Blog post about Ezlo VOI - text chat with Alexa and Google

Well @melih elih,

here’s the thing… I use tablets extensively myself and… I use webUIs on it to setup everything. Tablets are extending more and more to be laptop replacements. Thanks to the big screen, we can do a lot more webUIs and avoid using plugins. By webUI, I mean a local web server which can run without any cloud interaction and this is the key.

Well that’s the thing, I don’t want to. I actually have no interest in having anything run on the web and be internet dependent. I think we discussed this before.
Don’t get me wrong. I think a mobile app is a good thing but I see it as a limited extension to the API and even to the webUI on which it should be built upon because it will be internet dependent and because of the limited screen real estate. It is mere optional gadgetry/cherry on the cake for a solid local UI. Your approach reminds me of what nest/google or ecobee have done: mobile app first and then cloud hosted webUI. Not only is it not very innovative (ST is already doing that) but goes against the localized processing vision you expressed. I got rid of every single such devices from my home after having been burnt by one too many of them. Think about it: Say I have a router breakdown or an internet outage at my house or say I don’t have any mobile device available. You mean nothing gets processed or in the case of the mobile app, I can’t even change configuration of my automation?
A webUI is accessible by mobile devices and desktops/laptops. Not so for a mobile app… It is by design limited in capability and usability. So the dashboard etc… all great if it could be done on a webserver and with a mobile webpage version… and no mobile app! No more android and iOS version for example and fully locally hosted. Just a thought… And ohh yeah that’s already how my setup is but it takes a lot of expertise to setup. If EZLO could make it easy and accessible to the greater public, you would have breakthrough in the market.

Not the scene running on the web (we call it cloud). The scene creator running as a web app. The discussion is about creating a “web UI”…its not about running scenes on the cloud.
As mentioned before we already running scenes locally on Atoms…(despite you saying it can’t be done…remember :wink: ) as well as cloud, we can do both! You are misreading what I have written! You are conflating us creating a “web UI” with running Scenes in the cloud (we don’t refer to running scenes as running on the web) and re-hashing stuff again :frowning:
Also, for a techie like you it should be easy enough to run a network scan to see we already have a web server running in Atom! (again despite you saying Atom can’t do it …remember? ) . So you already have full access to Atom locally.

Everything gets processed…locally…the whole scene is stored and executed inside Ezlo hardware. I really don’t know what you are talking about…There is a HUGE disconnect between your perception of our hardware and reality of how it works. Happy to send you few samples of Atom v2, plughug etc so that you get to play with them.

If an app runs on smartphone locally it doesn’t mean it requires the internet. A dashboard running on your app could easily be running locally, making a local connection to ezlo hardware without having any internet. Today our app connects directly to ezlo hardware (as ezlo hardware has a web server running inside). And as I mentioned before, our choice of nativescript as a technology will allow us to run it on 3 different platforms (web, ios, android).

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Hi,

At this moment the app is lacking nearly all functionality other than to add a device, have a tiny bit of control on it (most device functions are not available in the Android app) and create scenes. All other functions the Vera web GUI delivers that are key for a mature home automation setup are lacking, and even the web GUI lacks quite a bit (zero trouble shooting at network or device level for example). It will be a huge effort to add all those function in the mobile app and most I do not want to use without having a keyboard.

So I agree all the integration efforts are nice, but you are still missing most basic functionality for a proper controller. Right now they are good for the sunny days where everything works right out of the box and will never go faulty ever. With our z-wave experience we know that is not how it really works, and that is not just because of the current state of the vera controllers. I fear you will be in this pre-alpha, alpha, beta stage for a long time. The real world will be back to normal sooner I expect.

Cheers Rene

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@reneboer would you please give 2-3 examples of the functionality the app is missing please?
thanks

HI @melih,

That’s an easy question that has me worried coming from you (try the Web GUI for Vera’s as you do not seem a user of that). No offense of course but this is just a starters list that you should know if this is your business.

