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Topic: The End-ALL of Home Automation Systems? (Read 553 times) previous topic - next topic

npentell

Hey Everyone, we are in the process of developing a new Home Automation system that will hopefully put an end to all the additional hubs and protocol integration problems. We were hoping to get your thoughts and opinions on our software and additional hardware pieces that we can include in our final revisions. Have a look at what we are creating. Along with the normal features you would expect in a good Home Automation system, here are some additional things we are bringing to the table. All input is appreciated, good OR bad!

The software and new hardware are what will set this system apart from every other system out there. The hardware makes getting everything connected a breeze. Each module has a unique set of features for your needs. You buy what you need for your application and don't have to worry about the rest. Each module comes equipped with wifi, z-wave, zigbee, and thread (Nest) technology so all those existing devices will work with our system. In addition, each unique module will have the appropriate hardware integrated in order to provide complete functionality for anything needed for the tasks at hand. For example, the Video module will include the standard wifi, z-wave, zigbee, and thread technologies and will also include and HDMI port for video to the tv, an IR port to capture remote control commands, and USB ports to charge devices and/or for additional addon devices.

The software is designed to bring all the smart home pieces together. Currently Nest devices, z-wave/zigbee home automation devices, wifi cameras, security hardware, and audio/video devices are generally separated from each other and the majority of them require a separate hub. The goal of the software is to provide an easy-to-use system that incorporates all these technologies in one system. Some of the features include:

Software

Dashboard software. You will have the option to mount tablets to the wall or sit them on the tables and use our dashboard software to monitor and control your system. Dashboards are a big piece that's missing from the popular home automation systems.
Ability to stream video wirelessly to any Video module in the home
Live TV integration
PVR to record live tv for later watching
Ability to set up a TV Guide
On-screen viewing of surveillance cameras on any TVs connected to a Video module, including the main hub
Automatic on-screen popup viewing of surveillance cameras when motion is detected. If motion is detected then the camera video will pop up:
On any TV that is on and connected to a Video module. Even if a show is playing, it will be paused and the video will display if the setting is enabled
On any TV that is off that is connected to a video module. The system will try to determine which rooms are occupied by a person and will switch on those TVs
On other devices with the mobile software installed such as iPads or mobile phones
On any mounted tablets that are running the dashboard software
Integration with Google Home and Alexa
Complete remote functionality. Ability to control Audio & Video devices that use a remote control, allowing apps and dashboard tablets to control your TVs and Radios
Video pop-up on doorbell ring & ability to "buzz" people in
Location awareness via fobs, sensors, and mobile devices
Security incorporation. Monthly paid home monitoring for fire, security, etc.
Active Inform. Verbally talks to you when doors are opened, where motion is detected, which devices are left on, etc.
Fully customizable rules
HVAC smart control
Integrates with smart home controlled air vents to only heat/cool rooms outside that room's temp threshhold
Suggests opening windows if outside temp is helpful in raiding/lowering inside temp
Suggests/Auto opens blinds or drapes to help change inside temp
Track when it's time to change filter
Constantly adding support for wireless devices that aren't designed for smart home integration. For example, even though your wifi body scale is not part of your smart home, the system knows it's located in the bathroom and that your are on it so your are in that room. And you can set rules accordingly.
Home intercom between any devices running the software including dashboard tablets and mobile devices.
Calendar integration
Local camera streaming. Option to only send video to the cloud for recording when motion is detected, saving bandwidth.

Hardware
Individual modules for each specific need including:
Video/Game - includes support for Z-wave, Zigbee, Nest, Samsung, Wifi, USB, IR, HDMI, Bluetooth (has ability to plug in controllers for playing games)
Internet - includes support for Z-wave, Zigbee, Nest, Samsung, Wifi, ethernet jack, USB
Audio - includes support for Z-wave, Zigbee, Nest, Samsung, Wifi,USB, Bluetooth, IR, headphone jack, speaker terminals & integrated amp to power external speakers
Extend - includes support for Z-wave, Zigbee, Nest, Samsung, Wifi,USB ,Bluetooth
Supports current Zigbee, Z-wave, Nest, and other home automations components. You can continue using all your current product without having to replace everything.


Additional phases will include the ability to stream DRM content (like roku and firestick), ability to recognize individuals by voice & personal devices and change to their rulesets, integration with IPTV services such as XUMO, sound sensor to detect the beat of the music and automatically change the light colors to the beat. AI to anticipate needs and movements.

The big change to hardware is it's delivery process. Everything will be based on your pre-existing wifi connection throughout the house. We will be sending all signals through wifi, including zigbee & z-wave, eliminating the need for placing several different types of repeaters across the house in order to get your different signals to function properly. A good example is for z-wave. When you place one of your modules in the Bedroom to watch TV, it contains all the appropriate hardware in it (hdmi, wifi, usb, IR, z-wave, zigbee, and a plugin so you don't loose your power from the outlet). All these technologies are either converted or encapsulated within the module and then sent via wifi back & forth to the hub. As long as you have wifi reception in that room you also have all the previously mentioned technologies available. All modules contain a zigbee and z-wave antenna so even if you are plugging in a module for TV,ethernet, or music then all the zigbee/z-wave devices in that room will automatically be connected as well.

