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  • Big play?

    I had a lengthy chat with developers at a MAJOR weather company about their API and about home control. We talked about how IP calls using something like JSON could return some highly nuanced information, like how many minutes before rain stops or ends, specific to a location as precise as two decimal places in the latitude and longitude. If we can imagine it they can pretty well do it.

    We also talked about price - and tended to agree on most things. There should be a free public API for personal use - that expensive was OK for commercial deployment - but that for upgraded features it wouldn't be unfair to suggest a nominal annual subscription/access/whatever charge.

    Now guys, I haven't been here long but I do understand that you only want to part with your money for toys, not for services - then again, I know what it costs to add a Davis personal weather station or even a Neatmo - and those offer only micro-weather, not macro-weather.

    So I suggested that $99/year is reasonable and they thought that could work, but when I told Mark he said I should ask you, so there's a poll here.

    Do please feel free, independent of the pricing issue, to reply with your dream wish list for weather-related specifics on demand, already analyzed on big iron so there's less for rules to do.

    And if you could get that, essentially unlimited, for your personal home use, how much per year do you think its real value to you will be - and never mind that - how much would you be willing to pay?
    46
    $9.99/year
    32.61%
    15
    $49/year
    6.52%
    3
    $99/year
    2.17%
    1
    $149/year
    2.17%
    1
    $199/year
    0.00%
    0
    Wouldn't pay no matter what
    56.52%
    26

  • #2
    I would have to think about what would be reasonable, but I do know for me 99 bucks is not.
    RJ_Make On YouTube

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    • #3
      Originally posted by ServiceXp View Post
      I would have to think about what would be reasonable, but I do know for me 99 bucks is not.
      Is weather not yet a factor in your control rules?

      Are you using any local weather sensing, like a Davis PWS or a Netatmo would provide?

      Are you not yet controlling sprinkler systems, thermostats, ceiling fans or fireplaces?

      I find that people who do involve weather factors in home control have been willing to spend more than this on gizmos to bring in less and less useful data but if that isn't you, no problem.

      Statistically, one house in six spends more than $50/year on weather devices or services. There's nothing wrong with being among the other five, so please don't take offense at my challenge questions (my apologies if you read them that way), I'm just trying to figure out if your strongly stated opinion is based on weather not yet being a factor for you.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by ServiceXp View Post
        I would have to think about what would be reasonable, but I do know for me 99 bucks is not.
        I have to agree, between my personal weather station and all the available data from Weather Underground (other local stations), I have plenty of data to base my automation decisions on. Anything more than $9.99 a year just doesn't make sense for what I'm using the data for.
        Bryan
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        • #5
          Originally posted by TechHA View Post
          I have to agree, between my personal weather station and all the available data from Weather Underground (other local stations), I have plenty of data to base my automation decisions on. Anything more than $9.99 a year just doesn't make sense for what I'm using the data for.
          Curiosity questions:

          May I ask how much you paid for that personal weather station?

          Would you feel differently if you could get post-analysis data that was more immediately useful and required less scripting to polish? For example, if specific to your address you could know exactly what times there would be direct sun glare or overcast, rain starting or stopping, uncomfortable combinations of heat and humidity, abrupt temperature shifts, etc?

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          • #6
            I view the subscription model in the same light as the 'rent to buy' approach to ownership. Adding to my concern is that the poll also makes an assumption about the accuracy of the personal weather that I find difficult to believe. I'd rather own the hardware to measure my local weather with a Davis weather station and use publicly available forecasts for an educated guess about future weather.

            To get me to pay for a service I'd need to see much more convincing evidence that it would, in fact, be accurate in both time and space and that the information gained would be worth the cost. (I can see episodic cases where I'd like to have a very accurate prediction of local weather, but usually the regional forecast is good enough.)
            Mike____________________________________________________________ __________________
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            • #7
              Mike - those are fair concerns.

              You have only my say-so that the forecast is more precise, accurate, thorough, etc. - but those are good hallmarks that I'll report when I speak with them.

              And again, there would be both a free public API for some very good data and a subscription-based upgrade to deeper, richer, more location-precise data including results of analysis - and, like many things, a constantly growing feature set.

