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    donating HA services

    The private school my sons go to is doing a fundraiser auction type thing, and they asked me if i'd be willing to donate my "expertise" in home automation. They would like for me to put together a "package" type of description of what I can offer. I told them i would not be able to provide any hardware, but I would be willing to serve as installer/consultant for one household, seeing them through the entire process of home automation.

    Obviously i would stick with hardware platforms I'm comfortable with. So the question i have is, how should i write up the description? i don't want to get so lost in the details that it would not communicate at all, but it would also be helpful if i could at least give some examples or descriptions of what the possibilities are.

    any suggestions, samples?

    thanks,

    Ian
    Plugins:
    BLLogMonitor, BLGarbage, BLBackup, BLOutGoingCalls, BLUps, BLRfid, JvEss, DooMotion, Applied Digital Ocelot, AC RF Processor, UltraMon, PJC AVR 430, UPB, Rain8net, DSC Panel, JRiver Media center, Windows Media Player, SageMediaCenter, SnevlCID, MCSTemperature.

    #2
    Keep it very high level and mention only the easy things or you will loose most non-geeks. Lighting control especially around Christmas (this is where many a home automationist got their start), HVAC control but be careful here as this can get complex if they have non standard systems. These are good places to start and it can be affordable if using X10 modules. In this economy most people are going to laugh at you when you tell them "you need to replace that .99 cents light switch with one that costs $78. So you can save money.
    -Rupp
    sigpic

    Comment


      #3
      I agree with you on the saving money thing. X10 is such a headache, though, i don't think i'd want to install it in someone's home as a donated service, because of the risk of it blowing up.

      I was thinking i'd emphasize the convienience and security elements.
      Plugins:
      BLLogMonitor, BLGarbage, BLBackup, BLOutGoingCalls, BLUps, BLRfid, JvEss, DooMotion, Applied Digital Ocelot, AC RF Processor, UltraMon, PJC AVR 430, UPB, Rain8net, DSC Panel, JRiver Media center, Windows Media Player, SageMediaCenter, SnevlCID, MCSTemperature.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by completelyhis View Post
        I was thinking I'd emphasize the convenience and security elements.
        Those are good points to push and can be affordable when using security systems like the DSC, etc.
        -Rupp
        sigpic

        Comment


          #5
          To most people, a Clapper is home automation (My sister in law gave us one for Christmas).
          If I were going to do such a thing, I think... no I know I'd keep it as basic as possible. A few plugin lamp modules, maybe some motion sensors and a palmpad for remote control. If they want to expand this, you needn't become the call guy. Once you start on that road, it'd be difficult to say no.
          Real courage is not securing your Wi-Fi network.

          Comment


            #6
            Two things that a lot of non-techie people can relate to is landscape lighting and sprinklers. When I was in California (before the little solar landscape lights) I was always asked why my landscape lights seemed to come on just after dark no matter if it was summer or winter, of course the answer is geological sunset... and to have your sprinlers not come on when it is raining or the wind blowing so hard that you end up watering the street.
            Over The Hill
            What Hill?
            Where?
            When?
            I Don't Remember Any Hill

            Virtualized Server 2k3 Ent X86 Guest on VMWare ESXi 4.1 with 3 SunRay thin clients as access points - HSPro 2.4.0.48 - ZTroller - ACRF2 (3 WGL 800's) - iAutomate RFID - Ledam - MLHSPlugin - Ultra1wire - RainRelay8 - TI103 - Ultramon - WAF-AB8SS - jvESS (11 zones) - Bitwise Controls BC4 - with 745 Total Devices - 550 Events - 104 scripts - 78 ZWave devices - 42 X10 devices - 76 DS10a's 3 RFXSenors and 32 Motion Sensors

            Comment


              #7
              X10 and donated HA knowledge

              I think X10 gets a bad rap from most folks. I still use it (budget won't allow for upgrades - yet) and other than the occasional light on from a wacky MS, it works great. I did put in a signal bridge and amplifier, and I don't use it on anything that could cause a safety issue. But let me tell you, the average person who sees my house for the first time is pretty amazed. I don't automate everything. My attitude is to use it where it makes my life easier. And X10 is CHEAP when you look at the alternatives.

              Comment


                #8
                I agree x10 is cheap. I'm one that had it before upgrading. I think i ended up needing to upgrade the more i expanded my system. I found that i was always chasing noise/signal strength issues...spending quite a bit of $ on filters, amplifiers, bridges, etc. This was not as much of a problem when it was only 30% of my switches or so, but when I got to 85% or so, it was a big problem. anyway, i hear ya...it' s a great way to expose them in limited ways, but I wouldn't do every switch in the house with it.
                Plugins:
                BLLogMonitor, BLGarbage, BLBackup, BLOutGoingCalls, BLUps, BLRfid, JvEss, DooMotion, Applied Digital Ocelot, AC RF Processor, UltraMon, PJC AVR 430, UPB, Rain8net, DSC Panel, JRiver Media center, Windows Media Player, SageMediaCenter, SnevlCID, MCSTemperature.

                Comment


                  #9
                  To start, I would only mention a few easy-to-implement functions that usually impress people, and don't discuss lighting technologies until you know what they want to do and what their budget is. I might suggest Insteon simply because it's flexible enough to work with both Insteon & X10 product lines.

                  Just mention a few possibilities that make them go, "That would be cool!" Something like: "Have your house welcome you home by turning on the lights as you arrive home at night." or "Control your lights from the comfort of your favorite chair." Maybe something about safety too. If you start explaining things they don't understand like house codes, signal strength, or phase couplers, they may decide it's too complicated to bother with it.

