Integrating multiple lighting systems

Posted on
Thu Dec 20, 2018 5:46 pm
kennybroh offline
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Integrating multiple lighting systems

I understand that once defined in the plugin, scenes can be triggered from any Insteon controller including motion sensors which is a great idea You mentioned your "circadian" scene which basically adjusts the color temp/color to correspond with the time of day. I like that a lot, but, unfortunately, it got my mind engaged as I thought it through.

In addition to Osram, I have Hue lights and Insteon bulbs. I originally assumed I'd simply individually control each type of bulb in Indigo with the specific plugin for each one. Like me, many people may have a mixture of bulbs, if only because some brands have bulbs others don't (e.g. Hue has GU10, but Osram has MR16) and the prices of comparable bubs are sometimes much lower for particular brands. While I was thinking about how cool your circadian scene would be as I walked into each room, I also got a big dose of reality. In my house most rooms have a mixture of lights and it would be a total nightmare if the only way to keep multiple brands of bulbs in sync is to manually enter--and update--changes to the same complicated combinations of settings in every place they are used: multiple plugins, actions, device settings, etc., One of Indigo's great strengths is the ability to combine multiple protocols in one interface, but in situations like this, that strength becomes a two-edged sword.

That scenario got me to thinking about the possibility of a "master lighting settings" plugin affording the option to store definitions common to all lighting applications in one place. Color values and scene parameters are obvious candidates because I assume they are composed of standard parameters, such as RGB, color temp, level, etc. It could also allow definitions of even more useful things as well. For example, devices from multiple manufacturers could be assigned to any number of "groups". When Indigo commands are sent to that group, the master plugin would direct the command to the appropriate plugin for each device, along with the common data to execute the command. If the definition of the scene "Party TIme" and the members of the "Living Room" group were defined in the master plugin, the values would be applied to every light in that group regardless of the manufacturer. An analogy is the official Hue app restricts a light to one "Room", but a third-party iPhone app called "Hue Lights" allows the assignment of lights to multiple different groups.

At this early stage of development of lighting plugins, it shouldn't be hard for the developers to agree on the format for different kinds of data. Each plugin already includes functions to generate lists of devices and available actions for each device, so the master plugin could easily assemble a comprehensive list, The master plugin wouldn't incorporate and specific functionality itself, but would serve as a single source of data forIndigo to process actions for multiple lighting devices. It wouldn't replace local definitions as the plugins currently function, but would be an option to facilitate integration of more than one type of lights. To me, that would be a major plus for Indigo and would avoid what is likely to be chaos as more and more lighting systems gain market share. Is this a crazy idea?

So many possibilities, so little time.

Posted on
Thu Dec 20, 2018 7:32 pm
rbdubz3 offline
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Re: Integrating multiple lighting systems

Some very good ideas kennybroh.. A lot of the points you raise - we need a common interface such that different manufacturers bulbs, and hence Indigo plugins, can adhere to. For the most part, Indigo does expose this as their device type 'Dimmer'.. As you probably noticed, my plugin as well as the Hue plugin, both expose the devices as an Indigo 'Dimmer'. The 'Dimmer' type already has a notion of whether a bulb supports RGB, White Levels, and White Temperature.

So..... I actually have another plugin under my belt that may add some value to your setup. Essentially it is the 'Scenes' aspect of my plugin in standalone fashion. The nice thing about this plugin is that you can use it with any Dimmer type - Insteon / Hue / Lightify / etc .. Give me a couple of days and I can get it into GitHub and the Plugin Store.

One aspect you point out that may be useful.. Maybe Matt/Jay can consider this as a feature request - if we had the ability to 'group' different Dimmers into a single 'Dimmer Group' Device type.. And then a plugin can interact with the entire group of Dimmers / create scenes / manipulate the bulbs individually or as a group..

Mac OS X on a Quad-Core MacMini using Plugins: Sylvania Lightify, Fingscan, Messages, Sonos, HomeKit Bridge. Also homegrown Insteon Smart Thermostat python code

Posted on
Fri Dec 21, 2018 3:40 pm
jay (support) offline
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Re: Integrating multiple lighting systems

rbdubz3 wrote:
Maybe Matt/Jay can consider this as a feature request - if we had the ability to 'group' different Dimmers into a single 'Dimmer Group' Device type.. And then a plugin can interact with the entire group of Dimmers / create scenes / manipulate the bulbs individually or as a group..


LOL. We've long wanted to add a dimmer group to the Virtual Devices interface. The problem is that dimmer devices (and particularly now with color devices) have so much functionality that when you try to group them together it can get super complicated to determine what the "right" thing is to do for any given feature. For instance, what do you do with dimmer devices that don't support separate White control when you attempt to control it on the group? When synchronizing, do you always keep the brightnesses in sync with the brightness of the group device? If not, then what does the brightness of a group do when they are out of sync? If so, then what happens to the group device's brightness when one bulb (or other dimmer) has a brightness that isn't what the group brightness is?

These questions (and all the other cascading questions) can certainly be answered. But they are difficult questions, and especially hard to get right. At the same time, you don't want to make a device so complicated to configure that nobody uses it because there are 100s of options that you have to figure out. So, bottom line is that we want to do it, but we want to be able to spend the time really thinking through all the scenarios and trying to figure out what the "right" way is to address them.

