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By Greg in Lake Havasu, AZ on 9/25/2007


Seven years ago when we were having a home built by a general contractor (before I knew better), I did some research on automated home control. At the time X-10 was the predominant technology. We have now just begun planning for a new home which we plan to be much more involved in, as detailed in the O-B documents. Being a techno-freak I’d like to include some automated features like those that X-10 offered 7 years ago. Is X-10 still the preferred supplier in this area or have they been replaced by more state of the art suppliers?

 

Thanks for any info you're willing to share.


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By Jack in Trumann, AR on 10/17/2007


Hi Greg:

I'm looking into this myself.  I'm no expert but I've found a couple of sites you might be interested in looking at.

homecontrols.com
homeauto.com
smarthome.com

I'm still looking but I'm leaning toward the HAI product offerings myself.

Regards,

Jack


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By Jack in Trumann, AR on 11/12/2007


Greg:

Here is another site I found for home automation products.  This one is geared more toward dealers and as such the product descriptions aren't always great, assuming there is one, but the prices are excellent.  I ended up ordering the HAI system I've been looking at from this company.  I ran across them while reading a home automation message board.  Apparently they have a reputation for good service and prices but they are often out of stock on some items so it may take a while to get your order.  I've checked prices at a lot of places and this company has the best prices I've seen.  I just ordered my system over the weekend so I'll have to wait and see how they come through on it.

Worthington Distribution

Regards,

Jack


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By Jack in Trumann, AR on 11/15/2007


FYI:

I received my order from Worthington.  The shipping was free due to the size of the order and I received part of it in less than three days and the rest on the fourth day.  It was packaged well and everything I ordered was delivered.  Overall, I'm impressed with their service and their prices.

As for the HAI products, the ones I've opened and looked at so far are very well designed and easy to install.  The documentation was basically not even necessary due to the user friendly design but it was well written and informative.  I haven't looked at the most complex piece of equipment yet, the house controller but I expect it to be of similar design and workmanship.  Obviously the programming and setup of this piece will be more complex and documentation will absolutely be necessary; at least for the configuration.

The one product I've played with the most is the whole house audio system.  I just got it yesterday and haven't plugged it up to test it yet but it is going to be amazingly simple to install.  There is a wiring diagram on the box and in the documentation plus the controller is so well labeled that it is self documenting with text and graphic images to show where everything plugs in.  I'm going to start my wiring this weekend so all I need to do is make a final decision on where to put the speakers, inputs and control modules; the deciding is going to be tougher than the installation.  I'm very impressed; as if you couldn't read that in my post.

Jack


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By Keith in Tucson, AZ on 11/18/2007


Greg,

In my experience X 10 technology is troublesome and can continually malfunction.  It has a lot of requirements to get the X10 to work correctly throughout the home (circuit bridges, filters etc.).  These are required to pass the communications signal through the electrical wiring to the controlling devices.  When a power spike, surge, or even a distant lighting strike occurs static energy enters the electrical wiring it can scramble programming.   We use to provide technical support, recommended by X10's web site to support their clients in my area.  We stopped working with  X10 over the complicated and often expensive problem issues that caused homeowners frustration over their inexpensive X10 equipment not working to their expectations.  They couldn't understand the true nature of the cause for their constant problems.

Most home automation products use X10 in their platform design, which is one of the weak points of the systems that rely on this form of device communications.  The other weak point of most home automation products is the security side of the platform.   This seems to be designed (poorly) as the afterthought of the home automation application.

HAI product design are typical of both these weak points, plus the southwest rep for HAI has a reputation for not supporting the dealers in his territory. This makes it hard for both a client buying over the Internet and the dealers who promote HAI to gain continued success when installing and maintaining the system.

We stopped using HAI and X10 several years ago because of poor support and problematic performance.  There are more reliable products that provide for better home automation applications. 

The 1st question is what do you want to control or automate? Lighting, HVAC, radiant floors, solar power, security, distribution (video/audio), events (alarm activations, environment changes, occupancy sensing, etc.)?   When you know all that is desired, then you can find a better product or combination of products that can be integrated to complete your desired goal.

A simple lighting control that works well, and is cost effective, is Lutron's Aura Ra, or it's bigger brother Radio Ra. 

Security/home automation should be provided by a manufacturer that is known for security 1st, that also has a platform for home automation / home entertainment distribution.  Some may still incorporate X10, so think about how tolerant you are for things not always working as they should and your time, ability, and budget to trouble shoot the X10 side, before you select an X10 supporting platform.

