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  • 2170 posts
  • Location:Montreal, QC
  • Experience:average
  • Software:Premise
  • Hardware:Elk M1

Posted 07 March 2008 - 09:28 AM

I am a new member to this group. I had never heard of the Premise software until recently when I saw it described as a free package that competes with HAL 2000. Can anyone tell me if there are any major differences between the two? I have some Insteon light switches. Does it support Insteon? Anything else that you think may be important to know?

First, welcome to the group!!!
There's some recent history regarding this product you should understand. Motorola bought the product from Lantronix and really didn't do much with it. Last year, they made it available as a free, but unsupported platform. At this point, it really doesn't "compete" with anyone in the traditional sense.
I've adopted the product because of it's extensibility. The original developers did a marvelous job creating a platform that exposes object-orientation to the end-user. Simply put, an end user can take the base capability offered by the product and extend it to meet their particular needs. For example, if you want to change the behavior of a "Light object" in Premise, you create a new one that inherits the capabilities of the Premise provided "Light Object", write a few lines of VB Script and you're done (of course your results may vary). There are lots of examples of the user community using features like this to provide new functionality. You can find some of them here (in the files area), and in the old Premise forums (www.premisesystems.info)

If you are not a tinkerer and expect a fully functioning, supported system out of the box, this product probably isn't for you. If, on the other hand, you like to experiment and have a software development background, you'll like this product.

To directly answer your questions:
IMHO, there isn't much of a functionality difference in basic lighting control between HAL (and others) and Premise. So, if it's just lighting you're after, you might want to look at a fully supported product.

I think Premise is (still) way ahead of the pack in Media handling. Premise essentially hides the complexities of managing the devices that store and render media. Think about a scenario where you simply want to play a music file. In Premise, you select the file and tell it where to play (Media Zone like a family room). Behind the scenes, Premise automatically matches up media and renderers, turns on devices, sets inputs and plays the item you want.

The ability to tie in the different systems within your home into a unified environment is pretty powerful in Premise. It's pretty easy in Premise to setup a "Scene" where you simply walk into a room, the lights come on, the temperature is adjusted to your preference, and a radio plays your favorite station.

I previously mentioned that the Scripting capability in Premise is extremely powerful along with the tools to develop your own drivers and user interfaces (if you are a developer). HAL has out of the box speech recognition, Premise doesn't. However, there is a "experimental" speech recognizer in the files area that works well for me (I wrote it ). HAL has out of the box Insteon support, Premise doesn't. Again, there's an Insteon module in the Files area that adds Insteon support.

I hope this has been helpful.

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