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post #1 of 21 Old 06-14-2017, 10:22 AM - Thread Starter
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New Home - New Automation System - My experience with allonis

Hey guys,

Haven't posted in this section yet, but I'm an avid home automation hobbyist. Recently built a new house, and used that opportunity to wire up my home to the gills and prepare to put in a home automation system.

My idea was to have a master control system, similar to control 4, but one that I can install myself. I found some remote c4 dealers that were willing to work with me, but I still disliked the fact that c4 equipment was so overpriced, and any 3rd party devices required custom drivers that were not backed by the company. So on this forum I found out about allonis, and after talking with forum user @smoothtlk , decided to go forward with them as my control system of choice.

My current system is very bare-bones. It's just getting started. But the reason I went with allonis is because they were able to let me build my system my way. Smoothtalk gave me recommendations on what works best with their system, but ultimately I decided on what components I wanted that fit within my fairly tight starting budget. That was my primary reason for working with them. The system could do everything c4 can do, but allows flexibility of using outside vendors for products. Allonis supports certain vendors out of the box, but if you want something that isn't supported, they'll write the driver for you. It's also inherently much lower cost, because I was able to do all of the installation work myself, and only use them for certain product procurement, as well as remote installation.

So here's what is currently integrated into my master control system:
* ELK M1 gold security system
* russound MCA-88 8 zone WHA amplifier (4 zones currently in use, other 4 for future expansion)
* monoprice blackbird 4x4 HDBT A/V Matrix switch (2 zones currently in use, other 2 for future expansion)
* ecobee3 thermostat
* 2x onkyo receivers
* harmony hub
* mobotix t25 video doorbell (linked with blue iris NVR software)
* 4 phillips hue bulbs (all in master bedroom)
* 1 leviton z-wave dimmer

The system is controlled by the myserver software. You can buy a rack-mount server from allonis, or use your own existing hardware. Note that this isn't something to be reserved for that 10 yr old PC you have sitting in your closet, this is a serious system and it uses serious resources. My system is home built, but it has a i-5 6600, 32GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD. I originally ran it with 16 GB of RAM, but when idle, I saw that my RAM was over 50% used up, so I expanded to 32GB. I also run a couple VMs on the machine, which allonis doesn't really recommend... but my system is powerful enough that it has the resources to do it.

So there is a lot of different devices providing different functions here. The benefit of a master control system is that it unifies all of these products into a single UI and control system. Right now, as mentioned, I'm fairly bare bones in terms of actual automation, but the system is initially set up, and working. Here's the UI:



The floorplan on the top left is my actual floorplan. I paid for the guys to develop that for me, but if anyone wants to do it themselves they can. Also, as you can see, the security system is not ready to arm. I purposely did that to show that the control system visually shows on the floor plan where a zone is active (the red line on my floorplan... my sliding door to the lanai is open). I can also arm/disarm the system using the keypad on the bottom right. The front door is my front door video doorbell. It's not a direct feed of my doorbell though, it's actually linked to blue iris. So allonis supports blue iris, but can also work with specific cameras. I opted to just use blue iris, since blue iris is capable of supporting way more cameras than allonis ever could make drivers for. So I just run Blue Iris in a VM, and allonis links up to that to see the video feed. Also, by using blue iris to handle security, I can still have it provide push notifications and record events. So really having the camera on allonis is for convenience of not having to open up the blue iris software.
You can see my ecobee thermostat, which can be directly controlled from there. I also have my local weather showing. So a pretty good "dashboard" for a control system. Below that dashboard I have zone selection and control. This dashboard was accessed from my PC. They have an app that you can configure for tablets/phones. Phone UI is more condensed to fit on a phone, but effectively the same thing. I have cat6 ran in my walls in specific locations where I will later mount tablets dedicated to running the allonis myUI app. For now, I use my phone and laptop for control.

So that's the basics, if anyone wants to see more, I can show off the system even more if you like. I will say though, by far, the part of the system that gets the most use (which was surprising to me at first) is the WHA functionality. Allonis pairs beautifully with the Russound. So via allonis, if I want to play music from my google music account in my kitchen for instance, I choose "zone - kitchen", "source - gmusic 1", and then I go to the google music interface, and hit play. If I want to adjust volume or turn the zone on/off, I click "control", and it automatically brings up the zone control for the kitchen.






