Why Doesn't Vera charge for Software Updates?

There is certainly no lack of frustration with Vera’s software development activities. Most every other software company charges for product software updates. Yes, you get some free bug fixes for a while, and then you are expected to pay for annual software updates that add features and functions.

It would appear that the sale of Vera hardware, alone, does not cover the cost of the required software development that runs on that hardware. While I do not want to pay Vera for the mediocre software they have been releasing, I would be happy to pay Vera, say $50-$100 per year, for regular, documented, tested, and professional updates to their software.

I have yet to see an update worth paying for. There have also been suggestions to make money via plugin sales. I see your point in a cost to upgrade as added income to Vera, maybe for each new UI. The problem is that plenty of people don’t upgrade to Vera’s newest software even if it’s free.

If they did not use the user community as a continuous beta test … they could get away with charging for the upgrade.
They could give a 90 day evaluation trial … and then charge you after that.

If their software was ready for Prime Time, I would happily pay a cost for each new level(not incremental) upgrade, i.e. ui5 to ui7. The problem is that it hasn’t been. There are always bug with software due to unforeseen situations, but the base stuff needs to work out of the gate. At the moment, Vera’s base market is the hobbyist\enthusiast group, people who are willing to put up with some growing pains to be able to have a product that accomplishes most of their wants\needs. If they were to start nickel and diming that group, they would drive people away in droves. Vera had a huge headstart on this market, but they are rapidly being encroached upon by other options and startups. Smartthings has potential but is not there yet. With companies like Google, Apple and Microsoft looking at this area as a potential growth market for them, things could potentially move very quickly leaving Vera way behind where they could have been leagues ahead.

Course, more competition and compatible standards in the market is good for us, the consumers. But the largest draw for me to Vera a few years back was the developer community here that took the base product that Vera provided and started making it do wondrous things. The worst thing that Vera could do is completely alienate them and drive them away. Now, the best thing they could do is setup a way for them to be able to charge a nominal fee for their plugins\hard work, if they so choose, to reward them for making their product do so much more. Or at least buy out the idea to incorporate. (I like new features being integrated, but I hate hearing about a feature being cannibalized without any notice to the developer[we loved your idea, thanks for the hard work but you’re done with that now]).

Great comments.

I would like to respond to a number of the comments.

Regarding the cost. The cost I have proposed is equal to about one new device in my system. That is a cost I can afford.

I would believe that many people do not upgrade their software because they are scared to death to do it. Many folks have spent a considerable amount of effort to get their systems working, and they don’t want to have to re-do all of it. Some tweaks to make it work with a new version is one thing, completely overhauling your system is quite another.

By releasing new software, I am in no way suggesting that Developers not be able to produce, and profit from, their hard work to develop add-ons. If it weren’t for the (non Vera) Developers, I would have thrown my Veralite in the trash, long ago. Releasing new software, even more User friendly software, does not mean that Vera should be closed to Developers. Vera should be embracing Developers.

It seems to me that the problem is that Vera sees itself as a hardware company that also needs some software. I see the hardware of home automation as trivial, and think that Vera really needs to be a software company that also sells hardware. Small companies like Vera have a very difficult time paying for proper software development. I am suggesting that Vera can and should charge for their software… before some cash-heavy companies like Microsoft and Google eat their lunch.

Hi, I believe everyone has good points here but the core reason I bought Vera was a low startup cost and no additional fees afterward except whatever else I choose to buy. There website also advertises their cost model and I would personally like to see them stick to that.

I do agree in theory that perhaps if more revenue were generated that it would translate into better development but I would hope as a growing company and to stay competitive that it wouldn’t require this money.

Apple as an example can get away with it despite their flaws every now and then in their software because the rest of their products are quite stellar in design and execution and I’m an Android fan by the way.

But good points to all of you.

lots of free open source managers coming up.
samsung is going to update smartthings to v2 soon i believe.
I wouldn’t pay for updates. I would just move to open source.
hardware already cost a fortune, i’m not interested in software costing me as well.

