Here is the my takeaway from the 3 days of Loxone training.
Loxone is amazing at...
Centralized Lighting Control
They are the best. It is simple. 12v, 24v, 110v all with inexpensive modules that are controlled by beautiful in room keypads. The only thing I could ask for is constant current dimming for longer runs with less cable and more wattage.
Their security takes what most security systems do in home protection with door/window contacts, glass breaks, and motion detection and adds in a beautiful user interface, whole home sirens by utilizing the existing speakers in the house, whole home light flashing, text to speech announcements and push notifications to your phone. I also think this is the best solution on the market for security.
Their music streaming is very capably. While I like their current music offerings of Spotify, Google Music and TuneIn, I would like to see Tidal, Deezer, Pandora, and Amazon Music. The doorbell and security integration on this unit is what pushes it over the top and makes it worth the money.
The keypads in each room sense the temperature and pair with dampers in the ac vents to to deliver the perfect temperature in each room. It is simple, elegeant, and reduces wall clutter in each room. This also the best in class from what I have seen. Controlling the heating a cooling is as easy as adjusting the schedule on the app in what looks like a standard calendar. It also have different models for home, away, and others.
Another winner here. There is nothing as capable and simple as their Access Control system. The management is done from a calendar type interface with different permissions and schedules for each user or user group. Notifications are also easy to configure and it even has a reporting section to see who is accessing the building and when. Opening doors is done with maglock systems and triggering the doors to open can be done using NFC tags or chip readers using the 1-wire solution.
The system is packed with relay and sensor ports. Programming is easy and and very capable by using different programming blocks to accomplish different motorization tasks. A good example is triggering on a bathroom fan with delays to keep the fan on when the room is occupied, when the moisture is too high, or for when it just needs to run for a bit to reduce the inevitable smells.
General Product Design
It is all beautiful and functional. The touch pure is the best example of this. I love that even though they release products slowly, they work well once they enter the market and have great design.
Loxone is ok at...
It would be nice if I could display H.264 and H.265 camera feeds on the interface. Not a big deal as most cameras use MJPEG on the second feed, but the cameras that we use, UniFi Video G3, do not.
It works, but it is nowhere close to the level of sophistication that we can get with a Harmony or Control4. For what we need, we will just use Harmony for AV and do a light integration between the systems.
Loxone needs to change.....
Interoperability with 3rd party systems is the theme for this section. Loxone has chosen a path to make their own products and control other devices with relays. This works well for standard systems such as lifts, gates, maglock and other basic on/off control devices, but the world is moving away from these simple controls by implementing encrypted communications on their control terminals. This can be seen in anything from MyQ garage door openers to Carrier InfinityTouch HVAC systems. Yes, these encrypted controls are silly and incredibly annoying for anyone trying to automate their system, but Loxone must adapt to these systems to continue to offer control of sub-systems from the Loxone miniserver. My recommendations for Loxone are to develop additional modules for the core system that allow integration with other wireless protocols, developing some version of a could API that can tie into other cloud bases systems(iAqualink, MyQ), and to develop an IFTTT integration to immediately expand the ecosystem for basic control of hundreds of third party devices.
This is by far the most important improvement that Loxone needs to implement. Loxone was created for the European market. Adapting to the trends and requirements of the American market is going to take time and resources. Creating a Z-wave module for the miniserver would expand the ecosystem enough to allow us Loxone integrators to take on retrofit jobs much easier with the addition of wireless dimmers, door locks, controlled outlets, wireless relay/contacts and more. This would lessen the need for aggressive product design and manufacturing from Loxone and would buy them time to slowly release their own version that work on the Air protocol.
Using IFTTT, we could expand the Loxone ecosystem to allow control of devices in the IFTTT database. IFTTT is becoming the standard for cloud automation and while not necessary right now, it could be a big benefit when trying to control something not in the Loxone ecosystem.
Same as z-wave, but less so. If there was a z-wave module, then a zigbee module would not be needed. I only offer this as an alternative to Z-wave.
An air to bluetooth device would be great for TV control and integrating any other device that works over bluetooth. This is by far the least important, but still would be a cool to have.
There is no going back to any of the other system I have used after seeing the capability and reliability of the Loxone platform. Out of all of the systems I have used (Control4, RTI, Crestron, Fibaro, Zipato, Wink, Smartthings), this is the only one that actually does what it says in creating reliable and simple home automation that lives up to and even surpasses their marketing efforts. It has infused me with a sense of excitement for this industry that has died a little with each other system I have used in the past. There is light at the end of the tunnel now and my hope is that Loxone can adjust to the American market fast enough to really make an impact on the way things are done here. Thanks to Stefan from the Loxone training for the time he spent here training us and the guys over at In Home Genius for hosting us in their Mansfield showroom.
Matthew Mathis has designed home technology systems since 2003 and has been involved in construction even longer. This site used to be devoted to this company but it now it is a place for me to rant and rave.