Core Z-wave functions:

  • Polling frequency, wake up interval, defaults are too chatty for a large network
  • Setting device options. Defaults are not always what you need. Especially power meters can be too chatty like reporting multiple times per minute.
  • Device associations. Basic Z-wave function that is an absolute must.
  • Updating Z-wave neighbor node routing tables. many devices must be included close to the controller and you move to the actual location.
  • The replace failed function. Again devices fail, this is a basic function for replacements.

Some basic functions for the Controllers:

  • Setting the controller location. How else will geofencing work?
  • Controller backup & restore
  • Controller transfer
  • The Z-wave/Zigbee functions in Settings
  • The network settings. I would like to turn off Wifi if it is not used.
  • Notification settings. I may not want my phone to beep as often as you think.
  • Advanced scene editor. Will be key once the Ezlo controllers start supporting plugins.

So bit more then 2-3 to add to the backlog.

Cheers Rene

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I concur with René’s expert assessment, and will take his suggestions one step further:

  • Allow editing of app-created devices (e.g. Reactor sensors)

The app is utterly useless to me if I want to tweak how one of my Reactor routines performs, since Vera Mobile only lets me do two basic things with them… rename or delete.

How is that even baseline functionality?

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Rene,
thanks for that. (so what you are saying : no feature parity between webui and smartphone apps, I get it now).
we will gratefully receive any more wishes you might have that might not be in webui or smartphone app.

I feel I should share a bit of background about me since you assumed about what I might use or not:
I was one of the early users of Vera with the very old “green” controller ( Mi Casa Verde Vera Control VeraLite) and using the web UI to manage it. It was a totally frustrating experience and I never felt satisfied with the product. That’s when I decided to build a company called Ezlo. Because I wanted a better experience.
When the opportunity came about to acquire Vera, I told the then current owners that the reason why I was acquiring the company was because I knew the product sucked! (which was a bit confusing to them). So I bought Vera with an open eyes that I was coming in to a broken product, broken engineering and pissed off users. However it had great people working for the company. We put engineering processes to turn this amazing talent back to work and we are seeing the results by their output where there is a release every 2 weeks! To someone involved in development this achievement will not go unnoticed.
Coming back to my point: I have been user of the webUI since 2013! (yes long time to be frustrated!) and I am taking all that frustration by building a better platform. Do I use the webUI frequently? No, not used it on production for couple of years now. (Neither has it changed last couple of years!).

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Virtual Devices is on our roadmap.

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I will differ with you on this by saying that the webUI was probably one of the only half working thing about vera. What is frustrating is what is underneath: inconsistencies of the API and UPnP implementation, absurd data structure and managemement, over-automation of too many processes, blindsiding users, poor use of hardware resources, very poor management of cloud connections and drift towards dependence, abuse of luup reloads every where in the code instead of resolving root causes.
Actually the two good elements which kept me on the vera is the local webUI and the API. Two things which are changing and not for the better from what I can see, one being deleted and the other completely redone with no hope of compatibility. Granted you changed a lot of the broken stuff too but the outcome is that there is no bridge and you are keeping and even growing, from my experience, what was really bad which is the mobile app reliance and the cloud dependence while apparently making little progress on fixing what is really horribly bad and are foundational: the zwave command queue and the overall wireless stack handling. zigbee is nowhere to be seen. zwave is under construction. Basically, you broke/removed what worked, kept what was half broken and made it bigger or worse and made no progress on the horrible while fixing a lot of smaller bad stuff, most of which were trivial. The net is not positive.
This is why I left.

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Agreed, especially after all the frustration I’ve encountered during beta testing of Vera Mobile on my Android phone. Basic things like cut-and-paste, or editing the VOI Command field (which as late as revision .399 continues to thwart edits by constantly throwing the cursor to the end of the phrase!) are – for users like me – done a million times more easily on a PC than on a phone.

My Vera editing sessions usually last hours. My phone’s battery, alas, does not. Nor does my willingness and ability to hold and swipe and tap with my neck cocked at odd angles that long.

