Supporting Web Service
Each home automation system operates in a self-contained manner, controlled entirely by the hub, and without any reliance on the cloud, or even an internet connection. The user can nevertheless make use of cloud services, and in particular a supporting web service, but on an entirely optional basis.
For reasons of copy protection, the system software is registered to an individual hub. Each hub is registered to a user, and a user can have more than one hub registered to them. This registration process requires a connection to the supporting web service.
Once registered, the hub operates completely autonomously, and without an internet connection.
The user that registers the hub has administrative rights to the hub software. Additional users can be added via the hub, and their level of access to the system is determined by the administrative user.
Secure User Area
A secure area is provided within the cloud based web service for each administrative user. This area contains the user’s contact details, registration status, etc.
Users can optionally back up their hub settings to this area, and can restore these settings back onto the hub. These settings include the device profiles that the user has selected for use with their system, as well as the users’ authentications, system fault, status data, etc.
The user area does not include any personal data recorded by the system, such as camera recordings. The hub can be configured for users to upload this data to a separate area in the cloud of their choosing.
Common User Area
In addition to their individual secure area, each authorized administrative user has access to a common secure area within the cloud based web service. This area contains device profiles, a user forum, Q&A, technical data, and other information related to the use of the system.
New and updated device profiles are added to this area, for downloading by any authorized user.
Hub software updates are also added to this area, again for downloading by any authorized user. The hub includes the facility to retain the previous version of the software for roll-back, if required.
Although the hub software includes all of the functionality required for normal everyday use, designing new actions, and for maintaining the entire system, the updates consist of very small modules, which can be downloaded and updated very quickly. The software runs in a Microsoft .Net environment, and all of the downloadable software is held as small Common Intermediate Language code libraries (DLLs).
The normal use of the system at home, including the design of new activators, and their supporting actions, only requires a local WiFi connection within the home, and does not require an Internet connection.
If the user wants to control the system in their home remotely, then they have two options.
To connect directly with the hub via an Internet connection, so as to avoid any dependency on the supporting cloud services.
To optionally only allow access to the hub via the supporting web service, which provides a further level of security, as described separately.