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Top 5 List of HA Hardware/Software Combinations

upstatemike

Senior Member
This is a list of the top 5 picks for best automation controller hardware/software combinations. It is based on impressions I got from information from this site and elsewhere. It is not an objective feature comparison or a popularity ranking. It’s just a summary of the top hardware/software options for home automation controllers.

1—Omnipotence ECS / HomeVision Pro
Both ECS and HomeVision have been around long enough to prove themselves as ultra-stable, ultra-reliable platforms. They can also each claim to be at the top of their respective product categories when it comes to versatility and variety of home automation technologies supported. It is no surprise then that combining these two veteran products will produce the ultimate home automation control system. Many other systems may be slightly stronger in one area or another but nothing else can do as much, and do it as well, as these two together.

2---Homeseer / Stargate
Homeseer’s claim to fame is the large number of products it supports through its plug-in architecture, but no other single plug-in will add as much functionality and raw horsepower to Homeseer as the Stargate plug-in does. Because Stargate has such a rich variety hardware interfaces, as well as a huge pool of resources such as flags and timers and variables, Homeseer gains instant access to literally hundreds of real world inputs. And because the communication between the two is seamless, Stargate gets access to all kinds of devices it doesn’t normally support. The only down sides are the recent stability issues as Homeseer made the transition to a new architecture model and the fact that some stargate data is not exposed on the communications link between them. Fortunately data problem can be overcome by using Stargates powerful rules engine to force feed any information not already exchanged, and Homeseer is reportedly getting the stability issues under control.

3---CQC / HAI Omni Pro II
CQC has the reputation of being about the most reliable home automation program ever written. The Omni Pro II is about the most complete collection of automation hardware ever integrated into a single platform. The combination of these two products has the potential to become the ultimate combined automation system of the 21st century. Whether this turns out to be the case will depend on a couple of key factors: First, will HAI provide full access to its vast array of hardware through its serial link to CQC? Second, will CQC provide support for all the features of all those devices?

4---HAL / Ocelot
If you are looking to get the most gee whiz “bang for the buck†out of your automation system you can’t beat this combination. HAL gives you high tech voice control and support for the latest lighting technologies while the Ocelot gives you the ability to respond to real world sensors and inputs at a very reasonable price. Put them together and you can do amazing things and still stay within your budget.

5---PowerHome / Elk M1
This combination is still under development but has all the makings of being a real winner. The Elk system is extremely affordable and popular. It supports a bunch of inputs and connectivity options including support for Insteon lighting, but does not have an elegant way to manage that lighting interface. PowerHome currently (and for the foreseeable future) has the best Insteon management available. Add to that PowerHome’s super versatile architecture and rapidly expanding feature set, and the result could be one of the best hardware/software options available. You will definitely want to see how this combination plays out, especially if you are using Insteon lighting.
 

DavidL

Senior Member
Not sure how you could forget MainLobby / ELK M1.
And since the HAI plugin is 80% done (I am testing it as I type), same would hold true for MainLobby / HAI, since you are considering things that "combination still under development".
 

Steve

Senior Member
Hmmm, sorry, not sure I can agree on this one. These certainly are good workable combinations, but you completely left out Mainlobby, and CQC/Elk M1 is also an awesome combination, certainly worthy of a high ranking probably more so than CQC and HAI.
 

DavidL

Senior Member
Ok, glad to see I am not the only one who looked at that list with some question.

Good to see that there are finally a few very valid approaches and combinations.
 

toymaster458

Active Member
I do not want this thread to turn into a M1 verse Omni Pro II Thread but the advantages of the Omni over the M1 are mostly Touch Panels and Whole House integration. Now if you are using CQC for these abilities those advantages become a moot point.
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
DavidL said:
Not sure how you could forget MainLobby / ELK M1.
And since the HAI plugin is 80% done (I am testing it as I type), same would hold true for MainLobby / HAI, since you are considering things that "combination still under development".
You are right. I jotted it down when I first started thinking about this and then somehow spaced when I went to type it all in. It should be on the list and should be above the "under development" options.

