I’ve used several different DIY Home Automation systems for the last 20 years…X-10, Insteon, and now Z-wave (Homeseer, Fibaro HC2, VeraPlus). Having used so many different systems, and now having had the Vera Plus since it shipped, I have suggestions on how it could be improved…not just a little bit, but to a level where it blows away the competition. Evey system has its pros and cons, but as I use my Vera, I find it very close to being great. But it’s not. Homeseer is much more powerful, but its ugly as hell, and very expensive if you add it up, especially where plugins come in. Fibaro HC2 had an attractive UI and improving mobile app, but its z-wave engine was crap even when it worked. (45-second delays, etc)
That being said, I’m a Vera newbie, but an Home Automation and Web Development veteran, and between the two, here is my Vera Wish List in no particular order:
Comment, agree/disagree, correct me if I’ve asked for something already there, etc. as you will.
1) OAuth Authentication: It is now a widely used standard. Would allow for native integration with other products, such as…
2) Native Echo Support: Without a Bridge.
3) Native Nest Support: Vera should natively support ‘Works with Nest’
4) UI8 (or UI7.5):
a) Standardized Bootstrap 4 UI: Why wait for BSv4? Theme Support. (It’s in beta, )
b) Tighten some things up. The slider value should be to the right of the slider at all times, and with that, you eliminate wasted white space.
c) Same goes for the favorites star / button. Make it a triable overlay and tuck it up in the corner of each device.
d) For multi-sensor devices, find a way to incorporate them all into one single “display device” and hide the others for use in scenes, etc. (see #9 below).
e) There’s just so many ways to tweak the UI to make ir more economical on space while still being mobile-friendly. (I’ve designed several Bootstrap 3 Websites, so I speak from experience here.)
5) Work out back-end UI bugs: My Console Log is littered with errors. (Even 404s, which should just NEVER happen.)
a) Here are some of the ones I see most often:
1) 404 not found…http://IP_ADDRESS/cgi-bin/cmh/proxy.sh?ServerTYPE=Server_Device&ServerURL=device/device/device/XXXXXXXX/guestusers&rand=0.8090309981980528
2) Interface.view_dashboard() error: ReferenceError: capp is not defined
3) Interface.addSubmenuItemListener() error: ReferenceError: capp is not defined
6) Updated Documentation: Clean and clear Documentation on how to write support JS and XML files for new devices. Let the Vera Community help you.
7) Sections / Floor support: Would be useful for Large houses with large number of sensors or devices. (See next item.)
8 ) Drill-Down Device pages: Start with Section / Floors, then Rooms, then devices. If only one section / floor, eliminate this step. On mobile there’s WAY too much scrolling.
9) Hidden device support: Ability to easily hide devices or sensors that have no use in the interface. Example, RGB devices have several devices, but I can just control them via the main RGB device, or the RGB plugin. The other devices just get in the way. Alt-UI lets us do this…and there are hacks, but it should be easy to do from UI7. and just provide a filter to see all hidden devices if there’s a need to get one back to visible.
10) Allow for user-uploadable graphics / icons: My waterfall / pool pump is not a lightbulb. Crate a nice, wide-ranging library or devices, but let users upload custom icons. (Maybe I want a simple Line drawn interface, but my neighbor likes full color pictures. Make us both happy. Could look great with BS 4 Theme support, if limited to PNG files with Alpha channel support.)
11) OTA firware support: Work with major vendors to support OTA firware updates through the UI.
12) Better all-around device support: I have Cooper Aspire wall switches throughout my house…not exactly an off-brand. There’s no native support. And if I want to add configuration parameters to them, I have to do so individually.
13) Advanced Mode: Many of these ideas may be above the intended knowledge or skill level for the mass market. That being said, keep the default interface simple for the mass-market, but allow the “power users” to get more out of theer Veras.
14) Local Login without portal: I need to be able to log in and configure my Vera locally if the portal (or my internet connection) is down.
15) Troubleshooting: Better explanation of common Z-wave errors, and how to troubleshoot them.
16) Shortcut to device deletion: Have to go through “Add Device” to get to “Remove Device”. Why?
17) WiFi Client Support: I don’t need the Vera to be another access point in the house. I need it to be a Wifi client so I don’t need to run a 100 foot cable to add a door lock.
18) Online Device Database: Include fully-supported devices (start with those add-device wizard) and populate it with the supported configuration parameters we should see with each device. Then, keep it updated with a changelog if support is improved with a new firmware version. Users shouldn’t have to scour the forums for outdated information and wonder if it still applies.
Um, it wasn’t going to be that long when I started typing…I promise.