Again, this was effectively a "diy" self install system. I installed all equipment myself, mounted my speakers, etc. Allonis was there to walk me through what components to buy, and then via teamviewer, they had a guy remote into my system and configure the system I wanted. The configuration took about 2 days (maybe 6-7 actual work hours?). One day for initial setup, and then another day for me playing with it and reporting bugs and any issues for them to fix. Pretty painless.

Note that this is a setup that worked for me. Not everyone is keen on spending the time mounting speakers/equipment and physically terminating and connecting all the components in a proper manner. For someone that wants something more turn-key, I am sure allonis can support those sort of customers as well, but if that is your thing, then you're likely also okay with going with something more closed like control4. But even then, I think allonis beats control4 in terms of cost and customizability.

I do have a couple things I would like to see done better with allonis though. The biggest is that it still doesn't support amazon echo (though I was told it's coming). I haven't covered lighting yet, like I said I'll cover more aspects of the system upon request. But lighting is straight-forward... You select a room, and then you have toggle buttons for turning lights on/off, and sliders for adjusting brightness. You also have access to scenes (which I haven't set up yet... again I'm bare bones to start here). Controlling lights with voice is just so natural, so I really urge allonis to support echo or google home as soon as possible. That way I can go back to controlling my bedroom lights with my voice, and it will also push me to start adding more zwave switches to my system. Right now I'm not all that compelled, since I was spoiled with voice control and using a phone/tablet to turn lights on/off just isn't efficient in my eyes. But of course, with a control system, it's all about automating lights and configuring scenes, which again, I haven't actually gotten into yet.

That's about it for now. I only covered a small portion here. I didn't want to make a huge post and let people get lost. So I figured I'd leave this here, and if anyone is interested in learning more, feel free to respond and I will show. I just wanted to start with the highlights.

... by the way, my next "big" project will be to add automated shades. Allonis does support automated shades, and I pre-wired all my windows for it. But it was too cost-prohibitive to add that now. So for now, I have manual roller shades that can be easily converted to motor shades. Once I get my automated shades up and running, I will be sure to share my experience here.
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post #2 of 21 Old 06-14-2017, 01:06 PM
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Thanks for the post, that was great information for someone like me who is currently planning a new home with some basic DIY automation and who wants the ability to expand and build on the system later. I was directed to Control 4, but after I dug into it and realized that it was really not a DIY solution at all, I passed on it. How would you rate your install on a DIY scale? It would appear that it was fairly easy or moderately difficult for someone who is technically inclined and not afraid to troubleshoot. I also noticed your weather shows Orlando. I'm just to the west in Lake County.
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post #3 of 21 Old 06-14-2017, 03:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbanker View Post
Thanks for the post, that was great information for someone like me who is currently planning a new home with some basic DIY automation and who wants the ability to expand and build on the system later. I was directed to Control 4, but after I dug into it and realized that it was really not a DIY solution at all, I passed on it. How would you rate your install on a DIY scale? It would appear that it was fairly easy or moderately difficult for someone who is technically inclined and not afraid to troubleshoot. I also noticed your weather shows Orlando. I'm just to the west in Lake County.
I would rate it as "moderately easy". More laborious than difficult. The labor is in terminating all the wiring. When I had my structured wiring done, it was all ran back to a closet under my staircase, and I have A LOT of wires. So the labor was in putting together my equipment rack, placing all the components in a logical order, and then making all the proper terminations by fishing through all the wiring. Then cutting into my ceiling and mounting speakers and wall-mounting TVs. As long as you're comfortable terminating CAT6, RG6 (may not even need depending on your system), speaker wiring, etc, then you'll mostly be fine. The other thing is setting up the network. In order for them to remote into your system and set everything up, it's your responsibility to physically connect everything, and tell them how it's all connected. So beyond getting all the devices physically connected on the network, you need to make sure you can keep track of all the IP addresses and serial com ports (some devices are connected to my system via serial - russound & alarm system for instance). Mostly easy stuff though... and there are tools for finding IP addresses that can scan your network and find devices by their name. If you're technically competent, particularly when it comes to IT/networking you should be fine. I'm an engineer by trade, not in IT, if that helps at all.

