Welcome aboard. I am sure you will find this sight to be a good source of info as well as comoradery.
What state are you in? Is your background HA? What manufacturers are you working with or prefer to install? Just curious.
MN, Minneapolis - I am new to HA - I have been a self employed IT consultant for the past 5 years. I am going after high end residential and commercial environments. I am going at it from more of a consulting angle then an installer angle. My starting prospects are all current customers of mine. I have decided to do it as a separate company because it is quite a bit different from what I am currently doing. I have created a separate LLC for this venture and I also have included a partner for Next Habitat who is not involved with my IT consulting.
Manufactures is still undecided and this choice does not look easy. I am definitely not doing anything that involves sending communication over live power lines. This is a very sloppy and in-efficient idea and it's to bad that so many HA products rely on it. In a perfect world I would have wired ethernet going to every object, and they would all have a tcp/ip address, and their own interface - I would have the choice to communicate with each object individually or by a centralized control point. Really this whole industry needs to move in the direction of each object being "smart" instead of one "smart" control point that controls objects as if they are dumb extensions of the centralized controller.
Until that happens however, I will have to work with whats available. My first prospects are going to be retrofits so I am looking into wireless or hybrid wireless/ethernet solutions. Notice I say ethernet not hardwired, as most hardwired solutions in the HA world are powerline solutions - this is not what I want. I am really not very happy with any of the current products that I have looked at and/or tried out. If anyone has any good recommendations please post, I am looking for quality not price. Are there any complete TCP/IP, hardwired/802.11x ethernet solutions available? Computer networking has evolved nicely with tcp/ip, I don't understand why it's not used for HA.
The problem with the current HA protocols is the addressing protocol seems to be combined with the physical networking medium. What makes TCP/IP so great is that all it does is addressing, you can network tcp/ip devices with whatever means you want, wireless, hardwire of all kinds, satalite, evdo, etc - and combine all of those methods, and still have reliable communication - you can use it local or wide area, put services on specific ports and route them with very specific methods. TCP/IP is by far the most evolved addressing system, I can not understand for the life of me why it's not used in this industry.