Home Automation System
We use the term “Home Automation” in its more general sense. That is, the automation of anything in the home; heating, lighting, security, plant feeding, etc. The approach is also that of a conventional control system, in which the hub software has control over all of the devices, while still exploiting the benefits of using mesh networks.
Plug and Play
The system is based on the use of a single card computer as the basis of the hub. We currently use a Raspberry Pi 3B, because it offers the best combination of performance, capability, and price.
Having sold over 20,000,000 units worldwide, it is manufactured in much larger quantities than the electronics contained in any proprietary hub, which also means that it is intrinsically more reliable than any alternative. The addition of a USB network adapter, an SD card containing the software, and a case, completes the plug-and-play hub.
All of the hub software has been designed and developed by us, and does not rely on any third party software. The programs are written in Microsoft C#, which is a Microsoft .Net language, and the most popular language in the world. We have used C# for all of our online business applications for more than 15 years.
The control system runs stand-alone on the hub, and without any reliance on any cloud based service, and without an Internet connection for any purpose. The hub includes all of the software needed to configure networks, add devices, design actions, and to operate the system in a fully self-contained way. All of these features, and more, are available to the user without an Internet connection.
The hub is connected to the home network, so that users can control the system operation locally via a mobile phone, tablet, PC, or other device, connected directly via the home network or WiFi to the hub.
The hub software supports both ZigBee and Z-Wave mesh networks. It supports the current ZigBee protocol, as well as the earlier AlertMe and 1st Generation Iris protocols. It also supports the Z-wave protocol running at both the European and North American frequencies, and a dedicated hub-based WiFi network, which is separate from the normal home WiFi.
Multiple Device Types
The control system software is designed to operate with any device from any manufacturer that supports any of these protocols. This enables users to employ the best combination of devices to suit their requirements, regardless of their underlying technology. To this end, a predefined profile has been produced for every device, which is equivalent to the peripheral drivers found in PCs.
These device profiles enable the control system to operate within a standardized software environment, and for the user to view them as generic devices, regardless of device manufacturer. So far, the control system software has been tested successfully with more than 60 devices from over 30 different manufacturers.
Although the operation of the control system does not rely on an Internet connection for its normal local operation and use, authorized users can connect to the hub via the Internet for remote access.
Supporting cloud services, which run in a secured environment on the Microsoft Azure platform, are also provided. These are used for the initial registration of the hub software, software updates, and the addition of new device profiles, which will continue to be added over time.
The cloud service can also be used to enhance the security of the control system. All external requests can be routed via the cloud service, so that they can be validated prior to being forwarded to the hub.