The important thing to think about early on is structured wiring. If you want to build a really scalable system, you need to pre-wire for as much as you can. That's one area you simply can't skimp on cost. Wire as many stereo zones as you can think of, even if you're not sure if you'll need it or not, just do it. I used HDBT for my TVs, and it works great. So it's typical to do 2 CAT6 cables + RG6 to every TV location. I also pre-wired all my windows for motorized shades, which wasn't very cheap, but in the end, the wires are there permanently, and I can purchase the motorized shades for whenever my budget permits and integrate them in. So my recommendation early on would be to decide how far you want to go with your system based on your structured wiring. I'd talk with a low volt wiring contractor soon, and someone that designs these sort of master control systems, whether it's allonis or whoever you consider going with, so that before the walls go up, you have all the wiring your system will need. Then you can build out a basic starter system, with the ability to easily scale up when the budget permits. Another thing on wiring... make sure whoever does your wiring labels wires well. When you have dozens to hundreds of wires to dig through, poorly labeled/unlabeled wiring will turn this job into a nightmare. I was fortunate that mine were labeled fairly well. Made things much easier for me.
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post #4 of 21 Old 06-15-2017, 06:00 AM
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Thanks for the post, this is cool to see!

Honestly, to me the most interesting thing is that you installed the system yourself and simply reached out to have it designed and programmed. My business model is exactly this, the design and programming end, while the end user is responsible for the physical installation. I think it's a great answer to a niche community, so I'm happy to see the success you've had and the pride you take in it.

Questions:

1. How do you watch TV? Do you have a handheld remote or do you use iOS/Android devices? Is this separate from the server hosted automation system or is it part of it?

2. Do you make your own changes to the system, or do they help you when you change equipment and need new device codes?

3. What media server are you using to provide the streaming audio to your WHA system?

4. What's your experience so far with up time? Do you ever have to "reset" your sever to resolve any issues?

If you spent considerable time on making a nice clean rack, you should show it off with some pics!!

James Babin - System designer myEasytek
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post #5 of 21 Old 06-16-2017, 06:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JT Babin View Post
Thanks for the post, this is cool to see!

Honestly, to me the most interesting thing is that you installed the system yourself and simply reached out to have it designed and programmed. My business model is exactly this, the design and programming end, while the end user is responsible for the physical installation. I think it's a great answer to a niche community, so I'm happy to see the success you've had and the pride you take in it.

Questions:

1. How do you watch TV? Do you have a handheld remote or do you use iOS/Android devices? Is this separate from the server hosted automation system or is it part of it?

2. Do you make your own changes to the system, or do they help you when you change equipment and need new device codes?

3. What media server are you using to provide the streaming audio to your WHA system?

4. What's your experience so far with up time? Do you ever have to "reset" your sever to resolve any issues?

If you spent considerable time on making a nice clean rack, you should show it off with some pics!!

I agree 100%. It's definitely a niche, but a niche that has very few answers at the moment. I think a semi-diy approach is best. As even though I'm a technically competent person, I simply don't have the time nor the ability to become an expert on programming a complex master control system from the ground up. As I mentioned doing the physical installation is more labor intensive than anything else. And if I paid someone else to do it, I can 99% guarantee that they wouldn't get all the details exactly the way I wanted. I couldn't imagine having to pay a magnolia tech an hourly rate for the work I've done up to this point. But again, there's a market for people out there that would prefer someone else to do everything for them.

1. I currently use a handheld remote (harmony 650). I use IR for everything. My HDBT receiver has a IR port that allows me to route IR signals back to my control cabinet. For devices that don't use IR (nvidia shield, fire tv), I use a FLIRC that allows it to accept IR commands. This is necessary bc bt is so distance limited. I guess I'm old school, but I find it cumbersome to navigate menus and use a touchscreen remote, when I can pick up a normal remote w/ tactile buttons. I have a harmony hub tho, so I plan to eventually integrate it w/ voice control & set some scenes with it.

