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OT - Home Automation

saluki2007saluki2007 Posts: 1,978
The wife and I are starting the process of building a new home.  Met with the builder this past weekend to go over our first set of blue prints.  The wife is all about laying everything out perfectly and all that jazz.  I am mostly worried about where my egg is going to go and all my electronics.  I am looking at doing some home automation.  I have been doing some research and talked to a local dealer that sells Control 4.  Was wondering if any one here has any experience with this software/equipment or any thoughts on the competitors of Control 4.  I am going to at the least start with whole home audio, security/fire and HVAC.  Thanks in advance for any input.
Large and Small BGE
Morton, IL

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Comments

  • NPHuskerFLNPHuskerFL Posts: 14,357
    The only automation I'm familiar with is Nexia. It can be linked to home security, cameras, lighting, HVAC, keypad door locks etc. I would also focus on the expandability of the product you choose as well.
    LBGE 2013 & MM 2014
    Die Hard HUSKER & BRONCO FAN
    Flying Low & Slow in "Da Burg" FL
  • Rusty RoosterRusty Rooster Posts: 1,239

    We had to replace our HVAC system a couple weeks ago.  The new one came with wifi control, use your phone or a computer, so don't pay extra for a system to do that one, just look at the HVAC options available.


  • saluki2007saluki2007 Posts: 1,978
    @NPHuskerFL:  Have not seen that one yet.  Will have to do some research on it.

    @Rusty Rooster:  The nice thing about Control 4 is that it can be linked to home security, cameras, lighting, HVAC, keypad door locks, whole home audio, etc. allowing you to control/view all through one program on your phone/tablet.
    Large and Small BGE
    Morton, IL

  • NPHuskerFLNPHuskerFL Posts: 14,357
    @saluki2007‌ (although I understand and age w/ @Rusty Rooster‌ point in regards to only HVAC. But, this isn't all you want to control if I read this correctly).
    Here is Nexia's site. I have it linked to a few things and it is very intuitive. They are partnered with several manufacturers to give you the expandability and variety of types of products. We like it.
    http://www.nexiahome.com/
    LBGE 2013 & MM 2014
    Die Hard HUSKER & BRONCO FAN
    Flying Low & Slow in "Da Burg" FL
  • buzd504buzd504 Posts: 1,980
    edited June 2014
    This site:  http://www.smarthome.com/_/index.aspx ; came to my attention on another board where a similar discussion was taking place.  I haven't shopped here, but it seems pretty extensive.
    NOLA
  • saluki2007saluki2007 Posts: 1,978
    Thanks @buzd504  
    Large and Small BGE
    Morton, IL

  • GeorgeSGeorgeS Posts: 949
    @saluki2007‌ Control4 is a very stable platform. It's reasonably priced and as others have said has a multitude of things it can accomplish. The programing is very reasonable unlike the Crestron systems. You don't have to do everything right away. Once you have the basic controller in place you can expand later. You also don't have to use the C4 amp for music so if you want to go simple on whole house music and just put speakers in a couple areas you can use Sonos amps and they will integrate with the C4 system. Check to make sure that the alarm panel is RS232 compatible if being supplied by a separate integrator and make sure you add it to the system so they can talk together. Where are you building?
    Bristow Virginia XLBGE One of the best feelings in life is watching other people enjoy the food I cooked!
  • saluki2007saluki2007 Posts: 1,978
    Thanks @GeorgeS  I was thinking of using the 100 Series C4 amp.  I don't think I will need more than 4 zones for the music.  I like the Sonos system, however, the wifey does not want speakers everywhere so I will be doing in wall/ceiling speakers.  From the very little research I have done, it looks like Concord security system is the go-to system.  Do you have a C4 system?  I will be building in the central IL area.
    Large and Small BGE
    Morton, IL

