We want to help users to see in one place ALL the capabilities of a home automation system, which are available on the market.
We need your input for the following:
Expand the list of the capabilities
Expand the list of the vendors
Add metrics for each capability (based on your experience with a specific vendor)
There are many things that can be considered when a user chooses his/her home automation system and by creating a table with ALL capabilities of available products we aim to help users to choose the system that best fit their use-case.
The list of the capabilities will be updated here.
Anyone should be able to access it, and we’ll add your feedback in the excel. Below you can see a screenshot from the excel:
Vera Plus is a pretty decent hub, if you mainly use Z-Wave devices.
Local control - but has issues with keeping correct time when Internet is down.
Functional web based UI7 GUI for setup and configuration purposes.
Backup / Restore feature works well and auto backups to cloud servers
Wide range of 3rd party plugins for expanding support for other devices, I use AltHue and Logitech Harmony, Hikvision amongst some others.
Had a good range of 3rd party dashboard apps, AutHomation HD, Imperihome now Home Remote and others.
Easy to use HTTP API / Luup Requests users can use to control and integrate their Vera with other apps and devices on their local network.
PLEG and Reactor rules engines by 3rd parties that are very powerful. These plugins alone saved Vera Control LTD !
Can use LUA code in scenes for more advanced things.
Good community forum, but lacking from what it once was now.
Firmware updates have historically been very dicey if they will brick your system or not or give you problems. Although firmware seems more stable in recent times.
Terrible Vera mobile app that never worked well and is getting worse.
Slow to add new device support and its linked to firmware updates, Ezlo have made it possible on their firmware, for them to add device support without a major firmware update needed which is good.
No native Rules Engine and limited logic in Vera scenes.
Customer tech support not as good as it use to be, in the past it was excellent and very responsive and one reason I stayed with Vera over the years.
Vera / Ezlo seem to be lacking in overall direction as far as development is concerned. They have some good ideas but poorly implemented sometimes and they have some bad ideas where is UI8 web GUI ? That should of been built first after the core firmware not dicking about with the Vera mobile app.
Life time of the Vera hubs now in doubt and new ones can no longer be purchased except the flagship Vera Secure?
Vera also had Zigbee support that never worked properly. Ezlo should be addressing this on their new hubs with Zigbee 3.0 but the two Zigbee devices I have tried pairing haven’t worked properly as yet.
Fully local; via HTTP/HTTPs, mobile app and optional HSTouch interface.
Multiple user accounts with variable permissions
Backup/Restore functionality for HS system as well as ZWave network. The whole install can be moved to a different machine in just a few minutes, even shifting from Linux to Windows.
Wide range of 3rd party plugins (100 free currently available, 200-300 paid) Integrations range from MQTT to Tesla, Roomba, DSC, Ecobee, Rachio, etc.
Can work with other dashboards (Home Remote, Imperihome)
Can use RESTful and JSON calls to integrate with other systems (i.e. HomeBridge)
Event and automation system is very robust, comparable to PLEG and Reactor out of the box.
Supports .NET scripts (VB & C#) & development on Windows and Linux (via Mono)
Good community forum with plenty of activity. (At the time of posting, there were 344 users online at forums.homeseer.com)
Software updates have been reliable and easily managed.
Mobile app available for Android, FireOS and iOS. Fairly customizable. Not as good as Imperihome or AuthomationHD but adequate. Can be set to only work in local mode for use on tablets. Is lacking an import/export/backup function.
Z-wave environment is very robust. Device inclusion/exclusion is very fast (a fraction of the time of UI7) and there is a dedicated free app to make device provisioning easy (ZTool+ for iOS and Android). The Zwave network doesn’t have “heals” that impact performance as the mesh management does a very good job at establishing routes on enrollment. System uses command class interrogation to create sub-devices. Supports associations, multiple controllers, sending parameters in events, as well as changing lock PINs in events. There are advanced Z-wave apps (Z-Seer+) that can edit Zwave networks manually and update firmware (Z-Flash)
Tech support seems ok. Beyond one issue with terminology during installation, I haven’t actively needed it in the past 2.5 years. I have used their videos to set up scene controllers with illuminated indicators, which was handy.
Each “generation” of HS software seems to last about 5 years. Prior generations remain fully functional, though new plug-ins are curtailed after a while and older plug-ins drop out as developers pull them from distribution. (HS2 forums are still live and posts still pop up every week or two)
HS devices are capable of significant upgrades as they have hardware that is between 4x and 20x more powerful than Vera/Ezlo hardware (Pi3b/x86).
HS has a built-in Text-To-Speech option under both Linux and Windows.
