xLobby Ver 3.0 Lighting Products

Lighting control systems, upb, lutron, insteon, LED lighting, Etc.

Re: xLobby Ver 3.0 Lighting Products

Postby rika on Wed May 21, 2008 7:51 pm

Thanks for the info Wes!
This is another big step ahed! 8)

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Re: xLobby Ver 3.0 Lighting Products

Postby CouchPotatoe on Fri May 23, 2008 1:17 pm

cmhardwick wrote:What about a UDP broadcast receiver for home automantion programs already in place that send these out when changes occur? We would need some user programmable logic in it to recognize the various signals. A plug-in would be best here, I think. The reason I keep bringing this up is for those that already have a workable home automation system in place (in my case with PowerHome) and don't need to duplicate everything in another system.


There is already a UDP receiver plugin for xLobby in the xAP plugin (xLobby France). The xAP protocol is aimed at being a 'glue' layer between many disparate devices and automation software used for home automation and it is a really simple, yet powerful/expandable protocol - human readable even. A sort of entry level UPnP if you like. Because it is so simple and has a wide range of developer tools from Active X's to a full .Net Framework, implementing connectivity to your favourite devices is well within the capabilities of most hobbyist programmers. (VBscript upwards). This would move the specific implementations (ports, protocol etc) for your UDP device external to xLobby of course with xLobby understanding the xAP protocol.

I have used this approach to integrate Clipsal/Schneider C-Bus lighting into xLobby and it works really well I have not yet merged this into the xLobby lighting screens though as I use my own..

The xLobby plugin has support for realtime updating and control of all xAP devices and supports textual state display as well as icons/graphics, even animated state gif's . Level based devices can be displayed and controlled using onscreen sliders, actions can also be triggered on state changes. In the next beta (imminent) you will be able to trigger an xLobby event eg "Goto:menu" and even issue a direct xLobby command eg "music:play file:MyFile.mp3", as well as directly running a standalone VB script with parameter passing.

A key aspect of this 'xAP' methodology is that you use xAP as an intermediary protocol and as it is UDP broadcast based it means all your automation devices can hear and control each other. Every device becomes networked. Also you write one 'connector' eg C-Bus to xAP and every xAP capable application can use the hardware. xLobby is just one of many commercial applications that support xAP and most xAP connectors are free. For example in the lighting area there is one for UPB, X10, Dynalite, DMX , Instean,C-Bus and others. There is not an EIB connector as yet though. Also xAP can be embedded into devices so there are I/O boards that can be directly integrated to xLobby via Ethernet already available. In fact the xAP C-Bus lighting controller is such a device as is a gateway to HomeVision 1-wire devices and Caller ID too. A xap connector could be written for PowerHouse ;-)

There are xAP connectors for digitasl audio players too - for example it wouuld be great to see if xLobby could use the Squeezebox players from SlimDevices as clients... I control my Sonos system via xAP and xLobby.

One other aspect - if you have a software application that has inbuilt support for lots of hardware devices and it has a suitable xAP plugin then these hardware devices all get exposed via xAP meaning they are no longer dedicated to the application but are networked and available to all :-) Sooo useful.... (You can of course restrict this on a device by device basis).

xAP as a methodology for both centralised and distributed control (or both) is really powerful for a home automation system and as xLobby has a plugin already it is a fully featured member , offering a great front end for your existing HA system. Plus you can add your own devices into xLobby in a very simple way using your language of choice.

I gather the Rako system is a simple protocol and there is already support for the RFXCOM RF receivers and transmitters so any device supported by that is already available to xLobby eg The Oregon Scientific weather sensors and HomeEasy RF based lighting system and Visionic alarm system.

Just perhaps an easy way to get lots of new devices into xLobby with no coding required by Calrad... which has got to be attractive based on resource availability.

Kevin

PS I'm really pleased to see the integrated KNX support too - well done
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Re: xLobby Ver 3.0 Lighting Products

Postby wesblack on Mon May 26, 2008 5:44 pm

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and the information I will look at this again. :D


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Re: xLobby Ver 3.0 Lighting Products

Postby lpg on Mon Nov 03, 2008 6:17 pm

Wes, I noticed in the insteon faqs that you mentioned z-wave. I am looking to install this technology as a builder and need something that has marketshare that will be around for a while. I looked at the z-wave partner list and it seems extensive. Is there a reason that z-wave was left off the list of future supported products. I am beginning to retrofit a system in a remodel I am doing and need some guidance.
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Re: xLobby Ver 3.0 Lighting Products

Postby wesblack on Wed Nov 05, 2008 7:37 am

We have plans to expand to other manufacures lighting products. Most of our efforts are driven by our customers. Zigbee will eventually be added to the list. We are working on some ideas to create a bridge plugin structure between xLobby and other manufactures existing driver list to help speed up the process.


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Re: xLobby Ver 3.0 Lighting Products

Postby lpg on Wed Nov 05, 2008 2:20 pm

I have looked at the zwave protocol and it seems pretty simplistic. I would be all for an open interface. In looking at UPB there were only three manufactures but one of them used products from PCS. I worry about the longevity of technoligies with minimal support.

Thanks Wes
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