2. I own any changes. It's mine now as far as I know. What I did recently was create a full backup of my system, so if I do mess anything up, I have a way to revert back to a working system. I've poked around the system and found it simple enough to make changes to drivers, restart the system, etc. When I have time I'll dig deeper. But I plan to mainly utilize support only when I need major changes, or need to add new drivers/features.

3. No intermediate media server. WHA is integrated w/ allonis via drivers. Which is nice.

4. 100% up-time. No issues. It runs solid. But again as a precaution, I created an offline backup in case the whole thing blows up. My biggest worry is my hd crashing. I did a reset one time when I was having issues with google music, but it wasn't allonis' fault. I just had to understand how the UI works. A reset takes only a few seconds and isn't scary at all.

5. HAHA, my rack is a mess right now. Not worthy of being shown off yet. I still have a lot of work to do. It's a legit rack with castor wheels, so it will eventually look nice. But the wiring needs to be cleaned up.
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post #6 of 21 Old 03-13-2018, 04:40 PM
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Hi. I’m looking at allonis

It looks like a really good option but not a lot of action in their forum

Wondering if you have an update on your experience with it. Frequency of upgrades. Alexa integration. Etc
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post #7 of 21 Old 06-30-2018, 09:35 PM
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I did a tiny bit of research on Allonis, based on a reply to a facebook post I made. This thread was way up in the search results so I figured I'd post here to save others.



I decided to bite the bullet and pay almost $1k for the software package I felt would fit my needs.


After buying it, I found out that buried WAAAAAAAAY deep in their website, there is an ability to get a 30 day free trial.



That website, by the way, is currently dead. No way to know at time of writing this if it's a problem, or they're done and gone.


So, as to the program itself. If you have $15-20k to spend, I bet it's great, because you're going to need paid support for the first year or two of use unless you are 100% done with your automation before you buy. If you're a normal Joe like me, don't waste your money until you've tried it with the well hidden free trial, then make your own decision.


Does NOT work well with Insteon.


Does NOT have any capacity that I can find to program your house to do anything other than turn stuff on and off at certain times. This is, by far, the biggest issue. There appears to be no way to set up an IF, WHEN, THEN, scenario


Is incredibly clunky and REQUIRES computer programming skills. My skills are 20 years out of date. I used to code websites when HTML was the only standard but moved on to other things. If your skills, like mine, aren't current, then there's going to be a huge learning curve with this. It is NOT plug and play, for sure.


Buyer beware. I guess if you want to combine a bunch of different technologies, this might be an option, but for me, with an Insteon only house, I could have purchased 10x the power for $149.95 with Agave.


FYI
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post #8 of 21 Old 07-03-2018, 06:35 AM
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I'm getting decent results so far with these products in terms of self automation:

(homekit, alexa, google home cross compatible when possible)

ubiquiti unifi for whole house internet (its amazing and great for a bulletproof wifi setup)
belkin wemo light switches and smart outlets (for 12 v triggers and lamps)
lutron lights via caseta
homekit centralization and control
alexa control for the voice stuff and room groupings
apple tv for media services (they will have most cable providers soon and already have plenty of ways to playback music, photos, etc).
rachio (sprinkler control) - simple app does not require further integration
thermostats (both ecobee and honeywell do the job). I am going to ultimately change to ecobee on all my stats to make them homekit compatible too possibly. I'm going to wait for all that to become way cheaper since what i have already works on autopilot as it is.

I am waiting for more cross compatible door locks and security systems before I change what I have now. I believe a lot more will come out in the next 2 years.

for distributed audio, airplay2 is great, looking at how to do multiroom with that with my existing centralized whole house audio. I'm still waiting on actual streaming products or amps to come out. I would like to see 4 channel digital amps (I need 3) with airplay2 and PEQ but these have not been produced yet. The new marantz network receivers are looking very compelling since you get the added extra zone bonus and 5.1 audio so you can get a center channel for tv content when you need it, but then back to 2 channel audio when you don't. This solution is looking appealing although more than i feel like paying for random rooms I don't use that much. Denon HEOS amps with airplay2 are also looking like a good future option for individual rooms.

as a someone that likes to play with this stuff, i prefer something that i can tweak at will as opposed to something like control4 where the interface and everything else is locked in. I barely use the control4 for anything now except my doorbells and connecting to my security alarm. everything else is alexa (voice) or homekit (simple automations) depending on application.

