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ISY or hoomseer?


Bekowies

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Hello,

 

Like many of you, I have recently become engrossed in smart homes in general and all of the possibilities.  I have built a fairly standard Insteon system so far (light switches, door lock, garage door opener, thermostat and motion) and also have some LIFX and the Echo.  I am fairly happy with the performance of what I have and how it works with Echo.  My goal is to do as much as I can with Echo and not have to always open an app.   The one area where base Insteon is lacking is the if then else category.  Research has led me to both the ISY994i and to Homeseer  (HS3).   So here is my goal, I simply want to create scenes(?) that take advantage of the if then logic.  Time of day, day of week, what else is going on with other devices and so on.  My concern is that if I use the ISY994i I will have to 'dedicate' my Insteon devices to it instead of the Insteon hub.  I hate to do this because the Insteon hub integrates directly with the Echo and I don't need to use a skill.  My understanding is that I would need a skill to use ISY with Echo.   So really all I want is to keep my Echo functionality and simplicity while adding some 'if then else' smarts to my system.

 

Any help/suggestions will be appreciated.

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The ISY and Hub can be used together if you have some understanding about the Insteon protocol (e.g, scenes). The ISY prefers to be the only Insteon manager and will not be aware of any scene changes you make using the Hub. That may lead to unexpected results unless you make the same changes using the ISY.

 

Another reason for using the ISY exclusively is that the Echo does not accept scenes nor KPL secondary buttons. You can create Echo groups, but that ignores any preset On-levels (i.e., all devices turn on at full brightness). Some devices are only partially controllable. For example, if you ever install a FanLinc, only the light can be controlled from the Echo, not the fan.

 

The ISY allows controlling scenes. Any device that can be controlled by the ISY can be controlled by the Echo when using the ISY portal and skill. The portal does have a bi-annual $49 fee, but that includes secure off-site control. No set up is needed. The portal also integrates IFTTT with Insteon.

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Hi and weclome to the forums

 

I used Homeseer for 10 years, V1 - V2, and a short stint on V3.  I did have a hub 1 using Homeseer and was able to use both HS functionality, through Mark Sandler's Insteon plugin as well as the insteon mobile apps. You'd have to read HS board to see if that's true for the new alljoyn and Homekit compatible hubs.

 

I came to UDI a year and a half ago because I didn't want to maintain a windows server for the sake of homeseer, and HS3 did not really offer me a clean upgrade path. However, I do believe HS can be run on Raspberry Pi.  

 

Overall, I'm happier with the ISY for my HA network, which is all Insteon from a powerline perspective. I think the ISY is better for your basic requirement of:"So here is my goal, I simply want to create scenes(?) that take advantage of the if then logic.  Time of day, day of week, what else is going on with other devices and so on. " ISY Insteon integration is pretty tight.

 

Homeseer is .net based which has some coding and integration advantages. The ISY is simpler, to me, to organize devices and logic, and the new portal capability makes it safe and relatively easy to access your ISY remotely while integrating with newer capabilities like the Echo and IFTTT.

 

Kind of rambly, but I hope this helps

 

PAul

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I have used HS since v1 and it once ran our entire home; I now have HS3 running. I started with an ISY 99i years ago, and now have the 994, of course. I have an Elk security system and we have four Echos in our home.

 

I find the ISY handles just about everything, without issue. Homeseer, meanwhile, is down to helping me communicate with one of the Nest thermostats and monitoring some odds and ends of Oregon Scientific stuff.

 

Reliability was the big thing for me, as the ISY often sits for months, just working. I had a terrible time with HS2, and still more issues with HS3. It's stable now, but I learned my lesson, personally.

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

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I experimented for a few months with HS2 using an Insteon Hub and found some of the logical constructs missing.`

 

I switched to ISY about two years ago  and felt much better about a smaller energy usage machine that didn't threaten to fail constantly with old moving mechanism parts and a way over complicated OS than needed just to do a controller job.

 

In the end ISY feels more reliable, professional and user friendly, while HS2 felt more like a hack project out of somebody's basement with promises of doing everything.

 

ISY has no virus software written for it that I have heard of. Larger OS systems abound with virii threats.

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Reliability was the big thing for me, as the ISY often sits for months, just working. I had a terrible time with HS2, and still more issues with HS3. It's stable now, but I learned my lesson, personally.

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

 

Great point, I forgot about that. When zwave was introduced to HS2, there was a long (2 years?) period of it crashing, memory leaks, etc. I lost a lot of WAF from that one, and think I finally have it back. 

 

As you say, it seems better now from reviewing board posts.  However, having tried both, it turned out to be easier to migrate from HS2->ISY than HS2->HS3

 

Paul

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Thanks for the comments and taking the time to respond...I suspect one of the major reasons for going with the ISY might be the strength of the user community. :) 

 

So MWareman...

 

"Also, just get the $50/2yr ISY Portal - and you'll get ISY to integrate with Alexa without the skill... All the benefits of ISY with all the benefits of the Insteon Hum - no Hub required."   

 

So...if I use the portal I can just tell Alexa to "Turn on the living room lights"?  I don't have to say "Alexa tell Issy to turn on the living room lights"?           

 

Thanks.

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I can also speak on this topic.

I also was an HS user since Ver. 1 and went up to the upgrades up to Ver. 3.  I think that Ver.1 was the best out there at the time and was a breakthrough with home automation software.

