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New easy to use GUI interface for Beginners.


bknfla

Would you like an EASIER to use interface for the ISY?  

23 members have voted

  1. 1. Would you like an EASIER to use interface for the ISY?

    • Yes, if it were free
      4
    • Yes and I would gladly pay upto $25 for it
      5
    • Yes and I would gladly pay upto $50 for it
      3
    • Yes and I would galdly pay >$50 for it
      2
    • No
      9


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I have been looking all over the forums and Internet for a program which would make configuring the ISY more point and click like HomeLinc. I have 20 Brandnew Insteon Dual Signal Dimmers, a montion sensor and a brandnew ISY994i.

 

I have been working in the computer IT field for 30 years now and have done my share of DOS programming. And while I like the ability to see how the back-end looks and make changes to it, it can be very frustrating trying to learn a whole new language to set up my lights in my house. And the hours spend going through all the forums troubleshooting. Why is that necessary?

 

I thought that Orchestrated Home software was going to be my answer. Come to find out their product OML OrchMobiLinc is built more for turning off lights to save money and not really to configure how motion sensors interact. Great code writers very clean. And great support when I sent them an email asking about doing a day night motion scene. Would be nice for them to team up with Universal Devices and come up with a simple interface together.

 

I thought about going over to HomeSeer, and downloaded their trial, but their software is very expensive, so is their hardware, the GUI interface is more dated, but was easier to configure and they are more focused on ZWave products, with plugins galore. And they have a voice interface. Yes more money.

 

I then download HouseLinc and was able to quickly setup the serial connection to my computer and withhin 10 minutes was able to add all devices and configure the motion sensor, for turning on 2 different lights at different times of the day at different levels. I did my best to do with the ISY, but was never able to get it work correctly. The pages on the many "ways of Motion" was way more than it needed to be. Room? What do you want to do in it? When do you want to do it? And which actions do you want to happen when? Seems like those are simple question which programs and scenes/events could easily be written and updated to the ISY.

 

Looking through the forums you see lots of discussion about If.then.else and and detail descriptions - pages which are long and detailed...that is great IF you want to understand all the details on the back side...but not at the beginning. Why do I need to know all of this information to set up the home automation? Take a few minutes and download Homelinc which is free and tell me which you would rather use. No I do not like having my PC be on all the time that is why I bought the ISY in the first place.

 

I like the ISY but I want it to do both to allow me to easily configure my home automation and also allow me to see the code it built behind the scenes which is clean and correct instead of me having to search for hours in the forums and learn why we have to remember to check "if not on" or "if on...this will also allow me to see how I learn what does what without have to try to explain to Michael and Lee on the forums. It would be less work for them as well.

 

I still can't believe no one has done this already. Seems there are a lots of people on here with experience in the programming field and have time on their hands. I would gladly pay $50 for a software interface to the ISY. Or do it the other way..make the GUI free and charge for opening the back end. Anyone want to take a poll on the takes of this?

 

I believe that Universal Devices has a short window of opportunity to lead the home automation market place if they would have an interface like HomeLinc. Even my brand new Honeywell Wi-Fi thermostat took me all of 4 minutes to configure and the interface on the web was so smart, "what time does the earliest person get up?", Is anyone at home during the day?and when finished it built my answers and uploaded them to the thermo. It was so easy.

 

We need Drag and Drop capabilities like HomeLinc, until there is this Interface the take up of the ISY for the normal DIY will not go as far and fast as it could. I think Universal Devices has a little bit more of a honeymoon before Insteon gets their HomeHub to work correctly and that is where people will go. Sorry guys its time to evolve. Users do not want to be programmers - they want to be users.

 

Please do not take offense, Universal Devices has spent a lot of time and effort in putting the ISY together. And all of us really appreciate it. Now can it be made easier to use? It would make the ISY look even better as the ONLY solution to drive the Insteon products.

 

I believe UM would boost sales if it was made easier to use. :P

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  • 1 month later...

You nailed the main reason that prevents ISY from becoming a successful mass consumer product.

 

The "typical" homeowner would never want to deal with the programming that some forum members enjoy so much.

 

For me the benchmark is the NEST thermostat with its learning algorithm. That is the end goal; for now, I'd settle for an interface that my wife could program. And I'd happily pay for it!

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I voted No. Here's why:

 

I can't stand Houselinc. I have used it since version 1 and then upgraded to version 2 and decided to bail. Then HL was buggy and I really didn't think that ISY was that difficult to learn so ISY it was.

 

I would rather see development go towards features, like Z-wave, other alarm system integration, which is guaranteed to bring more customers.

