How did you end up deeeeeep in home automation?

So… How did you find yourself wasting… Sorry… Investing money and countless amount of time obviously on home automation?

What is your “profile”… Where do you come from? Who are you?

My name is Simon, I’m from Quebec City, QC, Canada.
I’ve always been interested in technology. My father was a computer freak, he was a programmer and he loved the “machine”… We never had a Mac and never will buy am apple product too… That’s my way of showing him respect… Kind of lol.

So. I’m a service technician for Siemens and I work on medium to hight voltage product. Power and distribution transformer, air, vacuum, sf6 breaker, disconnect and load switch, protection relays, stuff like that.

When I bought my house 5 years ago, I wanted rgb under cabinet lighting.

I was broke so I went full cheap and bought milight products from aliexpress.

I was really happy but the fade in/out mode was really too fast for me so I ended asking the internet and I found homeseer, a guy with a plugin to control those milight box.

OK. I’m in!

Damn! Homeseer is pricey… Remember I was broke AF. So I did want I do the best… Torrent… I found a version of it so I gave it a try. It worked very good! I could control my light the way I wanted.

Now I was like…mmm home automation software… Sounds cool!

So I read on that software and I found myself buying a zwave stick and 1 switch 1 dimmer from ge (they were the only one with screw terminal).

Next thing you know. I’m hooked up like a junkie.

I finally bought a legit version of homeseer on blackfriday (-50%) and now I’m still upgrading switch in the house and I found inovelli few weeks ago…

So… Tell me…
Who are you :slight_smile:

1 Like

Haha, oh man, this should be fun!

Hey, I’m Eric and I love answering 3-Way wiring questions.

I’m from Kalamazoo, MI, but actually grew up in New Jersey (don’t hold it against me please). My dad is an Electrical Engineer at DTE (I did get a chuckle out of @oscopeaaron’s DTE comment) which clearly did not pass down the EE genes to me. I chose the exact opposite field… marketing (think, pretty pictures).


Ok, so how did this start and where did Inovelli come from.

As I’m sure you know @simriv123, it’s cold up north. While I’m sure Canada is colder than Michigan, it gets pretty dang cold up here. So, every year around Christmas time, we make the trip to Florida and spend a week or so there to thaw out a bit.

One year (I think it was like 2015 or so) I remember sitting there on the couch in FL thinking, “there has to be a way I can regulate the heat at my house – I’m wasting so much leaving it on right now when no one is home”. So, I did a quick search and stumbled upon the Nest Thermostat and I bought one.

From there, I was hooked. I thought, “what else could I waste… I mean invest in?”

I did some research and bought a (wait for it everyone… hold the laughter) Wink hub along with a ton of GE Link smart bulbs.

Then I realized I wanted switches bc people kept turning off my smart lights, so I invested in some Quirky Tapts (clearly a terrible investment lol).

Another paycheck, another bunch of smart home products (Nest Protects, Drop/Nestcams, Philips Hue, some random Z-Wave outlets, etc). Before you know it, I’m all in… sort of.

I noticed my network was slow, never did what I wanted and those damn Quirky Tapts were made by the devil himself… always offline, never worked. This is where the phrase, “Eric, this house is dumber than it was with normal switches” came from.

However, home automation was always kind of a passion of mine as I like tinkering with things and there’s something about pressing a button or asking Alexa to turn lights on, so I started to really do some research and stumbled across Z-Wave and started to understand the difference between all the various protocols.

Out came the Tapts, and in came the GE Z-Wave switches.


Ok, if you’re still with me, here’s how Inovelli came to life.

I was working at Kellogg and also studying for my MBA and one of the classes was a marketing class where you had to take an existing company, develop a marketing plan for it, and improve upon their existing product line.

I chose Wink and while I was doing it, I realized, “dang, there really is a huge opportunity for a brand to come in to the space that’s really innovative.” <-- I’m serious…

My job at Kellogg was on the brand marketing team and so if I leveraged my experience there along with my passion for home automation, maybe I could do something with it.

The rest is history I suppose.


Currently, I’m running SmartThings, ditched the GE Link Bulbs and Tapts, kept the Hue’s, Nests (although… c’mon no more Works With Nest program… grrr, don’t get me started), and GE switches (although it’s a mix between GE, Inovelli, and HomeSeer switches – slowly transitioning to all Inovelli of course – just haven’t had the time to swap them all out).

