The primary focus of this web site lies within INSTEON technology, which, in my humble opinion, is superior than any other low-cost protocol available on the market today (we are not talking Crestron here). Majority of the links listed here are in one way or another relate to INSTEON or X10-based networks. Although, to be fair, I periodically review all emerging technologies and may post links that have nothing to do with INSTEON in particular, but could present an instersting point of view for the Home Automation industry as a whole.
- X10 – The father of home automation. Born in 1975 it’s the most mature and widely used (but sometimes could be slow and unreliable) PLC standard. It was used as a prototype for the modern digital PLC technologies such as UPB and INSTEON.
- UPB – Released by PulseWorx in 1999, this PLC standard uses a very powerful powerline signal (40V spike) that makes it much more reliable than original X10 was, but lacks some of INSTEON’s features such as simulcasting and dual-mesh networking. In addition it is NOT compatible with X10 devices.
- INSTEON – New wave in home automation for general public and small buisnesses. Inexpensive and backwards compatible with X10. It’s much more reliable due to using both a stronger powerline signal as well as RF communication to create a dual-mesh network where each device repeats received PLC commands (simulcasting) making the signal stronger as it goes further. It has better built and more attractive devices than X10. INSTEON protocol adds many new features: such as scenes, devices with memory and presets, breaking the limit of 255 addressable devices in X10, etc*.
- ZigBee – A low-cost, low-power, wireless mesh networking proprietary protocol based on the IEEE 802.15.4-2003 standard.
- Z-Wave – A low-power wireless technology designed specifically for remote control applications.
*For comparisson of INSTEON to other common automation protocols see INSTEON Compared (PDF).
- Mister House (free, cross platform) – Open source home automation program written in Perl. It fires events based on time, web, socket, voice, and serial data.
- IOX – IOX is an input / output cross-point. It allows to execute X10 commands from IR remote control, and more.
- HomeZIX – New and fast developing cross-protocol automation software for Windows. Works with X10, INSTEON and Zwave devices. Provides powerful scripting via C# language. Additional modules add Voice control, Yahoo chat control and IR. Free version with limited functionality available for download from company’s website, as well as full version for $25.
- PowerHome ($69.95 full version, win) – A powerful, scriptable home automation software for users with programming background.
- Bill’s Voice Commander(donationware, win) – BVC will let you give voice commands to control devices in your home and give you voice and audio feedback about what is going on in your X10 environment.
- X10 Dispatcher (free, win) – an application which relays events raised in an X10 automated environment using MSN Messenger, email, and the web.
- INSTEON Software for Windows (free, win) – A list of INSTEON software (such as Group Commander, Device Controller) written by Rand Fredricksen.
- InHomeFre (free, win) – Allows timers to be loaded into your INSTEON PLC, provides low level INSTEON links management, sends all standard X10 commands.
- Linux Home Automation (free, linux) – Home automation and control (HA) Software (source code and links mostly) for the home automation devices INSTEON PowerLinc V2, CM11A, CM17 (Firecracker), LynX10, WM918, HCS II and CPUXA.
- Insteon Explorer (free, win) – “a clean, professional, intuitive interface to aide in the setup and maintenance of an Insteon-based home control network”.
The following is a list of companies that produce systems, devices or software applications that can be integrated into smart homes.
- 2gig Technologies – Advanced wireless home security system compatible with Z-wave devices.
- AMX – Full range of home control and automation, switching, distributed audio and video products.
- Charmed Quark Systems, Ltd – Produces CQC (the Charmed Quark Controller), a software-based, control/automation and media management system compatible with wide range of devices.
- Cinemar, Inc. – Cinemar’s software gives users the ability to automate everything in their home, including lights, appliances, thermostats, audio/video, and media content.
- Colorado vNet
- Cortexa Automation
- Crestron Electronics, Inc.
- Elan Home Systems
- Elk Products, Inc.
- Embedded Automation
- Exceptional Innovation (LifeWare)
- Home Automated Living
- Home Automation Inc. (HAI)
- Jasco Products Co.
- JDS Technologies
- JET Home Automation
- Lutron Electronics
- Perceptive Automation
- Philips Pronto
- Remote Technologies Inc (RTI)
- Residential Control Systems (RCS)
- Sand Hill Engineering
- Savant Systems
- Schlage, Ingersoll Rand
- Schneider Electric
- Somfy – Motors and automatic control solutions for retractable awnings, shades, blinds, draperies, screens, rolling shutters, projection screens and more.
- URC (formerly Universal Remote Control)
- Vantage Controls
- Wayne-Dalton (SALT)