 

The typical homeowner is happy paying ADT $50 a month to ADT for practically nothing. Home automation is not simple no matter how "point and click" the interface is. Home automation in the mass consumer version will only be able to do simple things. If that's what they want, then the ISY probably isn't for them.

 

Programs and Variables are the single biggest reason to use the ISY. Could there be some better examples laid out on the Wiki, sure, but you'll only find them if you look there.

 

 

This next comment is about technology and forums in general: No offense to anyone here...so here goes...

/Rant on

I think that a bunch of simple issues would be resolved if people would actually read the manuals or the wiki, then search, then post their issue if they couldn't find the answer. There seems to be a theme in forums where people do nothing on their own and want someone to hand them the answer. How are they helping themselves?

/Rant off...

 

 

OP, you obviously did your research, tried different options, and ISY isn't working for you. It's normal that some people just don't jive with some software. Example: I deal with Access control systems day to day, about 10 different manufacturers overall. There are some systems that I can't stand dealing with, the software doesn't have any flow to it. It looks ugly, etc.

 

You will always have this.

 

You have to admit though, Not having a Home Automation PC running 24/7 is really nice!

 

Stick with ISY. It will grow on you. Once you use your first variable to do what you thought was impossible, you will be hooked.

 

Edit: I almost forgot to mention. The people here will bend over backwards to help you when you need it and ask for it. The level of product support from UDI is excellent.

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Hello everyone,

 

I didn't really want to post a reply to this topic simply because a) we do agree that the UI could be prettier and more user friendly but B) our product development philosophy is more aligned with that of gatchel's: features and reliability.

 

As far as NEST, I really do not think the analogy holds. NEST is one device. Yes, they might have aspirations to control everything at home but, at the moment, that's all they are: a thermostat. Sorry, I meant to say: a beautiful, elegant, and most user friendly thermostat. ISY is NOT NEST and we do not even aspire ISY to be anything close to NEST. Our aspiration is for ISY to be the event hub, the brain, the coordinator, the orchestrator of things at home. And, unlike NEST, we strive to always provide Open APIs, developer documentation/help, and anything necessary to have a thriving third party ecosystem out of which you will see a lot of beautiful UIs to choose from.

 

The irony is, there were indeed a couple of very pretty UIs in the third party section but there was no interest. So, for those who are willing to pay for a nicer UI, please check third party section. And, if you have iPad, one can always pay for the most awesome iPhone/iPad applications in the AppStore.

 

In all cases, thanks so very much for all the feedback.

 

With kind regards,

Michel

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  • 4 months later...

Thank you Michael for responding, with Home Automation continuing to burst on the market, Smarthomes Insteon Hub only has a few more boxes to check off and they will have everything that the ISY has. Conditional triggers, Conditional Alerts, IR Support and X10 Scenes (not sure if they will ever do that one). But I am sure they are working hard on those, and its probably not a large stretch to see that happening pretty fast.

 

I have taken a job at Microsoft and one of the interesting things that they realized early on is that the interface has to be easy to use and intuitive AND does not require a manual to use (if you remember there was an instruction video that came out with Windows 95). Look at the success of the iPhone, a three year old can use without any instruction, also they can do all the functions that an adult can do.

 

Please continue to make a product which allows people to do what every they want on the back end, and tweak the controls via manual commands all they want. But as I sit around a table of my new coworkers and they listen to me tell them how I have my house working like on the jetsons, they want to know what to buy as we well. When my self proclaimed "techotard" neighbors get excited about how I control my lights and they want it for themselves. They ask me what they should purchase I have to tell them that in order to control my lights the way you want to control them you have a couple of ways to do it. - I loose them. I can't say go hear buy this, go here and buy this and plug it and it is SO easy to setup and SO easy to use and you can even use any smartphone or tablet you want.

 

Would be interesting for UD to be able to tell how many people have purchased the ISY device and how many people are actually using it. Apple knows exactly how many iphones are being used and how they are being used.

 

Is it so hard to program a slick UI front end to the ISY and still keep the current back and and for the new UI to build the back end so you can see how its done? That would be the most powerful thing.

 

I want to be able to use the power of the ISY, but why only make it so you have to be logical programmer to get it to work. Am I missing something?

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Hi bknfla,

 

Thanks so very much for the feedback.

 

Thank you Michael for responding, with Home Automation continuing to burst on the market, Smarthomes Insteon Hub only has a few more boxes to check off and they will have everything that the ISY has. Conditional triggers, Conditional Alerts, IR Support and X10 Scenes (not sure if they will ever do that one). But I am sure they are working hard on those, and its probably not a large stretch to see that happening pretty fast.

