High End AV/control options that are not proprietary? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
Forum Jump: 
 6Likes
  • 1 Post By sbarnesvta
  • 1 Post By David Haddad
  • 1 Post By David Haddad
  • 1 Post By Jeff Norman
  • 1 Post By Jeff Norman
  • 1 Post By David Haddad
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 30 Old 01-08-2020, 05:19 PM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Posts: 7
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Liked: 2
High End AV/control options that are not proprietary?

We are a few days away from closing on a large home (5300 sq feet) that was originally built with a Crestron system. The "rack" containing the Crestron system was stripped, but all of the HDMI, cat6, speaker, and control wiring from the old Crestron system is still in place. The Crestron touch panels and non-touch control panels are still in place in every room in the home. That is a lot of stuff, but replacing the rack items and reprogramming will be hugely expensive... and I absolutely hate being locked in to a proprietary "walled garden". Moreover, I am an experienced computer programmer, so paying someone 30K to program my system (and then not getting the "source code" and development tools I need to modify it myself when I decide to add a component or change how I want something to work) will drive me up a wall.

So, my question is whether any of the leading companies (Crestron, Control4 or Savant) can meet my basic requirements (or if not, what are my options):

1) Do any of these have anything like an open architecture that will allow me, as the home owner and without involving a dealer, to: (a) replace/upgrade/add hardware (both central rack devices, as well as sensors/relays/speakers/etc.), (b) reprogram my system, (c) interface with other systems via documented APIs that are accessible to a home owner. I don't care if it is difficult, but I do care the required tools and documentation are kept behind the dealer wall and not made available to me (or only at an exorbitant price designed to make it impossible for a home owner to maintain their own system).

2) I use commercial grade PoE routers, switches and wifi mesh (from Ubiquity if that matters). Will any of these proprietary systems play nice with my own network equipment, or will they try to force me to use their own proprietary network equipment?

3) As far as devices that I want to integrate into the rack home control system, we will have:

- 25 IP cameras (obviously will need some kind of NVR)
- sprinkler controller (currently the home has Rachio)
- 3 AV rooms each with in wall 7.2 surround and televisions
- 10 wall mounted LCD screens (large) for television in smaller rooms and for viewing security footage, etc. Most of these smaller rooms have 2-4 speakers in wall
- My own network and firewall (Ubiquity PoE switches, wifi mesh; likely will use Xfinity internet service)
- Amazon streaming services (must support Amazon prime streaming to multiple rooms)
- Some form of standard wireless device control and room to room signal distribution (Zigbee, Insteon, etc.) which could be via a bridge so long as controllable and programmable (e.g., if I want to add a light to control system, I should be able to add a controller to the switch on my own and add it to the system)
- HVAC control via Nest, ecobee, Alarm, com, or Honeywell Lyric
- Integration with a non-proprietary alarm panel (Elk or similar)
- Integration with Chamberlain garage door system

Any home control system will need to integrate all that (and more).

So - will any of the leading systems do what I want? Or am I going to be forced to choose between a hugely expensive and rigid walled garden and a complete DIY?

Appreciate thoughts. Unfortunately the manufactures of these systems do not seem to have much in the way of detailed specs for their devices.
Jeff Norman is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 30 Old 01-09-2020, 12:16 PM
Newbie
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Wichita KS
Posts: 5
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Liked: 0
Short answer is no. Those control/automation companies require most if not all work to be done by the dealer. You can do some basic programming using Control4 via a couple different methods but you cannot replace a device and change the programming to match. The dealer has to add the devices within the programming software. Crestron and Savant I believe to be the same but have more experience with C4.

ChooseSecurity.net AV Operations Manager
Control4 Programmer and User
jrbryant is offline  
post #3 of 30 Old 01-09-2020, 05:48 PM
Member
 
GRIMMACE's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 127
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 43 Post(s)
Liked: 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Norman View Post
We are a few days away from closing on a large home (5300 sq feet) that was originally built with a Crestron system. The "rack" containing the Crestron system was stripped, but all of the HDMI, cat6, speaker, and control wiring from the old Crestron system is still in place. The Crestron touch panels and non-touch control panels are still in place in every room in the home. That is a lot of stuff, but replacing the rack items and reprogramming will be hugely expensive... and I absolutely hate being locked in to a proprietary "walled garden". Moreover, I am an experienced computer programmer, so paying someone 30K to program my system (and then not getting the "source code" and development tools I need to modify it myself when I decide to add a component or change how I want something to work) will drive me up a wall.

So, my question is whether any of the leading companies (Crestron, Control4 or Savant) can meet my basic requirements (or if not, what are my options):

1) Do any of these have anything like an open architecture that will allow me, as the home owner and without involving a dealer, to: (a) replace/upgrade/add hardware (both central rack devices, as well as sensors/relays/speakers/etc.), (b) reprogram my system, (c) interface with other systems via documented APIs that are accessible to a home owner. I don't care if it is difficult, but I do care the required tools and documentation are kept behind the dealer wall and not made available to me (or only at an exorbitant price designed to make it impossible for a home owner to maintain their own system).

2) I use commercial grade PoE routers, switches and wifi mesh (from Ubiquity if that matters). Will any of these proprietary systems play nice with my own network equipment, or will they try to force me to use their own proprietary network equipment?

3) As far as devices that I want to integrate into the rack home control system, we will have:

- 25 IP cameras (obviously will need some kind of NVR)
- sprinkler controller (currently the home has Rachio)
- 3 AV rooms each with in wall 7.2 surround and televisions
- 10 wall mounted LCD screens (large) for television in smaller rooms and for viewing security footage, etc. Most of these smaller rooms have 2-4 speakers in wall
- My own network and firewall (Ubiquity PoE switches, wifi mesh; likely will use Xfinity internet service)
- Amazon streaming services (must support Amazon prime streaming to multiple rooms)
- Some form of standard wireless device control and room to room signal distribution (Zigbee, Insteon, etc.) which could be via a bridge so long as controllable and programmable (e.g., if I want to add a light to control system, I should be able to add a controller to the switch on my own and add it to the system)
- HVAC control via Nest, ecobee, Alarm, com, or Honeywell Lyric
- Integration with a non-proprietary alarm panel (Elk or similar)
- Integration with Chamberlain garage door system

Any home control system will need to integrate all that (and more).

So - will any of the leading systems do what I want? Or am I going to be forced to choose between a hugely expensive and rigid walled garden and a complete DIY?

