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HomeSeer and plugins vs out of the box support

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  • drhtmal
    replied
    If a developer stops wanting to support and enhance their plugin they should open source it.

    Leave a comment:


  • Eman
    replied
    First get the beast running then we can start talking!


    Eman.

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  • Noctys
    replied
    Thanks for the advice everyone. My current use-case for home automation (that I need to make sure is replicated with HS) is times, lights and voice announcements through our google minis (my take some custom programming).

    For example my son has ADHD and has a really hard time staying on task in the before his morning medication kicks in, so at 6:30 AM every school day a routine is triggered that turns on his light at tells him to get up. Every 10 minutes after that it tells him what time it is and at what part of his morning routine he should be at... Also there is a sensor on the garage door that if when opened in the morning reminds my son (and me) to check and make sure he has taken his medication.

    We also has Hue lights outside - at dusk those lights are turned on (color set by the next upcoming holiday) they stay on for 3 hours -- then turn on again for an hour on each side of sunrise.

    There are also other sensors that can be used to turn lights off automatically after a certain amount of time if no-one is in the room.

    Then a ton more stuff I want to do - but my old system burned out (not sure why) and it was time to try something new - I am hoping HS is more robust and able to accomplish everything I want -- also it looks like the SDK for it is fairly well developed and I can make my own customer plugins when I get to that point... Point is I will need Hue & Wemo support out of the box - but I don't mind buying those for as they look like they are well maintained.

    Leave a comment:


  • jmaddox
    replied
    Homeseer works great out of the box. In many cases plugins are 'nice to have' but aren't required. As an example. I have a Blue Iris NVR; I do have some integration between Blue Iris and Homeseer, but I haven't felt the need to start using the Blue Iris HS plugin. I also have a Doorbird video doorbell; I actually do have the Doorbird HS plugin installed but I don't use it in any events; it's idle and I could disable or uninstall it with no impact on my system. My suggestion is to install HS and start using it. If you run into an issue where you think a plugin might help try it; many have a trial period so you don't have to take the plunge until you're sure it's useful for your setup. Just because a plugin exists for a technology you have doesn't mean you have to obtain the plugin.

    Unfortunately every product will eventually reach obsolescence. I have a plasma TV, nice unit but they no longer make them (at least not for the consumer market). It's certainly not under warranty. Works great so there is no need to stop using it. It will die eventually, or I'll decide I want a 4k set, and when that happens I'll have to buy a new model. Would I regret the money I spent on it 10 years ago when it finally dies or I replace it? Unlikely.

    For the most part, once something is working, you don't tend to need tend to need any support. It's mainly when you try to add or change something that this may occur. Sadly anything that uses a cloud or web based interface is subject to updates that break integration.

    Leave a comment:


  • logman
    replied
    Originally posted by Noctys View Post
    -- This issue with this is that for Hue & Wemo I don't have 30 days to decide. I've got at least a thousand dollars invested in those two products - if HS stops working with those products and nobody fixes them I'm out on a limb...
    I keep a Hubitat hub and a SmartThings hub on "hot idle" just in case such a situation were to arise. For instance, both SmartThings and Hubitat support Philips Hue and SmartThings supports Wemo. There is a plugin that ports Hubitat to Homeseer, and I port SmartThings to Homeseer myself using API calls.

    There are also devices that have no Homeseer or plugin support (Ring doorbells, Amazon Echos and Leviton wifi switches, for example) that I use SmartThings and/or Hubitat for. There is excellent Ring integration with SmartThings including streaming video, which you won't find with Homeseer.

    Both hubs also have excellent Zigbee radios and offer broad support for most popular Zigbee products. Homeseer Zigbee support is practically nil unless you use a plugin and separate Zigbee controller.

    My advice is don't put all your smart home eggs in one basket. Multiple hubs and controllers can lead to a more reliable system if done thoughtfully.

    --Barry

    Leave a comment:


  • Noctys
    replied
    Originally posted by Uncle Michael View Post
    Then take advantage of the 30-day free trial before deciding to buy the plug-in..
    -- This issue with this is that for Hue & Wemo I don't have 30 days to decide. I've got at least a thousand dollars invested in those two products - if HS stops working with those products and nobody fixes them I'm out on a limb...

    That being said I appreciate the responses & advice, what everyone has said makes since. Also, the speed that I am getting response on this question make me feel more secure in my purchase -- also looking at the forums for the plugins I want shows that they are being actively monitored, if no maintained.

    Leave a comment:


  • cc4005
    replied
    I think you would benefit from spending a few days or weeks perusing this forum--in particular the subforums for the plugins you're interested in. Read through old posts and monitor current conversations. You'll soon begin to develop a feel for level of support, development activity, responsiveness of developer, plugin capabilities and limitations, etc.