              From my perspective, here are some of the things I would look for from them:
              • Time to arrival/departure of at-location rain or storms
              • Zone-by-zone (like Rachio Iro) lawn/garden irrigation scheduling based on planting type, soil type, slope, recent rain, expected rain, recent sun, expected sun, expected freeze conditions
              • Alert triggers to expected abrupt temperature changes that can factor into thermostat, ceiling fan and fireplace settings
              • Very refined outdoor comfort indications and derived indoor comfort expectations - more tweaks
              • Sun glare versus cloudy forecasts as a factor in adjusting window coverings and/or (with wind data included) awnings
              • Expected cold water temperatures from water mains and alerts if summer heat poses a scalding threat at the faucet

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              • #8
                Personally I think it would work for the new cloud based automation stuff and folks that are dependant on the cell phone widgets for remote control of their automation today as it is new.

                Many folks here have purchased those little cloud connected weather stations which are proprietary and use whatever cloud service they are connected to. Not sure if in the future they will be using a paid for subscription model.

                That said I utilize weather at my home from my weather stations along with environmental sensors for irrigation. It works for me because it is local and my irrigation automation depends on local sensors. The software I use depends on ET calculations which are derived only from local sensors. I guess this is old school use of said local sensors.

                That said my automation world is not really internet dependant. (software and firmware).

                Trending for automation for the masses is primarily internet dependant such that product could work but there are bigger players & bigger sticks with more money already starting to do that. (still wondering why weather dot com bought weather underground eh? and Unisys Weather sells much of their stuff today)
                Last edited by Pete; July 21st, 2015, 09:43 AM.
                - Pete

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                • #9
                  Well, you see, Pete, where big companies are concerned, I have some history of being a disruptive influence - and I find it's often because I've given the central issue more thought than their meeting room environments allow.

                  In this case, specifically, I'm trying to figure out what would be useful for me but hard for me to do in less than maybe 1000 lines of HomeSeer script. If I can bring all that down to a dozen JSOC calls I'm way ahead.

                  This particular big company regards you guys as pioneers and the things you figure out how to do are showcases for where technology can go. Tech is just a distraction if it can't make lives better.

                  So I'm here to make everybody scowl and think and maybe brainstorm.

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                  • #10
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                    • #11
                      Personally thinking that WeatherUnderground would like to do this as automation for the masses is has now become commonplace.

                      They would make more money and get involved in the automation stuff or they would just get bought out by a big stick player that would have control and bring them to the current world of the internet automation their way whichever way that is.

                      Like a Google Nest connect to WUN services (some sort of deal?) or an upgrade to the Amazon echo that would include wireless environment sensors / local weather station stuff and keeping the data on WUN.

                      It would be a win win for Google or Amazon and WUN and automation for the masses.

                      Unrelated to your OP ....Personally here not sure if I want to drive a car with a Google or Apple or Amazon logo on it as I am still very much old school about this stuff.

                      Personally though still see WUN crawling even with weather dot com owning them...just in a blink of an eye WUN could be legacy in internet time....
                      Last edited by Pete; July 21st, 2015, 10:14 AM.
                      - Pete

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by martywinston View Post
                        From my perspective, here are some of the things I would look for from them:
                        • Time to arrival/departure of at-location rain or storms
                        • Not only would this require much more accuracy than any forecast I've seen, but lead time would be critical. Knowing that a storm will hit in 30 seconds is not nearly as valuable as knowing that a lightning strike will occur on the tree in the front yard at 3:04:22 PM tomorrow.
                        • Zone-by-zone (like Rachio Iro) lawn/garden irrigation scheduling based on planting type, soil type, slope, recent rain, expected rain, recent sun, expected sun, expected freeze conditions
                          The appeal for this will be difficult to justify on a cost/benefit basis. Most plants are well adapted to deal with less than optimal water availability. Sounds like an engineering solution to an imaginary problem.
                        • Alert triggers to expected abrupt temperature changes that can factor into thermostat, ceiling fan and fireplace settings
                          Don't thermostats do this without adjustment? I've never seen a convincing argument for the benefit of over-adjusting a thermostat.
                        • Very refined outdoor comfort indications and derived indoor comfort expectations - more tweaks
                          ?
                        • Sun glare versus cloudy forecasts as a factor in adjusting window coverings and/or (with wind data included) awnings
                          Maybe. Though on-site sensors seem like a much reliable way to do this.
                        • Expected cold water temperatures from water mains and alerts if summer heat poses a scalding threat at the faucet
                          It must get hotter than I thought in SC. In this part of the world the water mains are deep enough that there is minimal change in water temperature.

