Welcome to Cocoontech moleman!
I've been lurking for a long time
You have been around and reading so you know about this forum.
Can anyone recommend options along these lines?
Keep reading the forum posts here.
The blend of security and automation for the the residential home is changing mostly too it is related to what that individual considers or knows about the granular details of those grey areas not seen whether in firmware or software.
It's really about what it is you want and today the choices are endless (well almost). There are no perfect methodologies of automation today.
There are mass appeals for certain branded hardware and software depending on how much presence it has or appears to have.
Geez one tweet whether it is true or not can even start a war today....say it ain't so Joe
Those folks here that come from the commercial side or pushing their wares have to typically come up with a "one size fits all" methodology of security / automation which is sometimes difficult and sometimes easy for that residential home; depending on an individual's view points/knowledgebase of hardware and software regarding their own stuff. WAF comes to mind here.
That too can get very propietary depending on you and what you see fitting with the rest of the occupants in your home.
The biggest unknown for me is what hardware to go with. My biggest problem with all the main offerings like UPB, Insteon, Zwave, Zigbee, etc is they offer no encryption or 128 WEP encryption (which is trivial to crack).
Here I play with all of it and use primarily UPB for my light switches. I utilize one piece of software to program or configure the UPB lights and really ever give it a though relating to a what if someone/thing decided to commandeer my lighting.
There are a variety of folks right here on the forum that use one or the other or many of the offerings you mentioned above. They know their stuff and are happy with their stuff. (offerings). Some after some time are looking to upchuck their stuff and try something new. It is sometimes costly to do this after primary investments in a per switch and electrical installation times however many switches you have automated in your home. Thinking the average automated switch costs between some $50 USD to $200 USD or more plus your cost of installation (whether you do it yourself or pay someone to do it for you).
I played around with X10 in previous homes for fun and it was OK, but I'm going to be at this house for a long time and want to scale up with a serious HA solution over time.
can be related to your gathering of a knowledgebase relating to what it is you want to do and utilize and spend money and resources on. That could be learning to do LV/HV electrical or writing your own automation code or writing a new encryption algorithm or learning some software or new OS. Everybody is unique as mentioned a few times here on the forum. What fits one individual doesn't always fit another. Just reading as you are doing today; you see some folks say this and that is easy because they learned over time whatever it is that they do utilize for automation. The postings here do sometimes get very emotional and argumentive It really is indicative of a passion of IT/ automation and whatever.
The computer and home automation are just tools, a machine that you control and not the other way around.
I am a bit of skeptic relating to the use of RF; mostly relating the basic nature of what RF is in general (well magical a bit). Geez we haven't yet learned how to bend light yet. The substrate of RF is dependent on what we cannot control (the atmosphere, the sun, cement walls, the air we breath so forth and so on) easily.
The etymology of "radio" or "radiotelegraphy" reveals that it was called "wireless telegraphy", which was shortened to "wireless" in Britain. The prefix radio- in the sense of wireless transmission, was first recorded in the word radioconductor, a description provided by the French physicist Édouard Branly in 1897. It is based on the verb to radiate (in Latin "radius" means "spoke of a wheel, beam of light, ray").
The hardware (software in firmware) managing my security and automation remains in the house and is not dependant on any outside resources / software.
I can shut off or physically disconnect the internet from my home and the automation / security will continue to run just fine.
Today (and for many years now) utilize software automation as an addendum to my automation in firmware providing me more automation play with what I never touch. Well that too exists and works fine without any dependencies outside of the home.
With both hardware and software I do have the choice of means of watching or control inside or outside of the home.
I do have a different view now of what it is I personally utilize today relating to automation or security.
The lighting, HVAC control, irrigation, et al is really here just considered the "heartbeat" of the day to day activities of the home. It just takes care of the home with little or no interaction from me. I used to "watch" that interaction in the late 1990's / early 2000's and it was fun and it did get old really fast. Most of the time it was relating to see if I could do it rather than the requirement of needing to do it.
Where there is a means of whatever networking / software automation topology/substrate/meat you utilize today of access; there is also a means of circumvention of same said stuff; well unless you come up with your own unique methodologies privy to only yourself and never share. (geez what happens though if you get hit by a bus and cease to exist).
But really what does it matter to you unless you are dependent of those inter hardware/software/outside of your home pieces. The failure of the illumination of a light bulb primarily will be a lack of electricity to your home or maybe someone/thing hacking in to your smart electrical meter. You can if you want back up your home's electricity with a large UPS and generator if you want which is many times cost prohibitive and doesn't really provide that ROI on a light bulb. You can manage all of your hardware today via your network whether that is wired or wireless. That said relating to just the "network" you can get a bit more life after death when you back up the power on your switches / access points. Really what does it buy you when you have a power failure?
Do the best you can do for yourself and enjoy the use after it's all done (well here it's never done but I enjoy doing it cuz it's become a hobby).