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 Posted: Wednesday Mar 16th, 2016 01:05 pm
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After many years in the Home Automation business it clear to me that nothing is clear !
The expectation in the residential market place is driven by the app. Every manufacturer has an app and its free.
In reality the future is about seamless inter-connectivity and we are a way of this becoming mainstream.
Rather than a clear way forward with home automation all I see is hugely fragmented market place being saturated by companies new to the market that feel that they have to have an app to control their products.
When it comes to one item talking to another ( one manufacturers product talking to another or one protocol talking to another) things start to get complicated and the cost of implementation begins to reflect the very bespoke nature of this business.  
So why bring this up in the Comfort forum ?
Well comfort has been around for decades now YES well over 10 years, its a product that had (has) vision - the basis of a 20 year old product is still relevant today. So why then has it never really 'taken off' and what can be done to bring Comfort into the 21st century?






 Posted: Wednesday Mar 16th, 2016 09:18 pm
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Swiss-Toni
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I get what your saying, as an installer I have wondered why Comfort isnt bigger, The only system I install is comfort as one of the main reasons is the ability to merge with other systems and the ability to use custom made equipment that intergrates quite easily (Ie it is not product specific).
I am in the process of getting someone to build a website for me and all references will be for Comfort!
However we must take into consideration the costs of advertising (Horrendous)Esp at a global level..........



 Posted: Thursday Mar 17th, 2016 02:02 am
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slychiu
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Thanks to both for the comments 
We try our best to remain relevant in a fragmented market, and we constantly try to find the best way forward.

The remark about apps seemed incomplete, do you mean something like Openhab should be supported?



 Posted: Friday Mar 18th, 2016 09:03 am
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srooks
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Like many markets, HA will remain fragmented, especially as you have all the big Consumer Electronic companies now competing in this space each with a proprietary solution.

Are there any plans for enhancing ETH03? I notice there're some disabled buttons for uploading web pages.

I think Comfort fits in the IoT space so how about supporting MQTT which would then allow it to subscribe and publish events into the fragmented world of HA.

Supporting Apple Homelink would also  be interesting, although beyond Siri control I'm not sure what it gives.



 Posted: Friday Mar 18th, 2016 11:04 am
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TheMax74
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As a final customer, i have trashed many "relevant" products and i wasted my time many times to find a way to have a functional and trouble-free solution.
Then, i've found Cytech and my search ended. The system just works. Yes, it's not plug and play, but i never had a problem since 2005. You ask it to open the door, secure your home, turn on a light? It does.
I linked my KNX installation to Comfort and it works like a charm.
My personal point of view, is that Comfort is a professional solution that hasn't all the bells and whistles comparing to other newer "plug and pray" products, but if you remains out of your house because of a bad "over the air update" of your latest HA gadget (or worst, because of a hacked one) you surely will prefer a more professional product.
For secure application, use a reliable product, like Comfort. For all non critical situation (turn on a colourfull light) , feel free to use any of the newer an very cool products.
This is my own and very personal opinion.

Last edited on Friday Mar 18th, 2016 11:08 am by TheMax74



 Posted: Friday Mar 18th, 2016 12:09 pm
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slychiu
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Thank you all for your comments again
We are in fact looking at options for ETH03; MQTT, REST, Openhab, but there seems to be new things coming out so often that we want to see which is practical and supported
We have also been working on the webserver in ETH03 - the user interface is more the challenge rather than the functionality
As a taste of what is going to be available, we plan to have a "UCM" which is also a controller. Imagine Comfort without the inputs, outputs, telephone recording which looks like a UCM which can plug in the ETH, USB interface for comunication. This can be used as a low cost logic controller where you can connect KNX, Cbus, IRIO and other modules.



 Posted: Friday Mar 18th, 2016 01:10 pm
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TheMax74
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Hi Chiu,
please do not try to follow the latest fashion. You will lose yourself. See what is happened with, for example, Angular JS or many other JS frameworks. Stay as standard as you can. An EHT interface that can accept/send simple ascii commands would be a great deal.
This is my integration with Comfort and a Smartvisu JS framework, connected all together using a c# self developed bridge. It tooks me a lot of time in developing, but having a simple ETH UCM able to receive/send simple ascii string to control/monitor the Comfort panel, would be a great saving of time.


http://knxtoday.com/2014/03/3592/technology-the-benefits-of-intruder-alarms-with-knx.html



 Posted: Friday Mar 18th, 2016 04:57 pm
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Swiss-Toni
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As "TheMax74" said do not try to follow the latest fashion, But i do think the most forward steps will be developing the app side of things even further, and as mentioned in a previous post "A Widget" for tablets..............