  • GeorgeSGeorgeS Posts: 949
    edited June 2014
    @saluki2007‌ I work for a low voltage integration company in Northern Virginia. We do a little of everything (security, whole house music, home theater, structured wiring etc). C4 makes a great amp, I only mentioned the Sonos amps because some folks get sticker shock on the C4 amp and only want to do a room or two of music and think they only have a four room option. Sonos isn't only wireless either they have an amp with hardwired connections for the wall or ceiling speakers (120). What sources are you going to feed into the music amp? C4 integrates nicely with the Sonos Connect and I believe the C4 amp is also 4 sources although most installs usually only need two (depends on how many folks you have living in the house that might not like your music). The Concord Panel is a rock solid security platform and is capable of RS232 but not out of the box you will need to add the module. Ask your integrator if they are using alarm.com, they make a great cellular communication product for the concord panel that has a lot of really cool notification software.
    Bristow Virginia XLBGE One of the best feelings in life is watching other people enjoy the food I cooked!
  • saluki2007saluki2007 Posts: 1,978
    Right now, it's just the wife and I.  We typically listen to the same music, but I like the idea of being able to be outside listening to music by the egg while she can be inside listening to whatever she wants.  I do mostly Spotify steaming from iPhone or iPad.  I do have a NAS system with a lot of music and movies too.  Does the Crestron system allow the user to install and program equipment?  That is one down side I see on the C4.  I do not want to have to bother my integrator to hook up a light switch if/when I decided to add one.
    Large and Small BGE
    Morton, IL

  • GeorgeSGeorgeS Posts: 949
    edited June 2014
    I believe the software is only available to licensed integrators. He will be happy to return and program for you though. The labor rate shouldn't be too bad, it's not as labor intensive as Crestron.
    Bristow Virginia XLBGE One of the best feelings in life is watching other people enjoy the food I cooked!
  • WolfpackWolfpack Posts: 1,912
    My brother in law switched from cresteon to control 4- much more flexibly and I think easier to use. If he had gone that route to start with it would have saved him a significant amount of $.
    Greensboro, NC
  • SpaightlabsSpaightlabs Posts: 1,171
    With as easy as most of those systems are to hack I would be seriously concerned.
    Centennial, CO
    Unless I'm hunting, then Lord knows where.
  • GeorgeSGeorgeS Posts: 949
    @Spaightlabs‌ If the system is installed professionally and the network is protected correctly it is perfectly safe. Most of these 20/20 specials are based on poorly installed systems where the network is wide open because either the installer didn't know what he was doing or it's a DIY install and the homeowner left the network wide open.
    Bristow Virginia XLBGE One of the best feelings in life is watching other people enjoy the food I cooked!
  • yzziyzzi Posts: 1,793
    GeorgeS said:

    @Spaightlabs‌ If the system is installed professionally and the network is protected correctly it is perfectly safe. Most of these 20/20 specials are based on poorly installed systems where the network is wide open because either the installer didn't know what he was doing or it's a DIY install and the homeowner left the network wide open.

    That may make them more resistant to hacking. Anything can be hacked if there's a will to, even with preventative measures taken, it's still possible. You always should be cautious about anything connected to the Internet.
    Dunedin, FL
  • yzziyzzi Posts: 1,793
    edited June 2014
    That being said, I love the idea of home automation, especially being a software engineer. But I'm not willing to risk opening up my house and family safety to that--yet. I'm talking mostly about automated door locks, video cameras, and security system integrations. Thermostats, sound systems, and lights in my opinion are low risk, but the others I mentioned are high risk that I'm not going to chance.
    Dunedin, FL
  • GeorgeSGeorgeS Posts: 949
    edited June 2014
    @yzzi You are correct sir, anything can be hacked as evident with the millions spent to secure consumers personal info by our banks and their failure to do so. Every person has to weigh their individual risk when connecting anything to the internet. I can tell you that my bank account has been hit 3 times in the last year through credit card fraud but I have yet to have a customer account hacked in 18 years. Don't get me wrong I'm sure if you try hard enough at it anything is possible.
    Bristow Virginia XLBGE One of the best feelings in life is watching other people enjoy the food I cooked!
  • saluki2007saluki2007 Posts: 1,978
    I agree with @yzzi and @GeorgeS.  I do not plan on placing any cameras in the house at the moment.  IF I ever do, it will mostly likely be one at the front door.  I feel if someone wants to break into my home, they are going to get in whether the locks are electronic or not.  Once they get in, they are still going to have to figure out how to turn off the security system.  What's the worst a hacker is going to do, cause my electric bill to go up?  Most dangerous hackers are going to spend their time trying to get into my bank account, not my home.
    Large and Small BGE
    Morton, IL

