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  • Real cost of ownership requires a subscription model

    I'm happy to pay an ongoing fee to help expand the resources behind Homeseer's development efforts. And I would encourage everyone to join the call for a new model.

    I know, it will cost each of us some more money to use our HS3 systems, but we are all increasingly dependent on the sustained success of this platform for our individual domains, whether Alexa/Homekit, responsive HTML5, APK/iOS mobile, 3rd party app integrations, geo/cameras/locks/network/utility/environmentals, etc. The IoT trend is only in its infancy and it seems to me that the HomeSeer crew needs our help as a collective, to properly support and perhaps shape the future of the HS3 platform. I'm guessing most of us pay for streaming services, cloud storage and the like; each with a similar impact value to different areas of our lives.

    HS3 no question has a lot going for it. Stable, reliable, flexible. The team has been working through voice assistant integration in strides (though the documentation is all over the place and hard to tell which is the 'latest' skill build we should be using). Now there's a push to clean up the mobile experience, without trudging through the arcane Touch Designer App, which itself would benefit from a refresh. There's also some great stuff being made ad hoc by the community. Some of the top contributors in the plug-in space could easily shift into co-developers, given extra coding-resources from the HomeSeer Dev Team to implement, debug, iterate, extend. That would take some of the pressure off the individuals who generously contribute to solving problems while making sure the end result is thoroughly vetted and included as part of the upgrade rollouts.

    Most of us are okay with tinkering, troubleshooting, etc. to get where we want, but it seems inconsistent with modern development cycles to have to chase so many fundamentals to have a clean, working system that seamlessly accommodates a smarthome user. I'm certain much of this is a resource issue - not a reliable enough income stream to sustain a deeper roadmap of features and functions in a predictable and evolutionary way. The team at HomeSeer is doing an admirable job with they have, while we all clamor for more.

    I can only hope that there are lots of people on these forums who would contribute some recurring spend to the HomeSeer team to increase their capacity to do great things. I'm not sure how we elevate this to a site-wide question or opportunity, or how many paid owners are already using HS3. But if only 30% of the 4,200 active users on this forum were willing to pay $10/mos/user, we could fund one or more full-time staff and have some room for contract Dev time and resources to help move things along.

    Please help make this a reality. I realize no one 'wants' to increase their costs, but fundamentally, HS3 should be prioritized in your annual expenses, to help make it the defacto solution, that looks and works the way you always envisioned.

    Cheers, Matt

  • #2
    I am not interested in such a model. The cost of Z-wave hardware is already far too expensive for most people to adopt it, and adding a monthly fee would simply drive more people to other platforms.

    Sorry, but I am not willing to pay a tax for an already too expensive hobby.

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    • #3
      For an example of why I don't agree:

      I am one of the people grandfathered in for Imperihome Pro and I use it for remote control from 2 phones and 1 tablet. I use it on 2 of those devices for Tasker to be able to send control commands to my HA through Imperihome. I am about to buy several more tablets for wall mounts that would be remote control stations as well as automation commands through Imperihome.

      If they revoked the grandfathering and moved me to the subscription model, I would uninstall the app that day and not return.

      I'm not renting my house, my car, my security, my home automation devices, my phones, my cable modem, my tools, or anything else. I own what I use or I dont use it.

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      • #4
        If Homeseer implemented a subscription model I would be gone, and I would delete the free monoprice amp plugin I wrote on my way out the door.
        If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

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        • #5
          I will have to disagree.

          Adobe went subscription based and I just never bought another copy of Creative Suite. I don't need the privilege of paying you monthly/yearly only to have my software stop working once I stop the subscription. Just so you know, at the time I was a freelance web developer and though having newer versions would have been nice, I didn't need them even though I was basically a part of one of their core audiences.

          Many companies are going this route and I think it's a bad idea for the consumer. Yes, you appear to have more frequent updates, but now they have no need to actually make big improvements over the long term. If you are paying $10/month now for what you get, do you think they really feel the need to add more? I don't think that HST would be this way, but with the ever increasing need to only provide profits for shareholders at the expense of consumers and employees, I just don't trust this model.

          For instance, even though HS plugins can be somewhat pricey (though I think they are worth it), would you rather pay $1-5/month to the developer instead? As a developer that is enticing because I get a constant revenue stream, but at what point do you decide that because you have 10 plugins, you don't want to pay $120+/year for the ability to run them? What is the cost for the infrastructure to ensure users are paying? Then you require an internet connection to phone home to check licensing. There are a lot of downsides for you the user.

          I have no problem with HST spinning up some subscription style services such as they have for myHS, but I won't pay a subscription for the right to use HS3 on my hardware only to have it fail if my internet goes down because it can't "call home" to verify my subscription (which is really the only way to make sure that people are actually paying the subscription for their use).

