Quixote_1, what do you mean by fading on and off? Is there some kind of problem with the Z wave devices and fading?
With regard to Insteon and control, if you use Homeseer or CQC is there still a need for the ISY to "take care of the grunt work and keep track of things"?
I do not know what homeseer does, but this is what you will need.
1) It writes all the links to the devices and it removes links from devices if you want to remove a switch from a scene.
2) It backs up all the links and can re-write them if you need to replace a switch or have some need to reprogram.
3) It will let you set the features of the switches. This would include, ramp rate, on level, led brightness, and the "beeper" in the switch.
4) It has drag and drop or drop down menu scene creation and allows you to set up each switch as being a responding member of the scene only or a controlling member of the scene. Also it should let you set how the switch will behave in each scene independently (ramp rate, on level).
As you might have gathered reading this, a final switch installation can be a very complex convoluted web of connections. If you have a couple switches, no big deal, but if you have a large installation you can have dozens of links on each device. For example, when you push the "exterior lights on" button next to your bed, you probably want all the exterior lights to pop on to full brightness. But when you hit the "exterior light on button" in your bank of mood light buttons, you may want a 2 second ramp rate going to 80%. The second scene will probably include a bunch of other lights around the house as well that you wouldn't want in the first scene. This sort of logic can grow into a huge mess without a nice clear gui to keep it nice and clear in front of you and to let you set it all up from your pc, not running around pushing buttons at each switch location.
ISY does all of these things. There is nothing that an Insteon switch can do that an ISY can't program it to do and in fact there are something an ISY can get the switch to do that is not possible from direct programming. Homeseer may also do these things, you would need to hear from someone who has it or call the company. Just a note, once you setup your switches, the ISY or whatever you used to program them need not be on or present. The switches are a self-contained system. However, if you want things to happen on a schedule or based on "if-then" concepts, you will need a controller running to evaluate the "if's" and to execute the "then's".
One other note, Insteon is a dual band system (rf and plc). This is how the door locks work and how it makes the system more robust overcoming power line noise or "sucking" issues.