So I am not sure there is a clear advantage.
if you are happy with their z-wave switches by all means I would stick with them. That being said I am personally waiting to see this story unfold.
Here is my take on it. If I am wrong someone pleas speak up.
I want to love Zigbee it is an open standard that in theory let’s you get into the weeds and play with building a mesh network and have a more intimate understanding of what is going on. The problem with Zigbee is between the manufacturers. Because of its open nature companies have taken it and built their ecosystem, but that is where it has seemed to stop, interoperability has been an issue over the years.
Z-wave is a closed standard. It’s goal is conformity of its members. This conformity has been good for interoperability but not sharing the code behind it is like saying trust us there are no issues with our code, and there has been issues.
Both of these standards have improved. Correct me if I am wrong but after thread was announced as one of the communications protocols for Matter I remember hearing something about Z-wave opening their standard up.
Thread is the “evolution” of smart home protocols which is why I am following this switch. The chip inside can be flashed to work with Thread. Thread will work with Matter and will let all the things work with all the things. That being said I am starting to feel like Matter won’t live up to the hype. They keep delaying their launch. As more companies jump on board I am left feeling like Matter is going to be released as a bloated iteration of a dream everyone wants. For example, they haven’t launched their initial standard and they just added casting to screens as one of their bells and whistles. Yes the goal is for Matter to unify everything but who is running the show?
This! I just stared playing with zigbee. I tried ZHA, zigbee, and even my old ST hub and I could not get an ecolink leak detector to work on any of them. They all behaved differently but not quite right. Granted I’ve only played with a few devices at this point but I find zwave much more consistent.
That said I’m excited to try out the blue series when it’s released. Inovelli has developed some great products over the years and judging by their interaction with the community they will fix any issues that may come up.
The only reason to wait is because you’ve had bad experiences with the extra hardware/software needed to maintain your ZWave network. If you’re perfectly happy with home assistant and specifically zwave on home assistant - then there is likely no reason to wait.
I’ll give you my perspective of someone who owns many red dimmers but is waiting on blue to buy anything else.
I’ve had breaking changes happen on the zwave plugin in HA. The most annoying one was when they arbitrarily changed the name of the events that get fired so I had to re-write all my automations (after spending a couple days just to realize that was even the issue). In that whole ordeal - I think the most annoying part was the attitude of commenters on Home Assistant’s forums who basically acted like anyone who complained about it was dumb for not reading the plugin change logs before installing one of the weekly updates to said plugin. I’m old, I want set it and forget it not spend your whole life on message boards and be intimately aware of everything that’s going on. I kept using it at that point because unwinding all the stuff that I had built to date would be too much trouble.
Then a few months later - a HASS OS update broke the entire VM. The OS itself wouldn’t boot past a certain point and just kept locking during the boot process. That’s when I made a hard break and decided to just go in another direction rather than keep investing time into home assistant (as capable as it is). I grabbed a Hubitat just to keep my wave network active and running, but that is also a generally not positive experience and it exists in my home only to keep my current red dimmers on life support and I have no desire to expand my wave network because I don’t want to maintain the extra devices needed to keep it functional.
Hey great question! I think @jrperry, @stu1811 and @kendrosg nailed most of the reasons and know more than me about the intricacies of Home Assistant so definitely take their comments with open arms.
I’ll give you my perspective if that’s ok – Z-Wave is going to be very difficult to source for the next year or so. We’ve been told by both manufacturers that we shouldn’t even think about 700 Series at this point and to start preparing for 800 series in 2023. Our current switches run on 500 Series, which has slightly better sourcing than the 700 Series and we will have limited supply all throughout 2022. In other words, 2022 is going to be a very tough year for us with Z-Wave.
So, if you have 10 or so switches left to finish your build and are happy with Z-Wave, then I would say stick with Z-Wave and buy the Red Series. However, if you have a much larger build and/or don’t feel like buying the remainder of your build all at once, then I would consider the Blue Series as we will not have these problems sourcing ZigBee chips.
From a features perspective, the switches are basically identical. The great news is that we were able to replicate all the favorite features of the Red Series with ZigBee (something I was very nervous about) in that you will have scene control, notifications, energy monitoring, etc.
From a hardware side, really the only difference is that there are no heat sink tabs (which make it easy to install), it’s slightly slimmer, and you won’t have to worry anymore about purchasing separate SKU’s for On/Off and Dimming.
Our beta testers are currently running HA and we’ve been actively testing against that platform, so I’m hoping by the time the switches are released, all the kinks will be worked out with HA.
Hope this helps and gives a better perspective of some of the pros/cons to waiting as well as what we’re up against from a supplier side to help you decide whether to stick with Red or move to Blue
Things are going really well in terms of beta testing. I want to give a shout-out to @Darwyn_Inovelli and his team in that they really nailed the first pass of firmware. Any time there’s a new manufacturer involved, you never know what to expect and I can say with confidence that this first pass at firmware was equivalent to the 10th round of beta firmware on our Z-Wave switches, so we’re in a good spot and actually ahead of schedule.
What I’m most impressed about is that the engineers were able to successfully replicate all the key features (ie: scene control, notifications, etc) of our Z-Wave switches. I wasn’t sure if it was 100% possible given most are Z-Wave command classes, but they did it (example of scene control below – config button was pressed):
Here’s Eric M’s OSHA approved setup to showcase one of the new notification animations:
A newbie to this, my take on waiting for the new switches was simple(r)? that zigbee seems to work well with Eero pro as the hub and I can eventually remove my smartthings hub and just use one device/hub for wifi and home automation.
(Although I have started to wonder how long I can wait for these switches as I have started to feel the lack of automation around the new house).
