Microsoft Picks Insteon as Home Automation Partner


Some interesting news.

Microsoft Picks Insteon as Home Automation Partner
Microsoft selects Insteon smart home devices and RF/powerline technology for its "retail entry into the connected home market;" funds development of Insteon smart home app for Windows 8 devices.
By Julie Jacobson, May 15, 2014

Microsoft has been quiet on the home automation front for about a decade, but the software giant is finally taking action with an unusual bedfellow: Insteon, the technology created by leading home technology distributor Smarthome.

Microsoft funded development of a Windows 8 app for Insteon and will sell Insteon devices online and in its 53 U.S. stores, “marking Microsoft’s retail entry into the connected home market,” according to a press release.

The union is unusual because Insteon rarely gets the buzz that Z-Wave and ZigBee get, even though the smart home technology has been around for 10 years. Also, Insteon products are pretty much available from one vendor only – Insteon itself, which makes everything from security sensors to smart LED bulbs (arguably the first in that category) to thermostats and home automation software.

And, the technology isn’t hip and trendy like all the crowd-funded start-ups.

Insteon does double-duty as both a wireless RF and powerline carrier (PLC) technology. Any Insteon product that plugs into an outlet employs both technologies, while (naturally) battery-powered devices offer RF only.

“They like that we offer soup to nuts,” says Insteon founder and CEO Joe Dada, who also is CEO of Smarthome.

During the Parks Associates Connections conference this week, Dada offered CE Pro the first glimpse of the new Windows 8 app, featuring the tile interface that so many people love … or hate.

The tiles feature live status updates from various Insteon devices. Click on any tile to drill down for more information.

Insteon products are similar to DIY home automation systems, for example Lowe’s Iris, Staples Connect, Schlage Nexia, Vera (MiOS) and so many others. Users can create rules/scenes like “home” and “away,” view video cameras from afar and otherwise remotely monitor and control their homes.

Unlike many products on the market, the system features a built-in Web server, eliminating the need for cloud services and associated fees.

The downside to that scheme is that the system requires port forwarding for remote access, which is neither simple to configure nor particularly secure.

That will change, Dada tells CE Pro.

Insteon launched in 2004 with the hope of becoming the home automation standard. Several manufacturers employed the technology in the early days (First Alert smoke detectors, for example) but Insteon is pretty much the only implementer today.

Some home automation startups like Revolv support the technology.

Very few non-Insteon products integrate with the platform, although the company did announce (unsanctioned) support for Nest thermostats and Dada says to expect more partners soon.

Why Did Microsoft Pick Insteon?
Dada says the Microsoft partnership entailed some good ol’ fashioned luck. A top exec at IT giant Ingram Micro (later Synnex) happened to live near Smarthome’s Irvine, Calif., store and was a customer and later good friend of Dada’s.

Synnex is a major Microsoft partner and one thing led to another.

Dada confesses that he had never used Windows 8 before but picked up a phone when the Microsoft deal looked like a real possibility.

He was surprised how much he liked the tiling and says the interface is “very suited to us.”

Insteon devices and kits will debut June 1 at and by early July they will be available in most of Microsoft’s retail stores across the U.S.

The stores will offer a Starter Kit, Home Kit and Business Kit, as well as five standalone devices, including the Insteon Leak Sensor, door/window sensor, LED bulb, plug-in module and Wi-Fi camera. Prices will range from $29.99 to $79.99, with kits starting at $199.
Yeah, still, you have to wonder WTF?  
Given the staggering lack of momentum behind the Xbox One and it's 'home' features (or stunning lack thereof) you have to wonder who the hell is running things with regard to automation.  
I'm waiting for some other shoe to drop.. like Google buying Lutron or something like that...
I have heard the term "other show to drop" and "googled" it this morning anyways to get some more insight....
wait for the other shoe to drop


A common experience of tenement living and other similar style housing in New York City (and other cities) during the manufacturing boom of the late 19th and early 20th century. Apartments were built similar in design with one's bedroom under another's. Thus, it was normal to hear a neighbor removing shoes and hearing them hit the floor above. As one shoe made a sound hitting the floor, the expectation for the other shoe to make a similar sound was created.

wait for the other shoe to drop

    (idiomatic) To defer action or decision until another matter is finished or resolved.
    (idiomatic) To await a seemingly inevitable event, especially one that is not desirable
I don't really have a comment other than "watch the game" as "it is entertaining".
wkearney99 said:
Yeah, still, you have to wonder WTF?  
Given the staggering lack of momentum behind the Xbox One and it's 'home' features (or stunning lack thereof) you have to wonder who the hell is running things with regard to automation.  
I'm waiting for some other shoe to drop.. like Google buying Lutron or something like that...
Would possibly be a terrible thing for Lutron. The Google purchase of various companies has resulted in little to nothing released to the public in a number of years...  SageTV is a great example. Sure, if you live in a Google Fiber city you can be one of their beta testers. Google purchased SageTV in 2011. I know there are other examples, but that one hurt me the most because it was (arguably still is) the most complete DIY media center software.
The 2412N Has a horible reputation. The daughter card would fail usualy just over the two year waranty.
The PLMs lately have been failing just over the two years. My 2413S went two years four months and just died one morning. Power cycle got about one more week then it was dead for good.
drvnbysound said:
Are you referring to Insteon or Windows?
I was referring to my Insteon setup, ever since going dual-band things have really gone down hill for me.   As a network guy, I won't even scratch at all the issues I have with Windows and Microsoft applications, we'd be here forever  ;)