Personally I'm a fan of a KISS platform (keep it simple system).  When we work with our clients this is the basis of every design - to achieve the goal of our client in a manner that improves their quality of life and keeps the frustration to an absolute minimum for long term satisfaction. 

I'm currently involved with a builder's HAI nightmare (installed by others) in a dollar home in where the HAI rep isn't interested in getting their product to work as stated.   There are touch screens provided by a company called Convergence Living.  They are a very responsible company whose screens interface to the HAI panel and have agreed to resolve the problems HAI won't on the HAI's Omni II System.

Depending upon the sophistication of the automation, your level of experience, and the budget, you may want to hire a consultant to design / spec out the system, and install / maintain it also.  If your determined to go it alone, keep looking for the product that best suits your goals, and research, research, research it throughly, checking others that have used it through chat rooms for the products, and look at local applications done by other do it yourselfers and professionals.   Parade of Home's events are good opportunities, as well as high end model homes and homes for sale with similar features. Talk to these homeowners, or installing contractors, for their hands-on impressions.  Once you commit, your committed, so choose wisely from knowledge and reference.  Keith


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By Jack in Trumann, AR on 11/19/2007


Hi Keith:

Thanks for your contribution to this thread.  I wonder if you might elaborate on your comments about HAI's products being weak because they are dependent on X10 and the security isn't designed well?  It sounds as though you are a professional in this area so you no doubt know more about it than I do.  I'm just a computer geek who loves electronic toys.  I know something about security from managing DSC security systems for the corporations I've worked for but I'm no expert for sure.  Everything else I know is from researching the subject on the web; so I have no work experience in designing and installation, just management and programming.  From my research on the web, I've read very few negatives about HAI and a lot of positives.  I'm sure a bad rep can cause unimagined problems in his region but I wonder what specifics about their products you can point out.  From what I've read, HAI's products are based on UPB now, not X10.  I know that it also supports X10 accessories but UPB is supposed to be almost trouble-free isn't it?  As for the security design, I'd like to know more about what you are talking about in the way of weaknesses if you care to explain it more.

Thank you,

Jack


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By Charles in Layton, UT on 11/20/2007


I plan on using this company's products when I build my new home: control4.com .  I don't think it has a security system side to it, but I am more into the automation, home theater, home audio/video side of things.  The home products are ZigBee based.

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By Keith in Tucson, AZ on 11/21/2007


Hi Jack,

Yes, it's one of my professions (I have several), as well as my personal goal for my house.  My tech's went to their training seminar several years ago, and during the seminar the trainer was exclaiming the great convenience features of their security platform in the HAI automation.  1st off I have great tech's who out perform everyone I've run up against as professionals.  My clients agree whole heartedly. 

This seminar trainer was explaining the convenient disarming process of the system features.  One of my tech's spoke out about the method he was describing, and then showed everyone in the room how easy it would be to defeat the system, because of it.  Of course the trainer didn't have the depth of security knowledge he should of had, so he didn't see it as a problem.  No one at his company had pointed it out before, or prepared him on how to handle a discussion about this obvious flaw in their design.  All of the other seminar attendees understood my tech's demonstration of the flaw.  The system was also no where near as feature rich as standard security based platforms.  It lacked features that we utilize all the time for customizing the security system design for each client's desired level of security, and life style. 

I'm not completely sure of the exact design problem / application we found weak, because it was a few years ago and I did not attend that particular seminar with my techs.  I'll try to relate the issue as I remember.  Many security system's feature a keyfob (like the one's for car alarms) to conveniently disarm their system with.  We have always refused to provide this disarming feature (lost/stolen keys with the key fob, wallet or purse, and it's unlimited access for anyone that has them).  Arming and panic activations are fine with key fobs, but disarming without an authorization process for disarming (using a unique 4-6 digit access code on the keypad or biometric/finger print) is a weakness in the application. 

The HAI panel allowed you to use the garage door opener to not only open the garage door, but also disarmed the system.  Once the door was opened this would be recognized by the HAI as an authorized disarm sequence.  They may have redesigned this by now. You can now use an Ademco Vista security system with the HAI.  There were other problems (limited in scope of other security applications) that my tech's then decided we didn't want anything to do with HAI as a security platform.

So what does HAI (or other manufacturer's automation systems) do that is unique, or that you can't also do with other products at a much lower cost?  I haven't seen it yet.

