) than it is for a consumer to do so on their own PC.

I'll summarize the advantages I've argued for of a Web based controller as follows:

1. Lower cost of entry for consumer to get certain applications deployed in the home (i.e. one lighting appliance module plus $3/month service, compared to one lighting appliance module plus one home controller.)

2. Ability for provider to physically access controller infrastructure for all consumers at a single locations (rather than having to roll a truck.)

3. Increased performance of application functionality that relies heavily on other services and data out in the cloud.

4. Ability to deliver functionality based on aggregate customer info.

5. Ability to acquire recurring revenue customer relationship.

You might not agree with all of these assertions. (Some are more clear cut than others.) You only need to agree with one, however, in order to agree that is it a false claim that there are no advantages to a cloud based controller. This is really the point I've been trying to make.
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post #246 of 255 Old 03-14-2010, 02:16 PM
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And, here are the disadvantages to a cloud based architecture that I've never disagreed with:

1. Functionality unavailable when Internet connection is down.
2. Increased latency for any transaction that occurs between devices that reside in the home.
3. Need for recurring fee price structure to offset recurring costs.
4. Reliance on continual operation of central service.

There are certainly others. Repeating them, however, won't do anything to render the advantages as not being advantages.

ADDING: Enumerating further advantages and disadvantages to both sides, however, is useful to the discussion.
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post #247 of 255 Old 03-14-2010, 02:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crosen View Post

From the "pennies per month per user" at scale.
I'll summarize the advantages I've argued for of a Web based controller as follows:

1. Lower cost of entry for consumer to get certain applications deployed in the home (i.e. one lighting appliance module plus $3/month service, compared to one lighting appliance module plus one home controller.)

2. Ability for provider to physically access controller infrastructure for all consumers at a single locations (rather than having to roll a truck.)

3. Increased performance of application functionality that relies heavily on other services and data out in the cloud.

4. Ability to deliver functionality based on aggregate customer info.

5. Ability to acquire recurring revenue customer relationship.

You might not agree with all of these assertions. (Some are more clear cut than others.) You only need to agree with one, however, in order to agree that is it a false claim that there are no advantages to a cloud based controller. This is really the point I've been trying to make.

For the majority of the items the advantage is for the peovider and not the customer. Up front cost might be diminished but it is replaced by vender lock in and monthly fees. And you lose the option of an 100% local self contained embedded controller.

For me the disadvantages outweigh the advantages.

One thing consumers might be able to buy into is an expanded services contract with their current security monitor. This is a service that everyone already expects. If the $3 figure is correct it would be a pretty simple to upsell the cost of this service 3 bucks a months and bundle in some extra services. That is how you introduce expanded cloud based services.

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post #248 of 255 Old 03-14-2010, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by nexus99 View Post

For the majority of the items the advantage is for the peovider and not the customer. Up front cost might be diminished but it is replaced by vender lock in and monthly fees. And you lose the option of an 100% local self contained embedded controller.

For me the disadvantages outweigh the advantages.

I'm not sure I agree that the advantages are mostly for the provider (1, 3 and 4 all seem to give the user more.)

However, it is entirely fair to say that for you the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. For my own current purposes, this would seem true as well.

The general viability in the marketplace of an offering with a cloud based component is another story.
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post #249 of 255 Old 03-14-2010, 03:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crosen View Post

I'm not sure I agree that the advantages are mostly for the provider (1, 3 and 4 all seem to give the user more.)

However, it is entirely fair to say that for you the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. For my own current purposes, this would seem true as well.

The general viability in the marketplace of an offering with a cloud based component is another story.

We don't have to conjecture about this too much. Schlage is trying this right now with their "Link" service. I think its 13 bucks a month. I would never use this service... but maybe the larger community would?

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post #250 of 255 Old 03-14-2010, 03:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crosen View Post


I understand the discussion to be around providing any home automation offering that is viable in the market place. The cloud offers an opportunity that should be explored, and not categorically ruled out on the basis that it has specific disadvantages. This has been my point all along.

Mine has been that anything that could potentially improve the way home automation is done today.... should be done to the local control processor. Any additional feature or advancement that can happen in the cloud can also happen locally so you are still left with the internet connection being a bottle neck that the client and the CI have no control over.
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post #251 of 255 Old 03-14-2010, 03:53 PM
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Schlage Link in some cases seems like the worst of both worlds - it seems to require a full investment of hardware on the premises (including a controller) and still requires a subscription. On the other hand, it's still a relatively low cost investment to get up and running with automation, as are other Z-Wave options.

I recently took a closer look at some of the direct to consumer/DIY Z-Wave control options to try and understand the threat they pose to custom solutions. While the solutions seem promising, I found the Z-Wave architecture to be somewhat awkward. Speaking of how to define "controller", their notion of a "primary controller" - and the fact that it often comes in the form of a remote control - just does not feel elegant to me. But, I haven't worked with Z-Wave hands-on.
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post #252 of 255 Old 03-14-2010, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by 39CentStamp View Post

Mine has been that anything that could potentially improve the way home automation is done today.... should be done to the local control processor. Any additional feature or advancement that can happen in the cloud can also happen locally so you are still left with the internet connection being a bottle neck that the client and the CI have no control over.

OK - I think we've given this aspect of the discussion a good go! I always find the back and forth useful both to understand other perspectives and clarify my own.
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post #253 of 255 Old 03-14-2010, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by nexus99 View Post

For the majority of the items the advantage is for the peovider and not the customer. Up front cost might be diminished but it is replaced by vender lock in and monthly fees. And you lose the option of an 100% local self contained embedded controller.

For me the disadvantages outweigh the advantages.

One thing consumers might be able to buy into is an expanded services contract with their current security monitor. This is a service that everyone already expects. If the $3 figure is correct it would be a pretty simple to upsell the cost of this service 3 bucks a months and bundle in some extra services. That is how you introduce expanded cloud based services.

$3 is a hard sell when you are telling the client that he could lose control over his home if his subscription runs out or any time the internet goes down. This is especially true when a local processor would require not subscription and its not offline if the internet goes down.

You mentioned the schlage lock product/service. Should this automated service go down the client can still use his key. Move your control processor to the cloud and how exactly do you adjust volume in the family room when the internet connection goes down?

Services, features and content from the cloud = Good
Internet connection goes down we watch DirecTV or a Blu-ray disc instead of netflix. We can still control everything locally.

Control from the cloud = Bad
Internet connection goes down and the whole system is offline. Calling your CI is a waste of time because he cant solve that problem.
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post #254 of 255 Old 03-15-2010, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by 39CentStamp View Post


Services, features and content from the cloud = Good
Internet connection goes down we watch DirecTV or a Blu-ray disc instead of netflix. We can still control everything locally.

Control from the cloud = Bad
Internet connection goes down and the whole system is offline. Calling your CI is a waste of time because he cant solve that problem.

I agree.

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post #255 of 255 Old 08-27-2010, 03:37 PM
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I think they just changed the monthly fee from $12.99 to $8.99 and added a 2 months free because of customer feedback like yours. From what I have heard there will be no change in the level of service customers have come to expect with Schlage LiNK.

Let me know if you have any question about the new subscription fee or any other Schlage product as I do work with Schlage, I just thought you might like the update.
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