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  • Vera vs Homeseer

    Hello guys,

    I am an existing Vera3 user and I am 5 months in the home automation world. With that said I am going to sell the house soon and moving into a new house where I am now starting to compare other solutions as nobody or no solution is perfect.

    I am quite happy with Vera as I was able to integrate my existing security system, my new Foscam FI9805E, my sprinkler system in conjunction with the weatherground plugin, my Philips Hue lights, etc.

    However, newer Z-wave devices which have new Z-wave commands take a long time until they are supported by Vera and they just released Firmware 1.6 which has massive GUI improvements but most of the plugins don't work yet. On top of that they are now working on firmware version 1.7 where those new Z-wave commands will be supported making people wait even longer to get their existing running configuration working.

    Looking at Homeseer I am impressed with what I have seen so far especially the GUI designer to build your own GUI where I could make my Android tablet my home automation permanent wallmounted controller GUI.

    I did read the thread from 2 years ago which is way outdated today as both products have improved drastically and the comparison chart is no longer valid.

    However, I do have some concerns which some of the experts could be able to answer. In no priority order here are some of the questions:

    1) It states Windows XP embedded and Microsoft already announced "End of Support" which is the last stage of an operating system. What is the position here please as there are no more patches coming from Microsoft?
    2) the new low-end states that it is based on Linux which implies the direction of Homeseer going forward. Does this mean that new Homeseer models are coming out soon based on Linux?
    3) Assuming a switch to Linux is coming what about the existing plugins? In other words will they be backwards compatible?
    4) Vera comes in two flavors. Vera light and Vera3. Unless you need more than 10 cameras or more than 100 Z-waves devices Vera light will do the job. I couldn't find any sizing information other than feature comparisons for Homeseer. Does something like this exist?
    5) I saw the optional Homeseer DynDNS solution for $20/year which I find expensive as every other product delivers such a thing nowadays free of charge e.g. if you buy a Foscam you have your DynDNS right there. Is there anything else that this service will provide?
    6) Assuming my new home will not have a security system installed which one would you recommend? I did have DSC before but it was a very old system with no touch pad and no option to upgrade without ripping out the guts of the system. The 2Gig security system seems interesting but they are also entering the home automation market which would make them a competitor instead of an integration partner. What do you guys recommend in terms of having a 21st century security system without a monthly fee like ADT?
    7) If I see this correctly Homeseer is a PC with hardened OS which has to be always on. Is there an HA (high availability) solution? With Vera you could have a second one next to it powered off and if your existing one fails, you can power on your spare Vera, read the config which you stored on a shared network share or USB stick and you are back in business. What about Homeseer?
    8) Many people love the Sonos product line for verbal feedback and I do too but what about verbal commands? There is some feedback about extra hardware you need to buy. How secure is that? In other words can anybody in the house control your system verbally or is there a voice recognition security built in?
    9) AEON will release their smartfilm at some point in time but there is already a solution out there called smart film for windows from smarttint.com. Is there an integration with Homeseer for that?
    10) What is the best irrigation control system in conjunction with Homeseer please?
    11) There are now Z-wave controller air vents which are expensive but very effective in cooling specific rooms based on scenes. Are those supported with Homeseer yet?
    12) Insteon integration with Vera is a nightmare and very buggy. Homeseer supports also all the other protocols as well but how good is it really? Just marketing or fully functioning?
    13) Are there any other hidden costs like pay for the apps, pay for plugins, pay for whatever monthly or yearly doesn't matter?

    Sorry for all those questions guys but I am really considering a switch here and before I spend thousands of dollars in my new home I would like to know what I am getting myself into. Right now I would go for the $1.5k Pro version but again I don't know how to size Homeseer and that's not trivial compared to Vera, Evolv, Smartthings, etc.

    Any help or guidance would be appreciated guys. Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Pseudomizer View Post
    Hello guys,

    I am an existing Vera3 user and I am 5 months in the home automation world. With that said I am going to sell the house soon and moving into a new house where I am now starting to compare other solutions as nobody or no solution is perfect.

