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Author Topic: New Form Factor Vera with Beta UI Factory Installed  (Read 34303 times)

Offline pwhartman

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Re: New Form Factor Vera with Beta UI Factory Installed
« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2010, 02:27:19 pm »
Hi all,

We are making progresses every day and we will release a firmware which has fixes and the CPU overload was fixed also.

firmware 1.1.220-1 did not change Vera's apparent inability to join Z-wave devices to the network.
can you please elaborate?

I am unable to join Intermatic or Leviton devices to Vera2; I was able to join them to a ThinkEssentials ControlStick (ControlStick was unplugged during attempted joining to Vera2)


Offline zmistro

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Re: New Form Factor Vera with Beta UI Factory Installed
« Reply #16 on: February 11, 2010, 02:42:53 pm »
Hi all,

We are making progresses every day and we will release a firmware which has fixes and the CPU overload was fixed also.

firmware 1.1.220-1 did not change Vera's apparent inability to join Z-wave devices to the network.
can you please elaborate?

I am unable to join Intermatic or Leviton devices to Vera2; I was able to join them to a ThinkEssentials ControlStick (ControlStick was unplugged during attempted joining to Vera2)



By any chance have you uninstalled those devices from thinkstick first?
If you did not Vera or any controller cannot add them individually. However you can add Vera as a controller to thinksick or transfer control from thinkstick to Vera.
Does this help?

Offline pwhartman

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Re: New Form Factor Vera with Beta UI Factory Installed
« Reply #17 on: February 11, 2010, 03:45:02 pm »
Not being excluded from the previous network was the issue for joining to Vera2. Thanks, I would have thought in my calls to Tech Support they might have asked that question.

Offline SmartHomeUSA.com

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Re: New Form Factor Vera with Beta UI Factory Installed
« Reply #18 on: February 11, 2010, 04:42:49 pm »
Oh boy ... as an official Vera Distributor (that provides full technical support), I just looked at the new Vera's we brought in for stock recently.

I am also not happy with these changes!

1) No more dongle... talk about annoying!
2) No more built-in router functionality? No more Wifi? If these features were deleted we (and our customers) are going to expect a price decrease along with it.
3) Interface is scary! For now we will have to refer technical support to Micasaverde as I see many problems that are going to surface with this Beta interface

Also I am extremely disappointed I had to find out about these negative changes on my own.. without being notified by MiCasaVerde. Currently our website is selling a product that MiCasaVerde is no longer providing to us. We must now rush to update everything...

Bad news all around

Offline zmistro

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Re: New Form Factor Vera with Beta UI Factory Installed
« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2010, 04:55:28 pm »
You bring up a good point!

I really don't think the form factor is a big deal breaker.

But one cannot advertise what they cannot deliver.


Offline micasaverde

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Re: New Form Factor Vera with Beta UI Factory Installed
« Reply #20 on: February 11, 2010, 06:49:37 pm »
First, we want to apologize for any problems or frustrations are users are having, and want to explain the current situation.

There seems to be a big misunderstanding about what is in beta and what are UI3 issues.  This thread was started because a user was unable to pair some ZWave light switches and assumed it was because he got beta software.  After speaking to the customer the problem is simply that his light switches were already paired to another ZWave controller and hadn't been excluded or reset.  After doing that, they paired with Vera fine.

Next, we should have clarified something about our system architecture before calling UI3 a "beta".  There are 2 completely separate parts to the system: 1) The Luup engine, which is the brains that does all the work, like running scenes, events, notifications, adding and controlling devices, etc., and 2) The user interface which is a web page that you use to setup and control your devices.  For example, you setup a scene in the web page, but it's the Luup engine that actually stores and runs the scene, and it's the engine that does all the work.  When you click a scene's 'go' button, the UI just sends a message to the engine saying "run scene #x" and the Luup engine handles everything including error correction and all the complex stuff.

The Luup engine with UI3 is *not* in beta.  It's the same engine that was in UI2, and the only changes are the usual bug fixes.  So the UI3 engine is, if anything, a bit more stable.

As far as the UI goes, we have already tested UI3 and confirmed that every single function which existed in UI2 does also exist in UI3 and works.  Everything you can do in UI2, you can do in UI3 and more, since UI3 also has more controls and widgets for the plugins.  There was also a comment that UI3 didn't have documentation.  That's not true, there's a 93 page user's manual for UI3 alone, on top of all the wiki pages with general Z-Wave stuff.  There's more documentation for UI3 than for UI2.  Also, the documentation for UI3 is better because previously our documentation was in publicly-editable wiki form.  In hindsite this was a mistake because users have many different versions of the firmware.  Some are still running UI1, some are on .616, some are on .979, others on UI3.  All of them have different screens.  So a user would read the wiki for adding a motion sensor, which was written for UI1, and edit some part to apply to .979, and another user would edit another part to match what he sees in .616.  With UI3 we have a database driven user's manual with hyperlink's in the UI that pass the firmware version, so as the UI changes, the documentation always matches the UI.