HS can run as a service on Windows and can use Windows Accessibility Services for fully local speech recognition for voice control. Local voice control can be set per-device and there are functions for voice reminders.
Built in support for sending/receiving email
Robust logging system. Searchable by keywords and dates. Scripts can readily add custom log entries.
Supports Alexa (both voice APIs), Google Assistant and IFTTT.
HS4 came out earlier this year. It is closer to HS3.5 than a total rewrite as all HS3 plugins will continue to work. The improvements are intended to expose plugins to the mobile app and introduce some additional optional cloud services.
HomeSeer is actively expanding their 1st party HomeSeer branded plugins. They hired one of their prolific 3rd party devs to make new plugins. They also purchased 90% of his plug-in library and made them free.
HomeSeer store supports payment processing and ties it to the main license, making it easy for developers to monetize their products.
Plugins can be installed manually outside of the homeseer store.
Zwave development is stalled, waiting on updated SDK from ZWave Alliance. Current SDK doesn’t support Windows and Linux development in one code base and HomeSeer wants to keep the two environments in synch.
native (1st-party) Zigbee support is still a work in progress without using a paid plug-in (JowiHue).
UI is not shiny. It’s not “Java applet” ugly but it’s not pretty.
HS has a LOT of options and generations. It can be difficult to find documentation for a specific feature for a version of HS (VB vs. C#, Windows vs Linux/Mono, etc).
because there is so much functionality out of the box, scripting is more the province of app developers, creating a barrier to entry by segmenting it from “end user” documentation.
A sizable chunk of plugins do require payment. They can all be tested for 30 days, so it’s not a blind purchase. Often there is a basic “free” app and then a more feature-rich paid version.
Advanced Z-wave apps (Z-Seer+, Z-Flash+) are paid purchases or require the PRO license. Their mesh network quality is high enough than Z-Seer is not really needed and there are only a few z-wave devices that have firmware updates so it’s not always a problem.
Some technologies’ 1st-party plugins are abandoned. Insteon is the most notable.
The “Pi” version of the HomeSeer license is limited to 5 plug-ins. I only run 7 plug-ins and could readily live without 2 of them.
HS version upgrades are not free. The cost varies based on license version. (They do make the new version a free upgrade for purchases made after the new version has been announced)
Can you give ideas of metrics you are hoping to see? Most of what were listed are features.
The only item I listed above that is quantifiable as a metric would be dis/enrollment time.
With the ztool+ app, from pulling out my phone to a successful dis/enrollment is under 30s. My experience with dis/enrollment on vera was it took 2-3 minutes, factoring in the dis/enroll failures that happened regularly on Vera. I never experienced that on HS, even with 30-odd devices that were on both platforms.
Enrollment would only take longer if you need to add a new room/group or don’t like the name automatically added.
The heals that cause vera Linux firmware zwave to be nonresponsive aren’t present, so thats 0/x -> infinity as a percent.
Are we talking proprietary closed source commercial solutions or open source solutions.
I could list off at least eight different products (platforms) I’ve used or are currently using and this would take forever. While I think the question is quite valid it appears to be a little naive. No single platform is better than the other as there’s no platform out there that will satisfy all you needs.
The Vera Edge was a very credible controller for me for a number of years but like most devices on first purchase I outgrew it as I discovered other options and my home automation needs grew.
I mainly use C#, JS and Python now and choose my platform based on this. Hardware wise I use the single board computer, in my case the Rock64 4gb running Armbian Linux. I’m able to build my own kernel to satisfy the peripherals I use. It’s a tinkering board and that’s what I like about it. All the software platforms I run on it do so happily.
In short, the Vera Edge was an ideal entry point for me when compared to something like HomeSeer price wise. Since then other solutions have been implemented which better suit my needs.
I do hope that the new incarnation of the Vera controller, the Ezlo hub serves the user as reliably as the Vera controller did for me starting out.
Very hard to measure since there are so many parameters that are different in different setups… Must be tested in same Place with same conditions… I can’t do a test and then compare it to one that you have done…/Mattias
A Home Automation ‘platform’ should support the integration, within a home, of a wide variety of devices, support a wide variety of communications protocols, over a wide variety of media. The ‘platform’ should not lock the user into one vendor’s product family, nor into a specific technology. X-10, Z-Wave, UPB, Ethernet, ASCII, Wi-Fi, and all other other means where one device passes data to another device need to find a home in a single platform, which offers the ability to respond to events through user-written scripts in plain language. A system that enables the use of Apple’s HomeKit or Alexa or whatever else to control all manner of switches, dimmers, etc regardless of manufacturer, industry association, protocol. It is out there. Go find it.