    I am quite happy with Vera as I was able to integrate my existing security system, my new Foscam FI9805E, my sprinkler system in conjunction with the weatherground plugin, my Philips Hue lights, etc.

    However, newer Z-wave devices which have new Z-wave commands take a long time until they are supported by Vera and they just released Firmware 1.6 which has massive GUI improvements but most of the plugins don't work yet. On top of that they are now working on firmware version 1.7 where those new Z-wave commands will be supported making people wait even longer to get their existing running configuration working.

    Looking at Homeseer I am impressed with what I have seen so far especially the GUI designer to build your own GUI where I could make my Android tablet my home automation permanent wallmounted controller GUI.

    I did read the thread from 2 years ago which is way outdated today as both products have improved drastically and the comparison chart is no longer valid.

    However, I do have some concerns which some of the experts could be able to answer. In no priority order here are some of the questions:

    1) It states Windows XP embedded and Microsoft already announced "End of Support" which is the last stage of an operating system. What is the position here please as there are no more patches coming from Microsoft?Don't confuse XP with XPe which is what HS uses. This is still being supported and will be for the foreseeable future.

    2) the new low-end states that it is based on Linux which implies the direction of Homeseer going forward. Does this mean that new Homeseer models are coming out soon based on Linux?HomeSeer supports Linux but this is not the mainstream controllers direction. There are Linux builds for other hardware other than the Zee but the Linux builds typically lag behind the Windows builds and there are far fewer plugin available for the Linux builds.

    3) Assuming a switch to Linux is coming what about the existing plugins? In other words will they be backwards compatible?See previous

    4) Vera comes in two flavors. Vera light and Vera3. Unless you need more than 10 cameras or more than 100 Z-waves devices Vera light will do the job. I couldn't find any sizing information other than feature comparisons for Homeseer. Does something like this exist?All HS platforms support the same number of Z-Wave devices, it's the "horse power" and features that differ between the software and hardware platforms. ie the Zee only supports X10, Z-Wave, and Insteon at the moment and the HSTouch plugin. There are other plugins planned. The other platforms have dozens of plugins available like weather plugins, irrigation plugins, camera plugins, etc.

    5) I saw the optional Homeseer DynDNS solution for $20/year which I find expensive as every other product delivers such a thing nowadays free of charge e.g. if you buy a Foscam you have your DynDNS right there. Is there anything else that this service will provide?There's a new cloud service that offers nearly the same functionality which is currently in beta.

    6) Assuming my new home will not have a security system installed which one would you recommend? I did have DSC before but it was a very old system with no touch pad and no option to upgrade without ripping out the guts of the system. The 2Gig security system seems interesting but they are also entering the home automation market which would make them a competitor instead of an integration partner. What do you guys recommend in terms of having a 21st century security system without a monthly fee like ADT? I would say the most popular two systems mentioned on this message board are the DSC newer version of course and the Elk security system with the previous being much more affordable and not having the overlapping automation engine that the ELK offers

    7) If I see this correctly Homeseer is a PC with hardened OS which has to be always on. Is there an HA (high availability) solution? With Vera you could have a second one next to it powered off and if your existing one fails, you can power on your spare Vera, read the config which you stored on a shared network share or USB stick and you are back in business. What about Homeseer?Yes and No. If you have a spare pc you can load your config from a backup and have HS up and running after moving over all of your external connections or you could purchase two of everything and have a fail safe unit but this would get quite expensive

    8) Many people love the Sonos product line for verbal feedback and I do too but what about verbal commands? There is some feedback about extra hardware you need to buy. How secure is that? In other words can anybody in the house control your system verbally or is there a voice recognition security built in? Anyone can use it if they know acknowledge phrase

    9) AEON will release their smartfilm at some point in time but there is already a solution out there called smart film for windows from smarttint.com. Is there an integration with Homeseer for that?I've never heard of this product. The rule of thumb is if the hardware is Z-Wave certified it will work or will be made to work with HS provided the software developers can work with the manufacture to do so.

