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2018-01-12 11:35 by Karl Denninger
in Small Business , 83 references Ignore this thread
Practical Applications of HomeDaemon-MCP
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So what sort of practical applications does a HomeDaemon-MCP installation have -- and why would you, if you're a small business (perhaps in the homebuilder, HVAC, security or renovation space) want to buy the package and monetize it?

For the math on a plausible basis look here.

I want to focus right now, however, on the practical side of it -- the user experience side.

These are all things I'm doing right now in one way or another in my home.  If you've got a serious interest in acquiring the package I'll be more than happy to meet with you and show you -- from afar -- exactly what I'm talking about and how easy it really is.

  • You're at the bar, a half-hour from the house.  You'd like to use the hottub when you get home.  So you open the page (on your phone) and hit "Hottub On." You can see the current temperature of the water and a few minutes later you get a text message that the heater has been confirmed to be working; when you get home you pop right in.  Behind the scenes the system has reset the valves on your combined pool/hottub system, put your VFD-driven pool pump (which you have saved several hundred dollars a year in power by installing) on "high" for the hottub, and monitored the heater's temperature rise to make sure it ignited.

  • You get out of the hottub, having enjoyed several adult beverages, and forget to push the button to shut it off.  30 minutes later, sensing no movement in your Lanai, the system does it for you saving your a scadload of energy you would have otherwise wasted heating the water all through the overnight hours with nobody in it.

  • You have your laundry machines in the utility room.  You stick a load of laundry in the washer.  When the washer finishes the cycle the system notifies you that the load is complete via both announcement on the house's speakers (over which it can also play music) and via text message, just in case you happen to be out working in the yard or relaxing by your pool.  Contrast this with the washing machine down in the basement or in the utility room and it's "weak sauce" end-of-cycle buzzer you cannot hear.  Ever leave a wet load in the washer by accident overnight this way?  Yeah, that's disgusting..... 

  • You leave the house, getting in your car.  An hour later the house automatically adjusts down the A/C, saving your money, it texts you so that you know it went into the "secure" mode and in addition it starts monitoring the occupancy sensors to indicate not that someone is in a room but that someone may have broken in!  If it detects same it takes a picture through your webcams and sends it to your phone via email, and texts you immediately.  Instead of having a contract with a security company and getting fined by your local PD for false alarms if the sensors trigger you get to check it out and, if there really is a problem you can call the sheriff's department directly.  No more false alarm charges and a higher-level of security, plus good photographic evidence to use in prosecuting any actual burglar, is the result.  Oh, did I mention no "monthly fee" games from the security company either?

  • You get home later, and the system detects you coming in through the garage door; it shuts off the security and returns the A/C to its former setting.  The occupancy sensors go back to turning your lights on and off for you automatically, without any user intervention.  Just to make sure it really was you the system also sends you a brief text message so you know the house has turned off it's "secure" mode.

  • You aren't around for a weekend.  The system, being in "away" mode automatically, runs a reasonable simulation of an occupied dwelling, with a pattern of lighting suggesting someone is there -- during the evening hours only, of course.  When someone unexpectedly comes into the driveway the floodlights all around the home come on, perhaps providing a deterrent value should that be a burglar.

  • You have a room with two lighting switches but when one is on you really would like the other to be on or off at the same time -- and at the same brightness.  You declare these as "grouped" in the system; pressing the paddle on one (whether on, off or to change the dim level) causes the other(s) to automatically follow.  You can also "group" a switch (e.g. when you have a light on you want the ceiling fan to be on, and if you shut off the light then the fan should be shut off as well) with a dimmer circuit.

  • You go to bed, and push a button on your nightstand.  All the lights in the house go out and the HVAC system is adjusted to your preference for a more-comfortable sleep.  The outside perimeter motion sensors, should they be triggered during that overnight, will turn on the respective floodlights and, if motion is detected in your lanai, not only will all the lights be turned up fully there but a chime and announcement will sound inside.  Home invaders who think they'll catch you sleeping beware!