          Now, what I wouldn't mind if if they released more frequent major versions. This gives those on previous versions the option of not upgrading, while providing an income stream from new users and those that want to upgrade. I'm not sure if I'd readily put out another $600 at this point, but it would really depend on the new features and if I felt they were necessary.
          Thanks,
          Frank

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          • #6
            Originally posted by sirmeili View Post
            I will have to disagree.
            Now, what I wouldn't mind if if they released more frequent major versions. This gives those on previous versions the option of not upgrading, while providing an income stream from new users and those that want to upgrade. I'm not sure if I'd readily put out another $600 at this point, but it would really depend on the new features and if I felt they were necessary.
            I agree with this. Every 2 years or so if they had alot of changes to be made and needed more revenue to fund them then this would be the key.

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            • #7

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              • #8
                Nope, No way. I have zero interests in using SaaS, I despise the model.

                Put me down 1 against.
                RJ_Make On YouTube

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                • #9
                  Now that I think of it, I did pay for plex as a subscription for a while, but it was to test and then I bought the lifetime license as soon as it was 50% off.

                  I think if HST were to follow the same model (subscription with lifetime licenses), they would lose out as I would feel most might pay the subscription for a while to test, but then either move on or buy a lifetime license.

                  I heard at one point the emby lifetime was only for that major revision (which might have changed), but then it's not really a lifetime license.

                  Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk
                  Thanks,
                  Frank

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                  • #10
                    I own several licenses of pro, so didn't mean to suggest an either / or model. Purchase or already own a perpetual license, then subscribe to a software assurance plan for patches, updates, etc.,with that money going towards business growth and resourcing. If you don't own, then you could do subscription only.

                    From my experience, many of the cloud plans we use have a 30 to 60 day grace on license check in, so you can function while you sort renewals. If you started with a perpetual license, then the product continues to work at the last patch level.

                    We use Adobe products as well as Microsoft ones and ultimately were forced to SaaS in order to stay current and relevant to emerging client demands and technologies. The idea of owning everything with no carry cost is certainly ideal, but we depend on cell phones, ISP providers, banks, farmers, grocers, etc. and if the last mile of delivery comes to a box you own (your house, your modem), then those lease and other services fees are baked in at the front end.

                    In any case, appreciate the feedback and if the initial opinions trend the same, then I would expect HS3 to never have enough margin in new sales to fully evolve the platform, short of an acquisition by a competitor.

                    Cheers, Matt

                    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by grossmat View Post
                      I own several licenses of pro, so didn't mean to suggest an either / or model. Purchase or already own a perpetual license, then subscribe to a software assurance plan for patches, updates, etc.,with that money going towards business growth and resourcing. If you don't own, then you could do subscription only.

                      From my experience, many of the cloud plans we use have a 30 to 60 day grace on license check in, so you can function while you sort renewals. If you started with a perpetual license, then the product continues to work at the last patch level.

                      We use Adobe products as well as Microsoft ones and ultimately were forced to SaaS in order to stay current and relevant to emerging client demands and technologies. The idea of owning everything with no carry cost is certainly ideal, but we depend on cell phones, ISP providers, banks, farmers, grocers, etc. and if the last mile of delivery comes to a box you own (your house, your modem), then those lease and other services fees are baked in at the front end.

                      In any case, appreciate the feedback and if the initial opinions trend the same, then I would expect HS3 to never have enough margin in new sales to fully evolve the platform, short of an acquisition by a competitor.

                      Cheers, Matt

                      Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
                      I don't know about others, but I'm fine with the pace at which HomeSeer is evolving, not just software but hardware.
                      RJ_Make On YouTube

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                      • #12
                        While I love Homeseer, I would not be willing to use it on a subscription basis

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by sirmeili View Post
                          Adobe went subscription based and I just never bought another copy of Creative Suite. I don't need the privilege of paying you monthly/yearly only to have my software stop working once I stop the subscription. Just so you know, at the time I was a freelance web developer and though having newer versions would have been nice, I didn't need them even though I was basically a part of one of their core audiences.
                          I agree with this. I owned four (non-consecutive) versions of Photoshop ending with CS6 before they went subscription. I use it as an amateur photographer. While I'd love to use some of the latest features they've introduced, as a hobby it just doesn't justify the monthly additional costs in the long-run. Previously I used to save up or upgrade when I came into some additional cash.
                          I get the sense that most 'amateur' smart home owners would balk at a subscription fee and simply continue to rely on an older version of HS (like I did with PS CS6), or switch over to OpenHab or one of the other rapidly developing open source competitors.
                          It's ok to save up and invest(/splurge) in a new HS version once in a while (same as I do with the actual hardware), but it's a different financial scenario if I have to fork out for it monthly.

                          Originally posted by grossmat View Post
                          In any case, appreciate the feedback and if the initial opinions trend the same, then I would expect HS3 to never have enough margin in new sales to fully evolve the platform, short of an acquisition by a competitor.
                          Is that really the case? Is that what Rich and the developers are saying? That we'll never get new/modern/'evolved' versions of HS with the current pricing model? (which happens to be one of the pricier options in the market already)

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                          • #14
                            I, for one, am imminently uninterested in any subscription service and I, too, can cite dropping Adobe due to their subscription model.