The HAI Rep... he finally called yesterday (after three weeks) and asked how the project was going.  I told him nowhere since he didn't follow through with what he said he would do.  He couldn't understand why that was the problem, since Convergence Living was correcting the HAI performance problem.  It was a problem because his company wasn't taking care of the issue's my client had for the performance of the HAI panel (installed by another authorized HAI dealer and then abandoned the job taking the programming software and the access support information, with it 95 % done - the automated curtains wouldn't close correctly, so he left the job permanently).  HAI felt as long as Convergence Living was finding the solution for the problems with HAI panel's performance, that they didn't need to bother with it.  I'm supposed to have confidence in this? I don't think so.

UPB - yes this is a much better technology than X10. I have more confidence in this working better.

My issues may be just my issues, I'm a perfectionist and expect people who are responsible for a product to do just that - be responsible.  So much of whats out there doesn't live up, and I find that the people behind products that don't live up also don't live up - and vice versus.  If the people behind a product doesn't live up, then how can the product.

DSC has been my all time favorite system (for 10+ years) until it was bought out by an entity owned by ADT.  After ADT owned DSC, the DSC wireless sensors went through a design change and basically failed on a large scale for several years.  DSC lost a huge market share of security dealers (like myself) because of the problems.  Several years later they were forced to change the wireless design again because of the new problems and supposedly it works now. 

Five to seven years ago we used DSC as a platform in a solar supported model home at Civano (a planned community in Tucson for urban living with advance building technology as the focal point of the community's design).  We controlled the solar applications, lighting, and radiant flooring with the DSC system's output controls and communicative thermostats (no X10 was used).  Everything could be controlled through the DSC keypad, key fobs, and with the "over the telephone support" module installed.

When you buy a product, it's the people who support it that make it great, or bad.  I'd rather work with a reliable product supported by great people - duh!.  HAI in my opinion hasn't proven that it is one of these companies, because of the product and the people behind the design and support.  HAI may be a good product choice for some, it's just not mine at the moment.

You will most likely not have the same experiences and concerns that I have, and your HAI selection may be just fine for your needs.  Analog remote stereo speaker or digital remote stereo speaker control may be great with HAI.  I don't know.  We use other designs within our structured wiring design for this and it is easily done without HAI.  As I say, every application from HAI we can do better with other products, and still integrate all the low and high voltage applications.  HAI may be a good one stop application for most home owners, to keep their applications simple in one box.  If you have any specific questions or design/application interests, please identify them in this forum and I'll try to help if I can.

Most automation products haven't reached maturity of the potential that technology can provide for yet.  It reminds me of the old "Butler in a Box" automation (using voice recognition for control) that was featured in a movie years ago.  It was also on the market for years to dealers.  It worked great in the movie (because anything can work in movies), but when they hosted the premier party at the featured house the automation went crazy and drove everyone out of the house (lights going on and off, spa turning on and off, video displays and stereo going  on & off, volume going up and down - based upon all the different voices the system was "hearing" at the party.  Who would think?

The question becomes what do you need it to do?   Everyone's doing the same old thing, controlling lights, HAVC, and some small special applications, all with fancy touch screens for that "wow" factor.  Needless to say I haven't selected my automation platform yet, but it will most likely be security based, and possibly UPB supported as well.

I think in the end I'd rather walk over and close the curtains myself  (getting a little exercise also)  I'd hate to see people evolve with smaller arms and legs because we've become a society of convenience over function.  How much automation actually is beneficial in all aspects?

Reducing energy costs is priority, and if your disabled in some capacity, it's necessary.  Remote control of system off premise is a great convenience, and can increase reduced energy consumption.  These are true advantage scenarios. 

I've designed home systems for disabled homeowners with security based design platforms.  This is my best home automation application; energy control, environment control, security control, door lock control, video applications control to include video surveillance for homes, broadband internet /satellite /cable / HD video displays for home bound disabled.   This is where automation is important, but most designs are for selling the wow factor for show and tell, from the manufacturers I've had discussions with at trade shows.  For me the jury's still out. 

