NOTE: This is not officially kicked off, but rather in the exploratory phase. Thank you @jerryacrocker for your initial question regarding the choice of ZigBee over Thread. It lead me down a crazy rabbit-hole regarding Thread and BLE.
Hardware/Firmware sections are a copy/paste from our Blue Series and are placeholders for now – I haven’t done research as to what is supported or not supported with Thread yet.
Feel free to tag any of us with questions. Myself (Eric H) & Darwyn are the go-to’s for overall project management and timeline questions, Eric M is the go-to for any firmware related questions and I’m (Eric H) the go-to for anything else. Either way, we’re all here to help!
- Project Manager (Inovelli): @Eric_Inovelli
- Project Manager (Manufacturer): @Darwyn_Inovelli
- Innovation Lead: @Eric_Inovelli
- Technical Lead: @EricM_Inovelli
As per our tradition of working with you amazing people, here’s what this thread allows us to do as a community.
- Allows us to keep everyone updated on the project status (either good or bad)
- Allows you to participate and help us develop amazing products together
- Enjoy each other’s company and have fun talking home automation
How this initial post will be laid out is in five sections:
- Project Overview
- Initial Hardware & Software Requirements (edited to remain up-to-date)
- Timeline (edited to remain up-to-date)
- Pinned Ideas & Shout-outs (edited to remain up-to-date)
- Weekly Recap
- DATES & FUNCTIONS ARE NOT SET IN STONE: Just a reminder that all dates and functions are sometimes fluid. We have to make choices based on feasibility, opportunity costs, and overall timeline. I will be as transparent as possible on these decisions, but just a heads up, they may not always be exciting.
- NO IDEA IS A BAD IDEA: Ok, some are, but honestly throw out anything that you can think of. If we use your idea, we’ll credit you and send you a free device, so take that shot!
- VERSION 1 VS VERSION 2: Some ideas may be fantastic, but may not make the cut for the first version of the product. Once the product is locked in from a function standpoint, we’ll keep a tally of V2 ideas and then once the product is produced, we’ll move the ideas over to a suggestions/wishlist section.
Ok, let’s get this party started!
The purpose of this project is to reach a new market. While we have already been developing a ZigBee line that will eventually turn into Matter, we were approached with the question of why we went ZigBee instead of Thread.
This led me down a rabbit-hole of trying to figure out what Thread was and why it was relevant. I knew it was what Google Home Hubs had built in (and I think Nest smoke detectors), but come to find out it’s what Apple is now using for some of their new HomeKit products (ie: the new HomePod).
In talking with our ZigBee manufacturer, they mentioned that the current ZigBee chip could also be used for Thread, so really the only change that needs to be made is a firmware one. Seems like a no-brainer to release both versions so that the ZigBee version can reach Amazon, Philips and current hub users (SmartThings, Hubitat, etc), whereas the Thread version can reach Google and Apple users.
We’re excited to start this journey and offer another option for people who are looking for an Apple or Google compatible product.
Jonagold is my favorite type of Apple that happens to be grown in Michigan. We thought it would be fitting to tip our hat at one of the companies we draw not only our marketing and product inspiration from, but hopefully can partner with in the future and, at the very least, provide compatible products to.
Jonagold - Hardware Requirements
We will be using our current dimmer switch hardware with a few modifications. If you’re really interested in seeing what’s under the tent and how we kick off these projects, here’s the internal PRD (Project Request Document) that we presented (COMING SOON).
NOTE: Above is a terrible Photoshop rendering. I did my best.
- Responsive Paddle: rests in a neutral state (tap up = on // tap down = off & hold up = dim up // hold down = dim down)
Config / Favorite Button: button should be used for configuration of the switch as well as scene control.
- Should be able to be held (for config)
- Should be able to be tapped (for scene control)
RGB LED Bar: should measure the % of how much the switch is dimmed
- LED’s should be RGB (artificial white included)
- LED’s should also be able to be dimmed
- Colors: dimmer switch will be offered in white (matching Lutron Claro wallplates), but the paddle should be able to be replaced to change colors (almond, brown, red, black, grey, etc)
- Slim Design: depth of switch should be as slim as possible so that it can fit into metal boxes.