    10) What is the best irrigation control system in conjunction with Homeseer please? This depends on who you ask. The most popular system is MCSSprinklers and your choice of controllers. I would recommend researching this area

    11) There are now Z-wave controller air vents which are expensive but very effective in cooling specific rooms based on scenes. Are those supported with Homeseer yet?We are not sure. No one has tried them yet but again if they are Z-Wave certified ...

    12) Insteon integration with Vera is a nightmare and very buggy. Homeseer supports also all the other protocols as well but how good is it really? Just marketing or fully functioning?The (best) Insteon plugin for HS is a 3rd party plugin and the developer is one of the most responsive on this board. This plugin as are nearly all plugins going through the upgrade process from HS2 to HS3 so there may be a bug or two in the newer version the older version is rock solid

    13) Are there any other hidden costs like pay for the apps, pay for plugins, pay for whatever monthly or yearly doesn't matter?The only other costs are plugins and depending on which version of HS you purchase the HSTouch suite an HS plugins. The HSPro version comes with HSplugins and the HSTouch suite.

    Sorry for all those questions guys but I am really considering a switch here and before I spend thousands of dollars in my new home I would like to know what I am getting myself into. Right now I would go for the $1.5k Pro version but again I don't know how to size Homeseer and that's not trivial compared to Vera, Evolv, Smartthings, etc.

    Any help or guidance would be appreciated guys. Thanks in advance.
    My suggestion would be to load the 30 day trial on a PC and have a play and then ask questions.
    -Rupp
    sigpic

    Comment


    • #3
      FWIW, I started with Vera as well, but I switched to Homeseer because 1. the Vera platform was sluggish by comparison even when not pushing it hard, and 2. HomeSeer offers a nice way to network together multiple z-wave interfaces that makes z-wave much faster and more reliable than it is without it. If pushing the Vera hardware, I didn't see a way to easily scale up, whereas running on a better/faster PC is always an option with HomeSeer. With Vera, you have to live within the hardware limits (or so it seemed a year ago, maybe it's different now). Vera appeals to the Linux crowd, but the newer HomeSeer (HS3) will also run on Linux, so going forward that difference will decrease.

      I think both platforms have good user communities with enough "critical mass" that finding answers through mutual helping is generally fruitful.
      Last edited by NeverDie; May 5th, 2014, 08:21 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Recent former Vera user here. The Vera hardware is mind bogglingly underpowered and the development of the controller software is pretty bad.

        HS is much more flexible and there are many many more things it can do. Even if all of the same options were available for Vera the hardware couldn't possibly handle them.
        Originally posted by rprade
        There is no rhyme or reason to the anarchy a defective Z-Wave device can cause

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks a lot guys. I didn't know that there is a software trial for a PC. I will give it a try and test it out. Appreciate all the feedback so far.

          Comment


          • #6
            I am currently running the Linux HS3 software and am very pleased with the base software. There are still some problems with the Z-Wave plug-in but they are being worked aggressively by HS. Since the Linux release is fairly new, many of the plug-ins available for the Windows version are not yet available for the Linux package. There are two flavors of the HS3 package (HS3 Standard and HS3PRO). The primary difference is that with the PRO package the HSTouch Designer (GUI Designer) is included with the PRO license. Additionally, all HS plug-ins (not third party plug-ins) are also included with the license.

            I run HS3PRO on my UBUNTU 12.04 Server with Apache which coexists with my Weather data acquisition and web server. This configuration only requires about 5-8% of the CPU and 17% of the memory. I also have a spare CPU which I made a clone of my Server and can place it into service by switching the cables and Z-Wave controller. It is not an automatic failover configuration but the downtime is minimal if I am home. Hope this helps.

            Comment


            • #7
              Feedback

              Hello guys,

              thanks a lot for that feedback. I took a laptop and installed HS3PRO trial to play around with that software.

