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Thread: Bit quiet of late...

  1. #1
    Automated Home Legend Paul_B's Avatar
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    Default Bit quiet of late...

    Not seen a lot of activity in the Idratek forum of late. Hope that means the guys are working on something, or if not they are being kept very busy.

    Hope that things are not getting tough with all the Google, Apple and Amazon rubbish coming on to the market

    Paul

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    Automated Home Legend Karam's Avatar
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    Probably spent more time than we'd like on testing and debugging the new version of Cortex on a number of existing and new installations. There should hopefully be an announcement very soon on this.

    As for the latter, no tougher than usual . In some ways the hype helps and in others it doesn't. I presented an item on a particularly useful application of our technology (which would be pretty hard to match by any other) at a conference a couple of weeks ago. It was enlightening to hear the constant misuse of terminology just about by everyone. Something 'smart' was anything that was 'connected' and 'connected' meant to a cloud service. Followed by a 'smart' home being defined as just about anything which had a handful of such 'smart' devices. This then was followed by people providing various and, as you might imagine, wildly differing statistics on aspects such as the adoption rate of 'smart' homes in various countries, peoples' perceptions of smart devices, the value of the market for smart homes, and so on. Of course nothing new in all of this but it did kind of bring it home to me how some of the plot had been lost under the hype and also perhaps why people often become disgruntled by the promises of the so called smart home. To say nothing of some claims which suggested that people had found a universe with alternative physics .. .

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    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    Idratek / Cortex certainly offers capabilities way beyond what MS / Amazon / Apple seem to have so-far imagined ... am a fan of them all ...

    we were at a (Broadband) workshop the other day, and (our particular set-up having become locally fabled for it's advanced capabilities) first question we were asked was if we had AV (TV, HiFi, etc) integrated in ... what could I say ?

    NB: do recall Paul's integration of Squeezebox ...
    Last edited by chris_j_hunter; 7th November 2017 at 09:04 PM.

  4. #4
    Automated Home Legend Karam's Avatar
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    And here's another anecdote ... been trying to help source some electric binds recently and was really a bit surprised how difficult it was to get some suppliers to provide a quote for a simple 230v motorised set up with up/down/common connections, which we could then control via a relay module - having already routed power, network cable and back boxes to convenient locations for 6. Most seemed to start off suggesting battery and radio based products and then went to radio based 230V driven units but started to suck air when we said we needed just the plain motor (which in fact is cheaper than other two options). Couldn't understand why we wanted to use 'old fashioned' technology. I asked them how long they expected the batteries to last. Most answers were between 6-12 months ('a bit less at the beginning because people tended to play with them more'). So, that's six blinds with fairly hefty dimensions each probably being operated more often than manual control due to automation, with a battery life expectancy of 12 months each (I doubt). Meaning you could be changing/charging batteries every 2 months, let alone the possibility of them conking out when you were away. Then there was the question of integration.. yes it might be possible via this gateway and that cloud service and IFTTT... well I suppose better than hacking a handset, or is it?

    I understand fully well that the reason is that the market for retrofitted blinds is huge, so everyone is focussing their resources on this, but for those who are able to do the job properly I think it is going backward not forward in terms of the final user experience.
    Last edited by Karam; 7th November 2017 at 10:50 PM.

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    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    did you look at Somfy ...

    https://www.somfy.co.uk/products/int...sting_produit2

    being what we planned to use for a couple of windows, off a DRB relay ...

    Chris

    PS: Googled for possible source ...

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Somfy-24v...4383.l4275.c10
    Last edited by chris_j_hunter; 8th November 2017 at 11:31 AM. Reason: link no longer worked ...

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    Automated Home Legend Paul_B's Avatar
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    Karam,

    Glad to hear things are still doing well and the Idratek team are bringing more things to the market. "Smart" as you suggest seems to now mean connected so you can operate with your smartphone, but to us long term HA enthusiasts this doesn't seem very smart at all. A true smart home sorts itself out rather than require manual input from a phone.

    New technology and cost reduction should've made HA easier for the masses but that doesn't seem to be the case. Instead every manufacturer wants to develop his own standard on his own web server with no integration to anything else. Machine learning and AI have the potential to make things like natural language interpretation much more accessible, the compute power and relative low cost of "cloud" is something that wouldn't have been imagined five years ago, but is this going to be realised?

    One thing that does seem to be improving is the capability of IC at the same time as costs going down, guess we have to thank China for that. Maybe, just maybe I'll get my wish and see some energy reporting and switching at the appliance level in the not to distant future in an Idratek module (for now the Sonoff PoW with a custom image integrated into Cortex is as close as I've got)

    Paul

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    Automated Home Legend Paul_B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris_j_hunter View Post
    NB: do recall Paul's integration of Squeezebox ...
    Still adore my various Squeezebox. Gutted they are no more and once the units I have die it will be the end. My rave about Sonos but they are expensive, less capable, less flexible and don't integrate

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    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    thinking of integration beyond ... Kevin & xAP comes to mind ...

    but xAp seems really quiet, these days - some sort of interface with Cortex was developed, but never did get to understand it ...

  9. #9
    Automated Home Legend Karam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris_j_hunter View Post
    did you look at Somfy ...
    Yes indeed, just about everyone seemed to mention or use their motors and it was the Sonesse 40 WT I had in mind

  10. #10
    Automated Home Legend Karam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul_B View Post
    .....

    New technology and cost reduction should've made HA easier for the masses but that doesn't seem to be the case.

    ...
    It is far easier to market a 'single point product'. For example it is not difficult to describe a thermostat to your potential customers and at the same time they are really VERY forgiving to any downtime or so called 'intelligent learning' errors. It is also easier to sell something like smart phone controlled lighting. Again easy to understand function, so if easy enough and cheap enough to install then people will no doubt be tempted but perhaps eventually get disillusioned when they realise its a bit of a pain having to navigate your smart phone just to turn on your room lights. Even the use of a voice assistant to do this isn't so clever - lost count of the number of times I've been asked if I can turn my lights on (and of course off) with Alexa, to which I've replied - have you actually thought how much of a pain that would be to have to do routinely instead of automated lights? Of course I'm not saying it wouldn't be useful as an override method, but then the concept of fully automated lighting is itself not actually so widespread - most people have bad experiences of motion only based lighting automation, and automated lighting tends to actually be perceived as 'scenes' or perhaps sunset/sunrise schedules for coarse lighting.

    What our own hypothesis has always been - is that to get any useful kind of HA you have to take a holistic approach and you have to be prepared to use quite a lot of devices, with good integration being a key factor. So although the technology for building and connecting devices has got cheaper and more powerful the philosophy of most manufacturers has not changed hugely, and quite frankly from a business point of view why would you want to expose yourselves to the headaches of supporting a complex overall product when it is far easier to sell single point gadgets? Probably the time will come when this aspect can be more easily distributed, but I think we even have to get to the point where people grasp the differences between stateless and stateful structures.

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