Thoughts on Indigo as the hub of a home security system

Posted on
Sun Sep 30, 2018 7:35 am
boisy offline
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Posts: 79
Joined: Jun 25, 2013

Thoughts on Indigo as the hub of a home security system

I've been giving a lot of thought to a complete, holistic home security system that consists of the following:

Monitoring:
  • Cameras placed around the area of protection for monitoring and motion detection
  • Open/close sensors on gates, garage doors, and doors in the home.

Notification:
  • Siren that activates upon a breach
  • Email and/or text services which activate upon a breach

I already have SecuritySpy up and running with an 8 camera license, as well as Insteon I/O Linc controllers for garage doors and gates. SecuritySpy's motion detection feature can trigger on motion and run a script on an event, which could trigger an action on Indigo. So that's workable.

On the notification side, I already have the ability in Indigo to send an email or text upon some event. In fact, I created an Indigo variable called "alarmEnabled" that is set to 1 when the alarm is enabled, or 0 if not. I can gate all notification decisions through this variable before deciding to activate.

For the siren, there isn't an off the shelf solution, so I'm thinking of implementing an Arduino-based solution that uses a 12V/1A siren to activate upon breach. An Arduino with an Ethernet shield, to be specific. I already employed such a solution to monitor a door sensor and also to measure temperature in one part of my building. A small web server runs on the Arduino which can read the state of the door sensor (0 = closed, 1 = open) and the temperature (an analog value), then present that as JSON upon an HTTP request. In the same code, I also use UDP multicast to send out the values as they change, so polling isn't necessary.

On the Indigo side, I created a custom plugin in python that allows me to configure the IP address of this custom Arduino board, and create devices for both the door state (read only, obviously) and the temperature (also read only).

For the siren, the plan is to extend the Arduino code so that a simple HTTP POST can tickle a variable to turn on or off the siren. I could then create another variable, "alarmTriggered" that would be set when certain conditions are met (e.g. alarmEnabled == 1 AND (garage door 1 is open OR garage door 2 is open, etc.)

Once alarmEnabled is set to 1, one action would be to tickle the Arduino as mentioned above to trigger the siren.

All of this would be driven by my Mac that I've dedicated to automation tasks, running Indigo and SecuritySpy.

I typed all of this to (a) write down my thought process and share it with the wider Indigo community, and (b) ask the question: what is the consensus for using Indigo as the hub for all security tasks in a home, vs interfacing with an existing security system. It does seem a bit fragile (i.e. lots of moving parts that could go down independently, not to mention the Mac itself).

I'm sure someone in the community has done this. I would love to hear about it.

Boisy G. Pitre
Lead Developer, Tee-Boy
http://www.tee-boy.com

Posted on
Sun Sep 30, 2018 12:32 pm
jay (support) offline
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Location: Austin, Texas

Re: Thoughts on Indigo as the hub of a home security system

There are a range of Z-Wave sirens available. Maybe it's time to add Z-Wave to your setup (the sensors are much better than Insteon IMO).

Jay (Indigo Support)
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Posted on
Mon Oct 01, 2018 7:16 am
bschollnick2 offline
Posts: 1324
Joined: Oct 17, 2004
Location: Rochester, Ny

Re: Thoughts on Indigo as the hub of a home security system

jay (support) wrote:
There are a range of Z-Wave sirens available. Maybe it's time to add Z-Wave to your setup (the sensors are much better than Insteon IMO).


Jay,

What features do you think make the Zwave sensors better than the Insteon sensors? I haven't looked too closely, since I prefer the insteon, but I'll try to be open here...
I'm biased, and I admit it, but I just eliminated X10 out of my setup, and I certainly could use replacements for a few open/close sensors? Especially if they are inexpensive.

------
My Plugins for Indigo (v4, v5, and v6) - http://bit.ly/U8XxPG

Security Script for v4 - http://bit.ly/QTgclf
for v5 - http://bit.ly/T6WBKu

Support Forum(s) - http://www.perceptiveautomation.com/userforum/viewforum.php?f=33

Posted on
Mon Oct 01, 2018 7:19 am
bschollnick2 offline
Posts: 1324
Joined: Oct 17, 2004
Location: Rochester, Ny

Re: Thoughts on Indigo as the hub of a home security system

boisy wrote:
I've been giving a lot of thought to a complete, holistic home security system that consists of the following:

Monitoring:
  • Cameras placed around the area of protection for monitoring and motion detection
  • Open/close sensors on gates, garage doors, and doors in the home.