  • You wake up a couple of hours earlier than normal and decide you're going to get up, which is unusual for you.  You like to sleep in a cool house, so when you went to bed you had the system turn down the heat -- and it's February.  You reach over to the nightstand and press button "3" briefly (of 4 on the wireless remote you have velcro'd to the side of your nightstand.)  The thermostat on the other side of the house is immediately set to it's normal daytime level plus two degrees and your two-stage furnace comes on, quickly warming up the house.  In a few minutes, instead of getting out of bed in a 65 degree house and walking out to the thermostat to turn it up, you have a nice toasty room in which to work your way to the bathroom and your morning shower.  An hour later the thermostat resets back to the normal daytime temperature setting all on its own; no point in wasting energy keeping the house extra-warm for the rest of the day.

  • You have installed a "push button" deadbolt so your kid can come home from school without having to carry a key.  When you go to bed and everyone is home the keypad on the deadbolt is automatically disabled, so even if your kid is foolish enough to tell someone what the code is it's worthless to use in invading your home in the middle of the night.  In the morning the keypad is automatically re-enabled.

  • Your cleaning lady uses the code to get into the house.  You're reasonably ok with this because you can connect to your security cameras and see what's going on at any point in time, plus motion triggers them to take pictures.  The cleaning lady only comes on Wednesdays between 10:00 and Noon; the system sets that code at 9:45 AM on Wednesday and revokes it at 2:00 PM.  The rest of the time your kid can use his code to get into the house after school, but the cleaning lady's code is worthless.  Being in secure mode when she shows up you get a text, and another when she keys the code to lock the door on the way out.  If she doesn't use the code the second time to lock the door (she forgets when she's leaving) an hour after she leaves you get a text telling you the house has "re-armed" itself automatically and the door is locked -- on its own.

  • Your kid, like most, refuses to shut the lights off when he leaves a room.  The system automatically turns them on and off for him.

  • You want to watch a movie and would like the living room lights on, but at a very low level.  You push a button on your phone and they all change to "nightlight" level illumination, along with modifying the light level in the nearby hallway and kitchen on motion detected in the area so your movie doesn't get interrupted with bright lighting when your kid decides to come into the adjacent kitchen and get a soda from the fridge.
  • You want a very low level for the lights in your bathroom at 2:00 AM if you need to get up to pee, but in the evening you'd like a moderately higher level of lighting - and your wife wants to be able to crank it up when doing her makeup.  All automatic; if you get up to pee at 2:00 AM you get a "nightlight" level of illumination sufficient to make sure you don't try to sit down on an up toilet seat, but during the day and evening hours the level of illumination is altered appropriately.

None of this requires "programming" as you think of it.  The list of what to do and when to do them is controlled by a simple English-like language, similar to this:

[z Front Door Motion] triggered on
[v Night]
execute
cmd zset 50 Front Door Lights

Which says "if the front door motion detector just changed state to on and it's nighttime then set the front door lights to 50% brightness."

The system can handle, and will process, a nearly-unlimited number of conditions like this.

The best part of it is that other than for licensing restrictions (if whoever winds up owning this wishes to sell a time-limited right to use, much like Adobe does with their "Creative Suite") there is no connection required to any sort of "cloud resource" of any kind.  The system runs entirely independently, on the local device and yet maintains a security model that allows you, and only you and those you authorize, to access it via any web browser-capable device from anywhere.  Your phone, your tablet, the computer at your office, your laptop -- literally anywhere, all securely and under your exclusive control.  You can also define a number of access levels for that information so some people (e.g. your kid) can control things in his room but he can't screw with the light levels in your room.

Oh, and it all runs on a $35 computer without even getting it to breathe hard and boots off an SD-card, making it entirely power-fail safe.  Power consumption is roughly 5 (yes, five) watts.  Yank the cord and when you plug it back in it comes right back up as if nothing had happened.

Look to the right if the opportunity sounds juicy to you!

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Bodhi
Posts: 185
Incept: 2008-02-23

Georgia
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Amazing what these little Raspberry Pi's are capable of doing. Wishing you all the best on monetizing your creation.

I'm currently working on a project to run a SIP server on a RP. I managed to tweak the settings in an Avaya SIP phone to get it to connect and register with my friend's RP SIP server in the UK. Now we just have to work out the kinks with the audio paths.
Joryhoffman
Posts: 1
Incept: 2012-08-27

San Luis Obispo
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Much more secure (with more features) than my Smartthings setup. We currently rent so the wireless setup is what caught my attention in the first place. What you lay out in this post is very similar to my experience with a Samsung Smartthings setup (motion sensors, door sensors, smoke sensors) along with 2 Foscam cameras (code from rBoys), but connects to the cloud. I would rather have a completely internal system (i.e. no cloud connectivity) that only I can access remotely and securely (via VPN) as you mentioned. Thanks for sharing and if/when we become homeowners and this package is commercially available, I would be a customer.

