For those of you who are just beginning to research the options on Home Automation ("HA"), in particular which controller technology to base your installation on, maybe this overview-map can help somewhat. Mind you, done by a non-technical guy who places himself on the left side of this map.My primary observations:
There's no 'one HA controller fits all'. Your choice of HA controller depends on where you make trade-offs between 3-factors: (1) TIME
: How much time are you willing/technically able to spent on researching, setting it up, programming, tinkering and maintaining your HA controller/platform?(2) QUALITY LEVEL OF HA ENJOYMENT BY FAMILY MEMBERS:
Your ambition level of how good the HA experience should be for your family members, not you!
The spouse & kids only care that it works, that it's easy to operate, that it is idiotproof and that is very stable without any hassles for them. Don't underestimate how difficult it actually is to achieve an high quality level in this regard! To me, it's better to have a limited application (remotely switch one lamp, for example) which works perfectly, rather than an extensive installation which crashes all the time or reacts very slowly.(3) BUDGET:
Your financial budget. A large budget can significantly reduce your own time-spent & increase HA enjoyment quality, but the investment can increase rapidly if you seek professional advice and installation help! My own profile and my choice of HA technology
- I definitely sit somewhere on the left side of the picture. I'm not a technical guy, don't want to be and I don't want to spent too much time setting all the technical HA stuff up.
- My purchase of HA technology came before I realized the 3 tradeoff factors and I based my choice only on (2) ambition/quality, and a little bit on (3) budget. I can't afford KNX, but do want to achieve a similar level of premium HA experience.
- My choice was an "Homeseer combi" with RFXCom/Visonic + z-wave devices. Still an excellent choice versus KNX, but I underestimated the @#$! time spent getting it all set-up.
- If I was to start over as a beginner
, I would probably start with Vera + Z-wave devices. And in a few years if I ran into limits with the Vera, would I switch to Homeseer. Again, remember my user profile when interpreting my statements!My take on controlling-technologies left out of this overview:
X10, A10 Xanura Marmitek: old technology, slower response to changes, subject to interference.
FS20: should be in the overview, but I don't have any experience with it and don't know where to place it. Any input appreciated and I will add it to the overview
Arduino: I see it as part of the 'open source controller's' group.
DomotiGa: open source controller software. I've lumped it together in the 'open source' group.
Zigbee: very nice technology, probably technologically better than Z-wave. Some big problems though; virtually no interoperability between products from various manufacturers, severe lack of products in Europe.
Plugwise: nice technology, only for energy management, no general-purpose HA controller.Hence not this overviewLast thoughts: the 'Domoticaforum' here
This forum is a great place for us Europeans to pick up valuable information on what is/is not possible with Home Automation. The (vast) majority of contributors I would describe as being 'Right-siders' on the map; they tend to have (extensive) technical background, are willing/able to spent lots of time on their HA systems, experimenting with it, etc..
So, to me and other 'Left-siders' it can sometimes be overwhelming and confusing. But no worries, everybody here is very nice and helpfull!!
Hope this overview will help you in your search. Please let me know, I'm curious to find out if this non-techie stuff is of benefit to anyone out there
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