I don’t mind making an “investment” in vera and zwave, but i’m not a continuous cash cow.

so politely keep your bad ideas to yourself :slight_smile:

Considering 7.06 and 7.07 (for me) broke existing sensor functionality, I’d be demanding payment from Vera instead if it was pay per update. 8) Now considering Vera seems to have started as a proof or concept project for MIOS solutions for commercial entities I can see no charges for updates. Considering the current market for HA, I think Vera would lose customers if they started charging for updates. I believe they realize that which is why UI7 has provisions for Vera Security with a monthly monitoring fee and perhaps some similar plans. As long is it doesn’t go the way of Iris where you get very limited capabilities unless you cough up monthly I believe that is a better and more customer oriented solution.

Funny stuff guys… lol…
I actually believe if Vera Opened Sourced their code, the community is large enough and techie enough to run it on their own at this point with Daily snapshots and Weekly bug fixes.

[quote=“tomtcom, post:6, topic:187609”]Hi, I believe everyone has good points here but the core reason I bought Vera was a low startup cost and no additional fees afterward except whatever else I choose to buy. There website also advertises their cost model and I would personally like to see them stick to that.

I do agree in theory that perhaps if more revenue were generated that it would translate into better development but I would hope as a growing company and to stay competitive that it wouldn’t require this money.

Apple as an example can get away with it despite their flaws every now and then in their software because the rest of their products are quite stellar in design and execution and I’m an Android fan by the way.

But good points to all of you.[/quote]

Frankly,what a bonehead idea!
Vera cannot get it’s updates to even work right. Now you want us to pay for broken updates? What planet do you live on?

[quote=“bucko, post:10, topic:187609”][quote=“tomtcom, post:6, topic:187609”]Hi, I believe everyone has good points here but the core reason I bought Vera was a low startup cost and no additional fees afterward except whatever else I choose to buy. There website also advertises their cost model and I would personally like to see them stick to that.

I do agree in theory that perhaps if more revenue were generated that it would translate into better development but I would hope as a growing company and to stay competitive that it wouldn’t require this money.

Apple as an example can get away with it despite their flaws every now and then in their software because the rest of their products are quite stellar in design and execution and I’m an Android fan by the way.

But good points to all of you.[/quote]

I think you quoted the wrong person.

Frankly,what a bonehead idea!
Vera cannot get it’s updates to even work right. Now you want us to pay for broken updates? What planet do you live on?[/quote]

Simply…

they couldn’t afford the lawsuit on their hands if they did charge

[quote=“konradwalsh, post:12, topic:187609”]Simply…

they couldn’t afford the lawsuit on their hands if they did charge[/quote]

Please clarify. I too wonder how Vera can stay in business just selling hardware. I don’t want a monthly contract, but would be willing to pay for quality updates and new functionality.

I have no issue with the idea of paying more…

However… could you imagine this…

I bought the Vera Edge last December…
7 months later it is STILL not fit for purpose…
Each month problems have been added than fixed…

Now, think if I was paying for that service… well now we have a contract and they are repeatedly failing to live up to their contract.

But yes, I would pay if it meant, Vera would hire more staff and get this sorted out…

as you said… Quality Updates and Features… not broken basic functionality

I bought my veralite as I saw many good comments that we don’t need to pay for a service fee every month. If they charge for money, I will have to compare vera control with other products and vera control will have less customers.

Software is quite expensive to develop, as just a dozen good developers can cost you upwards of a million dollars per year. There’s no way they’re going to cover these costs by the margin they’re making off of these inexpensive hardware controllers. There needs to be a way for them to bring in additional funds to cover the cost of quality development. I would be willing to pay for major software upgrades, or some other premium version of their software… assuming it’s of high quality, of course.

Check below link. I’m pretty sure that is where getvera/mios get most of their revenue from. Vera seems to be kind of their proof of concept/testing/development platform.

http://www.mios.com/success-stories/

Scroll down and check the TrickTV story. Does their Director of Product Marketing sound familiar? :wink:

[quote=“BOFH, post:17, topic:187609”]Check below link. I’m pretty sure that is where getvera/mios get most of their revenue from. Vera seems to be kind of their proof of concept/testing/development platform.

http://www.mios.com/success-stories/

Scroll down and check the TrickTV story. Does their Director of Product Marketing sound familiar? ;)[/quote]

Wow, lol.