I don't like having a single failure point for a system and my new setup is much more distributed where i can replace a light switch or other broken item on the cheap if needed.

For distribution, I believe that appleTV and Airplay2 will devastate a lot of existing home automation companies or startups. They do so many things well and relatively cheap compared to historical comparisons.

Blazar!
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post #9 of 21 Old 07-03-2018, 10:27 AM
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blazar, I have a somewhat similar (distributed) approach. Lutron Caseta, Ecobee, Alexa & Homekit, and looking at putting in Rachio soon. I'm also waiting for the locks to become more reliable and cross-compatible. I once (10 years ago) wanted whole home automation like Control4, but now, no. I don't have a huge home nor specific needs that can't be accomplished by current consumer tech.

Is there a reason you have a mix of both Wemo and Lutron? Why not use the Lutron lamp dimmers and convert all switches to Lutron?

I'm also trying to figure out a better way to integrate control of my whole house audio system (Nuvo GC). At least I can control it with an app, but it would be great if Nuvo would allow homekit integration of some sort. I doubt it will ever get there, so I'm likely stuck just having a separate app for the Nuvo (and for me, no need to fix what ain't broken by moving to newer tech).
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post #10 of 21 Old 07-04-2018, 10:09 AM
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You cannot have a smart home without a brain. You can do basic stuff, but you can't really turn the home into a coherent system if there's not a central controller to do that. It's not a single point of failure. All hardware should still work without it if you need to bring it down for a brief period of time. You are vastly more likely to have a stable, robust solution using something like CQC over Radio RA2 than with a bunch of IoTs widgets. Not to mention vastly fewer security issues.

And you aren't limited by what Amazon manages to hack into the Echo. The Echo is not an automation system and will never have the capabilities of one.

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post #11 of 21 Old 07-07-2018, 08:40 AM
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[QUOTE=brettanderson;56424168


After buying it, I found out that buried WAAAAAAAAY deep in their website, there is an ability to get a 30 day free trial.




FYI[/QUOTE]

Hi Brett, I took a quick look at our forum, but didn't see a post asking about Insteon in our Lighting driver thread (which is where I am assuming you would post). No posts under your forum ID. So...if you provide some detail on what you are using (hardware wise) and what you ran into, we can assist. Please be assured, we have LOTS of Insteon users. I personally have quite a bit of Gen1 Insteon hardware that is under myServer control. We fully support the popular ISY and Insteon PLM devices (for many years - since Day 1 of Insteon). Many of our users use the ISY controller. I just never heard of "Agave" before. Looking at their website, Agave is much more basic (and probably easier to configure) than the far more powerful myServer / Homeseer / CQC. With that additional capability, generally it's more difficult to setup.

It's important when putting together an automation system to ensure compatibility of the pieces and parts BEFORE buying more parts. That is why I recommend users that think they might want an automation system to research the "Master Controller" BEFORE buying hardware. Most all get into this the opposite way, and then run into issues of things not compatible with each other. It all has to be designed as a System of capability and hardware and software. We have much experience in this and are willing to assist.

If/Then/Else is completely supported. We support that in Macros and you can build commands in our "Command Builder" if you don't know the syntax to build the statements (ie: you are not a developer). We have also provided in our sample user interfaces an example of how an end user (homeowner) can build If / Then / Else type logic through a Wizard walk through application for those that are not technical. I believe this is the easiest method I have seen in an advanced automation system (like C4 / Crestron / Homeseer / CQC etc).

Sounds to me like you need a little coaxing in the right direction to use the software in an efficient manner. We are there to help. We answer most all forum posts within the day.

I am not a Developer, yet can build very complex automation systems using the tools provided.

