April 27, 2009
| by Avi Rosenthal
Some Vera Caveats
Like any other control system, Vera comes with its caveats.
First, Vera attempts to be the primary controller for the Z-wave network. This can be troublesome if you have another controller that wants to be the primary, like the Leviton Vizia RF+ or the ControlThink USB stick.
You really can’t blame Vera for this challenge. It has to do with Z-wave and the way devices are to communicate with each other.
The problem is not difficult to overcome, but it does take a little machination. The good news is that the Mi Casa Verde wiki is very well documented to handle situation.
The other issue is the way scenes are configured on the Vera.
Many Z-Wave solutions, especially lighting control systems like Leviton’s, can only operate one class of products – in this case lighting.
Being able to control other Z-Wave devices can become a little complicated for less-experienced do-it-yourselfer.
Mi Casa Verde’s first-generation product does a good job of creating an intuitive Web interface, but at times it can be difficult to navigate.
As it evolves, though, I expect the engineers at Mi Casa Verde will fix some of the trouble spots. In any case, the Vera gateway is Linux based, and a decent hacker can make it do a lot of cool things.
Overall I give the Vera by Mi Casa Verde very high marks; it represents a major step in the evolution of home automation and bringing new home technologies to the masses.
Avi Rosenthal is a former home systems integrator who has also worked for several manufacturers of home control systems. Currently he is principal of Evolve Guest Controls
, a firm that specializes in automated solutions for saving energy in hotels and other commercial establishments.