I started experimenting with X-10 home automation devices in the 90’s. My goal was to automate some activities in my home like automatically turning lights on from dusk till dawn. I also wanted to enable keypad control for lamps, Christmas lights, etc.
The results were mixed. The X-10 protocol works through the electrical circuits in your home. Devices worked reasonably well on circuits on the same side of the electrical panel. However, devices connected to a circuit on the opposite side of the electrical panel did not function reliably. X-10 had a couple of solutions to combat this issue, and I tried them both. I installed a bridge device on my electric dryer outlet with less than stellar results. Later, I wired a direct bridge into my electrical panel with equally less than satisfactory results.
We used this technology for a few years, but it was not very reliable. Ultimately, we only used the AC outlet lamp modules and a wireless keypad to control Christmas lights.
SmartLabs invented a new home automation system, Insteon, in the early 2000’s which promised to be more reliable. It used the electrical circuits and a wireless signal to control the devices in your home. I replaced my X-10 devices with Insteon devices at considerable expense. After re-tooling the home automation network, I had a system that was marginally more reliable than X-10.
After trying different Insteon automation hubs and controllers, I still could not achieve the desired reliability. A revised version of a newer protocol, Zigbee, was released in 2006. I experimented with that protocol and found it to be more useful for the micro-electronics world of hobbyists.
The Z-Wave protocol was also released in the early 2000’s, and was constantly being improved and promised to be a highly reliable solution. I once again replaced my devices and began experimenting with Z-Wave systems. I experimented with two different Z-Wave home automation hubs. Z-Wave technology was far more reliable than previous solutions. I learned how to integrate the Z-wave technology and write automated scripts, and had a system that was about 95% reliable.
While 95% may be good enough for personal use, it is still problematic when things don’t work or behave as expected. This system included a significant number of automated events (scenes), and was very complicated to setup.
I began contemplating a business concept to install these systems. Integrating all of the smart home devices with a single system is a daunting task. I previously advised some family members and friends about this Z-Wave technology, and the consistent response from them was that it was simply too complicated to setup.
If I could overcome the 95% reliability factor, a business to install home automation systems appeared to be a promising opportunity. I kept researching, and found the HomeSeer home automation solution, which has been in development for 20 years, and is a very mature platform.
After a year of research and development, I installed two HomeSeer-based Z-Wave automation systems in multiple homes, and had outstanding results. The idea of starting a home automation business was proven. I left my fortune 500 executive-level IT job and began working full time on this concept.
Agile Home Automation
Agile Home Automation is our company, and our flagship home automation solution is EZ Home Control. This system uses Z-Wave and WiFi-based devices with a HomeSeer server to provide a highly reliable solution for homeowners. EZ Home Control includes custom apps for Apple and Android smartphones and a custom app for iPads, Android and Amazon Fire tablets. We can integrate lights, thermostats, garage door openers, motion, humidity, temperature and moisture sensors into our package. Additionally, we integrate WiFi security cameras with a built-in network video recorder and can provide voice control using Amazon Echo and Google Home devices.
We are not a security alarm company, but we can integrate with compatible alarm systems. EZ Home Control allows homeowners to arm and disarm their security system and to view security zones remotely.