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Bluetooth catching on in HA?


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I think there are situations were bluetooth matter most. I think it makes an already complicated field even more complicated which makes mainstream adoption and full growth potential even worse. Outside of specific applications, I don't see where it brings a new level of integration that any other protocol doesn't already have. 

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I'd love to see more BT devices in use with Home Automation. 

I use the **** out of my Android phone and Tasker to interface with my Insteon stuff via my ISY994. The API is really easy to work with. 


I do have something neat on the way - Indigogo hosted a startup called Flic. It's basically just a button. It uses bluetooth to communicate to your phone, and you can set up your phone to do different things based on single, double or long presses on the device. I should have 8 of them coming (they're shipping in about a month), and would easily be able to integrate them with Tasker and my Android phone to perform various tasks and control my automation. 


I'd think with other non-Insteon devices that use BT, my Android phone could be the hub of control. I think we'll see more BT devices, as it's really coming into its own these days. 

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The use cases have become rather broad. The tasker integration  I get for "me" centric things; ... do A, B or C when you notice me in a certain spot. 


The article above is talking about having BT in powerline device like a wall switch. That suggests to me a bluetooth wireless grid across the house for control, no different than Zwave or the RF part of Insteon. Its 2.4Ghz and will suffer all of the maladies that wifi and other low power radio services in that range.


No reason it couldn't work, but BT is among the lowest transmit power standards.... 30 or 40 feet with ideal conditions. I guess if power switches and outlets become rf repeaters like zwave, it would be that kind of model but (I think) lower power. More of them would be needed, and the rf barriers presented by pipes and ducts, worse.... so even more bt repeaters needed. 


The other factor is competition for bandwidth. What will happen when I want to turn a light on, while talking on a BT headset and streaming music to the BT speakers on my porch? I get that its using an multiplexing network protocol, however it could all be very noisy and busy.

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The only value here that I can see is if all of those wireline BT enabled devices can act as iBeacons (or how about just beacons so everyone can play) then we could have our phones do inside location detection based on a larger array of beacons to improve the accuracy.  The hell with battery life!  I certainly would not want to pair my phone with 80+ switches, outlets, fan controllers and the like.  Hell, my phone has enough trouble keeping up with the 8 or so BT devices it's paired with now.



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Another thing to consider is limited connections.

The iPhone has two profiles (that I know of), and allows only one pairing of each profile at a time.


I have a number of BT devices I use with my phone, and it's not always seamless. I can't imagine trying to manage so many profiles on my iPhone.



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I constantly wonder whether automation will eventually go the way of VHS vs BetaMax, with a single protocol essentially dominating the market; or if it will sort into a kind of console-gaming-system market, with multiple (and incompatible) major platforms with largely the same feature set, and a few generally minor differentiating features.


There's promise for BT. The volume is there already to keep costs down, you already have it on your phone and in your car, and its stock in trade is small-scale data transmission with minimal power consumption. It's also under active development on a major scale (think about where BT was 5 and 10 years ago).


That said, I'd have concerns about many of the above items too, and I don't know enough about the underlying technology to know if those potential problems can be overcome.


But if someone could make light switches smart for an extra $10 - $15 instead of an extra $45, a lot more homes would get smart a lot faster.



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I don't see where it brings anything to automation in a broad sense that isn't already covered. To me, its great to allow a garage door to sense you pulling up and open the door, doors to unlock or control the hvac system when it knows your in the house. All that can still be accomplished via other alternatives. It would make it simpler of course but then again, in time, app makers could also make geofencing easier too. Me personally, I don't want to have to carry my phone room to room or a fob of some sort just to have a light turn on. 


Bluetooth sounds good on paper. All of these differing technologies are great for techies and those who love gadgets. However while automation is growing, how much is being stunted because theres something "new" every week? I would like to see more uniformity out there in regards to different devices talking to one another. We don't need a new "technology" with big promises that does not revolutionize anything.

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