One quick note: my Foscam cameras have the ability to email/text pics upon motion intrusion along with capturing a short video and sending via FTP to an offsite location (in the event the intruders grab the camera(s) and take the SD card with it or they find/take the computer equipment with said video). This all assumes Internet connectivity of course!
Maynard
Posts: 472
Incept: 2007-11-27

Nags Head for now
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As you know I have always been curious about this. Originally I thought the main selling point was the encryption/security point. Which I believe the general public doesn't give a **** about. Which limits your valuations.
This helps explain the practicality of the system in other ways.
Nickdanger
Posts: 683
Incept: 2011-06-12

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Nice system! If someone buys this and markets them, I would be interested in one. I'm not in a financial position to make the investment for the technology, nor do I want to ramp up another business at my age, but someone could definitely take this and run with it.

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Tickerguy
Posts: 151190
Incept: 2007-06-26
A True American Patriot!
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Quote:
As you know I have always been curious about this. Originally I thought the main selling point was the encryption/security point. Which I believe the general public doesn't give a **** about. Which limits your valuations.
This helps explain the practicality of the system in other ways.

@Maynard - Yep. You have no idea how convenient it is to just walk around your home, doing your thing, and not pay a bit of attention to any sort of energy management (e.g. turning on and off lights), comfort and convenience or security issues at all.

It just does it on its own; in the evening I don't want to be blasted with high level lighting everywhere (EVERY modern house I've seen is DRAMATICALLY over-lit "as built") but then again I want to be able to easily override it too (e.g. I'm working on something in the living room and want the lights all the way up so I can see the back of the stereo's connector panel, etc.)

The security enhancements are nice as well, especially the automation of it. I used to, many years ago, have an alarm panel. It was a pain in the ASS, and I got fined a couple of times for false alarms too. None of that now; it's entirely automatic and it notifies ME with what tripped and, if I want, I can immediately look at either the snapshot (still) or pull up video. If the ****ing cat got up on the curtain bracket and stuck its face in the "pet proof" motion detector I don't get a $50 surprise from the local gendarme. On the other hand if it IS a burglar I got his ugly ass on video and/or still photos, and when I call the cops I can tell them exactly who to look for. They'll show up a hell of a lot faster if you tell them you can SEE the ****er ripping off your TV as well and if they get there now they WILL catch him.

Trust any or all of this to the Googleplex? **** no. IF connectivity goes down? It all still works locally, of course, since it is NOT dependent on any such "cloud".

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Winding it down.
Nevertoolate
Posts: 1451
Incept: 2007-08-26
A True American Patriot!
San Antonio de Bexar de runover with illegals, Texas
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A little off topic, but since you have the security worked out, how about being able to host one's families email accounts on it? I think as people finally wake up to security overall, this will become more of a concern. Especially when "the true cloud" is finally revealed when the curtain is drawn back all the way.

OBTW, I would take two of these myself, with or without the email. (Email add-on feature would be very nice though.)

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Democracy is a conversation between 2 wolves & a sheep discussing what's for dinner. A Constitutional Republic is found when the sheep pulls out a gun & makes clear that his 2nd Amendment Right will be exercised should the wolves attempt to hold such a "vote."-KD 9-29-15
Tickerguy
Posts: 151190
Incept: 2007-06-26
A True American Patriot!
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Quote:
One quick note: my Foscam cameras have the ability to email/text pics upon motion intrusion along with capturing a short video and sending via FTP to an offsite location (in the event the intruders grab the camera(s) and take the SD card with it or they find/take the computer equipment with said video). This all assumes Internet connectivity of course!

@Joryhoffman - Two problems with those Foscams. First, they like to talk to "momma" a lot, and "momma" is in China. With a Chinese certificate that doesn't validate here. Nervous? Why yes, yes I am.

Second, "motion detect" on the cameras themselves are nearly worthless. The reason is that they don't actually detect motion like a PIR does (IR signature changes); they instead detect differences in the *frame*. That is a HUGE problem because it generates a monstrous number of "trips" that are false; a change in the sunlight pattern through the window from a cloud passing by will set it off.

