Kai Kreuzer updates us on the progress of the open Home Automation Bus (openHAB) software project…
When somebody asked me last year, what kind of hardware he could use to start with, the answer was difficult. KNX was our focus, but this is not a suitable system for the average user – especially not, if you are not building a new house, but want to retrofit one. By now the question is much easier to answer – let me give you an overview of the new possibilities that the openHAB 1.2 brings:
Philips Hue Binding
If you are looking for a simple solution for light control, the Philips Hue system is a perfect fit. You can simply replace your existing bulbs and you can instantly switch them, dim them, change their color temperature or change their color altogether. The Hue System can be extended by the Living Whites plug, i.e. you can also include your existing lights or switch other sockets.
Note that a Philips Hue system is not really handy if used standalone. You can only use the features through a smartphone app. And yes, it is very tedious to always grab your phone when you need to switch the light. Luckily Philips encourages developers to integrate it. In combination with openHAB, you can therefore use wall switches (Homematic, KNX, etc.) or NFC tags to enjoy all the power of the Hue bulbs.
If you prefer a more professional touch, you could go for the DMX binding. DMX is often used for stage lighting and effects. The DMX binding makes use of the Open Lighting Architecture (OLA). You can program it to do fades and loops and many cool things. This is probably the binding of choice for illuminating your house for next Christmas 🙂
Want to integrate your plants in your home automation? Have a look at Koubachi! Koubachi offers sensors that you simply stick in your plant pot and which provides information about soil moisture, temperature and brightness. Koubachi then calculates watering instructions and makes sure that you will never forget to take care of your plants. The openHAB Koubachi now gives you access to all sensor values as well as to the calculated instructions. Koubachis’ slogan “give your plants a voice” thus becomes reality with openHAB text-to-speech. But instead of picking up the watering-can yourself, you could instead also automate your irrigation system!
HABDroid with NFC-Support
The Android native client is now available on Google Play Store! Besides full support of all new runtime features such as the color picker widget, it now comes with a fantastic NFC-support: You can very easily program NFC tags to use them to open a specific page in HABDroid or to directly trigger an action. This makes it possible to have quick access to what you need in a certain context (e.g. room). It can also be used instead of a physical button whereever it is difficult to have one – e.g. at a socket in the garden, at the garage door, etc. I bet you can think of a million other use cases for it!
There are many other new features and enhancements in this release – just check out our release notes to find out about all details. If you are interested in openHAB, you shouldn’t miss our upcoming talks and live demos: On April 24 you will find us at JAX 2013 in Mainz and on May 16 at GeeCON 2013!