  • EggcelsiorEggcelsior Posts: 12,522
    edited June 2014
    Depends. They will hack in to find out your patterns, get access to cameras to see what's in your home, monitor key strokes to find out passwords... The possibilities are endless and with the saturation of computers in society and the ease of learning to hack. As the home automation industry grows, so will this shadow industry of hacking it.
  • saluki2007saluki2007 Posts: 1,978
    I agree Eggcelsior, which is why I would be cognitive of where I would put my cameras if I had them.  Which makes me wonder when/if they will be able to hack into phones and use your camera to spy.
    Large and Small BGE
    Morton, IL

  • GeorgeSGeorgeS Posts: 949
    Your home automation system isn't the only way into your home. You guys realize all the things your discussing are possible right through your laptop and your PC that never gets turned off at home right? If they want to get you they will! If these are deeply concerning issues you might want to tape up that camera on your computer and unplug the computer from the network every time you log off. In all seriousness I'm not a fan of interior cameras at all unless they are in a garage or tight on a safe. Long story short only do what your comfortable with.
    Bristow Virginia XLBGE One of the best feelings in life is watching other people enjoy the food I cooked!
  • ThatgrimguyThatgrimguy Posts: 3,326
    edited June 2014
    The fear of hacking is my reason to NEVER get a home automation "System".  Instead I'll get a number of independent "smart" systems.

    I use NEST for my HVAC, it's amazing.
    I use Sonos for whole home audio.
    There are a number of wifi bulbs and plugs for lights.
    I have an auto sensor on my sink
    I have keypads on my door locks.
    And there are a ton of IP cameras.  
    My security system is also wifi enabled and still oldschool hardlined. 

    A hacker has to figure out each system independently and if one goes down I still have the rest. Plus I have much simpler apps.   Now I don't have all the capability, but most don't use the complex programming anyhow.
    Biloxi, MS
    Guild's Grocery BBQ Team
    The Grocery Cart
    XL / Small Green Eggs
  • MickeyMickey Posts: 17,465
    Two things I have learned. If you can canoe with your wife and if you can build a home together; you can stay married. Best to you.
    Salado TX Egg Family: 2 Large and a very well used Mini, added a Mini Max (I'm good for now). 

  • 4Runner4Runner Posts: 2,694
    Joe - I'm a reformed gasser-holic aka 4Runner Columbia, SC Wonderful BGE Resource Site: http://www.nakedwhiz.com/ceramicfaq.htm and http://www.nibblemethis.com/  and http://playingwithfireandsmoke.blogspot.com/2006/02/recipes.html
    What am I drinking now?   Woodford....neat
  • saluki2007saluki2007 Posts: 1,978
    Well we have canoed together before, so halfway there. Thanks 4Runner. I saw that article too.
    Large and Small BGE
    Morton, IL

  • RRPRRP Posts: 18,987
    Just out of curiosity since we are nearly neighbors who is your contractor? Many in the Peoria and Morton area have crossed this bridge many times and their opinion might be of value to you as well.
    L, M, S, Mini
    Ron
    Dunlap, IL
  • GlennMGlennM Posts: 500
    I have insteon for my lighting and it works great. It's controlled by an isy99r
    In the bush just East of Cambridge,Ontario 
  • saluki2007saluki2007 Posts: 1,978
    Kent Egsti is our builder. There is a Control 4 integrator in Morton that I met with over the weekend. I trust him as he helped my Dad and I build a home theatre in my dad's basement.
    Large and Small BGE
    Morton, IL

  • bge123bge123 Posts: 15
    I own an integration company and have been a control4 dealer for almost 10 years.  I would be glad to offer any assistance regarding design/products/etc if you have any questions.

    Generally speaking Control4 is a great platform for automation and generally less expensive and easier to program than Crestron.

    Control4 does have a homeowner version of it's programming software.  It is limited in that you can't add new devices, but it does allow to make programming changes, lighting scene changes, etc.

  • saluki2007saluki2007 Posts: 1,978
    Thank you @bge123 for the advice/offer.  Do you find a lot of your purchasers buying the Composer Home Edition?
    Large and Small BGE
    Morton, IL

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