Guides and Reviews

Guide : Automation with Athom's Homey Flows (Scenes)

Posted by Mike Lim

We've received very positive response from the community on Homey since we posted our First impression of Homey. The home automation scene has been stagnated with the usual hubs and people have been looking for a hub to upgrade or be excited with.

Today, we are sharing more on creating flows on Homey. In Vera and Fibaro it is called Scenes, in SmartThings, it is called Routines while in Homey it is called Flows. 

For the sake of comparison and for you to judge, here's some screen shot of the Vera and Fibaro scenes and SmartThings routines.

The Vera scene has a textual wizard to step through the scene creation.

The Fibaro scene uses blocks for specifying logics.

SmartThings's routine is also a little like Vera, except that you do it mostly on your mobile devices.

Here's how Homey's flows look like. Refreshing huh?

The flow editor is done on their Homey desktop application. 

Homey's flow is based on a card system that has a when (trigger), and (condition), then (actions) and else (actions). In short,

“When something happened, and this and that are true, then do that.”. 

Basically you just drag the component cards from the left bar into the 3 columns. The cards are also contextual, meaning if you drag a switch to the if column, you can only see the respective option cards for use in that column. This screenshot should give you a better picture. In this example, the same wall plug is dragged into the "when" and "then" column multiple times. You can then choose the different triggers and actions by flipping the cards. You can also send values (cards with tags) to placeholders to conditions for evaluation and actions.

 Let's go a little deeper with a frequently used example. In this example, we want a standing lamp to turn on when there is motion, but only between 6PM to 6AM. Here's how to:

In this example, not only the standing lamp wall plug is turned on, Homey will also announce "Motion Detected" and pulse its LED in red. If you are familiar with Vera and Fibaro scene, you will know that the "time in between" condition is not available and you have to achieve the above with 2 scenes instead on 1 in Homey.

Let's move one to a more interesting use case. Where a condition is being evaluated. In this example, we want to make sure that the last person who leave the house locks the door. If this happens, send a Telegram message specifying name if the last person who left the house and then automatically locks the door. Here's how: 

Looks simple? If you notice on the left bar, you can also do a lot with other devices such as DoorBird, Ring, IR devices etc, each with their very specific triggers, conditions and actions. 

Conclusion

We feel that the flow editor provided another way of defining automation. In a way, Homey made everything seemingly simpler and yet able to achieve more complexed scenes in a single flow. Check out this link for a introductory page to Homey Flows.

In our next few articles, we will share more on other integrated devices such as DoorBird, Ring, music IR and 433 devices. So do keep a look out for them!

Automate Asia Team

Read more

We've received very positive response from the community on Homey since we posted our First impression of Homey. The home automation scene has been stagnated with the usual hubs and people have been looking for a hub to upgrade or be excited with.

Today, we are sharing more on creating flows on Homey. In Vera and Fibaro it is called Scenes, in SmartThings, it is called Routines while in Homey it is called Flows. 

For the sake of comparison and for you to judge, here's some screen shot of the Vera and Fibaro scenes and SmartThings routines.

The Vera scene has a textual wizard to step through the scene creation.

The Fibaro scene uses blocks for specifying logics.

SmartThings's routine is also a little like Vera, except that you do it mostly on your mobile devices.

Here's how Homey's flows look like. Refreshing huh?

The flow editor is done on their Homey desktop application. 

Homey's flow is based on a card system that has a when (trigger), and (condition), then (actions) and else (actions). In short,

“When something happened, and this and that are true, then do that.”. 

Basically you just drag the component cards from the left bar into the 3 columns. The cards are also contextual, meaning if you drag a switch to the if column, you can only see the respective option cards for use in that column. This screenshot should give you a better picture. In this example, the same wall plug is dragged into the "when" and "then" column multiple times. You can then choose the different triggers and actions by flipping the cards. You can also send values (cards with tags) to placeholders to conditions for evaluation and actions.