There's a 12 week lead time from when we order Vera's in the factory until they are manufactured in Asia, put on a ship, and arrive in our warehouse.  Back in October, when we ordered from the manufacturer the current batch of Vera's that we received and started shipping out a week ago, the general consensus amongst new users with no experience with UI2 or UI3 was that UI3 was much better, so we had the manufacturer pre-load them with firmware that auto-upgraded to the latest UI3 release, not UI2.  We expected to release UI3 as a beta to the public around December 1, and have a formal release around January 1.  We did miss our targets and when we did release UI3 as a public beta last month, a critical problem was uncovered which we didn't catch.  All the icons in UI3 were created in Adobe Flash as vector graphics (draw files), and if the user's video card drivers in the computer didn't have certain hardware acceleration, like you have on high-end gaming video cards, the Adobe Flash plugin for the browser used a lot of CPU to render the icons, and the UI was very slow.  We didn't catch this in our in-house testing because all our computers had video cards with hardware acceleration, so the UI ran very fast.  We did find a solution this week and will be releasing a new firmware tomorrow that runs much faster.

There were also a lot of cosmetic and usability criticisms of UI3, such as the color schemes, the font size, the lack of readouts in the icons, and so on.  The release we are pushing out this week addresses most of those criticisms too.  Note, though, that the criticisms nearly always came from existing users with UI2, not from new users who started with UI3.  The problems new users have reported, like the pairing issue that started this thread, have generally not been related to the UI at all, and are just normal tech support issues, such as this issue with needing to reset the ZWave node before you can add it to a new controller.  Some users concluded the problems were related to UI3 because they read the criticisms of UI3 in the forums.

Now, as far as the hardware change.  Internally the new hardware is nearly identical: same CPU, same Wi-fi chip, same memory, same number of USB ports, etc.  The differences are: 1) It has 1 LAN port instead of 4, and 2) the ZWave module is built in so rather than in an external dongle, so you carry the whole unit around to pair ZWave devices, rather than carrying around the dongle.

There are some criticisms of this change.  But, the removable dongle actually proved to be our biggest support issue.  See, when Vera 1 was first launched, there were no ZWave secure devices like the Schlage door locks so you could remove the dongle to pair any type of ZWave device.  When door locks were introduced this created a big problem because, in order to include a door lock, the primary controller (ie Vera) has to exchange encryption keys with the doorlock while it's being included.  The dongle, by itself, is unable to do the encryption and key exchange.  So, to pair a door lock, users would have to carry Vera to the door lock and run an extension cord to the nearest electrical outlet and do the inclusion rather 'blind' using a combination of red and black buttons on Vera 1.  90% of our support calls and customer frustration was a result of this process.  Customers would try to pair the door lock by removing the dongle, as they would pair a light switch, so the keys weren't exchagned and the lock wouldn't work.  When customers read the correct procedure which required an extension cord, it became frustrating since many customers didn't have an extension cord or an power outlet near the door, and it resulted in many complaints.  We did ask customers about having 1 LAN port versus 4, and customers almost unanimously said that it was a non-issue since they already had some switch/access point/gateway anyway, and most customers never used any of the LAN ports anyway.  But, not having a battery to power Vera 1 and having to run an extension cord across the home to pair door locks was a big issue.  And it is expected to resolve a major frustration our users had where they would try to pair door locks the same way they pair light switches--by removing the dongle--and then calling us because the door lock doesn't work.

So we saw the hardware change as minor, but resulting in an improvement in the user experience.  We didn't announce what date the new hardware design sould ship because we didn't know exactly when it would be introduced.  As I mentioned, the units were ordered in October, 2009.  The manufacturing time and time at sea are not guaranteed.  Also, our dealers and distributors have a mix of version 1 and version 2 in the same inventory.

We genuinely perceived the design tweak as being minor, and a simple improvement in the evolution of the design.  I think the reason this turned into such a big issue was more of a mis-understanding with the assumption that we were shipping beta software and that a user's problem pairing devices was related to the new UI or the new hardware.

However, it's our highest priority to be sure our customers are happy and don't feel taken advantage of.  So, if anyone who received a Vera 2 wants to have the Vera 1, we will be happy to exchange it at no cost.  Further, tomorrow we will have a UI2 firmware that works on both Vera 1 and Vera 2, and which has the exact same Luup engine, so users have a choice of user experiences.

