The internet of things and home automation has been around for a while now. Over it’s existence, the concept of automation has continually pushed willing and unwilling individuals online, forcing us to hook up our homes to the Internet even when all we want is a smooth way to control the blinds, a thermostat and perhaps the home entertainment system.
While hooking up your automated home to the internet might be convenient and safe, there are times when all you need is a self-contained system running on a simple and local server. A system that doesn’t care about your bandwidth or potential hackers. This is where Z-Wave automation hubs like the ISY994i Pro from Universal Devices comes in.
ISY994i ZW/IR Pro at a Glance
The ISY994i ZW/IR Pro is Universal Device’s elite home automation controller that packs all the features that might be missing in the baby ISY994i and the ISY994i ZW. Apart from being a standalone controller for INSTEON automation devices, the ZW/IR Pro also packs Z-Wave capabilities and the almost traditional Infra Red control support making ti a more rounded home automation hub.
The black controller box almost resembles a set-top box and comes with native OpenADR support right out of the box. A bigger code memory lets you install extra communication device drivers especially if you’ve plugged something into the expansion slot.
With this hub, you get everything, from a logic engine to handle all the scenes you program into it, a secure web server to allow you hook into the dashboard and control your sensors and actuators regardless of whether you have an internet connection or not.
Quick Comparison Between the Different ISY994i Models
|ISY994i||ISY994iZW||ISY994i ZW/IR Pro||Needs 2413S PLM (Not Included)|
|INTEON Support||Needs 2413S PLM (Not included)|
|X10 Support||Z-Wave radio included|
|Z-Wave Support||Nodes = devices, buttons, scenes & folders|
|Max Number of Nodes||255||255||1024|
|Max Number of Programs||300||300||1000|
|Amazon Echo Support||Requires ISY Portal Subscription|
|Infrared Remote Control|
A Clever Merger Between Online and Offline
A steady onboard real-time clock will keep your system running steady when you don’t want it online while automatic time sync with NTP servers will help you keep everything standardized if you don’t mind going online. With constant firmware updates, the ISY994i Pro is fit to power your smart home on its own or with occasional connections to the web to download or upload information that make your automation a reality.
Hooking up your sensors and actuators to the ISY is easy. You can either use the SET buttons on the devices or add them to the admin console using their INSTEON address.
Intuitive Scene Programming and Management
ISY devices use the scene programming approach that is common to most stand alone home automation systems. Scene programming is where you set up a set of state conditions in a physical or virtual room that are activated in a cascading domino effect by a single trigger.
A good controller responder environment will use a sensor as the trigger to a couple of actuators, for instance, a traditional thermostat, a wireless ceiling fan and blind controllers to prepare the house for a calm Sunday evening once the sun sets.
Though complex, all the program creation is a simple point and click scenario making programming your ISY easier than it might sound. You will need some knowledge on conditionals and the IFFT if this then that approach to keep a firm control over your sensors and actuators.
INSTEON, Z-WAVE, IR – What About These?
The INSTEON is the traditional connection communication protocol on the ISY standalone home automation unit. This lets you register and control INSTEON-compatible devices with utter ease. However, if you want extra range and have purchased a Z-Wave enabled model of the smart home controller, you can hook it up to the Z-Wave network radio. Z-wave devices give a longer wireless connection range without sacrificing battery power making them a great solution to long range operation scenarios.
The IR control, on the other hand, lets you control connected devices with an IR controller. This can let you call on instant reactions, for instance, lights on or off regardless of the current scene configuration or whether the lights can receive the IR signal directly.
The Catches – What to Know Before Buying ISY994i Controllers
You will need an INSTEON Serial PLM (model 2412s or Model 2413s) to have the ISY working. The PLM lets you hook up to your remote devices and also supplies power to the ISY in case you don’t want to use a stand alone AC adapter.
ISY is not your ordinary everyday home command/control hub. The ISY-994i series is the most flexible and affordable standalone home automation solution for your INSTEON, X10, and Z-Wave devices. Unlike other automation systems that rely on the cloud for everything, the ISY994i system is fully autonomous.
This device has its own built-in event based logic engine, secure web server, and real-time clock making it impermeable to internet outages. Thanks to the helpful online community, top rated customer support, and the extensive documentation and tutorials, automating your home has never been this easier.
ISY994i ZW/IR PRO Z-Wave Notable Features
The Universal ISY994i has an expansion slot that can be used to install and support extra communication protocols such as the Z-Wave radio.
Real-time clock on board
This feature helps support daytime saving and automatic sync with the internet time sources. Additionally, it helps in the automatic calculation of Sunrise/Sunset times based on location important in the logic decision process.
Increased code memory
This feature gives the ISY994i ZW capabilities to support additional communication devices.
- Outstanding and reliable vendor support team.
- Reliable controllers
- You can access this device remotely from any part of the world on any platform.
- It is developer friendly as it can be easily integrated with any hardware or software.
- This device is more of a plug and play solution. You need to be a little bit tech savvy and conversant with the configuration of network devices to be able to install it.
- It might be plug and play to some extent but you will need some time to understand screen programming and get going with the automation
The Universal Devices ISY994i ZW/IR PRO Z-Wave | INSTEON | X10 Automation Controller is indisputably one of the best smart home automation controllers. Despite its high cost, this device provides you with a complete and flexible point and click environment. This is to mean that you can create triggers and program on your device based on time schedules, the state of devices and defined variables amongst others. Its extensible functionality also makes it easier additional modules for use in the programs. Despite the high cost, this smart home device is a worthy investment in every smart home.CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON