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?
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
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!