Appreciate thoughts. Unfortunately the manufactures of these systems do not seem to have much in the way of detailed specs for their devices.
Home Assistant is open source and can probably do what you need. It's free. Things do break from time to time so not sure if that fits into what you are looking for but you can design whatever you want. Some pics of my setup for harmony remotes, hunter douglas blinds, kodi, weather, cameras, etc.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	HA3.PNG
Views:	43
Size:	247.7 KB
ID:	2667298   Click image for larger version

Name:	HA4.PNG
Views:	42
Size:	1.96 MB
ID:	2667300   Click image for larger version

Name:	HA5.PNG
Views:	37
Size:	1.60 MB
ID:	2667302   Click image for larger version

Name:	HA6.PNG
Views:	35
Size:	761.3 KB
ID:	2667304  
GRIMMACE is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 30 Old 01-10-2020, 01:49 PM
Member
 
sbarnesvta's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Greater Los Angeles Area
Posts: 136
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 27 Post(s)
Liked: 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Norman View Post
So, my question is whether any of the leading companies (Crestron, Control4 or Savant) can meet my basic requirements (or if not, what are my options):

1) Do any of these have anything like an open architecture that will allow me, as the home owner and without involving a dealer, to: (a) replace/upgrade/add hardware (both central rack devices, as well as sensors/relays/speakers/etc.), (b) reprogram my system, (c) interface with other systems via documented APIs that are accessible to a home owner. I don't care if it is difficult, but I do care the required tools and documentation are kept behind the dealer wall and not made available to me (or only at an exorbitant price designed to make it impossible for a home owner to maintain their own system).

2) I use commercial grade PoE routers, switches and wifi mesh (from Ubiquity if that matters). Will any of these proprietary systems play nice with my own network equipment, or will they try to force me to use their own proprietary network equipment?

3) As far as devices that I want to integrate into the rack home control system, we will have:

- 25 IP cameras (obviously will need some kind of NVR)
- sprinkler controller (currently the home has Rachio)
- 3 AV rooms each with in wall 7.2 surround and televisions
- 10 wall mounted LCD screens (large) for television in smaller rooms and for viewing security footage, etc. Most of these smaller rooms have 2-4 speakers in wall
- My own network and firewall (Ubiquity PoE switches, wifi mesh; likely will use Xfinity internet service)
- Amazon streaming services (must support Amazon prime streaming to multiple rooms)
- Some form of standard wireless device control and room to room signal distribution (Zigbee, Insteon, etc.) which could be via a bridge so long as controllable and programmable (e.g., if I want to add a light to control system, I should be able to add a controller to the switch on my own and add it to the system)
- HVAC control via Nest, ecobee, Alarm, com, or Honeywell Lyric
- Integration with a non-proprietary alarm panel (Elk or similar)
- Integration with Chamberlain garage door system

Any home control system will need to integrate all that (and more).

So - will any of the leading systems do what I want? Or am I going to be forced to choose between a hugely expensive and rigid walled garden and a complete DIY?

Appreciate thoughts. Unfortunately the manufactures of these systems do not seem to have much in the way of detailed specs for their devices.
1) The straight answer is No. If you have a business and set yourself up with a distributor RTI hardware and software is very easy to get your hands on. C4 has options for home owner programming, but requires a dealer to make hardware changes. Crestron and Savant require dealers to do the work and it is against dealer agreements to share the software (you can leave the home owner a copy of the source code).

2) Ubiquity is on the low end of the commercial space and is usually viewed on the prosumer side. With that said we use it on budget projects and it has its place. As far as a dealer letting you use your own network that would have to be worked out. We rarely allow it in our installs because everything these days is network based so when the customer says "I just made a minor change to the router and not nothing works, its a warranty issue you need to fix it" we try to avoid the conflict. With that said anything can be worked out in the SOW. I have a couple of clients in IT, everything lives on a network they designed and maintained, I give them the requirements and have not had any issues so it is possible. At the end of the day the major control providers are all using standard networking protocols for this aspect.

3) Any of the major control systems should be able to easily handle these requirements.

General Notes, I have a very similar setup in my house, I had RTI in my last place and switched over to Crestron in this house. I am a certified programmer for both by trade. Crestron has been a more solid solution with significantly more work upfront, but it is also a much more flexible solution. I am sure there will be many more comments about current DIY options, but the gist of what you mentioned is there is no way for an end user to do everything you want from one of the major control platforms.
jrbryant likes this.

SBTS-Inc.com
- Certified Crestron Master Programmer and DM T-4K, D-4K, E-4K, DM-NVX Certifications.
- RTI Programmer/ Driver Developer
- Rational Acoustics Smaart Certified
- QSC QSYS Lvl 2 Certified Programmer
sbarnesvta is offline  
post #5 of 30 Old 01-10-2020, 04:12 PM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
AV_Integrated's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Northern, VA - Washington, DC
Posts: 6,709
Mentioned: 103 Post(s)
Tagged: 2 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1684 Post(s)
Liked: 1215
If you work with the right dealer, then there are certain things which likely could be worked out. The major manufacturers limit their software release for good reason. But, some dealers will work with you more than others, especially when you have a technically proficient client who may need to allow for remote access through the client's PC vs. being on site directly.

Code is NOT something which many dealers hold hostage. This is just something that you need to ask and discuss with the programmer ahead of time. You just want a proper archive made available of the uncompiled source code with all touchpanels.

Depending on what your real level of integration is, will determine cost. High end control systems are designed to be turn key, reliable, and properly supported over the years. They also are incredibly reliable, which is rarely the case with open-architecture setups. They are often flakey and require constant maintenance, going down at the most inappropriate times.

You should reach out to the previous homeowner and find out who did the programming and see if you do have the ability to get the code. You can PM me as well and I would be happy to help you get that source code if it's available. You should take some photos, or put together a list of the equipment that you currently have so there is a better understanding of what all you have in place.

Be VERY aware: Crestron is not at all proprietary. Crestron offers a lot of very good gear, but their control systems are actually very open in terms of what they control. They can control IR, Relay, digital IO, ethernet, serial, and other devices through programming. The programming is not fixed, but can be written to deal with any number of scenarios and setups. But, they don't openly distribute software to everyone because everyone and their uncle would be calling for tech support, which would make them go broke.

Seriously, this is EXACTLY why systems like Crestron exist. But, you will want to talk to the right integrator. You will also want to think about what you want as part of the actual control system and what you don't.

I mean, you have a ton of security cameras... so what? What does the security camera system actually do? Does it have I/Os which trigger when they sense movement? Likewise, you say you want 'Amazon Streaming Services' - WTF is that? You mean you have Amazon Fire TV devices which you would like distributed? Or something else?

