Hybrid HA solution to improve reliability

i’ve gone down the path of investigating another solution for HA. i really like the ST platform for its IDE and ease in integrating new devices… but the reliability just isn’t there and has been especially bad the last few days.

I have settled on openhab 2.0 beta and have managed to add my openhab installation’s Zwave.me ZME-UZB1 stick as a secondary controller to my devices. since nearly all my devices are zwave or hue devices (via Hue Hub) i can control all of these directly from openhab and do the scheduling from there. but still use all my tablets and smarttiles etc for manual control.

my initial testing looks very good, it does look like a viable solution that will overcome all my gripes with ST for the majority of my automations, it looks to be the best of both worlds for me.

I’ve tried using several different hubs as Z-Wave secondary controllers with ST as a primary in the past. While it’s certainly possible, it only works as long as your network is static. Once you start adding and removing devices, you’re going to run into issues. Also, the’re issues with device status updates, e.g. when the switch is turned on/off manually or by another controller. Ther’s another thread somewhere where this is discussed in more detail.

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I’ve tested already what happens when i add a new device in ST, all i need to do is click on the update from primary in openhab and the device is received on the secondary.

i am getting no different behaviors with device updates with the openhab controller or without. the status updates have been flaky across the board, i i switch a switch from openhab within a few minutes this new status is reflected in ST, its not immediate by any stretch but its the same as if you use the hue hub for example and switch from the hue app.

That’s good to know. I guess some controllers are better than the others. :smile:

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Fundamentally I believe any credible home automation system, and especially multi controller setups, should always have status instantly updated and synchronised across all controllers regardless of how the status change was triggered. Without this your logic rules can be very hard to apply.

I have only recently included Z-Wave and the intrinsic lack of this has been a real disappointment (Lutron patent issues ?). The use of cloud services for device integration creates a similar problem. The status of my Hue lights is often out of synch for many minutes , and occasionally hours. You can’t then for example use a Hue Dimmer switch as a trigger to ST.

A second fundamental aspect of any home automation system is that the most reliable and fastest control mechanism should be used to control a device. This means that if a local connection is available it will inevitably provide the best solution. By local I mean hard wired or connected by a network although some wireless solutions are workable.

Any implementation that ignores this local option and instead implements control via the Internet / Cloud introduces latency, Internet dependence, reliability issues, potential loss of end to end confirmation, lack of real time status updates and polling (bad). It’s a very poor alternative. Executing code remotely rather than locally also creates similar issues. You become doubly dependent on server loading at both the controller manufacturer end and the devices cloud provider, and in extreme cases your code might, and in ST’s case does get dropped totally and so never runs.

ST does all of this unfortunately even though the v2 hub was supposed to facilitate local processing, and ‘may’ in the fullness of time, but at the moment this looks a long way off. In my opinion the current product and the architecture it implements firmly anchors ST functionality in the toy/geek market rather than as a serious automation contender. ST has other aspects though that position it well for market dominance so I’m wanting to include it in my system.

So a hybrid HA solution could assist you well here. I run multiple controllers, too many in fact as I experiment with synchronisation, co-operation and redundancy across my system. More proof of concept than a practical implementation. OpenHAB2 is a new addition for me too. My system implements islands of functionality (lighting, heating, security, audio/visual etc) and each provide basic functionality independently without a HA controller. The controllers just supplement extra ‘smarts’ and features that provide the HA buzz. So if all the HA fails the family doesn’t get left in the dark and alienated.

In the fullness of time hopefully ST will hone their architecture and offer a more reliable and better implementation that you feel you can rely on, or maybe that’s the hub v3.

A

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Well, technically you can create a solution for this with yet another dependency… :smile:

You can have a tablet / android phone that you use as a controller (with SmartTiles for example) but is subscribed to the devices via SharpTools (ping @joshua_lyon) and take action based on changes to that device state. It’s definitely hack-y, but it should work… I think.

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