Home Automation design and expansion


New Member
If this is the wrong place to post this please let me know.

I have the following devices and would like to start expanding to more advanced home automation. There are several software/hardware solutions and choosing the right one is a challenge. I am willing to go a different route with some hardware that I currently have if required or if something doesn't work with something else but would obviously prefer it all to work unless there's a better option.

The device list:
Ring Video Doorbell Pro
Chamberlain Garage Door control
Rheem EcoNet for water heater
Insteon plugin dimmer (bedroom lamp)
Insteon plugin on/off module (bedroom fan)
Insteon mini remote
Amazon Echo

Things I would like to purchase in the future:
Philips hue bulbs, light strips AND/or Lifx bulbs
remote controlled blinds/shades
HD cameras
TiVo? This might replace the DVR portion of my media center, not sure what route to take just yet.
Door and window open close sensors
Home energy use monitoring

Things I have currently that I would like to control as far as home av equipment:
Master bedroom: Samsung LCD and htpc running wmc
Theater: Pioneer 151 kuro, htpc running wmc, Oppo bdp83, Apple TV, Denon 4308ci avr
Office: Panasonic plasma, htpc running wmc, older Sony es avr (before HDMI)

Things I would like to control house wise:
ceiling fan lights, light levels, fan speeds
other lights
certain outlets
motion activation of certain lights.

I would eventually like some cameras for visual garage door status which is in addition to my chamberlain control/status. These cameras (foscam?) I would like to be HD/Pan/Tilt/Zoom, if possible, for which I can either build an NVR or use something like a Synology NAS as an NVR. A buddy at work has Q-See but I'm not sure if that can be integrated into home automation and/or tablet based remote.

I'm not sure what the best solution would be for a hub. I am looking at ISY but there's also smart things and many others as well. Finding a hub that works with everything that I have and want to do in the future is challenging. What I don't want to do is go down a path either hardware or software wise and find out that things are not going to work and then I'm going to have to get something else, although I realize I may already be at that point with what I have now.

Also i'm not sure what software solution for remote control I should go with. I'm looking at SimpleControl, iRule, Mobilinc, Harmony Hub/Elite, Apple home app with home-kit. I like the idea of a tablet based remote so that I can choose movies and music to play right from the tablet as opposed to doing it on screen but I would also like to do it on screen which Windows Media Center provides. I'm also thinking about moving to Kodi but I'm not sure yet so I'd like control over these computers with launching different apps and things. A physical remote is also nice at times, I've currently got a Harmony One. I have a amazon echo and would like to use that for voice control as well.

All these software choices and hub choices make this challenging.

Some general things that I would like to have happen if possible:
Activating watch movie or tv on a remote / tablet device and/or using the Amazon Echo. I would like it to turn on the avr, tv, go to the correct input and source as well as power the outlet that the subwoofer is plugged into so it doesn't have to be on all the time when the avr is not on. Dim the lights pre-movie selection, shut the lights off when the movie is playing and on pause the movie lights rise. When I get motorized shades someday I'd like to incorporate shades up and down into this as well.

Activate dinner scenes Philips Hue/Lifx lights set to specified color and brightness level. I don't necessarily want to have to grab a tablet/remote somewhere to go into the kitchen and turn the lights and the under cabinet lights on so a switch/scene switch on the wall would be handy to have as well as voice control from say my Amazon Echo.

Turn on certain lights at dusk until specified time

If the HVAC fan is on (heating,cooling or fan only) activate set of outlets for fans.
View status of open/closed windows and doors. If a window or door is open warn me before or when turning on AC/heat.

Voice command to set ceiling fan speed and light brightness

Weekday alarm that will play a specified music playlist as well as turn on the lights.

Anyone have any advice?

Your short list is a lot of components that don't talk to each other and are essentially standalone. While there's nothing wrong with that route, it might be better to look at a single cohesive installation and head end, then integrate that way. Think about how many apps, functions and what have you, that you're going to need to truly automate.
The ISY994i would be a good fit for all that. There aren't many items you mentioned that I haven't heard of somebody that has already done it on the UDI forum.

Many of the non-Insteon devices take a RPi as a bridge. If a device has an Ethernet API revealed the ISY can do it natively withut any added hardware.

Thermostats usually take an RPi or other box for a bridge to talk to them. venstar units are the only ones known to exist on the LAN and don't require a cloud service. Most HA peole end up disabling all the Nest automatic crap that fails their expectations but many have bridges to that API also from ISY.

The lights are very easy to interface to without additional hardware.

A Zwave plug-in has become very populare to plug into the ISY now. Many were attracted to the cheaper prices but are finding most aren't compatible with each other and have gone to more expensive toys.

A new bridge siftware clled Polyglot is working on the ISY to ontrol Philips lines of LEDs. I tried it, but it deals in RGBW settings, so I use the native support via the Network Resource firmware module. I deal with MLight strips and bulbs and LEDenet strips the same way.

A few have interfaced ISY with mostly Somfy blinds controllers. I am not involved in that due to price, yet.

Insteon has a iR transmitter plug-in module with an iR cord to stick on your equipment. Memorises anything you shine into it.

Cameras are not related to HA and the signals are not compatible with most HA signals. Some have auto-pointed them and had the camaras send out snapshots upon various triggers from other equipment.

ECho is the latest toy that interfaces via UDI's ISY Portal. I just picked up another six units for my ISY. Works like a charm. Quite impressive to be able to turn anything in my home ON/Off/Dim with my voice. Hardly ever misses once you get your vocals set up without duplicates. Many find it very cool to say..

Alexa. Turn on the Sports channel and via ISY and the iR control or Etenet protocol to the system, it turns on.

My doorbell send me notifications if I am away. My back doorbell acts as an annunciator for the dryer stopping and for security annoyances along with a few dozen lights.

It's a hacker's dream playground.
What remote control software do you think I should go with?  Should I post over in the UDI forums to see what they might suggest as to how to get all this working together?
tommyboy48 said:
What remote control software do you think I should go with?  Should I post over in the UDI forums to see what they might suggest as to how to get all this working together?
Yes and read forever to find almost every device mentioned.

For android you could use MobiLinc Pro (getting out of date) or Agave (newer software)
For iOS MobiLinc is very popular and some are quite impressed.

Many others have written remote controls for ISY on tasker and many other platforms.

If you look carefully on the UDI sales page you can pick up a refurbished ISY for $99.
The pro version offers more than 256 programs and more device capability. There is no advantage to purchasing that option initially. All modules are only keys to enable them and purchased right inside the ISY control software. Run from $1 to $50 each.
Portal for Echo and IFTTT is a $50 per two year subscription. It can be done with free modules, written by users as well
Zwave is a plug-in hardware for it.