Robin2

Two or three hours spent thinking and reading documentation solves most programming problems.

6v6gt

Quote
You buy what you need for your application and don't have to worry about the rest
How does all this fit into the "open source" Arduino concept ?
Are you simply providing a sort of abstraction layer for miscellaneous communications technologies, integrating them and making them available via some sort of API (libraries etc.) to the Arduino world ?

npentell

#3
Sep 12, 2018, 03:45 pm Last Edit: Sep 12, 2018, 03:48 pm by npentell
Hi 6v6gt, To explain a bit more about that quote "you buy what you need", we will be bringing a few new pieces of hardware to the market when we roll out.  We will supply a video module, an ethernet module, a music module, and possible a simple extension module.  All of these modules will contain zigbee and zwave antennas and have the ability to extend the range of those devices along with the ability to communicate via thread and normal wifi. 

The video module will contain an hdmi plug, a bluetooth antenna, an IR transceiver, and 2 usb ports.
IF you want to watch t or play games then you buy this one.  The network tuners are built into the hub so there is no additional equipment needed.  You can watch tv via the hdmi, use a regular remote to control it via the IR, use the app to control it, or you can use an internet or BT based remote to control it.  We will also be working on adding an emulator to play games from the hub so you can plug a usb controller into this as well and play away.  Or you can use a bluetooth controller.

The music module is for all kinds of audio.  It's unique plugs in addition to the other antennas will be a set of rca plugs that provide a line level output for hooking up a stereo receiver or a set of powered speakers.  Also, there is a set of banana plugs for directly powering some bookshelf speakers.  Initially, we planned on integrating a small speaker amp inside the module. We are pressed for space as it is so if we can manage it then that will still happen.  If we can't get it in there then we will be providing a small external amp that provides 100-150 watts of power for speakers.  There will also be and IR transceiver for controlling via remote control and Bluetooth for a remote or for sending the audio to nearby BT speakers.  The hub will function similar to the Google Home devices in that you can set up groups and send music to multiple locations or play in individual rooms.  So if music is what you want then buy this, plug it in and go.  In addition to online streaming music, the hub will have rca inputs on the back that way you can plug a nearby stereo or ipod in and send it to any or all of the music modules.

The ethernet module is for people who need a hardline in that room.  If you are looking to set up a home office with a desktop or would like to plug in a gaming device or other piece that doesn't have wifi then this is the piece you want. 

The extender module will be for just that, extending.  Got a wifi signal but don't want to put several unneeded zigbee devices in between 2 rooms to get things working?  This is the module for you.  automation signals are sent via wifi (while still keeping their encryption intact) and received and transmitted via the antenna contained inside. It will also contain additional wifi components to extend your wifi signal

The beauty of these "pick what you need" devices is that they have many uses outside of their main intention.  Lets say you have your hub installed upstairs in a nice clean display and you want to hook up an external drive for storage downstairs.  If you have any of our modules then just plug one in and attach the drive via the usb port.  The system work like a range extender for most of the technologies in the system.  The ethernet module is nice in the fact that if you are in a large area such as a warehouse then you can use the ethernet jack in reverse to extend your zigbee and z-wave signals to just about anywhere.  Using the existing wired network cables, run an ethernet cable from the wall jack in the building into the ethernet jack on the module and instantly have z-wave and zigbee range added to that area.  Or you could put one of just about any of our modules in any room if you want to add the ability to control tvs or radios in other rooms via the IR transceiver.

That's what we mean by the phrase "buy what you need". Since we can't fit everything in to each box, you just buy the module that you need for your particular application in that room.  I also wanted to mention that we are not utilizing arduino.  The modules themselves will contain SBCs in order to be able to perform several functions at once and not sacrifice performance.  We have two options for the hub and will be deciding to use either a quad core SBC or a mini atx computer depending on if we add anything else in to the box and are limited on space. The hub currently contains an HDD, a Left & Right RCA, and IR in & IR out plug, an ethernet jack, a Coax In, an hdmi out, 3 USB ports, all the automation antennas, and a 4-channels network tuner.

I did want to mention that we are still considering using arduino boards in the modules and that's why we posted in here to being with.  I'm just not sure if it's going to be feasible if we want to send 4k video.  Right now we are doing it successfully with an SBC and I would love your thoughts on using arduino instead or even a combination of the two

Robin2

TL:DR, again.  Can't take a hint :)

...R
Two or three hours spent thinking and reading documentation solves most programming problems.

npentell

robin2: We are make neat stuff.  U are liking neat stuff?

...better?

Robin2

robin2: We are make neat stuff.  U are liking neat stuff?
Now make a neat post that might encourage someone to read about your neat stuff :)

...R
Two or three hours spent thinking and reading documentation solves most programming problems.

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