    In many (most?) cases the plugins are developed by, and are supported by, a single person. There are certainly inherent risks therein that you will have to evaluate for yourself. I think in the case of widely-adopted technologies you can at least assume another developer would soon step in with an alternative should the first one disappear for some reason. In some cases software rights have been transferred to other developers when a developer moves on or otherwise decides to step aside. You will find that some developers have decided to not charge for their plugins based in part on limitations on how much they're able or willing to support the plugin going forward.

    I'm not a plugin developer, so I can't say this with certainty, but my understanding is that the forthcoming HS4 version is not supposed to break plugins. There are, of course, other factors that can lead to plugins requiring "fixes" such as Windows or other operating system environment updates. Device firmware evolution can be an issue as well, but those upgrades are typically optional and more often than not add features while not affecting existing features and their interplay with HS.


    edit: Uncle Michael hit several of the same points above...

    Leave a comment:


  • Uncle Michael
    replied
    Originally posted by Noctys View Post
    Also, it looks like each item only has one plugin on offer -- All from a 3rd party that may or may not support it in the future... Take my money and run? I'm really surprised that there are not more plugins for Hue and Wemo -- is this something that HomeSeer has limited or has no one bothered to make other plugins?
    To my knowledge, HST does not limit the number of plug-ins that support a given technology. There a few technolgies that I can think of that have more than one plug-in, but it's the exception. Creating a worthwhile plug-in takes considerable effort, and quite a few users to begin to compensate the author for the effort involved. (In many cases, the plug-in may start as a tool the author believes will be useful to himself, then modifies it for a more diverse audience.) There is, therefore, limited incentive for anyone to devote the effort required to write a new plug-in if there is an existing plug-in that serves the purpose.

    The benefit of this approach is that HS plug-ins typically get much more dedicated attention than if HST were trying to service them all. (In fact, HST did take responsibility to create many plug-ins initially, but had difficulty servicing them. They're among the ones listed as "unsupported" in the forum.)
    The down side, as you note, is that the author can become distracted (or incapacitated) and users are left in the lurch. (I don't think this is a lucrative enough enterprise for anyone to try to get rich by writing a plug-in then absconding with the money without providing support.)

    In my experience, the model generally works well. Spend some time on the HS Board, especially in the forum for the plug-in you are interested it. See what the back and forth is like, how the author handles requests and questions and how responsive he is. Then take advantage of the 30-day free trial before deciding to buy the plug-in. I've never regretted any of my plug-in purchases, and even the one I use whose author is no longer supporting it continues to work without issue. Also keep in mind that if an author abandons a plug-in for a popular capability, it is likely that someone else will either take it over or write a replacement.

    Leave a comment:


  • Noctys
    replied
    Thanks, that makes since... So I need the Wemo Plugin (https://shop.homeseer.com/products/w...lug-in-for-hs3) -- I see it has 3 x 5 star reviews... That's all good - but how do I know it will be supported in the future. From what I can see on that page and in the forums for it it was launched about a year and a half ago (Jan 2018). How can I tell when it was last updated? The hole system seems a little sketchy paying $36 for something that may not even work tomorrow.

    Please note I am not trying to be rude, just trying to decide if it is worth the $600 I paid for Homeseer (hardware & software) + another $216 for all the plugins I need to get all my stuff working.

    Leave a comment:


  • bsobel
    replied
    You are correct, HS uses 3rd party authors such as myself to provide much of the ecosystem support. Hue for example is provided by someone who has spent extensive time working on just Hue integration and has a very feature packed capability. Its a tradeoff, if HS did this they would need to target a very narrow set of deep capability (and you can argue they have, e.g. ZWave) or a broad range or narrow capability...

    Leave a comment:


  • Noctys
    started a topic HomeSeer and plugins vs out of the box support

    HomeSeer and plugins vs out of the box support

    I just bought a HomeSeer pro kit (not yet delivered) - After looking at the product description page it looked like it would work great. I have Hue Lights throughout most of my house with Wemo adapters, and a ton of z-wave stuff... Also some Nest stuff that I may or may not replace depending on how Google handles Nest APIs in the future.

    Now that I have started to look through and see how everything is setup it looks like I will have to further purchase plugins for Hue, another plugin for Wemo -- and several other plugins for other stuff... Is this correct? Does HomeSeer not have out of the box support for all of this?

    Also, it looks like each item only has one plugin on offer -- All from a 3rd party that may or may not support it in the future... Take my money and run? I'm really surprised that there are not more plugins for Hue and Wemo -- is this something that HomeSeer has limited or has no one bothered to make other plugins?

    Any details on this would be appreciated. Thanks!
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