Thank you for making the investment, please give us an opportunity to help you get the full value out of it. Send me a PM or post any outstanding issues on our forum.

I will look into putting more emphasis on our free 30 day trial as that is certainly something we want to make readily known. EDIT: I have added the free trial link to our Home page. thanx for the feedback.

EDIT: just checked our records that show we logged into your system and set ISY Insteon up for you. We also installed the latest user interfaces and answered a few of your questions no extra charge. Are there still open issues or questions? Or is this out of date info?

Edit: On further research, Brett has a very significant ISY based system that ISY advises exceeds their controller capabilities. We contacted ISY who was willing to work with Brett to provide him a custom firmware load that allowed for two ISY controllers. Brett would not allow anyone to assist him with his system as it was "critical" for his home's system functions. So, we tried to help...

Thanx
David
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post #12 of 21 Old 03-04-2019, 11:27 AM
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Hisma,

Could you post a video walking through the functionality of your system?

Can you go into more detail as to how everything is working for you? Is everything you currently have installed working through the single app, or does Allonis have to open other apps for complete functionality?

* ELK M1 gold security system - how mmany different sensors do you have on this system? Doors, windows, motion, glass break?

* russound MCA-88 8 zone WHA amplifier - I am considering this one, or NoHassle AV, or MonoPrice. How is it working for you?

* monoprice blackbird 4x4 HDBT A/V Matrix switch -Definately looking into this one. Are you happy with the choice?

* 2x onkyo receivers - Do you see any loss of functionality through Allonis? Changing the source on the onkyo?

* mobotix t25 video doorbell - So Allonis has to open the Blue Iris Software to view the cameras? do you have 2-way voice communication working? Is that directly integrated into Allonis or Blue Iris?

Bill Weeks
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post #13 of 21 Old 03-04-2019, 03:25 PM
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Hi Bill,
until Hisma reports in:

myServer integrates many subsystems into one customizable cohesive user interface. So one "App" (it's really a web site).

Can't remember how many sensors Hisma has, but myServer is completely scalable as is the ELK system.

Russound MCA-88 - works excellent. myServer driver is full featured support of the audio matrix.

monoprice - Hisma will have to chime in on this one. The myServer driver was written for Hisma's install, but Monoprice keeps changing their suppliers so we have to be careful that the driver will work with X Monoprice matrix.

Onkyo - the driver for myServer is full features. Yes, can change the sources.

Mobotix - no, Blue Iris does not have to be involved. The Mobitix camera supports MJPEG secondary feed. That is then displayed real time to the myServer web pages. I don't think we worked on the 2 way voice integration. I can't remember that one.

Once Hisma responds, he can fill in my gaps.
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post #14 of 21 Old 03-05-2019, 06:34 AM
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Hi Bill,
myServer integrates many subsystems into one customizable cohesive user interface. So one "App" (it's really a web site).
I meant to say "1 pane of glass". Every function is handled within. I don't want to have something else open up to have 2-way communication between me and the person who just rang the doorbell. Maybe a notification that there is someone at the front door, but when I answer, I am looking at the camera feed in Allonis, and I am carrying on a voice chat with that person in Allonis.

I don't want a system that does most things, but for some, it has to launch a separate pain of glass.

If it ties to another app for data or a feed, that is fine. I just don't want to have to jump back and forth between this & that to get complete functionality.

If I can see, and do everything within the Allonis website, then everything will be good.

I've seen how most things work in the demo, my one major concern is how the doorbell / camera / voice integration works.

I know Dave is working on the Ring Doorbell but he says their API is limited. To use voice, Allonis must switch to the Ring application to use voice. For me, no Voice integration could be a show stopper.
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post #15 of 21 Old 03-05-2019, 07:46 AM
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Sitting here thinking about this. I am curious how the audio streaming works.

Let's say I have Pandora & Spotify configured. How does MyServer output the audio to the Multi-zone audio system? Through it's soundcard? If so, how can you have zone 1 listening to Pandora & Zone 2 listening to Spotify at the same time? Would you have to have a separate computer for the 2nd stream as a source in the Multi-zone audio system?