 Posted: Saturday Mar 19th, 2016 12:55 am
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slychiu
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having a simple ETH UCM able to receive/send simple ascii string to control/monitor the Comfort panel, would be a great saving of time.


Actually UCM/ETH03 does accept simple ASCII commands as documented in the Comfort Protocol
download from http://www.cytech.biz/serial_interface_protocol.html

eg I?02 means Query Input 2
The reply I?0201 means Input 2 is on

You can control and monitor comforts state quite well
Comfigurator and the Comfort apps all use the same protocol

Last edited on Saturday Mar 19th, 2016 12:56 am by slychiu



 Posted: Saturday Mar 19th, 2016 09:54 am
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TheMax74
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That is good. I totally overlooked it!



 Posted: Sunday Mar 20th, 2016 07:05 am
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TheMax74
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Ps: also, i suggest to take a look at IFTTT.com
This is a well established method to link services like Hue Philips, Rachio sprinkler, Dropbox and many more to, for example, turn on Hue lights in red color when there is an alarm, or arm the Comfort system when all mobile devices leaves the premise or are away from the premise more than 1Km, for example.
This is a cloud service and it has APIs to allow Cytech to develop it's own services linked to Comfort.
It's very fancy and can help promote and growing Comfort system popularity.

Last edited on Sunday Mar 20th, 2016 07:07 am by TheMax74



 Posted: Monday Apr 4th, 2016 02:52 pm
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srooks
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slychiu wrote: having a simple ETH UCM able to receive/send simple ascii string to control/monitor the Comfort panel, would be a great saving of time.


Actually UCM/ETH03 does accept simple ASCII commands as documented in the Comfort Protocol
download from http://www.cytech.biz/serial_interface_protocol.html

eg I?02 means Query Input 2
The reply I?0201 means Input 2 is on

You can control and monitor comforts state quite well
Comfigurator and the Comfort apps all use the same protocol

I've developed a couple of bridges to comfort using the comfort protocol (C,Java), I'd like to have one now for Javascript (node) but the control chars are a pain, plus javascript wants websockets (JSON over TCP).

JSON is simple and very popular. Having the UCM support this rather than a raw message would make life much easier for integration.



 Posted: Saturday Apr 9th, 2016 05:22 am
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slychiu
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whats required to support JSON?



 Posted: Saturday Apr 9th, 2016 09:54 pm
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srooks
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https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/JSON

As JSON is ascii based, for C all you need is sprintf. I've built various embedded systems which support JSON via HTTP REST without needing any external JSON libraries as the data was quite simple. I'm sure you could do the same with Comfort.

If the UCM could support REST and JSON via its web server, it would make access very simple from any language.

Example REST to get input 1 status
GET https://[ucm]/input/1
RETURN { status: "on" }

Example to invoke a response
POST https://[ucm]/response/23

Example REST to get a counter
GET https://[ucm]/counter/3
RETURN { value: "25" }



 Posted: Sunday Apr 10th, 2016 04:32 am
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Ingo
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Note the "https" in the example. I don't want anyone hacking my system via IP connectivity and sending commands to it. Encryption is essential.

Last edited on Sunday Apr 10th, 2016 04:33 am by Ingo



 Posted: Thursday May 5th, 2016 01:21 pm
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srooks
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Agree about encryption, however there's no way i'd open any ports to the internet (especially Comfort). For remote access, I use VPN.

Last edited on Thursday May 5th, 2016 01:22 pm by srooks



 Posted: Thursday Nov 17th, 2016 04:55 pm
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Pgordon
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I'm into what must be about my 15th year with Comfort, and I still absolutely love it. It's one of the *very* few systems that I have consistently reinstalled when I have moved house (the others being CBUS and SONOS)
There are a few things I really do wish my Comfort could do that currently (AFAIK) it can't, and they're all to do with greater integration - which is after all Comfort's mantra!

Very top of the list is good integration with SONOS... I get that it's been difficult up to now because of SONOS' reluctance to collaborate with anyone and their near paranoid secrecy about their protocol... but that is changing now, SONOS have published an API, and are already integrating with Spotify, and early next year with Amazon's Echo/Alexa... But I'd really like to be able to control SONOS in my Comfort responses... - to be able to stop all playback when arming etc... to be able to automate "follow me" music based on Comfort PIR inputs, to have comfort be able to play reminder messages out of SONOS speakers rather than on a keypad.. to have Comfort be able to make my SONOS behave like a half-decent paging/announcement system (another thing that SONOS themselves have been resisting for years). I forsee the ideal outcome here being a UCM-SONOS that has onboard storage (perhaps via SD-card rather than fixed chips, so it could be upgraded), This storage could have MP3 files uploaded to it which it can then be played on any SONOS speaker all under Comfort's control.. Then I could record all my own announcements as MP3 files, and have comfort play them anywhere.. heck, this could even potentially be a replacement for (or at least an excellent adjunct to) the current comfort voice system! A UCM-SONOS would obviously need a connection to the same network as the SONOS devices, but it would not need to join the proprietary SONOS-net mesh wireless network - just a connection to the same LAN is enough, and my Comfort already is connected with the UCM-ETH. Perhaps a future UCM-SONOS could accept an ETH daughtercard or possibly even a future WiFi daughtercard, or indeed, if, as in my case, there already is a UCM-ETH in the system, just piggy-back on that existing LAN connection.