Notification:
  • Siren that activates upon a breach
  • Email and/or text services which activate upon a breach

I already have SecuritySpy up and running with an 8 camera license, as well as Insteon I/O Linc controllers for garage doors and gates. SecuritySpy's motion detection feature can trigger on motion and run a script on an event, which could trigger an action on Indigo. So that's workable.

On the notification side, I already have the ability in Indigo to send an email or text upon some event. In fact, I created an Indigo variable called "alarmEnabled" that is set to 1 when the alarm is enabled, or 0 if not. I can gate all notification decisions through this variable before deciding to activate.

For the siren, there isn't an off the shelf solution, so I'm thinking of implementing an Arduino-based solution that uses a 12V/1A siren to activate upon breach. An Arduino with an Ethernet shield, to be specific. I already employed such a solution to monitor a door sensor and also to measure temperature in one part of my building. A small web server runs on the Arduino which can read the state of the door sensor (0 = closed, 1 = open) and the temperature (an analog value), then present that as JSON upon an HTTP request. In the same code, I also use UDP multicast to send out the values as they change, so polling isn't necessary.

On the Indigo side, I created a custom plugin in python that allows me to configure the IP address of this custom Arduino board, and create devices for both the door state (read only, obviously) and the temperature (also read only).


I started to implement a security system in the Switchboard plugin... So that may assist in simplifying the situation a bit? If you have any suggestions, I'd be open to adding features to switchboard... (Plus, it does need some updating for v7.x)

- Benjamin

------
My Plugins for Indigo (v4, v5, and v6) - http://bit.ly/U8XxPG

Security Script for v4 - http://bit.ly/QTgclf
for v5 - http://bit.ly/T6WBKu

Support Forum(s) - http://www.perceptiveautomation.com/userforum/viewforum.php?f=33

Posted on
Mon Oct 01, 2018 9:35 am
jay (support) offline
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Joined: Mar 19, 2008
Location: Austin, Texas

Re: Thoughts on Indigo as the hub of a home security system

bschollnick2 wrote:
jay (support) wrote:
There are a range of Z-Wave sirens available. Maybe it's time to add Z-Wave to your setup (the sensors are much better than Insteon IMO).


Jay,

What features do you think make the Zwave sensors better than the Insteon sensors? I haven't looked too closely, since I prefer the insteon, but I'll try to be open here...
I'm biased, and I admit it, but I just eliminated X10 out of my setup, and I certainly could use replacements for a few open/close sensors? Especially if they are inexpensive.


Primarily, it's the protocol. Insteon doesn't handle signal collisions well at all which leads to retries and missed messages. Sensors, by their very nature, are broadcast devices so are more susceptible. Z-Wave is significantly better at the protocol level in terms of network communication robustness. The other thing is speed (also a side-effect of lots of retries): Insteon is quite slow compared to Z-Wave, so while you likely notice a delay in a Insteon->Indigo->Insteon scenario, you probably won't in a Z-Wave->Indigo-> Insteon and even less in a Z-Wave->Indigo->Z-Wave scenario. I can't remember the last time I missed a signal from a Z-Wave device.

Second, there are a TON of different sensors out there from a wide range of vendors in a variety of shapes, sizes, configurations and capabilities. There are cheaper ones, and more expensive multii-sensors that have a lot of functionality. You're much more likely to find a sensor that meets your needs best simply because there are many vendors selling them. Also, the battery powered devices often report battery power (though granted sometimes it's not very accurate) so that you can be a bit more proactive about replacing batteries.

I highly recommend just searching on Amazon to see the variety (and not all of them are available there though most are). There are the vendors that are typically less expensive (Neo/Coolcam, Linear/GoControl, GE, Zooz) and vendors that are higher-end (Aeotec, Fibaro, Zipato) and some that are both depending on the device type or features (Haozee, HomeSeer). And there are more.

