Sorry... and current development

Hi everybody,

you probably noticed that us developers were somewhat inactive over the last month. First of all sorry about that. This is not, because we lost interest in the community or Homegear, but there was actually so much going on and so many extra hours deep into the night, that there was just no time left.

What happened the last months?

Some of you might know that Homegear became a 100% daughter of the ib company GmbH about one and a half year ago. Last autumn we found an investor who’s primary interest lies in a product of us called “ib symphony” (www.ib-symphony.de). Homegear is an important part of ib symphony and is called “ib symphony home” in this context. ib symphony is a platform for real estate companies to manage digital devices in apartment buildings.

This year we had a big project to finish (TENon5 Mannheim – das atemberaubende Bauprojekt in der Innenstadt Mannheims - FLÜWO). For this project a lot of new developments - software and hardware - needed to be finished. I’m only mentioning the projects associated with Homegear here:

Software

  • ibs-commissioning: A tool to setup apartments semi-automatically including logic and visualization. Currently we require about 30 minutes per apartment. Our goal is to reduce this to about 5 to 10 minutes. During the commissioning process every device is fully tested automatically and the configuration is transmitted to a central without having to start it in the last step.
  • homegear-cloudconnect/homegear-cloudproxy: Our own “VPN” which runs on our Kubernetes cluster. It scales linearly in terms of the number of connected clients and data throughput and routing is done using the user’s login and permissions - so without IPs. Like this everybody can access their smart home using the same URL. In addition it is easily manageable. We are planning to enable this service for all community users.
  • homegear-enocean: A lot of effort went into the development of the EnOcean module. A lot of new features were introduced including more encryption methods, meshing, pinging of devices. For us actually it doesn’t matter which wireless protocol we use. But in our opinion EnOcean is one of the only protocols that can be used professionally.
  • ibs-intercom: An intercom software for GNU/Linux used on our touchpanels.
  • homegear-ui: There is still a lot of work to be done, but we finally finished the first version
  • Tons of scripts and small tools: E. g. for automatic updates, screen saver mode, automatic configuration, …

Hardware

  • 1 and 2 channel EnOcean actuators: Developed by the Laights GmbH we are using these actuators as an OEM product. This is a great cooperation, because together we are able to design a firmware that is usable in process-optimated environments. To mention some of the features:
    • Meshing support (yes in EnOcean). Like this one antenna even in big apartments is enough and we don’t have to use unselective repeating which causes more trouble than it solves.
    • Fallback local control: When the device doesn’t receive a ping packet for more than 10 minutes it falls back into local control mode. Like this when the central does not work anymore, the inhabitant can still switch light, use the blinds and even the floor heating is still working.
    • Over the air firmware updates for new features
    • Reference runs with the blind actuators are obsolete
    • Inexpensive
    • Setting of parameters using remote management
    • Integrated in ibs-commissioning
    • Support for HA environments (mainly rolling code challenges needed to be solved here)
  • HG-PRO-COR and modules: We finished development of our own smarthome central including multiple communication modules (EnOcean, KNX, wM-Bus, HomeMatic BidCoS, Zigbee, Z-Wave, …). To point out just a few features:
    • High availability support: There are always two centrals in one apartment. When one central breaks, the second one takes over automatically. To replace a central, just remove the old one and insert the new one - that’s it. The new central is configured automatically without user interaction.
    • Can be placed on DIN rails and in the apartment-typical utility boxes
    • Secure boot support (not implemented yet)
    • Configuration without booting into the system
  • HG-LTP08: We developed our own GNU/Linux touchpanel, because in the past the most complains we got were because of the Android panels we used. In addition Android (and also iOS) panels are hard to maintain and hard to keep up to date. Believe it or not, when we started developing there was not one appropriate GNU/Linux touchpanel on the market - we actually never wanted to develop our own panel. In the apartments the panels are used to display Homegear’s UI and the intercom. Some more features:
    • Automatic configuration: The panel just needs to be connected to power and network and it configures itself automatically without any user input.
    • Optionally PoE powered
    • Secure boot support
    • GPIOs for the doorbell button
    • Microphones and speaker
    • NFC
    • Wifi
  • Flush-mounted 868 MHz antenna

Besides the mentioned things, a lot of bugs were fixed in Homegear and there were many improvements.

I know that a lot of the mentioned things are not that relevant for you. But now you know what we have been working on the last months and the community will also profit in the end from the developments.

One of the next community-relevant steps is to further improve Homegear’s UI.

Cheers,

Sathya

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