 Let's go a little deeper with a frequently used example. In this example, we want a standing lamp to turn on when there is motion, but only between 6PM to 6AM. Here's how to:

In this example, not only the standing lamp wall plug is turned on, Homey will also announce "Motion Detected" and pulse its LED in red. If you are familiar with Vera and Fibaro scene, you will know that the "time in between" condition is not available and you have to achieve the above with 2 scenes instead on 1 in Homey.

Let's move one to a more interesting use case. Where a condition is being evaluated. In this example, we want to make sure that the last person who leave the house locks the door. If this happens, send a Telegram message specifying name if the last person who left the house and then automatically locks the door. Here's how: 

Looks simple? If you notice on the left bar, you can also do a lot with other devices such as DoorBird, Ring, IR devices etc, each with their very specific triggers, conditions and actions. 

Conclusion

We feel that the flow editor provided another way of defining automation. In a way, Homey made everything seemingly simpler and yet able to achieve more complexed scenes in a single flow. Check out this link for a introductory page to Homey Flows.

In our next few articles, we will share more on other integrated devices such as DoorBird, Ring, music IR and 433 devices. So do keep a look out for them!

Automate Asia Team

Read more

Review : Athom's Homey First Impression

Posted by Mike Lim

Deciding your first Z-Wave controller can be a daunting task. We always get questions such as the difference between Vera, Fibaro or Zipatile controller, which controller is more value for money, which ones are more user friendly, how is SmartThings compared to the rest etc. 

We think we will have a different answer today because we've just laid our hands on one of the up and coming smart home hub Homey. And we are very excited to share our first impression as we were totally blown away by it's user interface and product design.

Homey is a voice-activated home automation hub created by Netherlands-based startup Athom. Athom recently launched Homey on Kickstarter in 2014 with  996 backers.

First look

The hardware looks un-usually minimalist. In fact one of the most minimalist design we've seen do far. Just a sphere with LED ring, with a USB power port, a 3.5mm audio jack and a speaker grille. Not even logo or any single letter on the device itself. In fact the box does not even come with an instruction manual because Athom provided 13 instruction videos on YouTube just for setting up Homey.

Supported Protocol

These guys are seeing things differently and the number of protocols it supports make it stands out from Fibaro, Vera and even SmartThings :

  • Wi-Fi ® 802.11b/g/n 2.4 GHz 
  • Bluetooth ® 4.0 Low Energy 1 
  • ZigBee ® 2.4 GHz 2
  • Z-Wave Plus ™ 
  • 433 MHz 
  • 868 MHz 
  • Infrared Receiver 
  • Infrared Transmitter (6x) 
  • NFC (ISO14443A) 

You are actually getting an infrared blaster, 433 Mhz, NFC on top of whatever the competitors are offering in the market! The hub is also a speaker that can channel audio via the 3.5 mm headphone jack as well as Bluetooth A2DP.

Setup

Upon boot up, the Homey will prompt you by voice to connect to http://setup.athom.com. From this point, everything will be done on your browser until the point you download the Homey app.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The downloading of latest firmware and the voice files actually took some time as the files are around 150 MB to 200 MB in size.

Once the Homey hub is connected to your Wifi and firmware updated, you can download the Homey desktop application to start adding devices and create flows. Homey named their scenes as flows and we must say we were quite impressed with the user interface.

 

 

 

Homey supports an impressive array of devices as shown in the screenshots. There is an app for each brand of Z-Wave devices and you will need to download the app from the Homey App Store into Homey before pairing them.

Furthermore, the pairing instructions are very clear and device specific. The device parameters for each brand of Z-Wave devices are laid out very clearly. We feel that they have outdone both Fibaro and Vera in terms of parameters management. Till date, Homey is compatible with over 20,000 devices. 

Homey App

Once you are done with the setup, adding of devices etc, here's how the look and feel of the app. Again, we love it's simple and material-design like UI. (Vera app had a flat UI but seems overly flat and Fibaro app looks like it is till in the iPhone 3GS era).

