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Author Topic: Need for new iOS App  (Read 25433 times)

Offline jpete7683

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Need for new iOS App
« on: January 19, 2014, 03:52:12 am »
I have completely automated my lights, locks and thermostat all across my home.  On top of that I have paid out over 20$ to try the different iOS apps.  For the amount of money spent on automating my home I am yet to find a reasonable app that takes full advantage of the vera's capabilities.  Some apps let you create scene's but do a poor job at displaying the status data and then other apps may display the status data well but take awhile to navigate to actually see what you are looking for or perform an action on a specific device.  With that said I started my venture to come up with a more simple, cheaper iOS app that can be the talk of the platform just like some android apps.  I am on the forum to see if anyone would be interested in a cheaper iOS app than what most are selling for in the app store and one that is laid out in a way that you don't have to be a vera expert to use.  I plan to make the app either way no matter the feedback that I get, the feedback will just let me know if I should go through the pains of publishing the app in the app store and under going the painful process of getting apple to approve it.  Also to see if it is something even worth while to support outside of fixing my own issues I find with it.

So far here is what I have.  Works both local and remote, and everything is currently voice command.  I will be adding navigation UI's to browse through the devices for those not wanting to talk to their phone and hear feedback from the system, but currently I can control my locks, dimmers and light switches simply by telling my iPhone the Name given to the device and the action of ON/OFF, Dimmer Load, or Lock/UnLock of my entry door locks.  I can verbally request a status of the system and hear what lights are on and off and what doors are locked or unlocked along with the temperature of my home.  Would anyone be interested in having this functionality and if it is already out there please tell me and I would be more than happy to just go download it.  I was thinking of a price point of $2.99USD in the app store.  I was also thinking of adding some functionality like a text messaging format where you use the app to send text messages and receive response to what you question the system or have it take action if you text it to change the temperature.

Thoughts for you iPhone users out there?
I am the developer of iViri.  iViri is available in Apple Store.  Check out its Voice Control and Geofence integration, which causes less battery drain than the other options for locating an iphone.

Offline strangely

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Re: Need for new iOS App
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2014, 10:36:58 am »
That's around the price I'd be willing to pay to try at least.

+1 for me.
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Offline BulldogLowell

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Re: Need for new iOS App
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2014, 10:50:11 am »
Have you looked at HomeWave on the iTunes app store?  That is your benchmark.

It is very much worth the $6 in my opinion.  If you look at the utility (and aside from RJ45 connectors) it is the lowest cost add-on to your home automation system. 

If you can out develop that app, and do it for less money, you will do very well.


Offline strangely

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Re: Need for new iOS App
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2014, 11:08:17 am »
Have you looked at HomeWave on the iTunes app store?
I believe the differentiator here, is that this app is primarily designed to be voice controlled and not specialize in a UI and therefore comparisons to Homewave etc aren't really valid.
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Offline jpete7683

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Re: Need for new iOS App
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2014, 01:43:36 pm »
The 5 app's that I have downloaded/paid for and tried are Automator, HomeWave, iVera Free, VeraMate Lite, and Vera Mobile.  I had high expectations for HomeWave and I do like their setup of how you can define your groupings but there are some very flacky things about that app and your fine as long as you never have to reconfigure it.  Everything that I have seen is to be setup by someone with previous knowledge of the inner workings of the Vera to really have total control.

I am glad that I have got some responses and I would like to hear other ideas on how to simplify the app and make it the most user friendly.  I like the idea to have the ability to open the app, select how you want to control your vera for that session and then be presented with the controls to do so.  So after you go through your configuration (i.e enter your username and password the app will configure the rest) you then have a slide menu that lets you select Graphical UI which would be your standard buttons and icons with the ability to do device and scene control, also in that menu you will have the option for voice control which will present you with a button to press to talk (which I am trying to come up with a way where it just listens for the name you assigned your vera before it starts listening for commands) in the background will be a list of all of the commands that you can give to control the vera, and your third menu option would be a text message framework where you could type the command like you are holding a conversation with another person and just request the system to act on your message (i.e. you could text vera what is my home status and get a reply of all devices on and off and is the system armed/disarmed or doors locked/unlocked, or you could say I would like it warmer in the house and it would reply and give you current temp and request what you would like to increase it to, etc...).

These are just some of the ideas that I have and I be willing to stay on the forum and keep a thread open for issues that people encounter and functionality that they would like to have.  I am anticipating a month before I will have it submitted to the app store for people to start using and getting the feedback.

I am aware that most of these iOS apps are more novelty than practical because, a lot of people would like to show off that they can talk to their phone and show how the house reacts.  What I mean by that is most people when they are home will opt to use the switch manually instead of launching an app and then requesting it to do it, but I would like to bridge the gap of a novelty app and come up with something that is functional and easy to navigate and pleasing to the eyes.  So I am open to hear any ideas and I can normally gauge the level of difficulty and respond with the type of work effort it would be to accomplish.

Finally I haven't come up with a name for the app and for me to start developing something for the store I need to have a name assigned so I am open to ideas that people may have for a name for this app.  Please respond with any ideas.
I am the developer of iViri.  iViri is available in Apple Store.  Check out its Voice Control and Geofence integration, which causes less battery drain than the other options for locating an iphone.

Offline jpete7683

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Re: Need for new iOS App
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2014, 01:54:56 pm »
One final note about the app I am working on, it uses the names that you have assigned devices so if they don't make logical sense to you the user then you will just need to change the names given to devices using the Vera UI.  Or would it be easier if we did some setup where it presents names that you have assigned on the UI and then you give it the translated name that you would like to call it through the app, it would require the user to go through some additional setup but it may be worth it to make everything more natural when speaking to your iPhone.  Thoughts?
I am the developer of iViri.  iViri is available in Apple Store.  Check out its Voice Control and Geofence integration, which causes less battery drain than the other options for locating an iphone.

