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Thread: What are you looking for in a automated home system? Your dream system

  1. #1
    Automated Home Lurker
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    Default What are you looking for in a automated home system? Your dream system

    The smart home system is growing frequently and new developments in HA are improving and changing.
    I really want to know what people are looking for when they choose their automated system. Design? Quality? Price?
    Are you looking for one supplier or an integrated system?

    Best regards
    Chris

  2. #2
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    Basically I think most HA systems are based on compromise.
    These days it is possible to go the one supplier route. I can remember in the early days I would need about three or four separate systems that kind of talked to each other, this was achieved by writing customs scripts and educating the client that the system can only work this way and not any other. Often it would take several trips to a clients house to revise or modify or add new scripts as conditions changed.
    Now it is much easier with a lot of systems almost working straight out of the box in a basic capacity.
    Another problem is the longevity of a system, how many people have invested thousands in a system to either find the company that supplied it is no longer in business or the company that makes the system no longer trades or the equipment is now obsolete.
    So what am I looking for in a system.
    I like the modular approach, so you can add when needed. This helps with costs, as you can do the major stuff first then when the budget allows do the secondary stuff.
    I also prefer a completely self contained system like Loxone, that doesn't require a computer to be running 24/7. Mind you there a few system that I would choose that need a computer running like Idratek.
    When talking to clients I always listen to what they want and what they might need in the future, and then based what they have told me install a system I think they need.
    There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to HA as everyone has different ideas on what they want to control, and how much they want to spend.
    IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.
    www.casatech.eu Renovation Spain Blog

  3. #3
    Automated Home Lurker
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    Another problem is the longevity of a system, how many people have invested thousands in a system to either find the company that supplied it is no longer in business or the company that makes the system no longer trades or the equipment is now obsolete.
    Does this still happens frequently in todays market?
    If so, are people more careful about choosing their suppliers, in case this happens?
    It also seems like people are scared of their personal information being leaked, do you think they are choosing a more recognizable brand to feel more "safe and secure"?
    Lets say that a new company, not known to any British consumers are releasing a product in UK. It seems like it will be hard for them to gain customer loyalty, because the customers does not have any relations to them, in addition to the ignorance of the longevity of the firm in the market.

    If I am correct, it can be cheaper to build your own smart home, with a integrated system, rather than choosing one supplier?

    Do you think people new to the HA market will more likely choose ONE system from ONE supplier rather than multiple systems, to prevent additional efforts and possibly stress?

    Best regards
    Chris

  4. #4
    Automated Home Guru Vangelis's Avatar
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    Ref Personal Information in the 'Cloud' - Why to ABC Corp need MY information to be sent to the cloud (using MY bandwidth). All my HA systems are modular and expandable and none of the information is sent to the 'Cloud' - If I want remote access I just VPN into my Router...

    Ref Integrated Systems - Consumer confidence is building (thanks to sites like AutomatedHome) to carryout an HA installation by themselves. Aircover is provided by vendor forums as opposed to Support Contracts / Professional Installation

    The simple formula is.... If you have the money and don't have the time or inclination to self-install CHOOSE Professional Installation.....If you don't mind getting your hands dirty and building a solution over time with either integrated or bespoke systems CHOOSE DIY Installtion

    Vangelis

  5. #5
    Automated Home Legend Karam's Avatar
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    Just a note on the 'computer running 24/7':

    I know it is perhaps more than just a semantics issue but all systems have computers running 24/7. The question is when does one call a computing element 'a computer'. I think people view a 'PC' as somewhat different to something boxed up in small enclosure. Perhaps viewing it as something more complex and therefore less reliable, more power hungry, etc. But really its also about how much functionality you want. The IDRATEK system will be quite happy to run at say something like a KNX level purely on the distributed module microprocessors (REFLEX) but you won't get the rich holistic and context sensitive features which the power and oversight of a bigger computing platform can provide. This makes a huge differernce to the end result. Also remember that quite intensive tasks such as video and audio processing are also being implemented.

    Other systems which do have some centralised computing element will still be running some more powerful and more complex computing platform in a box. It may even be a Windows based platform - just that being in a box you might not view it as a PC. But the problem with selling your own badged PC in a box is that this will be more costly and will get outdated very quickly.

    The distinction is blurring even further now, as we see increasing platforms on small solid state hardware. The question then becomes more o/s related. I.e do you feel uncomfortable about using one o/s over another. Well anecdotaly - I know a relative who has had a mix of Windows 7 and Windows 8 running an IDRATEK system for the last 4 years. Not a single PC issue in that time period. On the other hand they have a set top box which looks to be based on an Android platform and this has to be fiddled with, power toggled and even manufacturer reset at regular intervals. Probably not the fault of Android but the point I'm making is that the choice of o/s does not necessarily imply anything about reliability. Application reliability likely matters more than that of the o/s at this level.

    As was commented in the IDRATEK forum it is now possible to get a full Windows touchscreen tablet capable of running our system on quite frugal power requirements for around 75, and I'm sure the competition to provide increasing specs for the price will only be heating up. My opinion is that this probably represents better value than even the new Raspberry Pi, certainly more powerful from our perspective. It might also put a different perspective on what constitutes a 24/7 PC.

    Addendum: Forgot to mention of course systems which use a 'cloud' based computer. My opinion is that it may remain prudent to have something local for any serious automation. Said relative lost their internet connection for about 9 hours the other day. Would have been a been a bit of a problem if it had been under cloud only based control, particularly since it isn't just some simple application like a remote control thermostat.
    Last edited by Karam; 4th April 2015 at 07:14 PM. Reason: appended

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