Frequently Asked Questions

We welcome your comments and questions. If you have any questions please use either our contact us form or email directly using info@systronicsrf.com

We were taken by surprise by yesterday’s (1/31/2019) news, along with everyone else.

Our aim now is to protect the March 31st date for having a system capable of handling the Gen 1 devices that can be offered to all existing users.

We are continuing with the Beta testing, as planned, but with a shift in emphasis.

The original plan was to focus initially on the use of 1st generation Iris devices. That was intended to enable users to gain a complete understanding of the system based on just these devices. Having become familiar with the system in this way, users can then move to their other devices.

Starting with the 1st generation devices in this way is not a reflection of the capability of the system, which already handles ZigBee HA, ZigBee LL, Z-Wave, and WiFi devices, it is merely a sensible way of moving forward.

In light of yesterday’s news, we intend to extend this approach. The focus will continue to be 100% on the 1st generation devices, until the majority of the Beta users are satisfied that we have a system that can be offered with confidence to all of the users of the 1st generation devices. Only then, will we move onto the other devices. In our view, this is the best way of protecting the March 31st date for most users.

We intend to ship the software on preloaded Micro SD cards, so that we can all focus on testing the system ASAP. This shipping will start next week, and we’ve been quoted a 5 day shipping lead time. The original plan was to involve between 5 and 10 people in this Beta testing. We have increased this to 20, on the basis that more people sharing the load should expedite the process.

We will be sending invitations to those of you with 1st generation devices who have registered on the website, have shown most interest, and have provided us with details about your system.

More details will be provided about the Beta testing to those of you who have accepted the invitation.

Beta testing is now being rolled out with the dispatch of software preloaded onto Micro SD cards.

We made the new website live on December 7th 2018, and we are still adding to it. Our main focus is on explaining its features and use. We will be adding downloading facilities, and much more over the next few weeks.

We recommend the Digi XStick USB network adapter to run the Iris Gen 1 ZigBee devices.

If you have any Gen 2 devices, or any other modern ZigBee devices, you will need a second Digi XStick USB network adapter, because they run on a separate network to the Gen 1 devices.

The following page lists the network adapters that we have tested successfully:

We recommend the Digi XStick USB network adapter to run the Iris Gen 1 ZigBee devices.

Our hub operates stand-alone in the home, and does not rely on a cloud service, or even an internet connection. The software has more in common with traditional PC based software than a cloud service. Whether we charge a one-off licence fee, or a subscription service, is yet to be decided.

This chosen pricing structure will also reflect into the handling of updates. For example, a one-off licence fee could include free updates for a period of time. We are also providing an optional cloud service, so that users can gain access to their system remotely, and use online services, such as Alexa, in conjunction with their system. This optional service will be offered on a subscription basis, but the cost will be minimal compared that of existing cloud-based HA systems.

The short answer to the Alexa integration is "Yes". The system will have Alexa skills, and we are aware of those provided by Iris. We will get back to you with more details.

We plan to licence just the software, and for users to purchase their own Pi 3B and the USB dongles, but we can also supply this hardware, if needed.

It doesn’t have to be a Pi, providing that it is capable of supporting .Net. The Pi runs Microsoft sponsored Mono, the cross platform, open source, .Net framework. Technically, if the device is capable of supporting the full Microsoft .Net framework, then you can use it instead. We are currently only supporting the Pi, but we will probably be looking at other platforms in the future.

We are exploiting the full capability of the Pi, including its quad core processor, through multi-threading, which has proved more than capable in our testing.

The software has been designed to operate solely as a dedicated hub, to directly replace existing hubs, so it does not support any other applications.

Our phones also switch automatically between cellular and home WiFi, but we've never tried it for Geolocation. We will test it, but suspect it may be too close and too variable.

We have endeavored to answer the questions raised by OhioYJ, Wlepse, EyeRuss & Sparc on January 19th and 20th, 2019. As the content is fairly long, these answers are on the following page on the website. Questions raised on the Living with Iris forum on January 19th & 20th, 2019

We use the term “VPN” as shorthand, because it’s something that most people understand, and it’s a simple way to describe how the remote access works.

In practice, the Pi sends a request to a secure server running on our in-house network. It opens two Secure Shell (SSH) loopback connections on the required ports on the Pi, which enables us to gain access to the services running on the Pi.

This approach gives us the same level of access to the Pi as the more common VPN connection.

The Digi XStick is a fully functional ZigBee coordinator. Each XStick can be configured by the hub processor to behave as either an MSP coordinator, or an HA coordinator, but not both. Hence, there has to be two adapters, one for AlertMe / Iris Gen 1 (MSP), and for more modern devices (HA).

We are not familiar with the EM3587, which is used in the Iris V2 hub, but the hub processor could be more directly involved in the coordinator function. Perhaps this is why the Iris hub processor is able to switch between MSP and HA operation.

As well as placing less load on the hub processor, having two USB network adapters also shares the load on each adapter, especially for systems containing a significant number of both Gen 1 and Gen 2 devices.

The number of processor cores in the hub also plays into this. When a frame of data arrives from a networked device, it has to be processed as a priority by the hub. In the single core Iris hub processor, the current process has to be interrupted to service the incoming data whenever it arrives.

With the quad-core Pi running multi-threaded programs, the tasks are shared. Other cores can continue to service other USB adapters and undertake other processing tasks, with much less likelihood of them being interrupted.

We purchased HomeSeer SmartSticks from Amazon.com (US) last year for less than $40.00 each, but it is now showing on Amazon as discontinued. The HomeSeer website is still showing the adapter for $40.00.

In view of the reduced availability of the HomeSeek adapter, we are recommending the Aeotec ZW090 instead for use in the USA. We have tested the UK version of this adapter successfully. The only difference between the two versions is that the UK version runs at 868 MHz, whereas the US version runs ate 908 MHz.

The control system has a web interface, which comes as an integral part of the control system, and not as an extra.

We employ responsive website design technology for all of the user interfaces for our online systems, including the website, and the control system web interface. This ensures that the content is presented in the most appropriate way for the device on which it being viewed, from mobile phone to wide screen monitor.

Many mains powered devices contain either a battery or a non-volatile RAM memory, so that their settings are retained when the power is removed, such as when the device is being relocated.

The preparations that Beta testers need to make prior to starting the testing are on the following page on the website.

Preparations to be made prior to Beta testing. (Last updated February 7th, 2019)