The HomeDaemon-MCP code can accept a "trip" from the Amcrest camera line, but you'll generate a LOT of false trips if you do that on motion. Better is to put a PIR up covering the camera's field of view and use HomeDaemon to tell the camera to snapshot (which it knows how to do) when the PIR triggers.

The code also knows how to accept a trip based on sound level changes (which the Amcrest can monitor), attempted hackery into the camera, "obscured" sensor conditions (which also falses a lot and is not to be relied upon!) and, in the case of the Amcrest units, the dry contact sensor on the back (which is VERY useful if you have a contact closure somewhere to monitor and don't want to buy another sensor -- for example, on a door or window.)

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Winding it down.

Tickerguy
Posts: 151190
Incept: 2007-06-26
A True American Patriot!
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Quote:
A little off topic, but since you have the security worked out, how about being able to host one's families email accounts on it? I think as people finally wake up to security overall, this will become more of a concern. Especially when "the true cloud" is finally revealed when the curtain is drawn back all the way.

@Nevertoolate - completely inappropriate to do that on a Pi. The Pi is a great embedded device, but for anything that requires volatile storage of any magnitude it's the wrong tool, even with a plugged-in external drive (which it can use.)

However, were someone to take the PCEngines unit (which if you remember I have offered to burn SD card boot images for a firewall application for the cost of the card and SASE), and which I use here for that purpose, that's another matter. That's a quite-high performance base level device that can support a mSATA SSD in the case. Now THAT would be a box that could easily handle such a job, plus it has two Gbps ethernet interfaces in it so it can also do the Internet firewalling stuff.

I use one here for my primary firewall and it's been an exemplary piece of gear. I love it; it's fanless, runs on 12V, has the AESNI instructions so encryption (e.g. VPN, GELI encrypted filesystem, etc) is extremely fast and has plenty of moxie generally plus it's reasonably cheap -- right around $100. HomeDaemon would easily run on it with a simple recompile; stuff a 120Gb mSATA SSD in there and you've got an extremely competent email gateway that could even handle Mobile Exchange (e.g. calendar, contact and email sync to mobile devices) as well.

$ uname -v
FreeBSD 11.0-STABLE #0 r312669M: Wed Jun 14 17:57:26 CDT 2017 root@NewFS.denninger.net:/pics/Crochet-work-AMD/obj/usr/src/sys/KSD-SMP
$ uptime
12:57PM up 191 days, 2:29, 1 users, load averages: 0.13, 0.07, 0.07
$

That box runs my VPN gateway (both IPsec/IKEv2 and OpenVPN), IP firewall, does both Ipv6 and Ipv4 automatically grabbing both from the cable company and pushes updates to my primary DNS when addresses change, does time distribution, etc. It's the same firmware base I offered to put on SD for anyone who wants it; it's VERY solid. I don't run my email on there simply because there's no fixed storage in it and I already have the email server that has that loaded on it. But the slot is there inside the box to plug in an mSATA drive....

Whoever winds up with this code could very easily engage me on a contract basis to come up with a "combined" base load that did both. It wouldn't be very difficult at all.

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Winding it down.

Rollformer
Posts: 191
Incept: 2013-02-13

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Have you pitched this to the NSA? Your setup is completely useless to them, maybe they would pay a pretty penny for it. ;-)
Tickerguy
Posts: 151190
Incept: 2007-06-26
A True American Patriot!
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Yeah PFS is sorta-difficult to break. Especially with a private-firm CA that you can't compromise without them squealing like a pig.

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Winding it down.
Krzelune
Posts: 5874
Incept: 2007-10-08

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I have never worked with home automation stuff but I was involved installing a building security system at my old job. I was basically my employers rep for the contractors, so I didn't know **** about what they were doing. We used almost like the military CAC cards for authentication using Xnodes to read the card and control the locks. It could do PIN, fingerprint and they promised iris in the future. The building alarm system was also tied into it. It was controlled by a linux server that communicated with one of the certificate outfits for card verification that weren't stored locally (like new employees transferring in - one time download)... I only saw the GUI front end because I had to basically input data for the initial setup. Anyways... the point is I think business or multi-unit housing would be more attracted to the security aspect. Like some high rise apartment complex in New York. It could either be a selling point or something they pay a monthly fee for. The building owner would purchase the product or rent yearly (adobe model). You could charge them monthly for how many "apartments" are active each month or some such. I've never run a business so don't listen to me if you don't think so.

edit. I forgot to mention they paid over $100k for the system. took two days to install using existing wire except trenched about 100 feet to parking lot gate.