Offline micasaverde

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Re: New Form Factor Vera with Beta UI Factory Installed
« Reply #21 on: February 11, 2010, 06:56:10 pm »
Regarding SmartHomeUSA's comments, we did notify Mageda, who is our contact at Smarthome USA, about the new hardware on Feb 1, before you got any of the new hardware.  The new hardware *does* have exactly the same built-in router functionality, and it *does* have wi-fi too.  It's just that the antenna is now built-in so you don't need to screw it in and it has better range; again, it's a minor design improvement--no features were removed.  As far as the new UI, as mentioned previously, users can choose to use the old UI if that's what they prefer.  And, as far as getting rid of the external dongle, as mentioned in the prior post, that external dongle was the #1 complaint users had, and almost everyone unanimously said we should make inclusion work the same way it does with the Schlage LiNK, with the ZWave built-in and making the unit battery powered.  So that's what we did.  But, if any users want to go back to the removable dongle, we will swap out their Vera 2 for a Vera 1 at our expense.

Offline zmistro

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Re: New Form Factor Vera with Beta UI Factory Installed
« Reply #22 on: February 11, 2010, 07:04:01 pm »
Well stated.
Thanks MCV.
Good luck
I look forward to using the new UI

Best Regards.

Offline shady

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Re: New Form Factor Vera with Beta UI Factory Installed
« Reply #23 on: February 11, 2010, 07:57:46 pm »
A few points that need clarification:

"the general consensus amongst new users with no experience with UI2 or UI3 was that UI3 was much better" - this doesn't make sense, how could they judge that it was better with no prior experience.  Also why aren't any of the first users who liked the UI, posting on the forums?

"As far as the UI goes, we have already tested UI3 and confirmed that every single function which existed in UI2 does also exist in UI3 and works.  Everything you can do in UI2, you can do in UI3 and more, since UI3 also has more controls and widgets for the plugins. " - WD Thermostats don't work completely with the UI and my Schalge locks aren't linked anymore

"Some users concluded the problems were related to UI3 because they read the criticisms of UI3 in the forums." - most of the problems with UI3 in the forums were a wildfire that should have been extinguished with information from MCV...a MCV post such as this is very informative and shouldn't be buried in this thread, it should be stickied.  I can't see any reason why the forum members and customers couldn't be told about such a proposed change back in October.  Dates aren't as important as just giving us a clue as to what awaits us in the future.

"But, the removable dongle actually proved to be our biggest support issue....users would have to carry Vera to the door lock and run an extension cord" - couldn't you have had customers pair the lock before installing it in the door (bring the lock to Vera, instead of bringing Vera to the lock)?

"So we saw the hardware change as minor....We genuinely perceived the design tweak as being minor" - even changing the color of something can be major, but you changed the inside (sans Luup engine) and the outside of your product.  Changing to a floorplan layout is a huge design decision that should have been shared.

"if anyone who received a Vera 2 wants to have the Vera 1, we will be happy to exchange it at no cost" - Bravo

I am happy with my orig Vera, but I'd be just as happy with the new box.  I think the new UI does needs tweaking and I plan on trying to help with moving forward on improvements.  Thanks for the info.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2010, 08:04:25 pm by shady »
Vera3 1.5.346, Schlage (3)DB (2)Lever, Kwikset (1)Lever, RCS TZ43 Thermo, (2) Vizia RZI06-1LX 600W Dimmers, (17) Monster (Leviton) Dimmers (6) Monster (Leviton) IWC Scene Controllers (1) Etherrain-8, (3) HSM 100's (1)GE 3-Way set

Offline micasaverde

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Re: New Form Factor Vera with Beta UI Factory Installed
« Reply #24 on: February 11, 2010, 08:35:55 pm »
Quote
this doesn't make sense, how could they judge that it was better with no prior experience.  Also why aren't any of the first users who liked the UI, posting on the forums?

Back in October we did user testing.  The goal is to take people with no prior home automation/Vera experience and ask them to do a series of basic tasks with UI2, and then again with UI3, as well as on other competitor's UI's, and gain feedback about that's easiest to use.  Focus groups don't post in the forums.  But, here's some comparisons.  First task: Add a device.  In UI3 there's a single 'Add' button that's always visible to add anything (devices, rooms, scenes) with a wizard based on 'what do you want to add'.  People found it a lot easier than in UI2 where you go 'Setup', 'Devices', etc.  Also, when adding devices in UI2 you must assign them to a room before you can use them.  This confused users.  In UI3 they just showed up and are usable whether you want rooms or not.  And so on.  People who used UI2 complained because for them adding a device by clicking the 'add' button wasn't expected, but for new users, UI3 was considered easier.  But focus groups don't post in teh forums.

