I've only looked at the system you're using for a moment, but I'm a little puzzled by it. It seems to be an inline wiring kind of product, where you wire your lights into those controllers and the central unit controls the system. Do I have that right?
Yes. That's the way all home automation systems that I know work.
Heh, it's funny because I've only known the opposite, but I guess I haven't looked into your type of system before. Perhaps things are different in this country?
You put the modules in your electricity cabinet and connect your electrical wiring to it. To the buttons in the wall, data cable is used. (effectively a lot of the time Cat7 cable).
Yikes! Yeah, that's absolutely a "new construction-only" kind of system!
It sounds like there's really no options at all for retrofitting, are there? At least not without significant cable pulling.
For the same reason I'll always prefer wired ethernet compared to wireless: stability.
...Also, sometimes in bigger houses there can be a delay between the push of a button and the system actually reacting, because of the longer distances between the transmitters/receivers.
I completely agree with you. However, this is the primary reason I'm unsatisfied with the Vera controller. Before I had that, I only had light switches, lamp modules, and physical remotes for the system. This worked beautifully
. All lights reacted instantaneously, and immediately illuminated to the preset levels for scenes. It was sort of magical, how well and how quickly they reacted. It was as if they were
all wired directly instead of wireless. However, for some reason Vera does not communicate to the devices the way it's supposed to with Z-Wave, and errors get introduced. They aren't terrible, for the most part it's worth the tradeoff of having the extra functionality, and frankly it wouldn't be noticeable to anyone but folks like you and me.
Z-Wave is actually pretty reliable, inherently. It's a mesh system, so all the devices can speak to all the others, and all of them will check to make sure the other switches heard everything properly. For this reason, it doesn't especially matter if your home is large and there's a big distance between your controller and the farthest device. As long as there's another device in-between the two, you're set because it'll pass the signal along. In my home, there's never more than 10 feet between any of my devices, and most of the time it's more like an average of about 5.
I've read up on it and the pros and cons you list seem very true. I would also add to it that it's not an open standard and it doesn't have an iOS or Android app of its own.
Well, no, but that's because it's a platform for which manufacturers build their own devices. There's nothing about the Z-Wave specification to "have an app for." Now, this is most likely because the tech was designed right around the advent of smartphones, so who knows, they might have done it differently.
Integrating video and audio doesn't seem to be possible
That depends on the controller you use. Vera users are doing A/V control, but I haven't started my research there yet. It appears there are methods of doing IR or RS232 control.
and front-door communication is also a no-go.
This is by far my number one complaint. It baffles me that there's no solutions for this with Z-Wave. My home isn't enormous, but for some reason when I'm in my basement office, the doorbell is completely inaudible to me. There are plenty of wireless doorbell systems, but I want something incorporated into my ZWave network. I want to have someone press the doorbell, and get a shot of them on a security camera on my phone. It's so odd that the doorbell is the weak link here!
Also, I'm not sure if you meant this by "front-door communication," but just in case I wanted to make sure it was known that there are a number of ZWave locks available.
You mention lights and thermostats, and granted, that's about 80% of what most people use home automation for. But I would also like to use it for: controlling shutters & blinds, everything off function (lights!), panic button, fire prevention, using it as an alarm system for my home, video integration, video surveillance, audio distribution throughout the house, controlling the ventilation system (eg. after a shower, automatically increase the suction in the bathroom to get rid of the vapor faster), access control to certain areas of the house (read: "make them child proof"). I would also like to use it for more intelligent project like checking if the water level in my rain cistern doesn't get too low, and if it does, fill it up with some extra water do the cistern pump will never run dry.
Some of what you mentioned can't be done on ZWave. The ones you mentioned that it can do are: blind control, alarm system, and video surveillance (there's tons of cameras available). There's a couple you mentioned that I don't really understand: "everything off functionality" seems like an easy thing to create with a scene using ZWave. I just made one this morning, actually, that makes sure all the lights in my house turn off at around 3:30am. I'm also not sure what you mean by "Panic button."
Some things you didn't mention, but I thought I'd throw in: there are ZWave modules that measure your homes electrical usage, others that act as moisture alarms (useful around your washing machine, for example, to tell you if the hose broke so you can rush home
). There's also temperature/light/humidity/motion sensors - some with all of those in one. I'm pretty sure I'm forgetting some others, but you see what I mean. There's more than just lighting and climate.
[quote[You mention that you haven't found a controller yet that you love, but in my opinion, the days of proprietary controllers are over.[/quote]
But that's the thing, the controllers themselves are proprietary, but because ZWave is a standard (if not an open one), there are a number of controllers available. You have to have something
to turn your system into one that can be used via your mobile devices. Your Loxone has that Miniserver product, and I don't really see the difference. I am also able to control my system via web browser from anywhere in my home or outside it, since that's a functionality provided by Vera, which happens to be using ZWave. I could get this functionality from other ZWave controllers.
Don't get me wrong, what I like about your system is that it's rock solid. Ever since I moved to a more complex system, I've not had that rock solid performance, and have instead been getting by on 99%. Frankly that's good enough, but I know this technology can do better because I've seen it. I just need the company who makes the controller to do a little better
I have one final question for you: how do you control lamps in your Loxone system?