It served me well for a good amount of time, but towards the end, I felt like lack of communication from the developer and and lack of a rod map made me loose a lot of interest.  Software bugs were not addressed in a timely manner, and one thing fixed, broke something else.  Personally, I also felt that the developer was getting a little over their head with the new technology, both software and hardware.

 

But more to the topic at hand.  For me, several times, due to the fact that the application sat on top of a workstation running MS Windows, I had to rebuild this dedicated box several times and some of these times came at the most importunate time.  Twice I had to rebuild a few days before heading out for vacation, time that you need it the most.  I also had relied on 3rd party plugins that became unsupported, outdated and broken for various reasons.  Lastly, the newer version excluded the support of hardware that I had invested in and was previously supported by the vendor.  This lead me to research an alternative and this is where I landed.  I am pretty satisfied with my choice.  No underlying OS, updates are made frequently and well communicated and the company also has the same belief that this technology should reside within your network and not farmed out to "the cloud".

 

From what I am reading in your original post, most of your request is to build IF - THEN - ELSE events.  The ISY handles this beautifully and keep in mind that HS does not provide this feature easily (that I know of, things may have changed).  But lastly, for me, the mobile interface for HS was getting to be a pain, every time that I wanted to add a light switch, I had to redesign a good portion of my mobile app and then have to collect all of my devices to publish the new design.  I am currently using Mobilinc and even if I am not a fan of the design, the applicaiton works really well on iOS.

 

I am not pushing one way or the other, as I think that both projects are great, just hat for me, ISY is the way to go.

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So...if I use the portal I can just tell Alexa to "Turn on the living room lights"?  I don't have to say "Alexa tell Issy to turn on the living room lights"?   

 

That's true for most devices, all scenes and the Then (On) and Else (Off) sections of programs. You still need to tell Alexa to ask Izzy to control thermostats, locks and run the If section of a program. If you set up sub-accounts for each Echo, the you do not need to identify the room that the Echo is in, for example, "Alexa, turn on the light," works for the living room light when I'm in the living room.

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So MWareman...

 

"Also, just get the $50/2yr ISY Portal - and you'll get ISY to integrate with Alexa without the skill... All the benefits of ISY with all the benefits of the Insteon Hum - no Hub required."

 

So...if I use the portal I can just tell Alexa to "Turn on the living room lights"? I don't have to say "Alexa tell Issy to turn on the living room lights"?

Yes - that's correct.

 

You can turn on and off things with "Alexa, turn on/off family room light". 'Family room light' would be the spoken field defined in the ISY Portal, but it can be attached to any device, scene or program. In the case of a program, 'on' will run 'then' and 'off' will run 'Else'.

 

Anything you can do with the Hub via Alexa you can also do von ISY without needing the skill.

 

One general limitation people have hit - you can only issue 'turn on at 50%' type commands to devices - not scenes or programs.

 

The Skill is also useful though - you can do things that are not possible with the connected home Alexa API. For example, 'Alexa, tell Izzy to arm the alarm'. That's not possible (with any controller) without having to invoke a skill.

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That's true for most devices, all scenes and the Then (On) and Else (Off) sections of programs. You still need to tell Alexa to ask Izzy to control thermostats, locks and run the If section of a program.

You can 'RunIf' by creating another program (with nothing in the 'If' section) and a 'Program (RunIf) in the 'Then' and/or 'Else' section - and assign the new program the spoken name. Turning 'On' (or 'Off') will then run your chosen programs 'If' clause.

 

Likewise, you can write programs to operate locks, then turn them 'On' and 'Off' without needing the skill. The language would be odd though... until Amazon expands the vocabulary.

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We're getting somewhat used to using on and off for window coverings and locks. Interestingly, Izzy can't turn a thermostat on or off, so a program is required. B)

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OK, I just have to share two recent experiences that might shed some light on this:

 

1) HS released an update recently to HS3, so I ran it earlier this week. Not a beta, but an update that was pushed out to me (I had to run a beta earlier if I wanted to try some capabilities related to the Echo). Now, HS relies heavily on "plugins", and I had about a half dozen running (much decreased from years past, as I have pared them down in pursuit of reliability). Only two were really critical to me as they work together to accomplish the one remaining thing on which I count on HS to handle. So what happened when I ran the update? It disabled all the plugins at restart. Yeah, that's just brilliant. No warning, and I discovered the problem when, of course, that one important function failed. Thanks, Homeseer...

 

2) I just read through a thread on their forum about an upgraded Echo skill. When users reported a problem with running events via the Echo, one of the suggestions from what I believe is one of the people responsible for the upgrade was to use your PHONE to issue voice commands as a handy alternative. Huh????? Sure - that must be the reason I installed four Echos - to use my phone because the skill doesn't cut it.

 

I'll just say it (and I have no affiliation with either company except as a customer of many years): The ISY JUST WORKS, and does what the company says it will do, reliably. It is not as easy to expand and do as many things as Homeseer, and goodness knows I've beaten Michel up about that here and there. But it is a reliable core for control of my home. I have come to trust it. Homeseer, on the other hand, has become the program that I grudgingly tolerate only because I have not yet taught myself to write python for the one or two things that I am forced to have Homeseer do. But one day, a Pi and python will make it go away. The ISY will remain, talking to the Pi. So there's some additional elaboration on one user's real world experience.

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