In order to work as a source in a Multi-zone system, it has to be plugged into 1 of the source input jacks, doesn't it? I know Russound makes the MBX streaming devices and the XSource streaming device.

None of the multi-zone systems I know about support a streaming source over ethernet. They all have a souce input over RCA, Optical, or 3.5mm input.

Allonis website shows most of their audio / radio apps supporting up to
-Supports up to 4 streams.
-Output audio directly from myServer PC sound card or Remote zones using the A-V Agent.
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post #16 of 21 Old 03-05-2019, 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by b_weeks View Post
I meant to say "1 pane of glass". Every function is handled within. I don't want to have something else open up to have 2-way communication between me and the person who just rang the doorbell. Maybe a notification that there is someone at the front door, but when I answer, I am looking at the camera feed in Allonis, and I am carrying on a voice chat with that person in Allonis.

I don't want a system that does most things, but for some, it has to launch a separate pain of glass.

If it ties to another app for data or a feed, that is fine. I just don't want to have to jump back and forth between this & that to get complete functionality.

If I can see, and do everything within the Allonis website, then everything will be good.

I've seen how most things work in the demo, my one major concern is how the doorbell / camera / voice integration works.

I know Dave is working on the Ring Doorbell but he says their API is limited. To use voice, Allonis must switch to the Ring application to use voice. For me, no Voice integration could be a show stopper.
The "1 pane of glass"...yes, that is what myServer strives to achieve. The real issue is that no control system controls everything on the market. So, that's why you will see my posts consistently say that one needs to pick the control system FIRST and then the devices to control that are compatible.
the demo on allonis.com is actually a real instance of myServer running on a cloud server. So you are seeing "the real thing".
Doorbell video is a function of if the camera supports MJPEG. Because myServer is using HTML5, the more common h.264 (and h.265) requires a "player / renderer" software on the client device (your phone). We haven't added that yet.

Voice is a high priority and we are actively working on that.

Ring is not a good choice for a doorbell. They are really about you paying for their cloud service and don't care to integrate with systems that are local. Hisma chose Mobitix because it doesn't have that limitation. I think the pan / tilt is enabled via myServer too (can't remember specifically).
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post #17 of 21 Old 03-05-2019, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by b_weeks View Post
Sitting here thinking about this. I am curious how the audio streaming works.

Let's say I have Pandora & Spotify configured. How does MyServer output the audio to the Multi-zone audio system? Through it's soundcard? If so, how can you have zone 1 listening to Pandora & Zone 2 listening to Spotify at the same time? Would you have to have a separate computer for the 2nd stream as a source in the Multi-zone audio system?

In order to work as a source in a Multi-zone system, it has to be plugged into 1 of the source input jacks, doesn't it? I know Russound makes the MBX streaming devices and the XSource streaming device.

None of the multi-zone systems I know about support a streaming source over ethernet. They all have a souce input over RCA, Optical, or 3.5mm input.

Allonis website shows most of their audio / radio apps supporting up to
-Supports up to 4 streams.
-Output audio directly from myServer PC sound card or Remote zones using the A-V Agent.
Yes, the myServer controller has a "7.1" sound card. That allows the software to make four stereo discrete outputs. If these are wired to "dumb" amps, then each stereo pair can be a "zone" controlled via the software. More deluxe is each stereo pair is fed as source inputs to a matrix audio switch (like the MCA-88 or a Grand Concerto)...then, you can use myServer to control which MCA Input goes to which Output(s). You could listen to your favorite Pandora stream in the whole house, or just your study / bedroom / outdoors. The volume of each zone is then controlled via myServer telling the MCA-88 which audio amp to lower / raise. So no need for ugly single use keypads on the wall, and no need to pay for them. Better is to use that save money and put browser devices on same walls that can then control the entire system (not just the audio zone).

there is no need for the MBX streaming device. So, save the money.