Offline strangely

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Re: Need for new iOS App
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2014, 01:55:51 pm »
Viri? Kind of like a cross between Vera and Siri :)
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Offline strangely

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Re: Need for new iOS App
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2014, 01:59:43 pm »
I would start by perhaps having what they are actually named to keep things as simple as possible.

You could perhaps have alternates added in a later version and have functionality to append them to the main name once the main part is working.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2014, 02:14:06 pm by strangely »
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Offline BulldogLowell

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Re: Need for new iOS App
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2014, 03:40:23 pm »
One final note about the app I am working on, it uses the names that you have assigned devices so if they don't make logical sense to you the user then you will just need to change the names given to devices using the Vera UI.  Or would it be easier if we did some setup where it presents names that you have assigned on the UI and then you give it the translated name that you would like to call it through the app, it would require the user to go through some additional setup but it may be worth it to make everything more natural when speaking to your iPhone.  Thoughts?

Great Idea.  HomeWave allows you to do modify the displayed name of the device.  It is really useful if you want to give your spouse a practical tool to remotely control elements of your home automation.  My wife is actually using the app which allows her to disarm the alarm with a single touch from her car.

HomeWave is a bit difficult to set up if you have really built a lot into it, but extremely powerful and worth it.

VeraMate is cool and has a nice way of sorting the UI, but I completely stopped using it once I read so much on HomeWave and finally bought it.

Adding Voice control to the app is a nice touch.  It would be great to use Siri and say "I'm arriving Home" or "I just left Home (work, the office, etc)" and activate a scene.

check out this thread which discusses Siri and non-Apple apps:

http://forum.micasaverde.com/index.php/topic,22636.msg151956.html#msg151956
« Last Edit: January 20, 2014, 03:47:09 pm by Bulldoglowell »

Offline jpete7683

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Re: Need for new iOS App
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2014, 05:05:32 pm »
So kind of to the idea of Siri and telling it that your leaving home or heading home from the office to activate a scene, if people are willing to provide their Long/Lat to the app, I could have it run a background service that checks on a interval when your distance changes and have the app send a push notification and have the user reply yes or no back to that.  So basically when the distance is getting greater away from your house it could prompt via local notifications that it appears you are leaving your house, would you like to activate scene leaving home?  And you would accept a yes or no and vice versa when someone is heading home and the distance is getting smaller between your current Long/Lat and your home Long/Lat it could say it appears your heading in your homes direction would you like to activate scene heading home.  This seems a little redundant since the iPhone plugin for the vera works exceptionally well, except for how often you poll the device which could also lead to short battery life but that is how I am currently accomplishing it.  I get less than a mile away from my house and my house basically locks up and shutdown lights and sends me a text that it was successful, and when I come home, normally by the time I get to my living room it activates my heading home scene.

Just and update around the app.  I am working on rebuilding the dictionary for devices, basically holding the device name, its service and associated variables (get statuses) and associated actions.  Right now I can tell my lights to turn on and off but I need a more dynamic way so that we will be able to incorporate other features for different devices in the future without much recoding.

If everyone is cool with it I think I will proceed forward with voice and text automation of Lights, Dimmers and Locks to control and maybe a voice and text command to grab a status of your vera environment (tell you how many lights left on etc...).  Once that is out through the apple store I will work on adding the different units, it may take a little more time since I have the veralite and only currently using z-wave outlets, z-wave on/off switchs, z-wave dimmers, z-wave locks and a z-wave thermostat.  I think version 1 will encompass all of those devices I have and then I will start building on top of it for motion sensors, arm systems and cameras, etc...

Thoughts?  Also just want to make sure that everyone likes what we are doing and is happy so far with what functionality version 1 of the app will contain.
I am the developer of iViri.  iViri is available in Apple Store.  Check out its Voice Control and Geofence integration, which causes less battery drain than the other options for locating an iphone.

Offline jpete7683

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Re: Need for new iOS App
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2014, 12:27:17 pm »
**UPDATE**
I can now control scene's, light switches, light dimmers, door locks and thermostat.

I am thinking about reaching out to get some users who would be willing to test the app and I could do a ad-hoc release of it for just those users to test and then work out any bugs and add additional functionality that they would like to see prior to submitting it to the app store.  Any volunteers?

I have been reading through other post to the different apps asking for voice control to be added and the responses are either that Siri is the gold standard, which in my mind means they want to just utilize Apples VR API and services and also Google Voice API for recognition.  What I am doing it localizing the code to build the dictionary based on your components you have built and keep all Voice Recognition local to the device.  It is already slow enough to perform an action remotely from your device that I don't believe we need to add the additional over head of contacting a remote service to figure out the voice to text, so my goal is to have this work even if the internet is down at your home (at least work voice commands locally) your screwed if it is remote and you have no connection.
I am the developer of iViri.  iViri is available in Apple Store.  Check out its Voice Control and Geofence integration, which causes less battery drain than the other options for locating an iphone.

Offline knewmania

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Re: Need for new iOS App
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2014, 01:05:43 pm »
Any volunteers?

Yes I would like to assist in testing.
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Offline strangely

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Re: Need for new iOS App
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2014, 01:23:59 pm »
I'm willing to help.
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Offline Brientim

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Re: Need for new iOS App
« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2014, 02:19:11 pm »
I am willing to assist.

Offline Mothan

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Re: Need for new iOS App
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2014, 02:46:58 pm »
Will assist you to if needed.

Danny
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