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[CES 2008] Exclusive Update - HomeSeer Technologies

BraveSirRobbin

Moderator
CocoonTech CES 2008 Exclusive Updates - HomeSeer Technologies

Notice: Please be aware that information gathered from the various vendors’ booths was done at an incredibly fast and furious pace. The purpose of these updates is to make our members aware of the new technologies introduced during the show as quickly as possible. Some details and statements may have been (unintentionally) misinterpreted and thus not be entirely correct/accurate during this process.

HomeSeer Technologies was showing their new products as part of the main Z-Wave Alliance booth. I was able to speak with Mark Colegrove (marketing/sales manager) and Richard Helmke (developer) about two new products that HomeSeer will debut in early 2008.


Vista MCE Interface/Plugin

One of these products is HomeSeer's Vista MCE Interface. Basically this is a plugin for HomeSeer that enables another machine running Vista MCE access to HomeSeer events and devices. The plugin is installed on your HomeSeer server and the Vista MCE mahine will then communicate with HomeSeer over your home network via this plugin.

All the development work was on the Vista MCE end and the software was written in MCE's XML language.

This now enables a Vista MCE box to access your HomeSeer items. The menus look very nice and this is a great integration with the overall Vista MCE theme.

Below are some screen shots of one of the main menus and device control screen:


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Below is an example of a thermostat control screen.


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From a "setup screen" you can select which devices and events will be displayed on the MCE menus. You can also customize special groups for these items.


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Other features include (as listed on the HomeSeer website):
  • Full Device control You can control any device as if you were right on the HomeSeer status page. Any device with custom buttons will automatically be recognized in Media Center
  • Event Triggering Ability Trigger events right from the main HomeSeer Media Center screen - no more clicking through multiple pages
  • Thermostat Support Control any thermostats using a HomeSeer Thermostat Plugin. This works for third-party plugins using the HomeSeer API as well
  • Redesigned Status Screen Customize a quick-view status screen to glance at your favorite devices. Assign them an image for easy reference
  • Live Camera Streams View live feeds of your IP-Based camera from within Media Center
  • Customize it! Select the event groups, device rooms, and status devices you want to display. You can also add your own images to the plugin! See the readme file installed with the plugin for more information
  • Use a Different HomeSeer PC Have a Vista PC but run HomeSeer on another one? No Problem! This plugin will run on any PC running Vista, and communicates over your Home Network back to your HomeSeer PC!
This plugin is currently available as a beta on the HomeSeer forums.


HSTouch Interface/Plugin

Another product due out in beta in a couple of months is the HSTouch plugin. This plugin will enable HomeSeer devices and events to be associated with a visually appealing control for touch screen devices. You will be able to incorporate buttons, graphics, progress bars, etc... to your HomeSeer devices and events.

Shown below is an example screen of the capability of this plugin.


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One of the really cool features was the designer screen. This setup control provides easy associations of a graphic button to a HomeSeer device or event via drop down window menus.

You an also easily select the color of the graphic (properties) as well.

The screen below shows how easy it is to select color schemes of a button's properties.


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This screens below show how to select an "Action Type" to a button, in this case, a HomeSeer event.


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This screen shows graphic examples for thermostat control.


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You can also display colors on a graphic based on a device's value.


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HomeSeer will provide custom graphics and backgrounds as well as example screens with this plugin; but, you can add your own graphics as well!

This is actually a "client" and will run on a Windows CE device since all the "processing" is performed on the HomeSeer server. HomeSeer will also offer a seven inch touch screen that will be available with this plugin. You can easily setup the size of the graphics and overall resolution of the screens.

Another exciting feature is a future client that will run on a Windows Mobile 5/6 platform. This feature combined with the ease of sizing your screens will now make your HomeSeer system available on your mobile phone (providing it is running on a modern Windows Mobile Platform).

Later versions will include additional graphic capabilities such as a web widget which will enable display of IP enabled cameras, additional progress bars, track bars, etc...

You can also select a script and have that execute when a button is pressed.

I really liked the designer menu. Having tried other solutions for touch screen interfaces, this by far was the most exciting feature. A beginner can easily create a touch screen and associate their HomeSeer items to buttons and graphics. Also, there are plenty of features available for the advanced user who may want additional capabilites and incorporate their own graphic designs. I also liked the fact that the client will run on a mobile platform so I can use my new AT&T tilt to access custom designed menus for my HomeSeer system.

This plugin is well thought out and with its ease of design and custom capabilities, will become a needed item for any HomeSeer user!. You can obtain additional information (as well as sign up for an HSTouch mailing list) from the HomeSeer HSTouch forums.


HomeSeer Z-Wave Interface

I was curious about HomeSeer's Z-Wave interfaces which they had on display (as part of their Z-Wave alliance booth presentation). Mark showed me their HSM100 combination motion detector/thermostat/light sensor and Z-Troller computer interface. Not being familiar with Z-Wave setup with HomeSeer he demoed how easy it was to setup a Z-Wave device with HomeSeer. First he pressed a button on the HSM100, then pressed a button to add that device to the Z-Troller. He then said you simply go around your house and add your Z-Wave items in the same fashion. You then connect the Z-Troller to your HomeSeer server and "upload" its devices to your HomeSeer software. You then leave the Z-Troller connected to the PC as it now becomes your Z-Wave interface! It was that simple!


CocoonTech would like to thank Mark Colegrove and Richard Helmke for graciously taking time in presenting the above information for the benefit of our forum members!
 

electron

Administrator
Staff member
Very cool! Couple of questions regarding HStouch:

1) Is the CE client crippled compared with the regular windows client?
2) Will it support controlling music libraries? JRMC support would be really cool.
3) Price range?
 

BraveSirRobbin

Moderator
Very cool! Couple of questions regarding HStouch:

1) Is the CE client crippled compared with the regular windows client?
2) Will it support controlling music libraries? JRMC support would be really cool.
3) Price range?

I'm not sure about the CE client Dan.

There was no mention of music library support and I don't know if this will make it into the list of features to add on later. This and possible movie library support would surely make this a complete package. HomeSeer does have a Windows Media plugin, and there are current plugins for WinAmp, but I'm not sure how well it would incorporate into this HSTouch client.

I didn't ask about the price. Honestly I was so impressed with the designer menu and overall look of this plugin that I forgot to ask about that!

I'm sure Rich and Mark will be visiting here soon (after taking a deserved rest from CES)!

Another thing I noticed in the review is the screen shots really do not do justice to the two plugin's presentation. They looked more outstanding when viewed in person!
 

macromark

Active Member
Very cool! Couple of questions regarding HStouch:

1) Is the CE client crippled compared with the regular windows client?
2) Will it support controlling music libraries? JRMC support would be really cool.
3) Price range?
Hi Electron and BSR. Thanks for the nice write up!

Dan, per your questions.. here's the scoop:

1) The HSTouch 'designer' is engineered to run on a full Windows PC. All screens will be created using the designer. Then, the screens can be deployed via the 'client' on any touchscreen running Win, WinCE or WinMobile. The client will function the same under all platforms (at least initially).

2) HSTouch will support the HomeSeer music API. That means it will integrate nicely with iTunes®, Windows Media Player and the J River Player (under development now)! FYI - The JRiver plug-in will support multi-zone audio as well.

3) Pricing is not yet available but will be announced to the HSTouch mailing list as soon as it's finalized. Anyone interested can subscribe to this list here: www.homeseer.com/hstouch
 
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