I'm not sure what your end goal is, but if you speak to a good integrator about your desires, you can help get a better understanding of the final goal. It will help you better understand what capabilities matter, and what don't really matter.

For example, Nest is extremely proprietary with their protocols and has historically changed them and locked people out of their interface. They are owned by Google, so of course don't work with Amazon. That is the f'n definition of proprietary!!! So, when you buy a HVAC controller, it actually needs to be compatible with 3rd party control systems such as C4, Crestron, AMX, and others. Smart devices are tough, because they are always changing and updating, and existing code may need to be updated and changed along with it.

But, say you have multiple displays in the home with standard HDMI inputs. You can use a HDMI matrix switch to share sources anywhere in your home. You can pick up a 16x16 matrix switch with audio downmixing for under $2,000 which is nearly fully loaded with all you need (1080p video!) or you can look at 4K networked solutions ($$$) for a good deal more cash. The opportunities and discussions can be pretty endless, and I like what you're initially discussing. But, you want to have the right discussion with a reasonable integrator before you start assuming that doors are really closed to you.

AV Integrated - Theater, whole house audio, and technology installation in the Washington DC metro area.
AV_Integrated is offline  
post #6 of 30 Old 01-10-2020, 10:48 PM
Senior Member
 
David Haddad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 496
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 41 Post(s)
Liked: 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Norman View Post
We are a few days away from closing on a large home (5300 sq feet) that was originally built with a Crestron system. The "rack" containing the Crestron system was stripped, but all of the HDMI, cat6, speaker, and control wiring from the old Crestron system is still in place. The Crestron touch panels and non-touch control panels are still in place in every room in the home. That is a lot of stuff, but replacing the rack items and reprogramming will be hugely expensive... and I absolutely hate being locked in to a proprietary "walled garden". Moreover, I am an experienced computer programmer, so paying someone 30K to program my system (and then not getting the "source code" and development tools I need to modify it myself when I decide to add a component or change how I want something to work) will drive me up a wall.
I'm not sure where you are getting your 30K number from but there is no way what you are listing is remotely close to 30K and there is certainly 0 issues getting the code. If you are an experienced computer programmer you should find an integrator that will program the system for you and help you to obtain authorization to make changes yourself.

There are NO "open" systems worth looking at. However there are certainly some outstanding options that while proprietary welcome DIY. Charmed Quark Controller being one.
Neurorad likes this.
David Haddad is offline  
post #7 of 30 Old 01-11-2020, 09:14 PM
Member
 
AlienWarlock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 89
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 34 Post(s)
Liked: 37
I think that is a bit harsh to say that there is nothing in the way of open systems worth looking at. Packages like openHAB or HomeSeer are very powerful and if you enjoy the programming and tinkering aspects, you can achieve something almost to the level of expensive proprietary systems. It is not going to be as polished as something like Crestron, but the point is you have complete control and more flexibility to mix and match components doing the DIY route.


I agree with the other posters in that if you want to go proprietary, you should tell the dealer upfront that you will be given complete access to make changes to the system. If they balk at that, don't be afraid to walk away like you would at a car dealership. Find someone who will take your money on your terms. As a software developer, you would be debugging any problems with your automation system on your own before asking for help from the dealer. And if the communication between the pro customer and dealer is friendly, the dealer would likely gain valuable insights on how the products are being used and how new problems are solved. I would think that would be a dream customer to for any dealer to have.

My semi-dedicated theater: The EXASCALE CINEMA
AlienWarlock is offline  
post #8 of 30 Old 01-12-2020, 11:45 PM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
smoothtlk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Michigan
Posts: 2,346
Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 306 Post(s)
Liked: 95
Homeseer and CQC and myServer aren't "open". ie: open source.
They are however much more flexible to supporting disparate hardware and do allow for complete DIY implementations.
They are supported commercial software based systems with many years of experience and positive track record.
and I would say myServer is every bit as polished as a Crestron UI. Certainly dependent on the Crestron and myServer programmer.
smoothtlk is offline  
post #9 of 30 Old 01-13-2020, 02:02 PM
Member
 
GRIMMACE's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 127
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 43 Post(s)
Liked: 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Haddad View Post
I'm not sure where you are getting your 30K number from but there is no way what you are listing is remotely close to 30K and there is certainly 0 issues getting the code. If you are an experienced computer programmer you should find an integrator that will program the system for you and help you to obtain authorization to make changes yourself.

There are NO "open" systems worth looking at. However there are certainly some outstanding options that while proprietary welcome DIY. Charmed Quark Controller being one.
Kind of a weird statement about open source. I enjoy learning and tinkering and I've mananged to learn how to code in yaml with Home Assistant. I think it depends on who you are. Do you want to spend thousands and work with a dealer or do you like learning and doing the maintenance yourself. Pros and cons to both situations. Neither is right or wrong.
GRIMMACE is offline  
post #10 of 30 Old 01-13-2020, 02:34 PM
Senior Member
 
David Haddad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 496
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 41 Post(s)
Liked: 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlienWarlock View Post
I think that is a bit harsh to say that there is nothing in the way of open systems worth looking at. Packages like openHAB or HomeSeer are very powerful and if you enjoy the programming and tinkering aspects, you can achieve something almost to the level of expensive proprietary systems. It is not going to be as polished as something like Crestron, but the point is you have complete control and more flexibility to mix and match components doing the DIY route.

I agree with the other posters in that if you want to go proprietary, you should tell the dealer upfront that you will be given complete access to make changes to the system. If they balk at that, don't be afraid to walk away like you would at a car dealership. Find someone who will take your money on your terms. As a software developer, you would be debugging any problems with your automation system on your own before asking for help from the dealer. And if the communication between the pro customer and dealer is friendly, the dealer would likely gain valuable insights on how the products are being used and how new problems are solved. I would think that would be a dream customer to for any dealer to have.
Quote:
Originally Posted by GRIMMACE View Post
Kind of a weird statement about open source. I enjoy learning and tinkering and I've managed to learn how to code in yaml with Home Assistant. I think it depends on who you are. Do you want to spend thousands and work with a dealer or do you like learning and doing the maintenance yourself. Pros and cons to both situations. Neither is right or wrong.
Fair enough Alien and Grimmace. I completely agree Grimmace there is no right or wrong.
David Haddad is offline  
post #11 of 30 Old 01-13-2020, 11:44 PM
Senior Member
 
cavalier240's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Charleston, SC
Posts: 405
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 64 Post(s)
Liked: 16
I also recommend CQC. You can program it to do whatever you want.

cavalier240 is online now  
post #12 of 30 Old 01-19-2020, 07:49 AM
Advanced Member
 
3fingerbrown's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 504
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 149 Post(s)
Liked: 52
Jeff, I had the same frustrations with my Control4 system. They allowed some control by users but not much. They home auto companies are afraid of pissing off their dealers who make money every time you want to tweak your system, and they think home users will screw it up.