KISS is a great principle, and doing it right with a complicated topic is really hard (ask Apple, who more often than not gets it right and who almost always gets it more "right" than it's competitors).

Jay (Indigo Support)
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Posted on
Fri Dec 21, 2018 5:11 pm
rbdubz3 offline
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Re: Integrating multiple lighting systems

Yup - totally get it Jay.. Much easier said than done with all of the flux in products coming out.

The aforementioned 'Scene' plugin I put together will create an independent scene for each individual 'Dimmer' type device.. This will be less than ideal if you have a whole bunch of different Dimmers that you want to coordinate in unison. May not be too bad for the Circadian scene though - since the interval should be much less frequent the differences should be minimal..

Another option for the 'Scene' plugin is to have it fire a distinct Indigo trigger -- for example a 'Scene Change' trigger. This could be caught and then used to enumerate over a set of bulbs from different MFGs - i.e. treat them as a group and change brightness/color temp/rgb/etc. This way you could 'more' closely synchronize them.. Of course since enumerating over a setup of bulbs in an Action Group would be done serially, these wouldn't be perfectly synched

Mac OS X on a Quad-Core MacMini using Plugins: Sylvania Lightify, Fingscan, Messages, Sonos, HomeKit Bridge. Also homegrown Insteon Smart Thermostat python code

Posted on
Fri Dec 21, 2018 5:30 pm
kennybroh offline
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Re: Integrating multiple lighting systems

I agree entirely that the range of dimmers (e.g. lighting products) is extremely diverse and getting more so. But look again at my suggested solution. Assume I've got a bunch of different bulbs in a room, or in multiple rooms, I want to do the same thing, e.g. change color temp, color, brightness, etc. Suppose I want to achieve a specific temp in those bulbs that support it, a specific RGB color in those which accommodate that, and a specific brightness level--eg what is commonly called a "scene". As things now stand, I'd have to enter those specs separately into each place where the parameters for each individual plugin would be set. If I later decide to tweak the color a little bit, I've got to make those changes everywhere.

What I suggested is a master "scene" plugin, similar to what rbdubz3 just mentioned, where the settings would be stored in a consistent format, and groupings of devices would be defined without regard to the manufacturer. That Group would be a device type in Indigo, and among the available actions for that group would be to turn on one of the defined "scenes". That master plugin would then loop through the list of included devices, and call the associated plugin's action and pass the data. It could pass all of the data, and if the particular device didn't support color, for example, that information would be ignored by the specific plugin. All the developer of a plugin for specific devices would have to do if they wanted the particular devices to be included would be exposing a standard interface to allow the plugin to be "registered" so its devices could be listed, and provide a standard function to receive the command....

I already have at least 3 different types of bulbs and don't relish having to keep different plugins in sync....

Posted on
Mon Feb 11, 2019 1:03 pm
kennybroh offline
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Re: Integrating multiple lighting systems

You said
The nice thing about this plugin is that you can use it with any Dimmer type - Insteon / Hue / Lightify / etc


That doesn't mean you have a way to recognize input from the Hue Dimmers does it?

Posted on
Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:20 pm
rbdubz3 offline
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Re: Integrating multiple lighting systems

No - that is not the case - This other plugin knows nothing about different hubs and protocols used by each individual vendor.

The plugin is based around the Indigo Dimmer device type - supports the functionality as seen in the universal lighting controls here - https://wiki.indigodomo.com/doku.php?id ... e_controls . Most other plugins that deal with vendor specific RGBW/tunable white/etc extend this Indigo Dimmer device type - this includes the Sylvania plugin I've developed as well as the Hue plugin - others too I am sure.

So the plugin basically speaks the language of Indigo Dimmer device when it does 'Scenes' - changing colors, color temp, brightness, etc . I've used the 'Circadian Scene' against individual Insteon Switchlinc devices as well as Sylvania Lightify groups. Of course each underlying device may have things it does/does not support. For example if I use the 'Circadian Scene' against the Insteon Switchlinc, it can only control the brightness - not color temp since the switchlinc can't support it.

Hope this makes sense.. I can clean up this 'other' plugin and submit it if interested

Mac OS X on a Quad-Core MacMini using Plugins: Sylvania Lightify, Fingscan, Messages, Sonos, HomeKit Bridge. Also homegrown Insteon Smart Thermostat python code

Posted on
Tue May 14, 2019 6:10 pm
rbdubz3 offline
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Re: Integrating multiple lighting systems

A semi-related update on this thread. Doesn't necessarily solve the problem that @kennybroh is raising - but I found it interesting.

I recently decided to purchase some Philips Hue bulbs since they have some good offerings for outdoor landscaping (much better than Sylvania). Just for the hell of it, I tried to see if my Sylvania Lightify Hub would recognize these Philips Hue bulbs .. Turns out it worked!!! So far it seems to understand all of the commands for brightness as well as color/color-temp/etc.. I'm probably better off long term going fully into the Hue system, however I thought it was a pretty interesting find that the Hue bulbs work with my existing Lightify Hub (as well as my plugin)..

Hence - I can build out a Sylvania Lightify 'Group' that consists of bulbs from both Sylvania Lightify and Philips Hue

Mac OS X on a Quad-Core MacMini using Plugins: Sylvania Lightify, Fingscan, Messages, Sonos, HomeKit Bridge. Also homegrown Insteon Smart Thermostat python code

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