Quote
WD Thermostats don't work completely with the UI and my Schalge locks aren't linked anymore

Did you fill out a trouble ticket?  We test both of these devices in our lab with UI3 and they work fine.  I'm not aware of the issue.  I'm not saying you didn't have a problem, only that somehow it didn't get into our bug tracking system.

Quote
most of the problems with UI3 in the forums ...  I can't see any reason why the forum members and customers couldn't be told about such a proposed change back in October.

The UI3 changes have been discussed in the forum.  As far as the hardware change, it was a mistake not to make an official announcement.  We honestly saw it as a minor tweak that wasn't too significant since the specs/features of the hardware are the same except for moving the battery from an external dongle to an internal one.  But you make a good point that what we may see as a trivial tweak may be a bigger issue to a user.  We'll try to do this in the future.  However, remember, that as far as the industry goes we are far more transparent than most, discussing new features in our forums, offering preview releases, and so on.  By contrast, for example, everybody knew for a long time Apple was working on a tablet but they wouldn't say anything until the product was ready to order.  So while I can agree we should have given advance notice on this hardware change, in general, most of the time we are very open and candid in discussing upcoming features and changes.

Quote
couldn't you have had customers pair the lock before installing it in the door (bring the lock to Vera, instead of bringing Vera to the lock)?

Yes, but nobody did that.  They always mounted the lock first, and nobody wanted to unmount the lock from the door to take it close to Vera.

Quote
"We genuinely perceived the design tweak as being minor"  but you changed the inside and the outside of your product.  Changing to a floorplan layout is a huge design decision that should have been shared

I only meant the hardware design tweak was minor.  Agreed, the change to the UI and a floorplan layout was a big change.  But it's been discussed in the forums since the New Year and was shown publicly at CES, and was released as a beta to end users first.  So it was shared.

Quote
I am happy with my orig Vera, but I'd be just as happy with the new box.  I think the new UI does needs tweaking and I plan on trying to help with moving forward on improvements.

Great!  We definitely do listen and respond to customers quickly.  After we posted the UI3 beta, lots of customers complained about the green color scheme; we changed it within 48 hours.  Several customers complained about the speed of the UI, so we had all the devs put in overtime to identify the cause and, within a week, we had a fix.  A lot of criticisms are too vague to act on, such as comments like "I don't like it".  But, if you provide us specific feedback about ideas for making the UI better, we'll discuss them and, in most cases, try to implement the the changes right away.

Offline denix

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Re: New Form Factor Vera with Beta UI Factory Installed
« Reply #25 on: February 11, 2010, 08:46:45 pm »
All I can say is: Thank you very much for such a detailed explanation! I'm very pleased with the update.

In my humble opinion, if this info was provided to the community (forum/wiki/web) periodically from time to time in smaller pieces, it would prevent such a major user confusion and frustration... Just my 2c.
Veras (1, 2, 3, Lite, Plus), lots of different Z-Wave modules, Luup plugins and theater/security integration.

Offline zmistro

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Re: New Form Factor Vera with Beta UI Factory Installed
« Reply #26 on: February 11, 2010, 10:32:30 pm »
MCV
Thank you for being so complete with your reply. It is appreciated.
I look forward to trying out the fix.

Offline wseverino

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Re: New Form Factor Vera with Beta UI Factory Installed
« Reply #27 on: February 11, 2010, 10:34:44 pm »
WD Thermostats don't work completely with the UI and my Schalge locks aren't linked anymore

Did you fill out a trouble ticket?  We test both of these devices in our lab with UI3 and they work fine.  I'm not aware of the issue.  I'm not saying you didn't have a problem, only that somehow it didn't get into our bug tracking system.

Aaron there is a trouble ticket on the Wayne Dalton WDTC-20's. See this thread: http://forum.micasaverde.com/index.php?topic=3107.0. I reported the problem. You can not set the set points for heat and cool. Also when you open the device you have no idea what the set points are or what the current temperature is. This all works in UI2 but not UI3.

It still doesn't work with the latest .221 build. I tested it this afternoon.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2010, 10:36:30 pm by wseverino »
My ZWave Network: Too friggin big to list.....

mcvovidiu

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Re: New Form Factor Vera with Beta UI Factory Installed
« Reply #28 on: February 12, 2010, 03:18:58 am »
Hi,

The bug with the heat and cool points if going to be fixed today and available in the next release.

mcvovidiu

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Re: New Form Factor Vera with Beta UI Factory Installed
« Reply #29 on: February 12, 2010, 07:40:08 am »
wseverino,

Bug is fixed and will be available in the next release.