For our new house I am ditching 3rd party control systems like Creston and Control4. Those systems are insanely expensive and obsolete right after you put them in. Everything in my house will be controlled by Amazon Alexa or Apple HomeKit. If I was an Android user it would be Google assistant. I will manage it myself and add or subtract each device to the system as needed. When it breaks I can fix it because I set it up and know how it works. I would rip out all the touch screens and leftover Crestron crap and EBay it, in wall touch screens are no longer necessary when portable screens are ubiquitous.

Theater 1.0- The Foreclosure Theater: https://www.avsforum.com/forum/19-de...theater-4.html
Theater 2.0 under progress: The Big Daddy Theater. https://www.avsforum.com/forum/19-de...y-theater.html
3fingerbrown is offline  
post #13 of 30 Old 01-19-2020, 06:52 PM
Senior Member
 
David Haddad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 496
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 41 Post(s)
Liked: 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3fingerbrown View Post
For our new house I am ditching 3rd party control systems like Creston and Control4. Those systems are...and obsolete right after you put them in.
Here we go...SMH. Strange how the Crestron processor I have is still going strong after 8 years. And it can still control and interface with all the newest equipment on the market. And smartphones, ipads and computers can work seamlessly as interfaces with it. As for those "in-wall touchscreens no one needs any more", I'll keep a few of those too if it's OK, since they do things no smartphone or ipad can do. Although that has nothing to do with whether they are in-wall or portable, it's simply that a purpose built touchscreen doesn't need permission from Apple or Android for what it can or cannot do.

OP should go with whichever approach he prefers. As pointed out both offer many options.

Last edited by David Haddad; 01-19-2020 at 06:55 PM.
David Haddad is offline  
post #14 of 30 Old 01-19-2020, 07:08 PM
Senior Member
 
David Haddad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 496
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 41 Post(s)
Liked: 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by GRIMMACE View Post
Home Assistant is open source and can probably do what you need. It's free. Things do break from time to time so not sure if that fits into what you are looking for but you can design whatever you want. Some pics of my setup for harmony remotes, hunter douglas blinds, kodi, weather, cameras, etc.
Hi Grimmace,

I checked out your screenshots, nice! One thing you might consider on the shade page is using two photographs, one with the shades up and one with them down. Based on the state of open or closed, the appropriate image would appear. Depending on the brand of shades you have you could even create a graphics object for the shades that moves as they are going up and down and if partially open shows their actual position on the window. Crestron and the more advanced Lutron shades provide that type of feedback, not sure about Hunter Douglas.
David Haddad is offline  
post #15 of 30 Old 01-20-2020, 01:56 PM
AVS Forum Addicted Member
 
thebland's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Detroit, Michigan USA
Posts: 26,516
Mentioned: 39 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2381 Post(s)
Liked: 1580
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Norman View Post
We are a few days away from closing on a large home (5300 sq feet) that was originally built with a Crestron system. The "rack" containing the Crestron system was stripped, but all of the HDMI, cat6, speaker, and control wiring from the old Crestron system is still in place. The Crestron touch panels and non-touch control panels are still in place in every room in the home. That is a lot of stuff, but replacing the rack items and reprogramming will be hugely expensive... and I absolutely hate being locked in to a proprietary "walled garden". Moreover, I am an experienced computer programmer, so paying someone 30K to program my system (and then not getting the "source code" and development tools I need to modify it myself when I decide to add a component or change how I want something to work) will drive me up a wall.
.
IF you're looking to off load some of your Crestron touch panels, etc drop me a line! I have a fledgling Crestron system and was looking at purchasing some panels.

Good luck!

Goodbye to a great audio and video genius and writer... JOHN GANNON. I enjoyed your friendship, wit and a nice long run we took around Indianapolis at CEDIA years back... and for buying my Runco 980 Ultra years back... you saved my ass! Rest in peace.
thebland is online now  
post #16 of 30 Old 01-22-2020, 07:46 AM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Posts: 7
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Liked: 2
Thank you to everyone! Rather than replying to each person (I read every post so really - thank you!) I am going to try to respond once and address most of the questions/comments as well as update my thinking a bit.

UPDATE: We closed yesterday, so the mess is now officially mine. I have had a control4 contractor and savant contractor out to give estimates and I now have a much better idea of what I am working with as a base (no #'s yet, but from comments I expecting north of 50K which will be a non-starter for me). The home has old (13 years old) Crestron speaker control panels throughout the home, and a few touchscreen units, all home run wired to the basement rack. While speakers are "home run" to the rack, the A/V systems are actually all local (no HDMI). It seems that the original system was designed to use the touchscreens in a hybrid (local A/V system control + central sound) configuration. To make matters worse, lighting is actually control4 but it also localized (no central controller).

The net of all that is (I think) that I am just going to pull out all of the Crestron wall controls and touchscreens and plaster over the holes. The C4 light switches will likely be replaced (unless I go with C4) with some other light control. No need to A/V at the rack since I don't have that. No need to distribute streaming video since I will have to set up my Fire TV boxes locally in each room in any event (FYI, that is what I meant by Amazon streaming).

My first priorities are to get security, video/NVR, whole house audio and lighting control up and running. The rest can come later.

OPEN SYSTEM NOT OPEN SOURCE: When I said in the OP that I want an open system, I did not mean free or open source. I also don't necessarily mean DIY (although that is an option). I am happy to pay a reasonable amount of money, especially for the initial install. And I respect proprietary software. What I really want is a system that interfaces with a lot of different protocols and systems, but has end user accessible documentation, software for programming (or a published and well documented API), and no access restrictions so I can add/modify/tinker. I don't want to be locked in to a specific protocol or product line especially as technology develops. I would like the controller to be well-supported and constantly evolving to add on new technologies that it can interface with (rather than forcing me to buy the technologies from the same controller manufacturer). It can otherwise be proprietary and not free.

It sounds like Crestron would be a great fit if they were not so focused on dealers, but I can't see how I would be able to do what I want without some dealer breaking a lot of rules for me. Control4 is probably out of the running since they seem to rely heavily on their own systems and have limited ability to play nice with competing products (for example, I am told that C4 will not work at all with Alarm.com which is a deal killer for me). Savant seems to be the only major controller left on my list and I am still looking at that.