I’m sorry, but several of you in this thread are all wrong and one or two people got it right.

Enthusiasts, hobbyists, etc are NOT Vera’s main market/source of income. They don’t care about us in terms of a main revenue stream.

Vera, which is in fact a sub-company of MiOS, OEM’s the Vera to several large utility companies in Europe (and possibly some in the U.S.). They establish contracts with these companies to provide the base systems, some customization/branding, and I’d imagine maintenance and updates on a cyclic basis. This is their main source of income. Think about it. Do you really think they could survive seling $150 boxes with no recurring revenue to individuals in a niche (at the moment) market??

So why do they sell retail to hobbyists and enthusiasts?

  1. Beta testing. They can use the folks here to report all the bugs with their planned changes. They can then refine the software and eventually deliver a less buggier version to their OEM customers.

  2. Improvement of their product… at no cost to to them! Yup, by letting the end users develop the plugins and extend the functionality of the product, they reap the benefits. Many plugins should have been built into the product from the start.

  3. Did I mention free enhancement of their product? From Vera’s latest T&Cs:

" The end user also agrees that Vera Control, Ltd. has the permission to copy, change, alter, and/or distribute any material that is made public on the Vera Control, Ltd. website. Along with Vera Control, Ltd., the end user gives permission for any other end user to copy, change, alter, and/or distribute any content that the first end user made public on the site."

Those of you who keep mentioning price… you’re short-sighted. The controller and software is a minimal cost compared to one’s overall HA investment. I’d rather pay more money for a better product than keep putting up with Vera’s nonsense and software that shouldn’t be as buggy as it is. Rather than continuously gripe about it, I put money (as well as other Vera owners did recently) where my mouth is and bought a copy of HomeSeer. The folks with more time on their hands and like to tinker are slowly migrating their HA logic over to OpenHAB.

I encourage all of you to spend some time reading the forums here going back several years. This nonsense has been going on for a while now.

[quote=“TC1”]I’m sorry, but several of you in this thread are all wrong and one or two people got it right.

Enthusiasts, hobbyists, etc are NOT Vera’s main market/source of income. They don’t care about us in terms of a main revenue stream.

Vera, which is in fact a sub-company of MiOS, OEM’s the Vera to several large utility companies in Europe (and possibly some in the U.S.). They establish contracts with these companies to provide the base systems, some customization/branding, and I’d imagine maintenance and updates on a cyclic basis. This is their main source of income. Think about it. Do you really think they could survive seling $150 boxes with no recurring revenue to individuals in a niche (at the moment) market??

So why do they sell retail to hobbyists and enthusiasts?

  1. Beta testing. They can use the folks here to report all the bugs with their planned changes. They can then refine the software and eventually deliver a less buggier version to their OEM customers.

  2. Improvement of their product… at no cost to to them! Yup, by letting the end users develop the plugins and extend the functionality of the product, they reap the benefits. Many plugins should have been built into the product from the start.

  3. Did I mention free enhancement of their product? From Vera’s latest T&Cs:

" The end user also agrees that Vera Control, Ltd. has the permission to copy, change, alter, and/or distribute any material that is made public on the Vera Control, Ltd. website. Along with Vera Control, Ltd., the end user gives permission for any other end user to copy, change, alter, and/or distribute any content that the first end user made public on the site."

Those of you who keep mentioning price… you’re short-sighted. The controller and software is a minimal cost compared to one’s overall HA investment. I’d rather pay more money for a better product than keep putting up with Vera’s nonsense and software that shouldn’t be as buggy as it is. Rather than continuously gripe about it, I put money (as well as other Vera owners did recently) where my mouth is and bought a copy of HomeSeer. The folks with more time on their hands and like to tinker are slowly migrating their HA logic over to OpenHAB.

I encourage all of you to spend some time reading the forums here going back several years. This nonsense has been going on for a while now.[/quote]
Lol, well thanks for the post. I didn’t know some of those points. Appreciate it.