                  Maybe as part of your services you could print up the manuals for the items they buy and put them in a binder so they have an automation manual for their house in one convenient place. And then provide them with Rupp's phone number for technical support.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    And then provide them with Rupp's phone number for technical support.
                    That's a great idea. In fact, maybe we should just auction that off on this board as a fund raiswer for the school!
                    Plugins:
                    BLLogMonitor, BLGarbage, BLBackup, BLOutGoingCalls, BLUps, BLRfid, JvEss, DooMotion, Applied Digital Ocelot, AC RF Processor, UltraMon, PJC AVR 430, UPB, Rain8net, DSC Panel, JRiver Media center, Windows Media Player, SageMediaCenter, SnevlCID, MCSTemperature.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by completelyhis View Post
                      That's a great idea. In fact, maybe we should just auction that off on this board as a fund raiswer for the school!
                      Hey I'm here day in and day out so send them our way
                      -Rupp
                      sigpic

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Ian,
                        Back on a more serious note, I have a couple of thoughts. Most of us, probably all of us, treat HA as a hobby. We have little experience structuring it as a business. I'm pretty sure that's where you come from as well.

                        I suggest you consider positioning the prize of this auction as helping the winner to get started exploring HA as a hobby too. That means strongly recommending that only those who have an interest in getting personally involved submit a bid. It probably also means allowing the interests and knowledge of the winning bidder guide the direction of the project.

                        If you go this route, then you could even advertise the package in a tongue-in-cheek way, emphasizing the amount of time it can consume and how much fun you have trouble shooting obscure problems that crop up at inopportune times. You could even get 'testimonials' from your family confirming your 'obsession' with it.

                        In any case, I think you should try very hard to prevent anyone from concluding that you are offering to provide lifetime technical support or anything resembling it.
                        Mike____________________________________________________________ __________________
                        HS3 Pro Edition 3.0.0.548, NUC i3

                        HW: Stargate | NX8e | CAV6.6 | Squeezebox | PCS | WGL 800RF | RFXCOM | Vantage Pro | Green-Eye | Edgeport/8 | Way2Call | Ecobee3 | EtherRain | Ubiquiti

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Well it could be beneficial to Ian a couple ways,
                          Sunday morning sermon "Teaching the Word"
                          Sunday afternoon sermon "How to Automate"
                          Get to pass around the collection plate around twice
                          Over The Hill
                          What Hill?
                          Where?
                          When?
                          I Don't Remember Any Hill

                          Virtualized Server 2k3 Ent X86 Guest on VMWare ESXi 4.1 with 3 SunRay thin clients as access points - HSPro 2.4.0.48 - ZTroller - ACRF2 (3 WGL 800's) - iAutomate RFID - Ledam - MLHSPlugin - Ultra1wire - RainRelay8 - TI103 - Ultramon - WAF-AB8SS - jvESS (11 zones) - Bitwise Controls BC4 - with 745 Total Devices - 550 Events - 104 scripts - 78 ZWave devices - 42 X10 devices - 76 DS10a's 3 RFXSenors and 32 Motion Sensors

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Jack,
                            I like it..a Home Automation support group, meets after church....hmmm. Actually, we don't pass the plate at all during church. For those that want to give, they know how. God has always provided for the needs of the church without us having to beg. We thank Him for that!

                            Anway, I am actually sneaking some HA into the church...putting some upb lights and setting up a link with a switch in the sound booth so the power point/sound/light guy(s) can control the house lights from there as well. i also put in some upb lamp modules in each sunday school room. The tech guys push a button on a upb switch when i start my closing prayer, that turns the lamp modules on which signals to the teachers that they have about 5 minutes to wrap up (by the time the closing song is done after my prayer). The parents and teachers both have really appriciated that.

                            now I'm building a data base of kids in the children's church/nursery, along with parent's cell #'s and such. The plan is to build a web page that will allow one of the teachers/nursery workers to select the child, type in a quick txt msg, and click send, then my HA system will send the message to the parent's cell phone. So obviously, when the parent drops off the child part of the process is "make sure your phone is on vibrate."

                            Anyway, thanks to all for the advice on how to procede with offering HA "services" to a fundraiser. I'll let you know how it goes (the fundraiser will be taking place at the end of the school year).

                            Ian
                            Plugins:
                            BLLogMonitor, BLGarbage, BLBackup, BLOutGoingCalls, BLUps, BLRfid, JvEss, DooMotion, Applied Digital Ocelot, AC RF Processor, UltraMon, PJC AVR 430, UPB, Rain8net, DSC Panel, JRiver Media center, Windows Media Player, SageMediaCenter, SnevlCID, MCSTemperature.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I did this very thing about 9 years ago.

                              I was asked to provide an auction item by a local group. I offered up 2 hours of either home networking help OR 2 hours of home automation help. The old guy who won chose the automation help. He asked me what I meant by home automation and I asked him, "Don't you hate it when you are all comfortable in bed and you go to turn the light out and realize you left the living room light on?" He said, "Yeah!" The rest is history. I got him to buy an IBM Starter kit that was on sale for like $50. He automated his TV, den lamp, bedroom lamp, front porch light, and set up a remote. He has since automated is outdoor lights, garage lights, Christmas lights, multiple lamps and also an OLD coffee pot.

                              My going rate at the time was $85/hr. I actually wound up spending about 5 hours with him. He has since contracted with me for all his other automation wants and I have set up all his computer/cable/other needs. It was a good investment and I made a nice old friend.

                              I haven't really had an opportunity to offer up something like this again, but I would do it in a heartbeat if the occasion arose again.

                              Rob
                              .

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