The "Remote Zones": This is where the stream is managed by myServer and then the stream is "forwarded" to another PC in another area of the house (or another building) via ethernet to a "AVAgent PC" running myServer's AVAgent software. The sound card outputs on the Remote PC can then be additional sources for amps local to that PC. I have used this in the past (as example) in my Barn that has it's own audio system, but controlled via the home's myServer system. That same AVAgent can also facilitate content ripping and Movie playing (streaming - like Netflix) on that same Remote PC. Multiple Remote AVAgent PCs are supported (one PC for ripping, another area has one for audio listening etc).

For my Barn, I further simplified by putting a cheap raspberry PI with a decent audio card who's audio connects to an old Denon AV receiver that was kicking around that amplifies to the speakers. myServer's DLNA Server then connects to the Raspberry DLNA player and I send Pandora to the Denon that way. I control the Denon via IP connection via a myServer Denon software driver. Introducing that because there are lots of ways to accomplish a given task.

Last edited by smoothtlk; 03-05-2019 at 08:32 AM.
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post #18 of 21 Old 03-05-2019, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by smoothtlk View Post
Yes, the myServer controller has a "7.1" sound card. That allows the software to make four stereo discrete outputs. If these are wired to "dumb" amps, then each stereo pair can be a "zone" controlled via the software. More deluxe is each stereo pair is fed as source inputs to a matrix audio switch (like the MCA-88 or a Grand Concerto)...then, you can use myServer to control which MCA Input goes to which Output(s).
So MyServer can use 2 of the 7.1 outputs as a stereo pair, (I.E. 4 discrete stereo pairs) and send 4 independent sources (I.E. Pandora, Spotify, InTune, MyMusic) into 4 different source inputs of the matrix audio switch? That's cool...

Should I also assume that MyMovies outputs it's video stream to the MyServer HDMI port as well?
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Yes on the audio. yes it's cool. Definitely the most used portion of the overall system in my household.

myMovies is a database of meta data about the content. It's not the content itself. One piece of the metadata is where is the file located. (ie: hard drive folder and path or even physical changer slot).
Now-a-days, the content is on a hard drive. That folder location is sent to a supported "player / renderer". Examples include PowerDVD, Media Classic BE, the old TheaterTek, and several others. Those players typically run on another (or same) PC. If it's the same PC, then yes, that PC's HDMI port can then be connected to the Display TV OR (just like the audio example) to an AV Matrix switch that can distribute that video to X number of TV(s) in the facility (like in a sports bar or large residence). And yes, the myServer application then also controls the AV matrix switch (like those from AVProEdge, some Monoprice, etc). Once the movie is launched, then the myServer webpages can be configured to control the Player (Play / Pause / Skip etc). And, the player can also be on a separate PC.

Players: the player can be a PC (above examples). It can also be an Android TV device (running Kodi or Plex as examples). Or a Samsung Tizen or a Raspberry Pi (running Kodi). Or an Oppo Blu-Ray player (streaming).
And, old school, a DVD changer (sony as example) can be HDMI connected to the TV (or AV receiver, or AV Matrix switch).

myServer's myMovies can control all of the above with a customizable user interface (by the homeowner or installer or Allonis). It was the foundation of myServer and born on AVSForum for Theater Fans by Theater Fans.

Last edited by smoothtlk; 03-05-2019 at 10:24 AM.
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post #20 of 21 Old 03-05-2019, 11:32 AM
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Players: the player can be a PC (above examples). It can also be an Android TV device (running Kodi or Plex as examples). Or a Samsung Tizen or a Raspberry Pi (running Kodi). Or an Oppo Blu-Ray player (streaming).
And, old school, a DVD changer (sony as example) can be HDMI connected to the TV (or AV receiver, or AV Matrix switch).
So an Android TV Box running Plex. Would that just be the Plex client? The NAS I will have in this whole setup is a Synology NAS running PLEX Server, capable of transcoding 5 streams of 4k. So something like a X1 4k, Skystream 3 or EZStream would work?
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post #21 of 21 Old 03-05-2019, 11:36 AM
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Yes, Plex client on the Android TV box. And myServer has a Plex app that displays the plex managed content within the myServer user interface and controls the Plex client transport controls too. And, multizone. Not sure on the Skystream / EZStream..haven't tested. but you can!
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