              While I am struggling with the GUI in terms of ease of use and where to find what and how to configure I did manage to get my Foscam working.

              With that said I saw the flood of plugins but most of them are hefty price with $30 per plugin. I think I saw that Pro users get certain software for free but does this also apply for the plugins?

              I still need some advice in terms of sizing the hardware though. There are different models out there and I saw the comments about Linux and how many plugins are available. Let me phrase the question differently...

              When would you buy Troller Zee vs Troller SE3 vs Troller S5 vs Troller 100 S5? Please don't say "more memory and more CPU power" as this would be too obvious in addition to the RS232 and USB ports.

              Is there something more tangible like if you want to attach up to 50 Z-wave devices you can go with SE3 anything above 100 go with S5 and if you want the max of 255 go with 100 S5.

              Or if you want to run voice recognition and Z-wave you need x or y.

              Or if you want to run Z-wave and Insteon at the same time you need a or b.

              Any help in terms of sizing would be welcome because right now I don't know what system to target for and the price differences are not insignificant.

              On the other hand I could design my own server like a mini ATX server and buy hardware for Z-wave, etc. but I assume then I have to take care of security e.g. Firewall and Antivirus software.

              Did you guys buy the hardware PC package from Homeseer or use your own hardware PC and just the software?

              Thanks in advance.

              Comment


              • #8
                The choices are endless really and its up to you as to what you want to do with Homeseer.

                Here my legacy HS2 boxes are custom configured; one is "lite" running on a low powered Atom D525 and the other is a bit heavier running on a core duo.

                Looking at the HS3; purchased the Zee and HS3 Pro. Playing with HS3 pro in Linux and Wintel. I have run it on just about anything. This past weekend built a new box with Ubuntu 14.04 and now playing with that.

                Did you guys buy the hardware PC package from Homeseer or use your own hardware PC and just the software?
                I did it all here; but that isn't what you are looking for.
                - Pete

                Auto mator
                Homeseer 3 Pro - 3.0.0.548 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e 64 bit Intel Haswell CPU - Mono 6.4X
                Homeseer Zee2 (Lite) - 3.0.0.548 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e - CherryTrail x5-Z8350 BeeLink 4Gb BT3 Pro - Mono 6.4X

                X10, UPB, Zigbee, ZWave and Wifi MQTT automation.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Pseudomizer View Post
                  Did you guys buy the hardware PC package from Homeseer or use your own hardware PC and just the software?
                  I run HS software on Intel NUCs. I like flexibility.

                  Regards
                  Morten

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    With that said I saw the flood of plugins but most of them are hefty price with $30 per plugin. I think I saw that Pro users get certain software for free but does this also apply for the plugins?
                    Pro users get HomeSeer written plugins for free however third party plugins are still to be paid for. When you look in the store it should say what has been written by HST vs written by someone else.
                    My Plugins:

                    Pushover 3P | DoorBird 3P | Current Cost 3P | Velleman K8055 3P | LAMetric 3P | Garadget 3P | Hive 3P |
                    Yeelight 3P | Nanoleaf 3P

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Interesting. Thanks.

                      I also saw HSEntry and HSProtect but it doesn't say if this includes a firewall and/or antivirus. I assume you guys all do that if you are using your own hardware server/PC.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I run HS3 on a small SuperMicro server with Windows 7 as the O/S. I preferred my own equipment to a packaged controller for the flexibility of choosing my own O/S and hardware configuration. I chose the brand of server purely by the great service I have gotten out of their products with 25-30 deployed over the last 4-5 years and not a single hardware failure. I chose the server product as opposed to a simple PC for its robust built-in remote management. An Atom based server can be found for well under $400. I run an external firewall appliance as well as the O/S built in firewall. I also run Microsoft Security Essentials, though it is unlikely that a a virus would be a problem as the server is never used as a browser.