Once beta testing concludes, there’s essentially 0% chance I’d ever use VeraMobile™ again; certainly not beyond simple “Turn On” / “Turn Off” actions in a pinch. (Still, the app would find a place in my arsenal if it worked as a Tasker plug-in, and could replace AutoVera™ in that capacity!)

And while I understand this entire thread is meant_for_the_Ezlo_product_line_only(!!), I do not own any of those devices yet so must rely entirely on my test Vera Edge unit for testing. Again, once testing concludes, it, too, will be retired.

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Man, you are amazing at getting everything I say wrong!!!

I never said webui didn’t work!

Stop spreading falsehood! Please read the release notes of the latest betas.

Maybe @rafale77 was confused by this line .

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Only stating facts:

  • No webUI to date
  • Only mobile app which is even more broken than the original vera one (some new capability added but a lot removed and fundamentally unuseable) and by design can never fully satisfy everything which needs to be configured on a home automation platform.
  • Cloud first approach. Local processing now available but not useable because of the previous two points, making it actually even worse for useabiliy than the current vera platform.
  • No zigbee available. Yes claim of release not but nowhere to be seen or tested
  • Zwave stack clearly still under development so I keep asking: What are we testing here if the zwave stack is not even complete? The above two are the very first pieces of the puzzle without which any testing of automation, API, UI or mobile app is utterly moot. This was and is by a very long shot the vera’s achilles heel. Without it validated to have been fixed, everything else is just glitter creating distraction.

What @akbooer developed is proof that the vera could be fixed. Reusing exactly the same API, using a very similar UI and even data structure. Only swapping out the zwave stack and zigbee stack to zway and home assistant, I now have a perfectly functionning system doing every thing you have on your roadmap and more… I could even potentially run it on the same hardware.

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Correct

Incorrect

Incorrect

Incorrect ( iOS beta app v3.39(2) has the zigbee support

)

Incorrect.

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I really admire rafale’s patience :slight_smile:

@melih - on what controller do we have zigbee? can this work for vera plus or secure?

@melih, since you’ve took over the forum and the company, as notable items I’ve seen some work done for vera, for the firmware side which was great.
For the mobile apps, the apps went to shit - at least recently.
I’m immagining that’s because of guys pushing the same app to work with ezlo controllers.
That’s really bad - and even you’ve admitted that you only use ezlo controllers with an app that’s designed to work for years with vera.
Maybe the app is working well with those now, but that’s useless.


Installations
50 000+
50k users and I’m assuming that maybe 100 of them are using ezlo.
Also look at that score… if 10% of them still use the downloaded app and 100 users on ezlo, you are currently pissing off 4900 users at once, releasing with no features (FOR VERA) except for that new dashboard (which also looks pretty rough).


Installations
10+

I hoped that this app will save vera and you’ll leave the old app alone.
10 installs? not even your own employees adopted that didn’t they?
But from the last update (29 février 2020) this is dead. 2 months no updates?
Can we assume it’s failed?

Also - what is this? It has atom on it. It’s from the old company? It’s definitely dead.


Updated
August 17, 2018
Installs
100+

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It just striked me… you’ll never fix vera firmware or mobile because your goal is to move users to ezlo.
I do hope that you’re not dumbing things down on purpose. That would be pretty unethical.

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I am perplex. But on the other hand not even surprised.

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What I do not get is why the hell you bought a company like vera if you did and still do not like the product. Vera is Vera, you can say what you want about it, but many (mostly) of us use it for zwave controller. I think Vera should have been bought by one that really like Vera and make Vera better (not a new ezlo controller).

It might that I do not make myself popular with you Melih, but that’s not my reason for being on this forum :-).

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Lets separate the hardware vs Firmware vs Vera app discussion please.
For hardware we do not care if you use Vera hardware or Ezlo hardware at all.

The issue is Firmware: The old vera firmware is not maintanable and we have been very clear about this all along that we would be building a brand new Firmware for you guys to run your own Vera hardware. We have built a whole new Firmware and there is a beta of it available here .
As to mobile Apps, there is constant improvement on the apps for both IOS and Android. There is a new release every two weeks.