TLDR: Went to FL and wondered if there was a smart thermostat, bought Nest and got addicted.

2 Likes

Thank you @Eric_Inovelli for sharing your story. I did not know it was born in 2015.
Just realized how quick things can change so fast in our life.

You saw the opportunity and you grabbed it!

Thank you again to be so much invested in this. Some people do own company but will never care that much.

In our current society, we always expect more, cheaper and faster. I think you are one step ahead in customer service. Except Costco. I think they are the best but… Can’t really compare both of you :joy: .

Don’t be shy guys!

We all share a geek factor so from there… We understand each other!

@Eric_Inovelli - Should’ve went with ecobee. By far a better platform IMHO. Just returned from vacation, I’ll write something up tomorrow @simriv123.

1 Like

@simriv123

My name is James and I live and work in Washington state. My adult life started in the Navy, and I worked in the electronics/computers field onboard submarines. So, I’ve been working with electronics for the past 13 years or so.

I wouldn’t classify “deep” into home automation, but I like to dabble in some of the technology that I’m interested in. My first IoT device was installed last year. I purchased a GE Z-Wave switch along with a SmartThings v3 Hub. Prior to learning about the Z-Wave switches, I usually installed scheduled timers for our outdoor lights. I decided to take the plunge, and automate one of the outdoor lights. That is what started the dive (get it?..submarines, we dive underwater). I found the Pre-order special on Slickdeals and was hooked on the possibilities. Since then, I’ve added some Samsung Contact sensors for garage door notifications as well as the Shed door being opened. I also added an outlet to turn on the dog’s heated bed when he’s sleeping on one of his many dog beds.

Since then, I’ve been frustrated by leaving for work with a light on and expecting my other half to shut it off when she wakes up and gets started at work. Well, I usually come home and the light would be on all day. Figured I could install a smart switch to shut it off at 0730 every day. Thus is where the Inovelli switches are coming into play. I’ve alreay replaced the all the outdoor lights switches and scheduled them to turn on at sunset and turn off at midnight. I also use Alexa to turn off the kitchen lights, living room lamp, dog bed when we say “Good night”.

I never thought I would have a smart home, but honestly it’s making our lifes easier and not having to remember, did we turn off the dog bed before we left the house or keeping our house lighted up to appear we’re still home. Granted we’re becoming super reliant on the technology, but I’m okay with that. I just moved from SmartThings to Hubitat to keep it localized and less dependant on the cloud. We have ISP outages every now and then, and I didn’t want a certain device not be be accessible because of the internet was OOC.

I look forward to more everday usable devices. I don’t care that the coffee will turn on and brew at 0500 because I would forget about filling the water container up or forget the grounds; however, something more usable like what is being developed will be more helpful to me (e.g. turning on a device or scheduling a routine).

2 Likes

Thank you @harjms for sharing your story!

I’m totally understanding the wife not shutting down the lights. That’s why I use this method for choosing which switch I’m gonna replace next… The ones she let’s open I note it down and then when a deal is found, I replace some of them.

I’m mostly into light control. I want to invest in smart thermostat but I have line voltage baseboard. My option are limited to stelpro and they look too much “basic” and “2007” for me. I don’t want to rely on cloud for control and other options are wifi based :frowning:

I enjoyed my ecobee 3 in my last house. I liked it so much I installed the ecobee 4 in our new house. I like the remote sensors and remote connectivity. Nest just didn’t appeal to me with the C wire and onboard battery issue.

I started in the late 70’s/early 80’s by convincing my father he needed to get this cool stuff in the Radio Shack catalogue. We had a few lights controlled by X10. Not sure you can call it “home automation”, but there was a timer module to “program” lights to come on at night. When I got married and we moved into our own house, we noticed that light switch in our MBR controlled the outlet right at the door. X10 to the rescue!! I wall mounted a slim control box and put a light module across the room. I also had a light downstairs that we could turn on from the MBR. After getting sick of photo sensors going bad on my outside lights (and the downstairs x10 wall switch that stopped working), I decided to get some z-wave switches and a Wink. A few good years with Wink came crashing down as Wink became less and less reliable. So after some research, I went with Hubitat. I really wanted the local control and didn’t want to rely on the internet to turn on my lights.For Christmas, I asked for an Inovelli switch and some plug in z-wave modules to replace my final pieces of X10. At some point I will integrate my home alarm with Hubitat and do some automations based on the alarm sensors.

1 Like