I'd like to see "better" integration with z-wave... I have a zwave UCM, and I only use it for controlling a few plugin modules in places where I can't make CBUS reach. I'd wanted to also get a zwave smart door lock, but after some research, I think the conclusion is that none of the zwave smart locks currently available will talk to the comfort zwave UCM!! - something to do with the UCM not implementing the zwave security class if I recall correctly.. This must be fixed, and whilst about it, the communication needs to be revisited to ensure that a smart lock can be as useful as a keypad when returning home and disarming the system... smart locks (most if not all), identify the specific individual who operated it.. this should be communicated to Comfort to allow proper, intelligent disarming of the alarm mode, based on knowing which Comfort user just entered... I have said many times that it's just plain dumb to come home, have a smart lock securely identify me by either a PIN number, RFID token, proximity of my phone via bluetooth or whatever, unlock & let me in, only THEN to have to disarm comfort by putting my PIN into a keypad... - it should integrate well enough to *know* that it's me that just opened the door!!

I'd like to see better (nay, *ANY*) integration with one or more of the nascent HA technologies, such as Philips Hue, Nest, Apple Homekit, Samsung Smartthings etc. You may say "wait & see which of these technologies will survive" - but I think the time for that is gone with the aforementioned... All of those have *huge* very wealthy companies behind them, and I'd bet some of my own money that all those technologies will still be around 5-10 years from now. I have longingly and enviously viewed some of the Hue lights, but I have my own mantra these days, which is not to have any HA tech in my house which doesn't integrate elegantly with Comfort... Although a bit newer, I think you should add Amazon Echo/Alexa to this wishlist... there should be an Echo "skill" to control comfort by voice... wouln't that be just awesome! (I usually hate that word, but on this occasion I think it is entirely appropriate). - To be able to just say "Alexa, arm Comfort to night mode" as I walk up the stairs... **TAKE MY MONEY** !!!
I should stop now before I get too carried away....      



 Posted: Thursday Nov 17th, 2016 05:07 pm
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Pgordon
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srooks wrote: Like many markets, HA will remain fragmented, especially as you have all the big Consumer Electronic companies now competing in this space each with a proprietary solution.

Are there any plans for enhancing ETH03? I notice there're some disabled buttons for uploading web pages.

I think Comfort fits in the IoT space so how about supporting MQTT which would then allow it to subscribe and publish events into the fragmented world of HA.

Supporting Apple Homelink would also  be interesting, although beyond Siri control I'm not sure what it gives.

I think that's an *opportunity* for Comfort to position itself as the bridge between all those big consumer electronics companies proprietary solutions... I see Comfort as the centre of my HA system with tentacles reaching out into all the other HA systems I have in my house, such as CBUS, Zwave, etc. etc. the way it is so easily able to bridge these different technologies is very compelling... that I can have a CBUS button operate a zwave lamp seamlessly and elegantly is impressive... Imagine that same integration tentacle reaching out into Phillips Hue for example... 

I don't think we've even begun to see what Apple's Homekit is going to be capable of, so its a bit difficult to prognosticate, but I rather suspect that dismissing it at this stage will in future be seen in the same vein as the guy who once said "no-one should ever need more than 256K of memory"... (it was Bill Gates..) :D



 Posted: Saturday Nov 19th, 2016 02:28 am
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slychiu
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Thanks for the comments, Paul. These are interesting
We are developing a new ethernet interface ETH04 which could be the platform which can support these APIs and can support encryption. This will support a webserver (which you can see the button which is not enabled on ETH03)




 Posted: Monday Nov 21st, 2016 12:14 am
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Pgordon
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slychiu wrote: Thanks for the comments, Paul. These are interesting
We are developing a new ethernet interface ETH04 which could be the platform which can support these APIs and can support encryption. This will support a webserver (which you can see the button which is not enabled on ETH03)



Excellent news - sign me up! - perchance will it be based on the common UCM baseboard, with just a new ETH04 daughterboard - so I could fairly easily upgrade my current ETH03?

Cheers
Paul G.



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