Keith

 


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By Jack in Trumann, AR on 11/21/2007


Good Morning Keith:

Thanks again for sharing your views.  I absolutely agree with you on the necessity/true advantages of home automation; a lot of it is just fluff.  I admit, that I want the cool factor myself; but I also want the security side of it.  There's no way I'd spend as much as I have just for the advantage of being able to turn my lights on and off.  Maybe HAI has made changes in the security design since you last looked at it, I don't know, but the OmniPro II that I have seems to have everything or most everything I've seen in DSC, ADT, Brinks and other systems in the past. They do still have that key fob device that you mentioned but it doesn't have to be programmed to disarm the system; at least that is my understanding.  I think you can program the four buttons to do about whatever you want them to do, including disarming the system but I agree with you that disarming with something like that wouldn't be a great idea from a hardened security point of view.  On the other hand, if that is what an owner wants to do, that's their business really; I'd hope that the installer would stress the downsides of doing so though.  I'm sure a lot of homeowners, upon first hearing that they can disarm their system with a key fob, would probably think, "Wow, that's cool!"; without even considering the ramifications of doing that.  However, from what I've seen about the system so far, that single "feature" is probably the only potential back door for disarming it; but, it doesn't have to be used that way.  For that matter, the key fob is an optional accessory interface that doesn't automatically come with the system anyway.  And believe it or not, I did a quick Google search to see what other security systems on the market have these key fobs available and I found them for a lot of systems, even DSC and ADT; and yes, they do disarm those systems as well.  Still I can respect your viewpoint in the matter and it's good to see both the pros and the cons of any system.  That's what forums like this are for.  If you only get your info from manufacturers, you'll only get marketing glitz.  That's why I read message boards so often, to get the opinions of end users and professionals in the area I'm researching.

If you were interested in checking out their current feature set, you could download and read their current controller owner/installation manual.  Honestly, it reads more like a security system than an automation system.  The automation portion of it is covered in the programming for the most part.  Anyway, to me it seems pretty solid; that may just be me being naive but I'm confident it is going to fulfill my needs and my wants.  I've already bought it anyway; so no going back now even if I wanted to.

As for the problems you've had with their rep, I can definitely understand how that would turn you off from them; even if you were impressed by their system design, that would be a problem.  I'm an IT professional and I know that sort of thing always sends me looking for an alternative supplier.  I've only corresponded with them once and that was to corporate via e-mail but they responded very quickly and effectively.  However, it wasn't a support issue either.  Have you ever called their support line instead of their area rep?  I ask because I've seen message board posts where folks talk about calling HAI for support and all the ones I've seen ended happily.  Hopefully, I won't have any issues like you've had.  So far I'm fairly impressed with HAI's products but I haven't installed them yet, just looked them over and read the documentation plus all the information I've seen on message boards.

Could I have gotten a cheaper system that would have accomplished the same goals?  Yeah, no doubt about it.  But I chose HAI for their history in the market, their accessories, their history of constantly improving and upgrading their systems, their market reputation (which seems pretty strong to me from all the research I've done; I hope I'm not wrong) and because of the opinions I've run across in user/professional forums.  I really only saw mention of a few other systems that were as similarly capable as the OmniPro II and really, they were mostly comparable in price as well.  Do I necessarily need everything the OmniPro II will handle?  Probably not, but I am building a fairly large home, 3,400 sq ft living space and nearly 5,000 total sq ft in all.  I wanted both a security system and a home automation controller and I didn't want the home automation portion of the system to be obvious, such as the plug-in modules that some manufacturers offer; I wanted integration and expandability.  Yes, you can even build a hybrid system that will do all of the things that the OmniPro II can do but I prefer everything in one package for most things; that's just me.  Presently, I'm happy with my choice and I hope that holds true once I begin the installation.

Best of luck to you with the issue you are having with HAI and good luck on your home building project as well.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Jack Mullins


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By Keith in Tucson, AZ on 11/22/2007


Happy Thanksgivings Jack,

Everything you said is right on the mark.  I enjoyed your informed perspective toward your goals.  I'm curious as to what features or applications you plan on using with the HAI?  I like the cool factor also.  Lighting, and lighting control is always an intriguing "art form".   I'd like to see applications that accomplish major benefits. 

I agree HAI has a strong presence and I'm sure you'll be happy and successful  with the Pro II you bought.  I don't think HAI is a bad product, I'd like to consider it as an option.  Maybe your project will change my mind.  I'd like to hear about you progress and success. 

 We'll see how well I like working with the Pro II in the home with the touch screens.  So far the rep seems to be taking this seriously and is responding now.  He overnighted what I needed from him yesterday afternoon.  He's replacing everything, manuals, software, circuit boards for free - only three weeks late).