I am leaning towards using something like Charmed Quark or Indigo or OpenHAB as the controller, and then addressing my subsystems using different (proprietary) open hardware. That way, I can build the subsystems first and get them working, and later add a central controller to tie everything together. Is that a bad/good idea? Thoughts?


1) Central processor or controller protocol/third party support needs to integrate and support at least: Alarm.com for security; Ring for wireless video and doorbell; Insteon and Z-Wave for device controls and some lighting; Harmony for remote controls; Lutron for lighting (maybe); Alexa for voice control; a wide variety of options for NVR integration. Looking now at

2) Audio. Since every room in the house (even the master closet) has in wall speakers, I need a rack mount multi-zone amplifier that can be controlled by a variety of different controllers. Suggestions appreciated this will probably be one of the first things I do even before the controller.

3) Video / NVR. Some of my cameras (10) appear to be older CCTV models on coax. I am planning to upgrade to modern 4K HD coax cameras, but I will need an NVR that is "hybrid" and capable of supporting both IP cameras AND coax/RCA video. The NVR should support as many controller integration options as possible - I don't want to be locked in to using the cloud or viewing software from the NVR manufacturer.

4) Remotes and A/V control. I have multiple Harmony Ultimate and Home remote systems right now, so I will probably start with that. Anything else I should look at that would be better? I really like the Savant and C4 remote controls, but if I am not permitted to program them on my own that is a non-starter (I upgrade my A/V equipment frequently). I will use Echo devices (Alexa) in some places as well.

5) Video / Doorbell. I am planning to move Ring over from my existing house for the video doorbell. Also looking at Skybell since it works with Alarm.com.

6) Lighting. I really like Lutron's high end solutions, but from what I have read I will not be able to get access to the programming software. The low end Home Depot stuff only supports 100-200 devices and has limited programmable functions. Ugh. That probably means I am going with Insteon or Z-Wave (or a mix of those). Unless I can indirectly control Lutron's high end stuff using the controller software from Indigo, OpenHAB, CQ etc.??

7) Alarm. Leaning towards Honeywell Lyric systems and panel, as they support just about everyone from what I can tell including Alarm.com monitoring which is who I want to use for monitoring. I will take over the wired sensors, and add modern wireless sensors to fill gaps. FYI, while I like Alarm.com for security, I am not a fan of their attempts to get into the smart home world. Their app is too limited for my needs (I have tried using Z-wave and 2gig with Alarm.com, but it is not flexible enough).

Let me know additional thoughts. Appreciate everyone's help and input.
Jeff Norman is offline  
post #17 of 30 Old 01-22-2020, 08:21 AM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Posts: 7
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Liked: 2
Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post
IF you're looking to off load some of your Crestron touch panels, etc drop me a line! I have a fledgling Crestron system and was looking at purchasing some panels.

Good luck!
I will definitely have several touch panels and also the audio control panels (all circa 2008 I think, though touch panels may be newer).

I will have a better inventory as I start pulling them off the walls, but FYI I cannot PM you since I am new to the forum so you will have to PM me.
Jeff Norman is offline  
post #18 of 30 Old 01-22-2020, 09:21 AM
Advanced Member
 
ezlotogura's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 704
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 259 Post(s)
Liked: 112
I am no Alarm.com expert - but it says it works with DSC - does it work with DSC panels or just a keypad? If Alarm.com works with a DSC panel, then it would work in Control4 and likely most other automation systems. Again I have zero experience with Alarm.com - I give my security business to a local outfit who does DSC, Honeywell, etc.
ezlotogura is offline  
post #19 of 30 Old 01-22-2020, 11:11 AM
Advanced Member
 
FlyingDiver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 656
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 244 Post(s)
Liked: 71
In general, I know that Indigo will do most if not all of the stuff on your list. I didn't go through it in detail. If you're interested in using Indigo, head over to https://forums.indigodomo.com and ask specific questions there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Norman View Post
6) Lighting. I really like Lutron's high end solutions, but from what I have read I will not be able to get access to the programming software. The low end Home Depot stuff only supports 100-200 devices and has limited programmable functions. Ugh. That probably means I am going with Insteon or Z-Wave (or a mix of those). Unless I can indirectly control Lutron's high end stuff using the controller software from Indigo, OpenHAB, CQ etc.??
You can get the programming software needed for RadioRa2 Level 1 (Essentials) by taking the online course. It'll only take a couple hours. That gets you almost all of the available hardware and up to 100 devices. That's actually quite a lot. You need to take the on-site course to get Level 2 (Inclusive) which is more hardware and up to 200 devices (two main repeaters). Though there are ways around that.

How many circuits do you have to control? Lutron is going to work better than Insteon or Z-Wave if you're talking about 100 or more circuits.

You need to activate all dimmers/switches with the Lutron software so the repeater(s) (hubs) will control them. After that, you can control the circuits from your HA software as well as the switches/keypads.
FlyingDiver is online now  
post #20 of 30 Old 01-22-2020, 11:13 AM
Advanced Member
 
FlyingDiver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 656
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 244 Post(s)
Liked: 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by ezlotogura View Post
I am no Alarm.com expert - but it says it works with DSC - does it work with DSC panels or just a keypad? If Alarm.com works with a DSC panel, then it would work in Control4 and likely most other automation systems. Again I have zero experience with Alarm.com - I give my security business to a local outfit who does DSC, Honeywell, etc.
Not sure about DSC, but I have my Concord4 panel connected to Alarm.com via the cell communicator, and it also is connected to my HA system (Indigo) via serial. They all work together just fine.

And my monitoring (and the alarm.com account) is via https://alarmrelay.com. The local company that did the install (through the builder) was going to charge me about double and couldn't explain what I was getting for the extra. So I told them to take a hike.
FlyingDiver is online now  
post #21 of 30 Old 01-23-2020, 10:21 AM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
AV_Integrated's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Northern, VA - Washington, DC
Posts: 6,709
Mentioned: 103 Post(s)
Tagged: 2 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1684 Post(s)
Liked: 1215
Depending on where you are, you really should speak to a Crestron dealer as well. C4 guys will only speak C4 and may not know the differences between what C4 offers and what Crestron may offer. As well, a Crestron dealer can really let you know where your system stands.

An existing Crestron system may layer in with other products very well.

One big consideration you will want: HOW LONG HAVE THESE OTHER GUYS BEEN AROUND?

Crestron is well over 20 years old. Your decade+ old system, is still FULLY supported by a manufacturer which has a long life outlook for their product lineup. It is still a working system. Pretty much everything else you are talking about didn't even exist when the home was built, but the existing Crestron system likely can control almost every single product that the new guys can.