I need to play around with MainLobby pretty soon so it sticks in my mind better!
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
Steve said:
Hmmm, sorry, not sure I can agree on this one. These certainly are good workable combinations, but you completely left out Mainlobby, and CQC/Elk M1 is also an awesome combination, certainly worthy of a high ranking probably more so than CQC and HAI.
Disagreement is good. I was beginning to believe I could say anything and people would let me get away with it!

My reason for focusing on HAI is that they just have so much more stuff. I know it is mostly touchscreens and keypads but you have to appreciate that it has integrated camera control from those touchscreens as well as tight integration with Russound distributed audio. They have their own thermostats that match their own UPB lighting switches. They have a cool implementation for access control using their own outdoor keypad, and so on.

If all this gear is available to a PC system like CQC, right down to every button push and input value, then it could be an amazing comination. Of course if HAI does not expose all that information through the serial link then the value of that wide hardware selection is diminished significantly.
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
toymaster458 said:
I do not want this thread to turn into a M1 verse Omni Pro II Thread but the advantages of the Omni over the M1 are mostly Touch Panels and Whole House integration. Now if you are using CQC for these abilities those advantages become a mute point.
Actually an M1 vs Omni would be a good discussion. If CQC can get just as much info out of the M1 interface as it does from Omni then the Elk solution is a way better deal. I'm just not sure that this has been established yet.
 

Dean Roddey

Senior Member
The CQC Omni driver is now IP based, so we only support the Pro-II with the ethernet connection. The connection is so fast that polling is not an issue with this combination. The responses are basically instant, so even with a fairly loaded Omni I don't think it will be an issue.

The Elk has a much slower connection, but provides notifications.

So half of these, six dozen of the other I guess.
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
Dean Roddey said:
The CQC Omni driver is now IP based, so we only support the Pro-II with the ethernet connection. The connection is so fast that polling is not an issue with this combination. The responses are basically instant, so even with a fairly loaded Omni I don't think it will be an issue.

The Elk has a much slower connection, but provides notifications.

So half of these, six dozen of the other I guess.
How about the granularity of the information each panel provides; any difference?

Can I have some logic that says something like:

If Omni touchscreen 4 in the kitchen selects to view the screen showing Omni thermostat 2 (upstairs), then connect Russound zone 5 (kitchen) to source 6 (announcements) and connect source 6 to CQC soundcard out and play TTS message "The upstairs furnace has run %runhrs hours and %runmin minutes so far today" ?
 

Dean Roddey

Senior Member
Both the Elk and Omni would certainly allow you to get to whatever data you want I guess. There's two types of granularity here. One is the granularity at which it is queried by the automation system from the panel, and the other is the granularity at which the automation system exposes it. They don't have to be, and generally won't be, the same. You want the granularity of access to be fairly chunky, because it's wasteful of transactions to get a tiny amount of info per transaction. But the automation system can provide access to that info on a purely single value basis, and generally will.

If you mean granularity in terms of how things are separated into areas and zones and all that, I'm probably not the best person to answer that, not being a real world user of either.

But all the data is available, and at least in CQC it's alll available at the individual value level and you can read/write them in any combinations you want.
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
Dean Roddey said:
Both the Elk and Omni would certainly allow you to get to whatever data you want I guess. There's two types of granularity here. One is the granularity at which it is queried by the automation system from the panel, and the other is the granularity at which the automation system exposes it. They don't have to be, and generally won't be, the same. You want the granularity of access to be fairly chunky, because it's wasteful of transactions to get a tiny amount of info per transaction. But the automation system can provide access to that info on a purely single value basis, and generally will.

If you mean granularity in terms of how things are separated into areas and zones and all that, I'm probably not the best person to answer that, not being a real world user of either.

But all the data is available, and at least in CQC it's alll available at the individual value level and you can read/write them in any combinations you want.
Your first definition is what I was after. My example depends on the Omni reporting that a user has selected a different screen on one of its touchscreens to the serial port connected to CQC. If changing views does not generate an event in the Omni, or if the Omni doesn't make that information available to CQC, this scenario would not be possible. So my granualrity question is: Exactly how detailed is the information that the Omni tracks? Does it report it all through the interface with CQC? And does it tend to report more, or less, or the same amount of detail as an Elk M1 panel?
 
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