After i moved to a new house, I had a couple of leftover zwave switches/sensors which are either not able to connect to samsung smartthings or get disconnected too often (Including a never used Inovelli zwave on-off switch that I had from a year back).
I assume its the longer distance because of the larger house and the fact that in the old house i had almost all my switches to zwave and they would help by creating a mesh?
So I bought a new enbrighten zigbee switch to just try it out and it worked well.
Considering the above as well as the renewed push on zigbee and Innovelli taking it up, I thought it best to wait for the blue series.
Thank you for the various perspectives on this. In general, the inovelli z-wave dimmer has worked great for me, but i have had issues with several other z-wave devices – mostly battery powered. For example i used to use z-wave door/window sensors but they have always been finicky and not very reliable. I switched them to zigbee sensors and have never one time had an issue. That makes me think that zigbee may be the better protocal/solution. But hard to know, since the z-wave inovelli dimmers have been fine.
There are many unknowns with respect to matter/thread. I want to believe it is the future and that with my homepods it will be faster response times. But that’s all speculation. I assume that even the fine developers at inovelli don’t know exactly how it will pan out, but they are making a calculated and strategic bet on the zigbee chip being able to have the flexibility to update via software.
One other thing i will admit worries me a bit is the newness of the switch. Sure it’s exciting and new, but that also means that there will be bugs and potential unforeseen issues that crop up. That could lead to a rockier experience to start with over the red switch that has been battle tested for years already.
I saw the timeline was targeting February for release of the devices. Is that still realistic? If so, I might as well wait to try one out. Will there be a way to pre-order so that I can get one as soon as it is ready?
@kendrosg I’m sorry you’ve had so much trouble with HASS. It was a fairly steep learning curve for me to get started with it, but it’s worked pretty well. One thing i wish it did (maybe it does?) is allow me to configure my switches in bulk. As it is, I have to go through each device one by one to set all the parameters. That gets tedious when you have a dozen switches. And I’ve had a few that got reset for whatever reason and it would be nice to be able to clone the config from another switch or edit the params of multiple switches at once. I know this isn’t a home assistant forum, but i figured i’d share my experience as well. I personally enjoy tinkering with my home automation setup. But if you don’t, have you tried the Lutron Caseta system? It seems more like a set it and forget it system.
Yeah this would be my guess – depending on how far away from the hub the device is, it may cause some issues. Z-Wave does work in a mesh, so likely, yes, you had a solid mesh
I can try some troubleshooting with you offline if you’d like?
Lol, this is spot on my friend – here’s to hoping it pays off!
Yes, this is definitely a valid concern and one that I’m afraid of myself. The Red Series has been proven over 2.5 years at this point and the firmware is stable.
The good news is that ZigBee also does offer OTA updates and we’re working with Hubitat, ST and Home Assistant in our beta program to ensure these OTA processes work properly. So, even if we don’t catch everything in beta, we should be able to quickly remedy the situation once it’s public. The other good news is that we have quite the history in the forums here to watch out for and test during beta.
I’ll know more tomorrow (Thurs) during our 1v1 with the manufacturer, but as far as I know, we’re still good. Being conservative, I would say end of March at the latest. What it came down to for me was seeing how good the firmware developer was as I put quite a bit of time in there for firmware development and I’m happy to report that they exceeded my expectations.
The one roadblock I’m seeing right now is the Philips Hue integration – they aren’t accepting, “Friends of Hue” partners right now, so it’s making things difficult to really integrate in their system properly. More to come here. It isn’t a dealbreaker if we can’t get in their system right away, but it would be disheartening.
EDIT: I meant to answer regarding pre-orders. We’re going to play it conservative this time (5-Button switch fiasco really scarred us) and wait until beta testing is completed and all the features are confirmed before making a decision to open up pre-orders.
I suspect it’s just the distance (Switch is upstairs and smart things Hub is downstairs, I wish It could connect to Eero pro though which has multiple access points).
Over the weekend, I plan to try it downstairs closer to the hub to see if its the switch by any chance or was just the distance. Will update when I do.
I’m sorry you’ve had so much trouble with HASS. It was a fairly steep learning curve for me to get started with it, but it’s worked pretty well. One thing i wish it did (maybe it does?) is allow me to configure my switches in bulk. As it is, I have to go through each device one by one to set all the parameters. That gets tedious when you have a dozen switches. And I’ve had a few that got reset for whatever reason and it would be nice to be able to clone the config from another switch or edit the params of multiple switches at once. I know this isn’t a home assistant forum, but i figured i’d share my experience as well. I personally enjoy tinkering with my home automation setup. But if you don’t, have you tried the Lutron Caseta system? It seems more like a set it and forget it system.
Definitely. I’m actually running a couple Lutron hubs (a caseta pro and an RA2 select). I definitely like to tinker - but what I never wanted was to have to maintain.
What I mean, is when the mood hits me I actually enjoy cracking open nodeRed and writing automations in js (while I’m on the topic, yaml is another thing that always irked me about HA - I always hated the syntax). But what I want is that once I’m done messing with the system - I just want it to chug along for months on end without me needing to touch it if I don’t want to. But at the same time - I don’t want to have to ignore software updates to achieve that reliability.
That’s kind of the position of found myself in with home assistant. After having small point updates break things, I became weary of updating out of habit. But then at the same time, it’s makes me uneasy to leave software unpatched because I’m too busy to crack open the change log and ensure there are no breaking changes.
Project Update: Timeline changed a bit in that we’re looking at a definite March launch now hearing feedback from UL that they’re backed up due to COVID. Conservative estimate will be mid-end of March.
From a firmware side of things, we should be expecting Rd. 2 of firmware the week prior to Chinese New Year (end of Jan / beginning of Feb). They are working on a LoRa project for us that has tied up some of their resources, so once they get that product out, they can resume work on the ZigBee version.