Do you want to go through all of this again in 10 years when all these new guys are gone and aren't supporting a darn thing?

Also, there are plenty of Crestron dealers which will work with home owners in ways that support their customer first. It may skirt some rules, but not as much as you may think. Especially if you are paying them to support you on things.

I use all Crestron in my home and integrate it with Alexa and many other devices. Be aware that things like Alarm.com may be extremely proprietary and closed off. Alarm.com has the product, they control who has access to it, and what they publish. It's not up to C4 or Crestron, or anyone else if they allow for 3rd party integration. But, if they (alarm.com) publishes an open API, or you can get access to it, then a interface can be developed for it. It is not the control system which limits the interface, but the product you purchase. It's like buying a dumb lock which just uses a key, then saying that it is up to the control system to work with it. Well... no. You have to buy equipment from manufacturers that actually support an open API, or have published specifications that are designed around 3rd party control. Like I said... Nest works with Google products, but not Alexa. They are a CLOSED architecture system and pick and choose who they play with. So, it can be frustrating when your demands conflict with the reality of the systems which you would prefer to make use of. Talk to Alarm.com about their 3rd party integration, do not talk to manufacturers about their support of alarm.com. Likewise with other products you would like to make use of.

Long term, also consider what it is you want to control and how you want to control it to see if you really want/need something much different overall than what you have. I have put in distributed audio systems which work for 10+ years and touch on just the 'audio' portion of distribution. They can be upgraded to integrate with Alexa if desired without major overhaul to the old gear. It's a nice way to not yank a perfectly good system, but allow for upgrades. This is NOT something your Control4 guy would have a clue about most likely. So, take the time to talk to a Crestron guy who knows his stuff. He may surprise you.

AV Integrated - Theater, whole house audio, and technology installation in the Washington DC metro area.
AV_Integrated is offline  
post #22 of 30 Old 01-23-2020, 11:45 AM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
smoothtlk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Michigan
Posts: 2,346
Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 306 Post(s)
Liked: 95
"You have to buy equipment from manufacturers that actually support an open API, or have published specifications that are designed around 3rd party control. "

I will go one more step beyond that....buy equipment that WORKS with your chosen control system. Today. Not sometime down the road.
Yes it's easier if there is a published and open API, but there is still effort that needs to occur to develop the integration and test it.

Design, source, install and configure the system as a SYSTEM. And that starts with choosing the control system. Not the devices to be controlled.
smoothtlk is offline  
post #23 of 30 Old 01-23-2020, 10:06 PM
Senior Member
 
David Haddad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 496
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 41 Post(s)
Liked: 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by smoothtlk View Post
"You have to buy equipment from manufacturers that actually support an open API, or have published specifications that are designed around 3rd party control. "

I will go one more step beyond that....buy equipment that WORKS with your chosen control system. Today. Not sometime down the road.
Yes it's easier if there is a published and open API, but there is still effort that needs to occur to develop the integration and test it.

Design, source, install and configure the system as a SYSTEM. And that starts with choosing the control system. Not the devices to be controlled.
You mean I shouldn't start with a list of integration unfriendly products like Alarm.com, and then eliminate control systems from consideration because of something I imagined should be possible? Who'd have thunk ;-)? Next thing you know you'll be telling me it's the alarm system I should be integrating with and not alarm.com.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Norman View Post
I have had a control4 contractor and savant contractor out to give estimates and I now have a much better idea of what I am working with as a base (no #'s yet, but from comments I expecting north of 50K which will be a non-starter for me).
I'll never understand this type of lack of transparency and respect for peoples time that some homeowners engage in when getting estimates. If they made comments about it being over 50K they were explicitly giving you an opportunity to give them feedback. If that is a non-starter for you, then why didn't you have a clear discussion with them about budget so they could design something around your budget, or know not to bother putting together a proposal? Why have them go back to their offices and waste time at a job they make their living with, putting together proposals for amounts that are non-starters?
jrbryant likes this.
David Haddad is offline  
post #24 of 30 Old 01-24-2020, 08:44 AM
Newbie
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Wichita KS
Posts: 5
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Liked: 0
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlienWarlock View Post
I agree with the other posters in that if you want to go proprietary, you should tell the dealer upfront that you will be given complete access to make changes to the system. If they balk at that, don't be afraid to walk away like you would at a car dealership. Find someone who will take your money on your terms. As a software developer, you would be debugging any problems with your automation system on your own before asking for help from the dealer. And if the communication between the pro customer and dealer is friendly, the dealer would likely gain valuable insights on how the products are being used and how new problems are solved. I would think that would be a dream customer to for any dealer to have.
This is impossible for the companies that install Crestron, Control4, Savant, type systems. It is violation of the dealer agreements and their dealership can be terminated for giving that level of access to a client. Finding a dealer that is easy to work with and can accommodate your requests is key, but the above level of expectation will certainly end in disappointment.

ChooseSecurity.net AV Operations Manager
Control4 Programmer and User
jrbryant is offline  
post #25 of 30 Old 01-24-2020, 12:59 PM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Posts: 7
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Liked: 2
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyingDiver View Post
Not sure about DSC, but I have my Concord4 panel connected to Alarm.com via the cell communicator, and it also is connected to my HA system (Indigo) via serial. They all work together just fine.
According to my alarm guy, Concord is the only system that can worth with C4 and Alarm.com, but Concord is discontinued and end of life / not supported any longer according to 2 different installers I talked with (both were fans of Concord but would not install it now).

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Haddad View Post
I'll never understand this type of lack of transparency and respect for peoples time that some homeowners engage in when getting estimates. If they made comments about it being over 50K they were explicitly giving you an opportunity to give them feedback. If that is a non-starter for you, then why didn't you have a clear discussion with them about budget so they could design something around your budget, or know not to bother putting together a proposal? Why have them go back to their offices and waste time at a job they make their living with, putting together proposals for amounts that are non-starters?
I don't think I should have to defend myself here - I actually paid $300 for the quote which was specifically to cover their time in mapping out what was in the home and providing recommendations... I did tell him I was considering a DIY solution, and wanted to start small with something that would be economical and could be expanded later; but I had no idea what C4 or any other system would cost - other than Crestron which I knew would be over 100K and I told him I did not want to go near that. He made the comment about cost when I was pushing him, after over a week of not hearing back, to give me some idea of numbers so I would know if C4 is even a possibility (and so he wouldn't have to waste time drawing up a quote if it would be pointless). SO I paid for his time, and I also told him I was looking for a solution I could control, and that would be reasonable in cost. He just wasn't listening (or reading my emails carefully where I laid all this out). You should get the facts before throwing stones.

