Explaining House Modes

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Posted on
Sun Oct 06, 2013 8:31 am
Dewster35 offline
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Joined: Jul 06, 2010
Location: Petoskey, MI

Explaining House Modes

So I am trying to get something together to explain house modes to customers. I assumed this was a fairly straightforward thing to comprehend, but after getting my father in law setup with a very basic setup, he didn't quite understand it.

I used an example of how a thermostat has different modes (off, heat, cool, auto, program) and he seemed to grasp that after we went through it a couple of times. My thought was that since it related somewhat to something he was controlling, that it would be the best analogy, but I'm not sure it would be the best thing for non mechanical people. Does anyone have any thoughts about how to try to explain this better to people aside from giving them simple examples of what my own house modes do in my house?

Posted on
Sun Oct 06, 2013 10:13 am
matt (support) offline
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Re: Explaining House Modes

A common house mode we use is "vacation" mode which simulates an occupied house by switching some lights on at semi-random times. Customers might grasp that since so many people use those plug-in Home Depot lamp timers. So in this case the house mode of "vacation" is like having all of those timers plugged in and turning lights on/off for you, and when you are not in vacation mode it is like all of those plug-in timers are turned off or unplugged.

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Posted on
Mon Oct 07, 2013 7:59 am
jay (support) offline
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Re: Explaining House Modes

I agree with Matt. House mode can in fact mean different things to different people and how house mode is used varies widely. I think as an Installer you'll want to 1) define how you use house mode in your customer installs, 2) develop the common scenarios (home, away, vacation, company, whatever makes sense to you) then 3) explain by way of example what each scenario means.

Once the customer understands what your vision is of house mode through your examples, then they'll be better prepared to tell you ways you can tailor the modes to their needs.

Jay (Indigo Support)
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Posted on
Mon Oct 07, 2013 8:07 am
Dewster35 offline
Posts: 1029
Joined: Jul 06, 2010
Location: Petoskey, MI

Re: Explaining House Modes

That's sort of what I've put together. A simple, home, night and away house mode comparison of common things for those modes that we can do for them. Also talking about the things you would like to happen when it changes to a certain housemode and things you would like to happen while the house is in a particular house mode.

I'm hoping that will be simple enough to grasp and perhaps not even need any sort of analogy.

Posted on
Mon Oct 07, 2013 8:37 am
jay (support) offline
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Re: Explaining House Modes

Something to think about: in my system, I've found that houseMode was becoming too complicated as a single concept because I was trying to use it to represent occupancy (home, away, vacation, company) and temporal (night, morning, day, evening). I ended up creating a houseTime variable to control the latter.

The two are somewhat dependent, but they address different issues. houseMode for us is now completely occupancy based: normal operation of the house is "home", temporarily empty (nobody home) is represented by "away" (though since I work at home this one doesn't really do much), when we're on vacation is "vacation", and when we have company it's "company" (HVAC sets on a standard setting 24x7 rather than adjust during the day, spoken announcements are fewer, some automated lights stop working, etc.).

Then, houseTime is set at various times during the day (morning, work day/weekend day, evening, night) and different things happen based on that (sometimes in conjunction with houseMode). I use this to control the thermostats, lighting, my hot water recirc system, the door lock, etc.

Just something to consider.

Jay (Indigo Support)
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Posted on
Mon Oct 07, 2013 8:54 am
Dewster35 offline
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Joined: Jul 06, 2010
Location: Petoskey, MI

Re: Explaining House Modes

A good point Jay.

My housemode changes don't actually DO anything, other than "away". I have a sleeping scene that is enabled manually and does different stuff whether we have company or not. Like with yours, I have a lot of the automation turned off in areas where the company might be to keep confusion down.

My initial thoughts in regards to the customer would be to just start with those simple 3 house modes and live with it for awhile. I think once people have experience using home automation, they have a better handle on the things that they would like to do. I know it was that way for me, but maybe I'm an outlier. My fear is that the housemodes would become too complicated, like you suggested so having a secondary mode control would likely be a good thing. Perhaps one handling the security, safety, notifications aspects of the system and another controlling more of the lighting, energy saving controls, thermostat etc.

I've setup a simple system for my Father in law with just those modes and I'm taking that approach, so we'll see what shakes out. If I end up with a strategy for this sort of thing, I'll be sure to post it here.

Thanks.

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