If history is any indication, it's already taken 7 years and 6 variations and the current incarnation requires a SERVER in the cloud. And, I think they are trying to address a different market segment.

 

I have taken a job at Microsoft and one of the interesting things that they realized early on is that the interface has to be easy to use and intuitive AND does not require a manual to use (if you remember there was an instruction video that came out with Windows 95). Look at the success of the iPhone, a three year old can use without any instruction, also they can do all the functions that an adult can do.

I cannot argue with this analogy but, by the same virtue, I can argue that airplanes should be as user friendly and even a 3 year old should be able to fly them and understand the instrumentation. Admin Console is for CONFIGURATION ... I do not expect a 3 year old to know how to configure scenes and make programs for summer holidays, prices, irrigation, and etc.

 

Please continue to make a product which allows people to do what every they want on the back end, and tweak the controls via manual commands all they want. But as I sit around a table of my new coworkers and they listen to me tell them how I have my house working like on the jetsons, they want to know what to buy as we well. When my self proclaimed "techotard" neighbors get excited about how I control my lights and they want it for themselves. They ask me what they should purchase I have to tell them that in order to control my lights the way you want to control them you have a couple of ways to do it. - I loose them. I can't say go hear buy this, go here and buy this and plug it and it is SO easy to setup and SO easy to use and you can even use any smartphone or tablet you want.

I am losing you ... I do not know what "couple of ways" refers to here. They use Admin Console to CONFIGURE. They can use our default web interface to control (yes, even a 3 year old can control). OR, if they want, they use more feature rich third party applications.

 

Would be interesting for UD to be able to tell how many people have purchased the ISY device and how many people are actually using it. Apple knows exactly how many iphones are being used and how they are being used.

Apple has been known to ignore privacy concerns. Apart from email addresses that are captured during registration, we do not keep/distribute/use customer information. And, the email addresses are only used for sending important notifications such as official firmware update.

 

Is it so hard to program a slick UI front end to the ISY and still keep the current back and and for the new UI to build the back end so you can see how its done? That would be the most powerful thing.

The question is not the level of difficulty. The questions are:

- If we have the same amount of time/resources for development, what should we concentrate on

- Is Slick objective? I must tell you that every time I use an iPad, I want to shout from anger. So, wouldn't it better to allow 3rd parties to create different and much more feature rich UIs from which the customers can choose the one they like?

 

I want to be able to use the power of the ISY, but why only make it so you have to be logical programmer to get it to work. Am I missing something?

I do not know what are logical programmers.

 

With kind regards,

Michel

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+1 on the ability of the wife to be able to program something. Like what time her bed heater goes on or off. Right now I have to make those changes and my kids have no interest in learning it either.

 

Now I have seen, due to another home devices evolution, that Opera and Firefox support a common two way communications interface. Perhaps soon Chrome will do the same and then I would like to crowd source on here a new floor plan in HTML 5 so it works on all the devices and does not have to be specific to one. On a local network, HTML5 should be very fast. We currently lack the ability to subscribe to the ISY, when that comes, then I think we can get started.

 

I left the misterhouse program because of the lack of community support, I was never impressed with Smarthome's lack of precense in their own forums, and am a happy ISY owner. I would love to have Zwave, insteon, Zigbee (several varieties), blue tooth, and the abilities of the tag manager all in one little box, ir (and not just RC5), one wire, etc all in one box I've added a raspberry pi to my mix to bring some of these functions in as well and am working on retiring the dead linux server this week.

 

Alan

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I must be one of those "logical programmers". I am quite happy with the current interface. Still, who doesn't want things to be easier?

 

What I would prefer avoiding, however, is:

 

a) loss of flexibility and power. Sometimes, "easy" means inflexible.

B) reliance on someones else's resources. Have you noticed that many of the latest gadgets require you to work through their servers? Is not even the hub this way? No thanks! What happens when someone decides to cease operating the servers? Do you want to give away control of your home to the operators of these servers?

 

But, all other things being equal, I will take easier over harder...Pretty over ugly...fast over slow.

 

PS. I find gatchel's rant about manuals to be similar to my life's experiences and observations.

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I bought a Nexia Hub off eBay to control some of my Zwave deadbolt locks until the ISY gains this capability. Aside from Nexia being a cloud based service with all the downsides that brings, it has a very clean and simple web based interface and a nice iPhone app. This makes operating any of the Zwave stuff very easy. That said, I wan't 15 minutes into configuring this before I started running into it's limitations in programmability. No way to do conditional programming like we can in the ISY. No way to integrate other non Zwave devices like we can in the ISY.

 

My take: Clean, Simple and Pretty does not equal Powerful, Flexible and Extensable.

 

-Xathros

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