  

Conclusion

With the wide range of device support, clear parameter management and clean UI, Homey is definitely a strong contender among the existing hubs out there. The best thing about Homey is that, like SmartThings, it depended on a strong community in building more support and yet do their quality check on their app and UI assets. For geeks, their add-on are all written in Node.js (the geek in me is screaming woo!). 

So do we recommend Homey over Fibaro and Vera? We think our answer will be very likely but we are still doing range and more testing to discover out more of its cons. So far we are still very impressed!

Look out for more articles as we will be covering more on Homey especially on the flow (scene) editor, App Store and other non-Zwave controls (IR, NFC, Bluetooth etc).

Automate Asia Team

 

Read more

Deciding your first Z-Wave controller can be a daunting task. We always get questions such as the difference between Vera, Fibaro or Zipatile controller, which controller is more value for money, which ones are more user friendly, how is SmartThings compared to the rest etc. 

We think we will have a different answer today because we've just laid our hands on one of the up and coming smart home hub Homey. And we are very excited to share our first impression as we were totally blown away by it's user interface and product design.

Homey is a voice-activated home automation hub created by Netherlands-based startup Athom. Athom recently launched Homey on Kickstarter in 2014 with  996 backers.

First look

The hardware looks un-usually minimalist. In fact one of the most minimalist design we've seen do far. Just a sphere with LED ring, with a USB power port, a 3.5mm audio jack and a speaker grille. Not even logo or any single letter on the device itself. In fact the box does not even come with an instruction manual because Athom provided 13 instruction videos on YouTube just for setting up Homey.

Supported Protocol

These guys are seeing things differently and the number of protocols it supports make it stands out from Fibaro, Vera and even SmartThings :

  • Wi-Fi ® 802.11b/g/n 2.4 GHz 
  • Bluetooth ® 4.0 Low Energy 1 
  • ZigBee ® 2.4 GHz 2
  • Z-Wave Plus ™ 
  • 433 MHz 
  • 868 MHz 
  • Infrared Receiver 
  • Infrared Transmitter (6x) 
  • NFC (ISO14443A) 

You are actually getting an infrared blaster, 433 Mhz, NFC on top of whatever the competitors are offering in the market! The hub is also a speaker that can channel audio via the 3.5 mm headphone jack as well as Bluetooth A2DP.

Setup

Upon boot up, the Homey will prompt you by voice to connect to http://setup.athom.com. From this point, everything will be done on your browser until the point you download the Homey app.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The downloading of latest firmware and the voice files actually took some time as the files are around 150 MB to 200 MB in size.

Once the Homey hub is connected to your Wifi and firmware updated, you can download the Homey desktop application to start adding devices and create flows. Homey named their scenes as flows and we must say we were quite impressed with the user interface.

 

 

 

Homey supports an impressive array of devices as shown in the screenshots. There is an app for each brand of Z-Wave devices and you will need to download the app from the Homey App Store into Homey before pairing them.

Furthermore, the pairing instructions are very clear and device specific. The device parameters for each brand of Z-Wave devices are laid out very clearly. We feel that they have outdone both Fibaro and Vera in terms of parameters management. Till date, Homey is compatible with over 20,000 devices. 

Homey App

Once you are done with the setup, adding of devices etc, here's how the look and feel of the app. Again, we love it's simple and material-design like UI. (Vera app had a flat UI but seems overly flat and Fibaro app looks like it is till in the iPhone 3GS era).

  

Conclusion

With the wide range of device support, clear parameter management and clean UI, Homey is definitely a strong contender among the existing hubs out there. The best thing about Homey is that, like SmartThings, it depended on a strong community in building more support and yet do their quality check on their app and UI assets. For geeks, their add-on are all written in Node.js (the geek in me is screaming woo!). 

So do we recommend Homey over Fibaro and Vera? We think our answer will be very likely but we are still doing range and more testing to discover out more of its cons. So far we are still very impressed!

Look out for more articles as we will be covering more on Homey especially on the flow (scene) editor, App Store and other non-Zwave controls (IR, NFC, Bluetooth etc).

Automate Asia Team

 

Read more