Lobo
Posts: 420
Incept: 2013-12-25

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One bit of home automation that I'd be interested in would be a kitchen stove minder*. If the stove is on, an alert or tone goes out every XX minutes to remind you. I've put eggs on to boil, gotten engrossed in a crossword puzzle at the dining room table and forgot about the eggs until I smelled something coming from the kitchen. I could see a system like HomeDaemon being very useful for "aging in place" or a retirement complex.

*I suppose this would have to wait until wireless stoves are available, if not already.

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Village Idiot
Tickerguy
Posts: 151190
Incept: 2007-06-26
A True American Patriot!
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That's not hard at all... the system can do that as the sense for it is available if it's electric.

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Winding it down.

Idiom
Posts: 121
Incept: 2015-02-20

New Zealand
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To me the obvious application for things like is farm management. I don't know about the states, but farmers here are pretty competitive with each other and demand a lot from tech.

If the system has enough of an edge, a giant farming federation, like a fertilizer co-op, would be my target market.
Attilahooper
Posts: 2769
Incept: 2007-08-28

New York, by way of Montreal Canada.
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I'm running Homeseer at the moment but have been interested in openhab (no security protocol implementation yet) and intrigued with KD's HomeDaemon.

I like the idea of monitoring electrical appliances and periodically announcing state " the oven is on". Wondering how this is done, I know you could put an amp clamp on the power feed but that would mean accessing the mains behind the appliance or at the breaker panel. A zwave enabled breaker would be an interesting solution.

I have been meaning to add water sensors and a main shutoff valve to my system but both have been fairly expensive. Some new entrants bring down cost of the main shutoff valve. I generally shutoff the main manually when I go away for an extended period. It paid off this year because an outdoor faucet had frozen inside the house and I happen to notice a slow drop from the interior ball valve upon return. It's not ideal because the furnace needs water supply in case there is a leak, but boiler overtemp should prevent a runaway condition but I dont feel comfy with that.
Toilet and clothes washer feed lines are notorious, as well as the fridge if you have cold water supply. A slow leak ****ed up my solid wood floor in the kitchen.

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Tickerguy
Posts: 151190
Incept: 2007-06-26
A True American Patriot!
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Quote:
I'm running Homeseer at the moment but have been interested in openhab (no security protocol implementation yet) and intrigued with KD's HomeDaemon.

I like the idea of monitoring electrical appliances and periodically announcing state " the oven is on". Wondering how this is done, I know you could put an amp clamp on the power feed but that would mean accessing the mains behind the appliance or at the breaker panel. A zwave enabled breaker would be an interesting solution.

Two ways:

1. There is an inline 2V0VAC switch/power monitor available. It's hardwired and intended for things like an AC compressor. It can also run in secure mode but the secure mode has some interesting issues with it getting confused on NONCEs. There's a LOT of code effort in HomeDaemon to detect and not get into a race condition fight with units that do that; it took me quite a while to figure out how to un**** it when it gets ****ed without user intervention. This not only makes possible knowing it's on it also makes trivial (in combination with a PIR) a "heh jackass, it's on and nobody is in the room!" action like turning it OFF! Putting one on a pigtail with a plug and socket for the stove would be easy, if there's enough room behind the unit. While it looks tempting to take the back panel off and mount it inside I have no idea how well the switch would tolerate the temperatures in there; all the wiring is high-temp rated.

2. Since the stove has a plug and cord you can also use a clamp-on (which also are available) as well. You probably would need to make up a custom cord for that, but it's not hard. The other option is to take the back panel off the stove and put the clamp over the wiring internally with the transmitter (which is battery powered) mounted to the exterior of the stove's rear. I've had to repair the main fuse block on my stove as it burned up due to age and there's plenty of room in there along with easy access going that route. You lose the control capability going this route too, but that might be acceptable. That unit is really intended for use in places like at your main panel (to monitor consumption for the whole house.)

Of course every control point costs a little more money.... then again what's the payback on not burning down your house?

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Winding it down.

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