                            I agree that the "...HomeSeer crew needs our help as a collective, to properly support and perhaps shape the future of the HS3 platform...," but IMHO, they really have never embraced a true beta team nor enthusiastically sought input from the people in this forum.

                            It is my understanding that this forum is not really monitored by the company, nor felt to be representative of the bulk of the users. (I stand to be corrected.) Thus, I conclude that HS is marching to the drum that only they are allowed to hear, in a direction that they deem appropriate for whatever internal goals they have set.With no roadmap, who knows?
                            HomeSeer Version: HS3 Pro Edition 3.0.0.500
                            Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 Pro - Work Station

                            Enabled Plug-Ins:
                            2.1.0.119: AmbientWeather | 3.0.21.0: BLLock | 2.0.24.0: BLUPS | 1.3.6.0: Device History | 3.0.0.56: EasyTrigger | 3.1.0.7: MeiHarmonyHub | 3.0.6681.34300: UltraCID3 | 3.0.6644.26753: UltraLog3 | 3.0.6554.33094: UltraMon3 | 3.0.0.91: weatherXML | 3.0.1.245: Z-Wave | 3.0.51: HS Touch Designer | 3.0.0.40 Z-Seer+

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Tygerr View Post
                              Is that really the case? Is that what Rich and the developers are saying? That we'll never get new/modern/'evolved' versions of HS with the current pricing model? (which happens to be one of the pricier options in the market already)
                              I really have no idea, purely speculation on my part and I could easily be off the mark; wouldn't be the first time and not likely to be the last. I've only used the platform for a couple of years so perhaps there's been significant UI/UX changes that I've missed.

                              What I have seen so far is the HS3 community making changes to add core functionality through plug-ins, and the big three Amazon, Google, and Apple have inspired connectivity and control beyond what the HS3 platform ever provided. The HS3 community then either took the matter into their own hands and pushed to get the APIs working in a reliable way and continue to push for deeper integration. For the folks who sell plug-ins, we all happily (I think) pay since they've solved some problem for us that HomeSeer hasn't. But that one time sale, if the Devs continue to maintain the plug-in over time, becomes more of a zero-sum gain for them, as the author invests more time for no additional money. That's the rules of the game and presumably, they know that coming in, but I'm not certain that's a long-term, sustainable model towards a holistic platform nor fair to these independent developers who are directly filling in functional gaps. For those who contribute so much time supporting, helping, developing plug-ins for free, etc. -- your contributions are invaluable and in my mind, have kept the product relevant in a rapidly changing market.

                              I know I'm doing fuzzy math all over here, so I can't claim any of this as true or accurate for either HomeSeer or the individual developers who sell their work. If we pay every few years a couple of hundred dollars to upgrade our HS3 software, whether that's a one-time or over-time commit, seems (more or less) the same to me, just changes the revenue stream model for the business and makes it harder to plan for and resource against. To <ewkearns> point, if HomeSeer has no interest in an open development roadmap with their customers, then this all becomes a moot point anyhow. I wouldn't pay a sustaining fee if I didn't have some visibility into where the product was heading and had some say at the voting level to shape and prioritize that roadmap with the rest of the user base.

                              As the big three drive their models forward, they have been moving their customers from free to paid plans (usually annual) and selling relatively low-cost bridges/hubs to pull new customers into the smart home market. Often their fees are tied to content, so not a pre-requisite beyond the initial hardware cost, but buyers get a taste and often want more. Now that most of these services have started to support triggers, groups, and routines, they may supplant other solutions that don't keep up.

                              I'm admittedly biased in that I work in an industry where I see the changing landscape. If you live in or near a major metro area, have kids, grandkids or follow any social or media channels, carry a smartphone or phablet, then you've seen it too. Companies globally have been retooling their focus, investment and innovation strategies and shifting their portfolios for the past few years to influence and secure loyalty from the next Gen buyers who have a very different set of criteria around how they'll spend their time or their money, to get the experience they want, where and when they want.

                              What has been incredibly helpful, and thank you all for your honest feedback, is that the word 'hobby' keeps coming up. I don't know that I ever considered this as a hobby, given the cost and reliance on it from a convenience/lifestyle perspective. It was the availability of a plug-in that supported a core system I had installed, that moved me to HS3. And it's been fine if a not nuanced relationship with HS3 since.

                              Buying new and better hardware (dimmers that support LED, multi-sensor devices, RFID tags, smart locks, voice controllers, touchscreens, etc.) is only rewarding if you have the software to quickly and reliably leverage that new hardware, seamlessly access those new features and quickly adopt them into your families routine. That's all technically possible now through a web of forum threads, plug-ins, and experimentation and I guess that's why the idea of it being a hobby keeps coming up. People will spend the time to figure it out and make it work because maybe that's where the real action and perceived value is. An interesting reframe and again, I appreciate the alternate perspective.

                              Cheers, Matt

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