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Author Topic: Home Automation has gone mainstream  (Read 24721 times)

bkenobi

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Re: Home Automation has gone mainstream
« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2016, 10:40:02 AM »

Light bulb speakers is a pretty cool idea actually.  My house has speakers in the ceiling of my kitchen, but if it didn't I could potentially have installed these into a couple recessed light sockets.  How cool would that be to just add music to your master bath by changing a light bulb!

That said, I absolutely hate combined devices that have one critical/expensive component (bluetooth speaker) linked to a cheaper one that's more prone to failure (light bulb).  I remember all in one motherboards when they first came out costing a fortune and needing replacement when a serial port failed (for example).

As for monitoring audio over your speakers, people should remember that every laptop in use has built-in speakers.   :'

dhouston

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Re: Home Automation has gone mainstream
« Reply #16 on: December 01, 2016, 11:47:21 AM »

As for monitoring audio over your speakers, people should remember that every laptop in use has built-in speakers.   :'
As do some shoes...
http://newatlas.com/shoe-phone/11166/
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HA Dave

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Re: Home Automation has gone mainstream
« Reply #17 on: December 02, 2016, 12:45:50 AM »

Light bulb speakers is a pretty cool idea actually.  My house has speakers in the ceiling of my kitchen, but if it didn't I could potentially have installed these into a couple recessed light sockets.

It's amazing the things that used to require wires... yet no longer do. Phones, door bells, intercoms, speakers, Internet connections. Yet I find really good speakers (like in home theaters) the Bluetooth devices aren't available... yet. Just smallish speakers. And I still have phone jacks in every room of the house. And some hardwired Internet [CAT5] as well. It would almost be hard to decide what modern wiring should look like. I've even considered pulling out my outside low-voltage wiring.

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dhouston

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Re: Home Automation has gone mainstream
« Reply #18 on: December 07, 2016, 03:38:02 PM »

And here's yet another approach.
http://hothardware.com/news/ge-introduces-stylish-circular-led-lamp-with-integrated-amazon-alexa-voice-support?google_editors_picks=true

From the article...
Quote
Voice is the future of home automation and the combination of Alexa with the GE LED table lamp, provides people with a simple and frictionless way to interact with their homes.

While details are still scarce, it appears that the ESP32 module I plan to use here...
https://www.laser.com/dhouston/ultimate-X10.html
also has voice capabilities so now I have to figure out how to make it fit into a light bulb.  :'
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solareclipse

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Re: Home Automation has gone mainstream
« Reply #19 on: December 13, 2016, 01:52:32 PM »

You know, I've been thinking about this a lot lately and it's the main reason I came over to the forum to see what everyone here was talking about.  I think this is the point where X10 get left in the dust.  HA tech has gone mainstream, and while a lot of it is still cost prohibitive to retrofit an entire house with (although the current day X10 stuff is as well) the newer, non PLC based stuff works better, is more reliable, and has far better interfaces - including smartphone/tablet apps and now the bevy of voice interface devices hitting the market.

I saw another thread where Authinx was considering dusting off some old products and reissuing them.  If that's their business plan, then this really is the end.  Maybe PLC hardware can still have a future with modern interfaces and controllers if they can figure out how to deal with the fact that these days almost every device plugged in isn't an incandescent bulb anymore and rather is a noise generator or a signal sucker.  These devices need to appeal to the mainstream, non-hobbyists that don't have the knowledge or patience to hack together a bunch of obscure components and software to make their systems work.  I fear X10 is already too far behind to catch up.
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dhouston

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dave w

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Re: Home Automation has gone mainstream
« Reply #21 on: December 13, 2016, 04:57:20 PM »

HA tech has gone mainstream,
I fear X10 is already too far behind to catch up.

I dunno. I have been in X10 since 1978 and HA since 1984 using a Commodore computer that recognized voice commands (sort of) and would control one X10 house code. I wrote articles and reviews for two home automation magazines in the 1990s and had our home written up in the Wall street Journal. In that time I have heard "HA is mainstream" many times. And it ain't there yet.

I thought Z-wave when it first came out would actually bring HA mainstream since soooo many companies signed up for licensing and manufacture of Z-Wave devices.  Now I tend to think Z-wave is more dead than X10.  Now with everything going WiFi I thought mainstream again is here, as do you. But I still don't see it happening. I hope I am wrong and you are right.