Or did you expect I would be an idiot and say "Please give me a system that costs exactly $40,000 because I have $40,000 I want to spend on something and this seems like a good idea even though I have no idea what these systems are supposed to do beyond what Sonos, Alexa, ZWave, and Insteon can do"? When I walked in to the dealers all that I knew was that Crestron would be over 100K and that was too much given the DIY options. I had no idea what C4, Lutron or Savant would cost, what functionality they provide over DIY (turns out - not much), or what the various tiers of functionality (audio, video, lights, etc.) cost with these systems. That was why I went to get proposals in the first place. How could I possibly provide a "budget" number when I didn't know what was possible? Isn't that the function of a dealer, to educate? Or maybe you just think I should tell the dealer what I can afford and trust give me what is the absolute best system for me; I really shouldn't try to figure it out myself, just write a check. Right.

Actually, I got a decent quote from a Savant dealer who *listened* to me. He gave me a scaled down system that would provide 70% of what I want and he would work with me on the DIY side so I could do my own programming and add to the system DIY as needed. I am not sold on Savant though. The A/V over IP is very cool stuff I admit, but Sonos seems to give me much of that capability for less than half the cost, and Sonos is DIY friendly. And as others have noted, I would be reliant on the dealer looking the other way and possibly getting into trouble to give me that level of access.. I am not really keen on giving Savant (or anyone else) my money under those circumstances, but I am still thinking about it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jrbryant View Post
This is impossible for the companies that install Crestron, Control4, Savant, type systems. It is violation of the dealer agreements and their dealership can be terminated for giving that level of access to a client. Finding a dealer that is easy to work with and can accommodate your requests is key, but the above level of expectation will certainly end in disappointment.
It is probably true that dealers can be terminated for that, but it is still the right thing to do. Crestron, C4, Savant and Lutron (and all of the dealers who install those) have a dying business model that is rapidly being replaced by consumer friendly, open API technology. Homeowners are also a lot smarter about tech than they used to me. Most millennials know how to write code at least in some high level language. Think about how ridiculous this whole model is for a minute (spend 100K+ on programmable light switches, speaker controls, and network equipment - but you can't access any of it on your own) and then realize that that business model only works when customers have no ability or desire to modify or integrate their own systems anyway. That is not the future.
jrbryant likes this.
Jeff Norman is offline  
post #26 of 30 Old 01-24-2020, 01:40 PM
Newbie
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Wichita KS
Posts: 5
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Liked: 0
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Norman View Post
According to my alarm guy, Concord is the only system that can worth with C4 and Alarm.com, but Concord is discontinued and end of life / not supported any longer according to 2 different installers I talked with (both were fans of Concord but would not install it now).



I don't think I should have to defend myself here - I actually paid $300 for the quote which was specifically to cover their time in mapping out what was in the home and providing recommendations... I did tell him I was considering a DIY solution, and wanted to start small with something that would be economical and could be expanded later; but I had no idea what C4 or any other system would cost - other than Crestron which I knew would be over 100K and I told him I did not want to go near that. He made the comment about cost when I was pushing him, after over a week of not hearing back, to give me some idea of numbers so I would know if C4 is even a possibility (and so he wouldn't have to waste time drawing up a quote if it would be pointless). SO I paid for his time, and I also told him I was looking for a solution I could control, and that would be reasonable in cost. He just wasn't listening (or reading my emails carefully where I laid all this out). You should get the facts before throwing stones.

Or did you expect I would be an idiot and say "Please give me a system that costs exactly $40,000 because I have $40,000 I want to spend on something and this seems like a good idea even though I have no idea what these systems are supposed to do beyond what Sonos, Alexa, ZWave, and Insteon can do"? When I walked in to the dealers all that I knew was that Crestron would be over 100K and that was too much given the DIY options. I had no idea what C4, Lutron or Savant would cost, what functionality they provide over DIY (turns out - not much), or what the various tiers of functionality (audio, video, lights, etc.) cost with these systems. That was why I went to get proposals in the first place. How could I possibly provide a "budget" number when I didn't know what was possible? Isn't that the function of a dealer, to educate? Or maybe you just think I should tell the dealer what I can afford and trust give me what is the absolute best system for me; I really shouldn't try to figure it out myself, just write a check. Right.

Actually, I got a decent quote from a Savant dealer who *listened* to me. He gave me a scaled down system that would provide 70% of what I want and he would work with me on the DIY side so I could do my own programming and add to the system DIY as needed. I am not sold on Savant though. The A/V over IP is very cool stuff I admit, but Sonos seems to give me much of that capability for less than half the cost, and Sonos is DIY friendly. And as others have noted, I would be reliant on the dealer looking the other way and possibly getting into trouble to give me that level of access.. I am not really keen on giving Savant (or anyone else) my money under those circumstances, but I am still thinking about it.




It is probably true that dealers can be terminated for that, but it is still the right thing to do. Crestron, C4, Savant and Lutron (and all of the dealers who install those) have a dying business model that is rapidly being replaced by consumer friendly, open API technology. Homeowners are also a lot smarter about tech than they used to me. Most millennials know how to write code at least in some high level language. Think about how ridiculous this whole model is for a minute (spend 100K+ on programmable light switches, speaker controls, and network equipment - but you can't access any of it on your own) and then realize that that business model only works when customers have no ability or desire to modify or integrate their own systems anyway. That is not the future.
All the levels of authorization that are required to login and work on a clients system extend far past a dealer just looking the other way. The dealer would have to actually make you tech within their own company just to get you a login that would work. While DIY is growing and definitely has it's place, our business isn't slowing down either. Our large system numbers go up year over year. If you can build a system that does everything you need it to do that's awesome. I was a tech for years and respect your drive to do so completely. From our experience, for every client like you there are just as many or more that are the opposite. Those types of systems are designed around those clients, not the DIYers. A typical client we work with wants nothing to do with working on their own system, they just want it to work. The key to what we do is control everything with a single interface. Quick example, we are upgrading a system today that we designed and implemented at a home that can control all these systems without ever leaving 1 app or on any of the in wall touchscreens. Not to mention most of it is automated by something else happening or controlled by a single keypad button press.