                        I'm still not seeing the potential benefit. Sorry.
                        Mike____________________________________________________________ __________________
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                        • #13
                          Responses without quoting.

                          Plant adaptability: have you never encountered brown or yellow lawns even though you water? Texas and South Carolina (places I've lived) absolutely do and in Ohio, too much watering brings other colors and problems.

                          Storm warnings/alerts for a very specific location are accurate within 1 minute; I've tested and confirmed this.

                          All thermostats respond to current temperature, some respond to humidity but none permit gradual adaptation to oncoming abrupt changes, and the energy costs are much higher when the only response to an abrupt change is a brute force response; comfort is also compromised.

                          Sun glare: On-site sensors can recognize it once it happens but can't anticipate that it's coming - and no small number of sensors can respond for all windows - but an advanced service would allow you to enter your window orientation and, based on both sun position and cloud cover provide triggers to individual windows' treatments - less sensor expense and no plastic blobs to elicit spousal disapproval.

                          The water mains in Phoenix can get hot enough to create scald burns from the cold water tap - the South Carolina cold tap often delivers warm water, though not yet dangerously hot.

                          I don't expect everyone to see the benefit. And I do appreciate your honest answers and your time sharing a more in-depth explanation.

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                          • #14
                            $9.99 per year, ties in with google map (traffic, etc) and it should allow you to define and monitor more than your house at that resolution.

                            I'm guessing that most weather forecast is probably used for travel arrangement, especially if the user walks or use public transport to commute.
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by martywinston View Post
                              have you never encountered brown or yellow lawns even though you water?
                              Actually, no, but my Davis weather station will compute ET and my mcsSprinkler setup will allow me to tweak water frequency based on rainfall and ET. No subscription needed.

                              Storm warnings/alerts for a very specific location are accurate within 1 minute; I've tested and confirmed this.
                              This could be useful. How far in advance? If this is easy to do why shouldn't I expect this as a public service?

                              All thermostats respond to current temperature, some respond to humidity but none permit gradual adaptation to oncoming abrupt changes,
                              I don't understand. Just because the temperature outside changes rapidly, the temperature inside, especially in a well-insulated building, will remain relatively constant. What is the abrupt change you are referring to?

                              Sun glare: On-site sensors can recognize it once it happens but can't anticipate that it's coming - and no small number of sensors can respond for all windows - but an advanced service would allow you to enter your window orientation and, based on both sun position and cloud cover provide triggers to individual windows' treatments - less sensor expense and no plastic blobs to elicit spousal disapproval.
                              One sensor (again, on my Davis weather station) provides immediate information on solar radiation intensity. I know the orientation of all my windows, whether they are protected by trees, overhangs etc., and I know sun angle by time of day and day of year. I don't know when a specific cloud will pass over my house, but I can detect gradual clearing or increasing overcast conditions. What more do I need to know to automatically control my window shades, if I choose to do so?

                              The water mains in Phoenix can get hot enough to create scald burns from the cold water tap
                              If I lived in Phoenix I bet I could predict when this is likely by looking at the thermometer in my back yard, but I'd also expect the water authority to know - and publicize - the temperature of the water in the mains if they can be so extreme.
                              Mike____________________________________________________________ __________________
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                              HW: Stargate | NX8e | CAV6.6 | Squeezebox | PCS | WGL 800RF, Rain8Net+ | RFXCOM | QSE100D | Vantage Pro | Green-Eye | X10: XTB-232, -IIR | Edgeport/8 | Way2Call | Ecobee3

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