The huge impediment I see now is, even though WiFi is the commonality, protocols are not. Hue doesn't talk to LiFx, which doesn't talk to WeMo which doesn't talk to Nabe, which doesn't talk to .....  And MagicLight, Flux and others went Bluetooth. I suppose there are multi-language hubs out there, but now the problem you note of non-hobbyists not having the knowledge or patience to hack together a multi brand/protocol system comes into play. Lets not mention the feud between Amazon Alexa/Echo and Google Home. They have communality with Phillips Hue, but that's about it.

As far as X10 being too far behind to catch up. I agree. If X10 would act like they are really interested in modernizing the standard, products, and staying in business, they would, at minimum, get their dog WiFi module on the market. After that they should partnership with JV Digital Engineering for a high power repeater design that is simple to install (like Smarthome's clothes dryer plug module). Or design two RF coupled high power PLC amps, again like Smarthome had. Those two things would at least breath some money and hopefully life in to X10.

Like I said, I hope you are right about HA being mainstream. $0.02
« Last Edit: December 13, 2016, 04:59:42 PM by dave w »
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solareclipse

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Re: Home Automation has gone mainstream
« Reply #22 on: December 14, 2016, 09:19:13 AM »

I do agree that the article dhouston posted is spot on about a lot of things - Alexa is primarily built as a way to suck people into buying more stuff from Amazon, not as an HA interface - but the voice monitoring capability has now advanced in that there are multiple companies building their own versions of it, and for people to really adopt them, they need to be more than just a shopping tool.

I don't know how much interoperability we will see between protocols, I think we'll see more companies go the way of Philips and build cross-compatible systems.  They'll support Amazon, Google, Apple, and probably forget about Microsoft just like the app development space has gone.  Consumers today seem to be more brand-focused than functionality-focused anyways, just look at people that will buy Apple everything regardless of capability or price.  So hacking together stuff from multiple companies probably won't be on the average consumer's radar.  They'll just buy stuff that works within their preferred ecosystem.

I'm sure I'm just like a lot of people here - heavily invested in X10 stuff that is quickly losing it's luster and doesn't look like there's much hope on the horizon.  I want this stuff to be mainstream because we need the competition to drive down the prices.  $20 per light bulb is still a bit silly in my mind.
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bkenobi

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Re: Home Automation has gone mainstream
« Reply #23 on: December 14, 2016, 10:41:28 AM »

I thought when prices for X10 went from $5/switch to $20+/switch it was the end of cheap automation.  Then I saw what the other protocols were doing.  SmartHome/Insteon stuff is $50/switch.  ZWave/Zigbee stuff isn't much cheaper.  Then there's the light bulb stuff.  $20/light bulb IS rediculous when you consider how many bulbs are in the zones where you currently might have a single switch.  For me, if I wanted to automate my living room I'd either have to replace 2 switches or 6 bulbs.  If I wanted to do my game room, that's another 6 bulbs though I'd be looking at a 4-way switch setup.  Outside at my entry I have 4 bulbs.  Either way, the per bulb approach looks cheaper initially but gets way more expensive quickly.

On the other hand.  If you do have the capability to go per bulb automation, you can do lots more interesting things.  Maybe the lights over your TV or projector should be off but the ones at the back of the room should be at 20%.  Maybe you want to have the light by the bar turned on more so you can see where the beer is.  Maybe you want a different lighting arrangement depending on the light level outside.  Perhaps you want the shades closed in winter at night but open in the summer at night (for heating reasons).  Depending on the state of the drapes, you might want to do something different with the lighting too.  That's all pretty easy when you can control each bulb (given a decent HA controller).

I like options so all the new stuff is good with me.  I don't like taking local control away is all.

HA Dave

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Re: Home Automation has gone mainstream
« Reply #24 on: December 14, 2016, 03:00:57 PM »

I thought Z-wave when it first came out would actually bring HA mainstream since soooo many companies signed up for licensing and manufacture of Z-Wave devices.  Now I tend to think Z-wave is more dead than X10.  Now with everything going WiFi I thought mainstream again is here, as do you. But I still don't see it happening. I hope I am wrong and you are right.

The older I get.... The less often I am sure I am correct. But my "main stream" I didn't mean better for us serious hobbyist. I meant more and more people will be using some sort of Home Automation. And will become more familiar with HA uses, process, and brands.   

I do agree that the article dhouston posted is spot on about a lot of things - Alexa is primarily built as a way to suck people into buying more stuff from Amazon, not as an HA interface - but the voice monitoring capability has now advanced in that there are multiple companies building their own versions of it, and for people to really adopt them, they need to be more than just a shopping tool.

I don't know how much interoperability we will see between protocols, I think we'll see more companies go the way of Philips and build cross-compatible systems.