Home security cameras
Home alarm system
Locks on all exterior doors
Doorbell camera with push notification and audio through all speakers in the home
Blinds (scheduled and controllable, some open and close based on a door being open or closed and time of day)
Heated Floors
Patio heaters
Fountain pumps
High end distributed audio
Distributed 4k video
Control of every TV inside and outside
Centralized and local Lighting
4 zones of Hvac
Ceiling fans
Garage Doors
Landscape lighting
Pool lighting and pumps

ChooseSecurity.net AV Operations Manager
Control4 Programmer and User
jrbryant is offline  
post #27 of 30 Old 01-24-2020, 02:31 PM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Posts: 7
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Liked: 2
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrbryant View Post
... Quick example, we are upgrading a system today that we designed and implemented at a home that can control all these systems without ever leaving 1 app or on any of the in wall touchscreens. Not to mention most of it is automated by something else happening or controlled by a single keypad button press.

Home security cameras
Home alarm system
Locks on all exterior doors
Doorbell camera with push notification and audio through all speakers in the home
Blinds (scheduled and controllable, some open and close based on a door being open or closed and time of day)
Heated Floors
Patio heaters
Fountain pumps
High end distributed audio
Distributed 4k video
Control of every TV inside and outside
Centralized and local Lighting
4 zones of Hvac
Ceiling fans
Garage Doors
Landscape lighting
Pool lighting and pumps
Having everything in one app is definitely the holy grail and hard to do DIY, maybe impossible for all those systems.

But with just four simple consumer apps and virtually no programming (Ring, Alarm.com, Sonos and Harmony) I have done most of that except pool pumps, blinds and distributed video in my current house. And the pool pump is possible with a fifth app and control interface which I have but haven't set up yet. It is not anywhere near as slick as C4 or Savant, but I can upgrade everything I have with some minimal Harmony configuration, and/or Zwave controller rules and scene changes (and I do, frequently). The cost to setup something like this is pretty minimal and requires only a modicum of technical skill (and no programming knowledge).

My point is that "consumer" systems are becoming more capable and more flexible by the hour. They may not yet compete with your installs, but I would bet that Apple, Alarm.com, Google, Amazon and Sonos, at the very least, will become serious competitors in the midrange HA market and probably some high end over the next few years as they expand their capabilities and integrations. The amount of R&D $ and number of partnerships that these companies can generate (some would say force) is astounding. Any closed system (again, by closed I mean systems that require dealers to do integrations and updates, and do not offer open APIs for third party integration) will just not be able to keep up. An installer who sells his deep experience, knowledge and smarts will be better off in that future versus one who relies on restrictive contracts with only one or two relatively small technology companies.

In any event, my quest in the OP was really to find something like a "prosumer" system that is somewhere in between the Ring/Alarm.com/Sonos/Harmony (consumer) and Crestron/Savant/C4 (dealer) systems. I was really hoping not to have to go fully DIY as I realize that will require a massive amount of my time.. I am a little surprised that there is not such a system.
jrbryant likes this.
Jeff Norman is offline  
post #28 of 30 Old 01-24-2020, 02:48 PM
Senior Member
 
David Haddad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 496
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 41 Post(s)
Liked: 29
Jeff,

I owe you a big apology. I should not have assumed anything from your post. I read something that is one of my pet peeves and after a crappy day went off not knowing all the facts :-(.

Best,

David
jrbryant likes this.
David Haddad is offline  
post #29 of 30 Old 01-24-2020, 02:57 PM
Newbie
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Wichita KS
Posts: 5
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Liked: 0
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Norman View Post
Having everything in one app is definitely the holy grail and hard to do DIY, maybe impossible for all those systems.

But with just four simple consumer apps and virtually no programming (Ring, Alarm.com, Sonos and Harmony) I have done most of that except pool pumps, blinds and distributed video in my current house. And the pool pump is possible with a fifth app and control interface which I have but haven't set up yet. It is not anywhere near as slick as C4 or Savant, but I can upgrade everything I have with some minimal Harmony configuration, and/or Zwave controller rules and scene changes (and I do, frequently). The cost to setup something like this is pretty minimal and requires only a modicum of technical skill (and no programming knowledge).

My point is that "consumer" systems are becoming more capable and more flexible by the hour. They may not yet compete with your installs, but I would bet that Apple, Alarm.com, Google, Amazon and Sonos, at the very least, will become serious competitors in the midrange HA market and probably some high end over the next few years as they expand their capabilities and integrations. The amount of R&D $ and number of partnerships that these companies can generate (some would say force) is astounding. Any closed system (again, by closed I mean systems that require dealers to do integrations and updates, and do not offer open APIs for third party integration) will just not be able to keep up. An installer who sells his deep experience, knowledge and smarts will be better off in that future versus one who relies on restrictive contracts with only one or two relatively small technology companies.

In any event, my quest in the OP was really to find something like a "prosumer" system that is somewhere in between the Ring/Alarm.com/Sonos/Harmony (consumer) and Crestron/Savant/C4 (dealer) systems. I was really hoping not to have to go fully DIY as I realize that will require a massive amount of my time.. I am a little surprised that there is not such a system.
I can't say that I am aware of it if it does exist. Putting them all together is the niche that I don't see going away anytime soon. It's all the time in custom programming and coming up with unique ways to use a system that makes it custom and worth the cost. Imagine walking into your bedroom and a glance at an in-wall keypad tells you if all 9 of your doors are locked or if any of your 4 garage doors are open. Then by just pressing a single button, now all your doors are locked, the garage doors are closed, the alarm is set, your bedroom shades are closed, all the lights and AV in the house are turned off and your security lights are activated. There are so many custom things you can do with these systems that you can't come close to with the consumer stuff, without seeing it function in person it's tough to people to imagine.

ChooseSecurity.net AV Operations Manager
Control4 Programmer and User
jrbryant is offline  
post #30 of 30 Old 01-25-2020, 09:05 PM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
Bigus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: The South
Posts: 5,816
Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 696 Post(s)
Liked: 620
From reading your posts in this thread, I'm thinking a combination like:

CQC automation
Lutron RadioRa2 lighting
BlueIris software NVR

Would probably cover what you are wanting. Each is a commercial product but fully accessible to the end user. I don't think CQC offers any dealer programming but I could be wrong. I think you be responsible for all of that... upside is that you'd fully understand your system and could make changes later more easily. A dealer could set up RadioRa lighting, or you could do that yourself. There are local dealers, and a couple of online only operations that will draw up a lighting plan and do the programming. Or, just program it yourself from the ground up. 100 devices will likely cover 5300sq ft. I will be at maybe 140 or so but that is with some more sq ft to cover, and includes every switch in the house and at least a dozen motion sensors. BlueIris can handle analog cameras (with the right capture card installed) and digital, but with 25 cameras it might be wise to split them between two physical systems depending on how you intend to use them (motion activated, always recording, real time feeds, dynamic overlay information, etc).
Bigus is online now  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply Home Automation

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


Forum Jump: 

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

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