The key fobs are universal to almost every system.  My greater concern is in promoting a design that is flawed in concept.  The idea of automatic disarming when a garage door is opened remotely, as was promoted in the seminar, is the flaw).  I hope they have changed their promotion seminar presentations to dealers and sales personnel.  I like the techs at HAI, they are very good and always try to help. 

Did you  prewire your structured wiring in your project?  If  so, being an IT professional, what did you identify as priority application (networking?), and what other low voltage system designs did you incorporate?

Mine was video distribution of HDMI, component  or composite, and VGA to every location (each room has 2-4 locations, and one to the outside patio living area).  I also ran bundled banana peel (two quad shield RG6 / 2 Cat 5E), and two additional Cat 5E's to each location. That's just one of the systems that were prewired for. This will support HDTV / multi AV source video, satellite, broadband internet, streaming video, video security (to watch the wild life around the house, day or night, eat our patio plants and landscaping).  I do a lot of remote video applications for clients and from both my home office and my business office, so video presentation is a big deal for me.  Home theater is a big part of my business also.

I wish you the best in success, and hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving.

Keith

 

 


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By Steve in Kissimmee, FL on 12/23/2007


Hi

I am almost complete with my construction project and I opted to go with an Elk M1 Gold Controller board and Insteon lighting/automation controllers. I have installed over 110 zones and needed a scalable solution that was not easy to find. I am very pleased with solution and would recommend that you look into these product lines further.

Steve

 


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By Keith in Tucson, AZ on 1/10/2008


Steve, I'm glad you found the Elk M1 Gold panel.  It's a great product for home automation.  I've installed this one before and liked it's performance.  Elk products seem to be well thought out and well designed.  We installed it for a Raytheon Engineer and he loved it - it was his original selection and requested we install it for his new home. 

I considered using it for my house, but it still is the same genre as most other home automation system, it's just done much better.  I'm still looking for that next generation of technology/feature design that hasn't shown up as yet.

Good luck with your home and automation goals. 

Happy New Year,

Keith


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By Jack in Trumann, AR on 1/10/2008


Hello Steve:

When I was researching home automation products, I read nothing but good about the Elk M1 Gold; it should be a solid product.

Congratulations,

Jack


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By Chuck in Hyrum, UT on 2/8/2008


I work for a higher ed institution, and for a time, I was training to do all our automated distance classrooms.  Prior to that I had always been a home automation enthusiast myself and have many Perl programs I've built and used for MisterHouse (misterhouse.sourceforge.net)  MisterHouse was always nice cause it has modules for plugging in about anything out there on the market and has a very large user/developer base that are always contributing to it's growth.  That said, a lot of the home-based automation stuff is flaky at best sometimes.

Upon my training to deal with automation here at my institution, my eyes were opened to a whole new world that was build from the ground up to handle this kind of automation.  Here we typically use a Crestron control unit of some kind (crestron.com) to automate everything.  They're expensive and you need someone who can program them, but this is what I'm planning on for my build, because they are exceptionally reliable.  Crestron also manufactures very nice touchscreen control panels you can mount on your wall, in a cabinet, or even carry around wirelessly and control not only your entertainment system, but the whole house from.  They also make many motors, dimming switches, and relays etc.

We also use a lot of Extron products and "bolt them up" to the Crestron control units.  (extron.com)  Extron has many competing products to Crestron, but they are usually a little more affordable.  We love all their little automated motors and switching relays especially (think screens and doors being automated).

No matter what though, your house will need to be wired up for it before your sheetrock goes up.  Unlike X10 type solutions that can just have a socket or switch replaced inline, a lot of these "professional" products have to have additional control wires connected up.

If it's worth anything as an endorsement, I met the Crestron installer in Florida that did Rush Limbaugh's house.  Of course he has a pretty large budget for a pretty impressive install...

fwiw
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By Jack in Trumann, AR on 3/27/2009


I know this thread is dead, but I thought I'd post an update for any readers that may happen across the thread by accident or otherwise.