Actually... I think Alexa is sort of like broadcast television. It's commercial/marketing side pays the bills. The entertainment/service side attracts the users. That seems to work OK for TV.

And... it's OK with me if not every flavor of HA is compatible with every other brand (although that might be nice). I think I can easily work around using a few different protocols.   

I thought when prices for X10 went from $5/switch to $20+/switch it was the end of cheap automation.  Then I saw what the other protocols were doing.  SmartHome/Insteon stuff is $50/switch.  ZWave/Zigbee stuff isn't much cheaper.  Then there's the light bulb stuff.  $20/light bulb IS rediculous

I like options so all the new stuff is good with me.  I don't like taking local control away is all.

Thank goodness. I have a great supply of X10 (although a spare CM19a might be nice). Supply and demand will always control the prices. Thankfully there are LOTS of new stuff (more than my wallet can handle) and new ways of using HA. I mean... I started this thread with a slow cooker (sold at Walmart designed to be controlled from work)... using a smart phone. That's darn good Home Automation.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2016, 03:04:00 PM by HA Dave »
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racerfern

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Re: Home Automation has gone mainstream
« Reply #25 on: December 14, 2016, 03:19:41 PM »

In case anyone is interested, I ended up buying two Honeywell RTH9580 thermostats. Wifi but not zwave. I was surprised and disappointed that even though this thermostat knows the current outdoor temperature and even the next few days, it can't "keep the hydronic water" warmer than usual so as to not blast things when it gets good and cold. It seems such an easy thing to program.

Anyways, I also bought a HomeSeer S2 which comes with a Zwave and X10 plugin. Alexa sees the Homeseer which is a plus. I finally have a garage controller that "knows" if the door is open or closed and sends me a text message and/or email of the current status.

I've also seen mentioned the high price of Zwave items. I wonder why that is? Is there some licensing requirement? I can't think of any other reason as this electronic stuff is usually cheap to produce in quantity. It makes the X10 stuff a fantastic bargain IF it worked without all the interference and distance issues. Some kind of Wifi module or two would cover a house so easily. What a shame.
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dhouston

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Re: Home Automation has gone mainstream
« Reply #26 on: December 14, 2016, 05:01:23 PM »

I've also seen mentioned the high price of Zwave items. I wonder why that is? Is there some licensing requirement? I can't think of any other reason as this electronic stuff is usually cheap to produce in quantity. It makes the X10 stuff a fantastic bargain IF it worked without all the interference and distance issues. Some kind of Wifi module or two would cover a house so easily. What a shame.

I don't think there's any exorbitant license requirement. When they started, the license cost was high enough (about $500 IIRC) to keep DIYers at bay. I think the high prices are just because that's the way these companies do business.

As for WiFi, I've often wondered (in the forum) why Authinx doesn't add a $2 ESP8266 WiFi chip to their switches and modules and be done with powerline noise & signal sucker issues. For example...
https://www.itead.cc/smart-home/slampher.html
https://www.itead.cc/smart-home/sonoff-touch.html
https://www.itead.cc/smart-home/smart-socket.html
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solareclipse

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Re: Home Automation has gone mainstream
« Reply #27 on: December 14, 2016, 06:51:14 PM »

As for WiFi, I've often wondered (in the forum) why Authinx doesn't add a $2 ESP8266 WiFi chip to their switches and modules and be done with powerline noise & signal sucker issues.

 :)%

This is my biggest problem with my X10 stuff.  It's simply not reliable enough.  My house isn't that big and I have a PLC01 and an SR751 and a signal bridge and multiple filters and I still have devices that either sporadically work or don't work at all.
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JeffVolp

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Re: Home Automation has gone mainstream
« Reply #28 on: December 15, 2016, 09:20:18 AM »

After that they should partnership with JV Digital Engineering ...

I tried that and even sent them samples, but apparently they weren't interested.

Jeff
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bkenobi

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Re: Home Automation has gone mainstream
« Reply #29 on: December 15, 2016, 10:50:16 AM »

I tried that and even sent them samples, but apparently they weren't interested.

Jeff

Then they are doomed.  Without your XTB-IIR, my system was maybe 50% reliable in some locations.  I'm now at 100% reliable.  If they don't understand the limitation of their own product and strive to make true fixes widely available, they don't have a chance of saving the business.  Instead of making the XTB products available, they are wasting time and money on the WiFi unit that will be minimally useful by the time it hits the streets.  They don't manufacture components people want (see the thread about what modules should be resurrected) and they don't seem to incorporate suggestions people have made.  At least Jeff (among others) have provided options that work at an affordable price that actually exist...
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