                        The Zee at $200 is a bargain for software and hardware all at once, but I think the limitation on plug-ins is a deal breaker for most. The other hardware solutions run on Windows XP Embedded, very reliable but also very old.

                        As far as the HS3 software the UI is very easy to navigate after a very shallow learning curve. Get the User Guide that Jon posted last month. It provides a very concise operating guide and explains the function of a lot of icons that are difficult to understand for the beginning user. I personally think the Event creation and management on HS3 is very good. I have been able to accomplish everything I want to do without having to resort to scripting, but eventually scripting will open up even more possibilities.

                        I think the best thing to do is exactly what you have done - install a trial on an old PC to get the lay of the land, then make a roadmap of how you want to grow and deploy the system according to your needs and goals.

                        I am only 4 months in, but remain very happy with the HS3 software platform. There are some minor vexing Z-Wave issues yet to be resolved, but I think that is more the nature of Z-Wave than of HS3.

                        It was on this board that I first encountered the term WAF (Wife Approval or Acceptance Factor). In my household I was only about 30 days in when I achieved that. My wife *HATES* technology, but gladly counts on a lot of the automation I have created with HS3. Lights being on when she needs them, their brightness automatically appropriate for the time of day. The temperature in the house being comfortable, yet the system uses less energy.

                        I have a neighbor that has had a Vera for more than a year and it does what he wants, but after an hour if my showing him around my HS interface he is seriously considering moving to HS. He said that my system makes his "look and feel like a toy". This was after he teased me a few times last month when my outside lights didn't turn off at sunrise. This was due to a glitch in the Z-Wave plug-in that has since been corrected.

                        I have absolutely no experience with Vera, but I believe the group of folks at HST are passionate about HA and they have a platform (still a work in progress) that is robust enough to do anything you may want to do. There are a group of similarly minded individuals developing plug-ins that continually enhance the product. This forum is amazingly busy, informative and open, especially considering that it is operated by the company that provides many of the products.
                        Randy Prade
                        Aurora, CO
                        Prades.net

                        PHLocation - Pushover - EasyTrigger - UltraECM3 - Ultra1Wire3 - Arduino

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I tested a Vera 2 earlier on. Yeah...that went back to Amazon real fast. It just could not compete with the speed, and ease of integration with as many things as HS. I agree with the other posts about trying it for a free trial first. That is a great idea. For some people, the Vera might be enough.

                          I was also turned off by the way that the Vera handled security, and forced me to go through their service online for my account setup. Even though the web pages then communicate to the Vera device over the local network, their framework/model still dictates (or at least it did back then), that you go through their online service. That is not the experience that I want. Homeseer has allowed me to do what I want with my hardware with zero dependency on an outside service. Sure, that is the way the industry is headed, but there will always be those of us who want complete control over our system, and as an added benefit, never have to pay any service fees (not implying here that you need to with Vera, but that is the industry trend towards pay-as-you-go monthly services).

                          On a tangeant, regarding XPe being supported for the foreseeable future, unlike XP, I wonder how long it will take for someone to start pulling out various security fixes from XPe, and porting them over to XP, since MS won't be releasing official packages. I know it would not be possible for many of the operating system files, but it might work for some.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Automated View Post
                            ...
                            I was also turned off by the way that the Vera handled security, and forced me to go through their service online for my account setup.
                            Another very good point. With HS all you need is a simple local router configuration and some sort of Dynamic DNS service and you have access anywhere in the world.

                            If you want the downside of being tied to a service for your home automation look at Craftsman AssureLink two weeks ago. The service was spotty or absent and people who had come to count on their Android or iOS apps to control their garage door were stranded. We have the service but I also have replicated much of its function in Homeseer. When Craftsman was down, I still had full control through my own system. Counting on some company to provide access to your home automation would be a critical mistake.
                            Randy Prade
                            Aurora, CO
                            Prades.net

                            PHLocation - Pushover - EasyTrigger - UltraECM3 - Ultra1Wire3 - Arduino

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Great feedback guys. Really appreciated. Thanks.

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