Jay (Indigo Support)
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Posted on
Mon Oct 01, 2018 11:20 am
bschollnick2 offline
Posts: 1324
Joined: Oct 17, 2004
Location: Rochester, Ny

Re: Thoughts on Indigo as the hub of a home security system

jay (support) wrote:
bschollnick2 wrote:
jay (support) wrote:
There are a range of Z-Wave sirens available. Maybe it's time to add Z-Wave to your setup (the sensors are much better than Insteon IMO).

What features do you think make the Zwave sensors better than the Insteon sensors? I haven't looked too closely, since I prefer the insteon, but I'll try to be open here...
I'm biased, and I admit it, but I just eliminated X10 out of my setup, and I certainly could use replacements for a few open/close sensors? Especially if they are inexpensive.


Primarily, it's the protocol. Insteon doesn't handle signal collisions well at all which leads to retries and missed messages. Sensors, by their very nature, are broadcast devices so are more susceptible. Z-Wave is significantly better at the protocol level in terms of network communication robustness. The other thing is speed (also a side-effect of lots of retries): Insteon is quite slow compared to Z-Wave, so while you likely notice a delay in a Insteon->Indigo->Insteon scenario, you probably won't in a Z-Wave->Indigo-> Insteon and even less in a Z-Wave->Indigo->Z-Wave scenario. I can't remember the last time I missed a signal from a Z-Wave device.


I can agree with that, seems reasonable, and very compelling. I'll have to take another look at zwave sensor modules.


- Benjamin

------
My Plugins for Indigo (v4, v5, and v6) - http://bit.ly/U8XxPG

Security Script for v4 - http://bit.ly/QTgclf
for v5 - http://bit.ly/T6WBKu

Support Forum(s) - http://www.perceptiveautomation.com/userforum/viewforum.php?f=33

Posted on
Thu Oct 04, 2018 4:33 pm
boisy offline
User avatar
Posts: 79
Joined: Jun 25, 2013

Re: Thoughts on Indigo as the hub of a home security system

jay (support) wrote:
There are a range of Z-Wave sirens available. Maybe it's time to add Z-Wave to your setup (the sensors are much better than Insteon IMO).


I know it, Jay, but there's something about rolling my own hardware AND Indigo plug-in.

In fact, I did just that, successfully. I now have an Arduino controlled 12V siren (very loud) that I can toggle on and off within Indigo using a plug-in I wrote. It works reliably, now I just have to figure out where to mount the siren.

However, I see your point about z-wave. I just ordered an Aeotec Gen5 stick, and expect I'll start deploying some z-wave devices around the house soon.

Boisy G. Pitre
Lead Developer, Tee-Boy
http://www.tee-boy.com

Posted on
Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:41 pm
jay (support) offline
Site Admin
User avatar
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Joined: Mar 19, 2008
Location: Austin, Texas

Re: Thoughts on Indigo as the hub of a home security system

boisy wrote:
jay (support) wrote:
There are a range of Z-Wave sirens available. Maybe it's time to add Z-Wave to your setup (the sensors are much better than Insteon IMO).


I know it, Jay, but there's something about rolling my own hardware AND Indigo plug-in.


Geeking out on this forum is completely acceptable and in fact encouraged. At some point, I'm going to post pictures about how a I modified some LED fairy lights to get powered from USB and how I have them strategically placed in the house to provide accent lights. Required some soldering but it was great fun.

BTW, if you want to, post how you did it on the User Modifications forum for others to enjoy!

Jay (Indigo Support)
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Posted on
Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:51 pm
mundmc offline
Posts: 358
Joined: Sep 14, 2012

Re: Thoughts on Indigo as the hub of a home security system

More geeking out! Awesome read. And Ben! Good to see you around!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Posted on
Fri Oct 05, 2018 6:41 am
bschollnick2 offline
Posts: 1324
Joined: Oct 17, 2004
Location: Rochester, Ny

Re: Thoughts on Indigo as the hub of a home security system

mundmc wrote:
More geeking out! Awesome read. And Ben! Good to see you around!


Thanks. Glad to be around...

------
My Plugins for Indigo (v4, v5, and v6) - http://bit.ly/U8XxPG

Security Script for v4 - http://bit.ly/QTgclf
for v5 - http://bit.ly/T6WBKu

Support Forum(s) - http://www.perceptiveautomation.com/userforum/viewforum.php?f=33

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