My house is finished and man am I happy about that!  There toward the end, I was completely worn out and I'm not sure how much longer I could have gone on.  But it's finished and we've lived in it for going on a year now.  After we closed, I told my wife not to expect me to be doing anything for at least several weeks and I meant it too.  Anyway, I didn't get around to installing my home automation stuff until just recently and I wanted to give a report on the HAI controller I bought.  I wrote a journal entry on it today but I just wanted to say here that I am loving the OmniPro II controller.  I'm using it for security and lighting control and I'm still tweaking and building out my lighting programs but it is great!  This kind of stuff is really very fun to me and I enjoy adjusting the lighting controls and coming up with new ideas and uses for it.  I'm not doing anything really fancy or complex though.  I have it turn lights on in certain areas at specific times on certain days, for convenience and cool factor mainly.  I have it turn on our security lights outside at sundown and off at sunrise.  And I'm using the motion sensors in the house to turn lights on and off based on presence.  I will be tweaking it more as time goes by but I really do like this system.  For me, it was easy to install and set up but I'm a geek to begin with.  I seriously doubt my Dad or even my brother who is younger than I am could do this sort of thing without help from someone; so I wouldn't recommend you do such things yourself unless you are comfortable you can.  It's not hard to me but it seems like most people and technology just don't mix; as an IT manager I see that all the time.  But even if you pay someone else to install it, the HAI system is very cool; it can be expensive, depending on what you choose to do with it, but it will always be very cool.

I'll probably be building my automation out for years to come as I expand and customize the system but I've got the basics going on right now.  I don't know if I'll ever do it but I wouldn't mind having some of the LCD touch screen consoles eventually; on the other hand, they aren't necessary.  I've got an iPod Touch that I leave laying around which can be used as a touch screen console to the system; that kind of stuff is really very cool to me.  Seriously, I can turn lights on and off and check the system status, arm it disarm it, all from my iPod, it doesn't get much better than that.  I can do the same stuff from an iPhone, Windows Mobile phone or from my laptop and desktop computers.  The list of possibilities is unending.  Of all the things I put into this new house, the home automation is the one I'm enjoying most.  Once the newness wears off, I may feel differently but for now, I'm actually excited about the possibilities; and I'm generally not an excitable sort of person.

My home automation system currently consists of mostly wireless sensors.  I'm using two wired consoles; nothing fancy, just normal alarm system consoles with control features built in.  I have several wireless PIR motion sensors, recessed wireless door sensors on all outer doors and wireless window sensors as well.  I'm considering installing wireless glass break sensors in a few areas.  I have HAI light switches throughout the house for lighting control and I have three whole-house switches.  I rarely use the consoles for anything but arming and disarming the alarm.  I did use one of them initially to configure the controller IP address and such but after initial setup, I now use HAI's Dealer software to program the controller.  And having used such software with alarm systems in the past, I have to say that HAI's software is much more user friendly than I’ve seen in the past and the help file that's included with the software isn't half bad.  I found HAI's installation manuals and user guides to have all the information I need to install, setup and program the system.

Besides the installer application for setup, I also have their WebLink application which I plan on installing on a PC to run locally inside the house, and I have their SnapLink USB device.  Both of the latter two applications are for monitoring and controlling the house.  The interfaces are very user friendly and somewhat customizable.  It's very easy to get a quick view of the status of the house (whether armed, disarmed, which mode the controller is in, etc.) from either of these applications and it's also very simple to turn lights on and off via these programs.  What's really cool is you can do these sorts of things from anywhere there is an internet connection.  The WebLink application is designed to run on a web server (which can be a local PC in the home) and provide a web interface to the alarm system and the SnapLink is designed as a standalone application to run on any PC, directly from the USB thumb drive.  Both applications are password locked and encrypted using very high-level encryption to protect your controller from unauthorized access.  I'm very pleased with all the applications from HAI.

In addition to the things I'm doing, mostly security and lighting control, you can also control your HVAC system from an HAI controller.  Using their remote access systems, you could actually turn your heat or air up or down from anywhere in the world using the Internet if you had this set up through your controller.  Currently, I have no plans to do this with my system but many people do.  I have very nice Honeywell thermostats already that work just fine and are programmable of course, so I have no interest at the moment in running the thermostats through home automation.  But if I did, using the same applications above, I'd be able to check the temperatures in my home from anywhere and make adjustments as needed.  You can even program the controller to adjust the HVAC systems automatically based on certain events, such as the temperature hitting a certain threshold.  You can also buy temperature sensors that can provide you with inside and outside temperatures at your home, through the HAI controller.  They also have a humidity sensor which is something I may implement in the near future.  You could use it to monitor moisture inside your home and take action or just send you an email alert.  I'm thinking of using these in my two showers to turn the bathroom fans on and keep them on whenever the moisture level is above a specific level.  There are really all kinds of things you can do with a home automation system to make your house "smart".  If you do decide to do these things, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.  Good luck!


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