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Topic # 150138 12-Jul-2014 14:05
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Hi,

As mentioned in other threads I run the online web store for home automation products - www.smartthingsnz.co.nz.

I am trying to grow the business and am always on the lookout for new products that are suitable for NZ since a lot of what is available is only for US/EU markets.

I have been in contact with the folks at Vera and they supply a version with AU/NZ Z-Wave support. I am just trying to gauge interest at this stage, before ploughing a whole lot of money into buying some stock.

Who out there is using a Vera? How do you find them? Where do they sit in the spectrum of usability? My guess is they sit somewhere between the Fibaro Home Centres (which are very slick and easy to use/setup but come at a cost) and something like the Aeon Labs USB Z-Stick which requires your own controller software. 

I think there is a bit of a hole in the NZ market for something like the Vera. An all-in-one Z-Wave controller which is configurable and customisable, but not overly expensive. Something for enthusiasts/tinkerers that don't have the time for a fully customised solution.

I don't want to buy a load of these and find no one is interested - so apologies for using this thread as market research but it seemed like as good a place as any to get some feedback!

Many thanks,
Ben

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  Reply # 1088446 14-Jul-2014 12:23
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Interesting...so no one is interested in these Z-Wave controllers?

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  Reply # 1088448 14-Jul-2014 12:26
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Never used it or had a reason to :)




 




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  Reply # 1088469 14-Jul-2014 12:28
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Thanks Tim - me neither - but it seems like a pretty popular product overseas. Wondering if the only reason it is not here, is it a lack of availability...or is there something else...?!

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  Reply # 1088494 14-Jul-2014 12:52
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Looks interesting, what sort of price would they be? How easy is installation?



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  Reply # 1088497 14-Jul-2014 12:54
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At this stage they would be looking at around the $225 mark. I have never used one myself so I can't say for sure how easy installation is, but there is a large user base out there so I am sure there would be plenty of assistance for any issues. As with any Z-Wave controller you need to 'include' your Z-Wave devices with the controller and from there all configuration and control should be thru the Vera interface.



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  Reply # 1090878 17-Jul-2014 16:32
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Ok - well even though I got minimal feedback on here I have decided to grab a batch of these and see how they go. I have a feeling they will be a nice middle ground for those keen to get into home automation, but not prepared to spend the big $$ for the Fibaro controllers, yet don't want to build something custom using a USB stick and open source controller software. Should be in the store in a few weeks hopefully, won't be able to give you a price until they arrive and I figure out how much the landed costs are etc.

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  Reply # 1090940 17-Jul-2014 18:32
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Was looking at buying one a few weeks back but wasn't in the budget, I am interested still though.




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  Reply # 1090965 17-Jul-2014 19:03
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Are you the chap that rang and asked about the VeraLite?

If so - thanks - you spurred me into action ;).

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  Reply # 1091111 17-Jul-2014 23:17
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Nope that was not me.

Just watched a video on YouTube about them and was interested.

Cheers.




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  Reply # 1092163 19-Jul-2014 20:43
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Cool, look forward to seeing how much they cost. I'm just starting my HA research and I'd definitely prefer a pre made system if it can do all that I want it to do; at a good price :)




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  Reply # 1093450 22-Jul-2014 08:43
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Hey guys - the VeraLites have arrived. Check them out at http://www.smartthingsnz.co.nz/store/product/veralite/.

Unfortunately they didn't come in as cheap as I had hoped. $299 is the best I can do.

Still pretty cheap for what you get, by all accounts a great little controller with plenty of flexibility.


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  Reply # 1093472 22-Jul-2014 09:02
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I've got one, I don't think its very good IMO.  very slow, interface is a PITA to work with.  It has put me off home automation really.



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  Reply # 1093476 22-Jul-2014 09:07
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That is not good to hear Reven! I think they are probably a reasonable entry point for newcomers to the HA game. They are definitely not top-end, like the Fibaro controllers, however they are far more affordable as a result. 

IMO home automation should be hidden from view for the most part. I don't see the point of having to whip out your phone every time you want to do something - that doesn't seem very 'automated' to me. Therefore I believe the controller should do most things in the background, turn on lights when presence is detected, fire up the coffee machine when you wake up in the morning etc. For this reason I think you can often get away with a simple controller like the VeraLite. In an ideal world you would rarely need to actually use the controller interface, everything should just 'happen'.

I realise this isn't always possible and that a sluggish interface will cause frustrations, but it is a very cheap controller when you consider just the USB Z-Stick from Aeon Labs is $120, and with that you have to run your own controller software.

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  Reply # 1093478 22-Jul-2014 09:14
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yeah I was going to probably get a usb z-wave stick and try that.  i just could never get the vera lite to reliably turn on the wifi led lights from limitless.   wasnt sure if it was the zwave censor, the vera lite or the wifi lights.  pc option seems like better option for me, more control and can hook up to a lot more things. 

waiting to see how well the ninja sphere goes before spending more on home automation.

i had the lights in the hall turn on about 80% of the time, but the 20% they wouldnt became too much a PITA that i just went back to pushing the switch :D.  and far too many times the outside light didnt turn off after closing a door (the light switch is in the garage for a kitchen door, kinda annoying, so that why i tried to use sensors on that one).



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  Reply # 1093490 22-Jul-2014 09:22
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Sounds like it could be an issue with the WIFI LEDs, but as you say it could be anything. I have plenty of ZWave connected lights in my place, along with ZWave motion sensors and they run at 100% accuracy. The new Fibaro Motion Sensor is extremely accurate and quick to respond.

I definitely prefer the ZStick + open source controller software (openHAB) but then again I spend a lot of time tinkering around with it! A standalone controller like the VeraLite is a better option for those interested in getting started, but don't have the time or inclination to spend hours fiddling around with configurations and installs.

The Ninja Sphere does look interesting. I looked into their original stuff a while back but it didn't really seem to offer the flexibility I was after, and I worry the Sphere will be similar. To be honest I don't see how that kind of room-by-room presence tracking can ever be all that accurate - but technology is moving so fast who knows what will be possible next! 

If you do get one I would be very interested to hear how it works for you.

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