- Air Gap: UL requirement
- No heat-sink tabs: remove heat sink tabs for easier installation (note: may have to sacrifice max wattage)
- Thread: use the latest Thread chipset (should be the same one that will be used for Matter and compatible with Apple HomeKit and Google Nest)
3-Way / 4-Way Ready: should work in multiple different settings in a 3 & 4 Way setting
- Should work with an auxiliary switch (like GE’s does)
- Should work with an existing dumb switch
- Should work with another smart switch (if wired to another smart switch, it should be able to detect this)
- Power Monitoring: switch should measure the power consumption
- Thread Distance Estimator: should be able to estimate the signal strength of the Thread signal and notify via the LED bar
Instant On: when tapped 1x (and scenes aren’t used), switch should turn the bulb on instantly (no delay)
- Configurable delay in 100ms increments (see tech doc)
- CFL & LED Compatibility: minimum buzz and flickering
- 600W: increase the wattage to 600 like GE’s
Neutral & Non-Neutral Compatibility: switch should be able to work with a neutral wire or without a neutral wire
- Should auto-detect which setting it’s in (neutral/non-neutral, aux/dumb) and if it can’t, then there should be a manual override.
Auto-Detect Line/Load (and if possible other terminals)
- No matter how customer wires it, the switch should be able to detect what’s wired/where.
- Auto-Detect Neutral/Non-Neutral: Switch should detect whether or not it’s connected to a neutral wire or not
Jonagold - Software Requirements
Below is what we came up with for the software requirements. A lot has been inspired from our Blue Series 2-1 switch!
Thread Scene Control: 15 scenes (if possible – not sure if Thread supports this yet)
- 14 Scenes via Tapping the Paddle up or down and holding/releasing
- 1 Scenes via Tapping the Config Button
- Aux switch compatibility: Should work with aux switches when scene control is triggered
Notifications via RGB Bars: RGBW Bars should be able to change colors based on events set up by customer (ie: if window sensor is opened, RGBW bar changes to red)
- User can choose to sync the bars or have them show separate notifications
- RGB Bars Config: bar should be able to change colors and also dimmed to the customers favorite level
- Auto Timer: switch should have a timer that shuts the switch off after a certain amount of time
Easy Config: switch should be able to be configured via the config/favorites button.
- There should be infinite customization via parameters in the firmware, but also set customizations for HUB’s that do not allow parameter changes (ie: Wink)
- Internal Relay Disable: internal relay should be able to be disabled locally and via ZigBee
- Set Min/Max Level: minimum dim level / maximum dim level
- Ramp Rate Configuration: ability to change how fast/slow light turns on
- Ramp rate & instant on/off separated
- Default Dim Level: ability to set the default dim level
- OTA Ready: ability to update firmware via OTA
- Associations switch should be able to be associated to other Thread devices
- Smart Bulb Mode: mimic our Red Series smart bulb implementation but for Thread
Ah, everyone’s favorite part. When is this flippin thing going to be released? Great question – here’s the high-level of what happens leading up to the first release of the timeline:
- We present a PRD (Project Request Document) that has all of the above info in it (see above section for the pdf)
- R&D (manufacturer) analyzes the PRD and we go back and forth until we can align on 90% of the product
- Initial Timeline is released and remaining 10% of product features are added/cut along the way
Again, just want to throw this out there – I don’t have a crystal ball so I can’t predict things that come up along the way. Trust me when I say we’re trying our best to get things launched on time.
The good news is it should be fairly quick as the hardware will be the same as our ZigBee switch, we will just be tweaking the firmware.
- Present PRD: Not Started
- R&D Analyzation: Not Started
- Initial Timeline Released: Not Started
The initial timeline will be shown below and will be updated bi-weekly (if needed).
Pinned Ideas & Shout-Outs
Here are the ideas from the community. We sincerely appreciate them, we love them, and we couldn’t create the products we do without them. So, thank you for your input and let’s continue to innovate together and change the home automation category for the better (NOTE: if an idea is crossed out, it’s not because it wasn’t valid, nor was it something we didn’t consider – we’ve discussed it internally or with the manufacturer and unfortunately it was not feasible).