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INSTEON ALTERNATIVES & INTEGRATIONS

TECHNOLOGY, SOFTWARE AND HUB OPTIONS FOR INSTEON USERS

 

Insteon is a flexible and powerful protocol, with a strong user following with numerous devices installed around their homes.  Aartech Canada has been distributing Insteon from the very beginning.  However, as of April 2022 Insteon and SmartLabs have  disappeared and recently Insteon updated their site to confirm they have ceased operations.  So Insteon users looking to keep their smart home running, expand their system or replace devices are in need of options.

The good news is that Insteon switches, dimmers and keypads do not require a cloud service to operate locally.  So any existing links and scenes work whether the Internet is down, the cloud service stops working, or the smart home hub breaks down.  So the devices still work but the hub is offline.  There are several ways to continue using Insteon and expand the system with other devices.

Those using smart home hubs other than the Insteon Hub, likely didn't notice any interruption to service since those hubs don't rely on Insteon servers - everything is handled locally in the home.   

Those using the Insteon Hub will need to find a way to migrate to another option as the Insteon Hub needs the Insteon cloud servers for programming and updates.  The hub may continue to run existing schedules but connecting to the hub or making any changes won't be possible.   Insteon Hub users will need to find a new smart home hub that supports Insteon.  The good news is most hubs and software that support Insteon, also support other technologies like ZWave, Zigbee, WiFi or Lutron's Caseta Wireless.  So rather than ditching your Insteon investment, consider a hybrid smart home system that uses Insteon combined with Z-Wave, Zigbee, WiFi or Lutron Caseta devices.  In fact many Insteon users have been combining Insteon and Z-Wave for years so they can use a wider range of devices like door locks or thermostats.

WHAT NOW?

 

You have 2 options:

  1. Keep your Insteon devices and use your Insteon Hub with a Hometroller Hub.  Or use it with Homeseer, Home Assistant, OpenHAB or other supporting software
  2. Remove your Insteon devices and replace with another technology.

 

CAN YOU JUST TELL ME WHAT'S THE EASIEST SOLUTION?

 

Not really because we don't really know you.  But if you don't want to figure out how to use your Insteon equipment and you want a fast solution then WiFi devices with cloud based apps are simple.  They also rely on a cloud service like your Insteon Hub did.   If you go with WiFi please use a recognized brand like Leviton or Enbrighten (Jasco).  Using no name brands means you are trusting no name cloud and apps. 

Or check out the Aeotec SmartThings Hub is very user friendly to set up and supports ZWave and Zigbee devices as well as Leviton WiFi.  It does uses a cloud service run by Samsung.

 

WILLING TO SPEND SOME TIME TO RESEARCH?

See below for more information on Insteon compatible smart home hubs and software.

 

INSTEON ALTERNATIVES

 

For those looking for new devices, there are many smart home options currently available beyond Insteon.  These are the most popular current technologies:

  • Lutron Caseta and RadioRA
  • WiFi
  • ZWave
  • Zigbee

 

Smart Hubs and Software to Support Insteon

 

With the exception of WiFi devices, most smart home technologies require a smart home hub or computer based automation software.  The hub or software is the brain and conductor of your smart home system.  Some hubs and software can  support Insteon plus other technologies at the same time which makes them an excellent choice for a hybrid system. Most of these systems will support Google and Alexa voice assistants as well.

 

ISY994

ISY994 users know the power of this smart home gem.  All programming is stored and executed locally and the ISY994 supports schedules and powerful if/then/else programming logic. The Internet is only used for remote control outside the home, notifications, or integration with third party systems like Google or Alexa voice assistants.  There is also a ZWave card available for the ISY994 - either sold separately or pre-installed.  With the ZWave card, users can combine Insteon and ZWave which opens up many more device options.  If you don't have a ZWave card in your ISY994, you can purchase one separately.  Note that the older ISY99 does not support a ZWave card.  We no longer sell ISY994 but rather we have the new Polisy.

 

POLISY

From the makers of the ISY, the new generation is called Polisy.  Polisy runs its own embedded software and allows users to  automate a number of different technologies and systems from Insteon to ZWave, IP/WiFi enabled devices, Lutron Caseta and even Telsa vehicles.  Polisy is definitely aimed at highly tech savvy users.   .  Polisy also supports Insteon by connecting a 2413S, 2413U or 2448 interface.  ISY users can migrate since they will have a 2413S already.   This system is aimed at tech nerds so expect to roll up your sleeves.  ZWave integration requires a ZWave USB stick. 

 

HOMETROLLER OR HOMESEER

Homeseer is available as a software product, or embedded in one of their Hometroller smart hubs.  Those who prefer not to set up a 24/7 computer and windows updates can use Hometroller.  Hometroller-Plus and Hometroller-Pro can support Insteon.  Hometroller stores all programming and runs all logic locally, it's not cloud dependant.  Hometroller natively supports ZWave and it can work with Insteon.  You'll need a 2413U, 2413S, 2448 USB interface or Insteon Hub to enable Insteon support and the "Mark Sandler Insteon Plug-In" is the way to go.  For Insteon Hub users this is a great option.  DO NOT factory reset your hub as it may not be recoverable.

 

HOME ASSISTANT SOFTWARE

Home Assistant is a software platform that can support Insteon, ZWave, Zigbee and a number of other platforms.  It can run on a raspberry computer server.  Home Assistant is powerful and requires a tech savvy user to set it up but the options are virtually limitless for those willing to build a system around Home Assistant.  Since it's a local platform, all programming and routines are stored and run locally so it's not cloud dependant.  Home Assistant can be used with an Insteon PLM, 2448A7 USB stick or an Insteon Hub locally.  For those people with an Insteon Hub that has gone offline, this is another option.   https://www.home-assistant.io/integrations/insteon/   DO NOT factory reset your hub as it may not be recoverable.

 

HUBITAT HUB

While Hubitat does not have native Insteon support, there is a community written driver that purports to use an Insteon Hub (model 2245-222) as a bridge to Insteon.  It is marked as-is and like many of these solutions, expect to roll up your sleeves and work with the community for support.  We do not promote Hubitat as an Insteon hub and can't offer any support for integration or confirm it will work.  Hubitat is a very powerful hub with built-in support for ZWave, Zigbe and many IP/WiFi devices.  It's inexpensive, powerful and incredibly flexible.  The Hubitat community is vibrant and the developers continue to improve the platform.  Hubitat stores and runs all programming locally and it can be accessed remotely and tied in to Alexa and Google without paying any fees.  There is an optional paid service that provides remote administration, backups and warranty extension.

 

OpenHAB

Another great software solution is OpenHAB.  OpenHAB supports a computer with a PLM connected or it can talk to an Insteon Hub for those users looking to migrate from their hub to another solution.  Do NOT reset your Insteon Hub.  You can learn about OpenHAB Insteon support here.

 

Insteon Alternatives Technology Discussion

 

As users look to replace their Insteon equipment or built out their smart home with newer devices, it's worth considering which options would be most suitable from a technology perspective.  One repeat question being asked is "what's plug and play easy".  In reality, none of the Insteon hub solutions are going to be easy and will require some time and patience.

For those looking to rip out Insteon and start from scratch, one of the easiest hubs to use is the Aeotec SmartThings hub which supports a wide range of ZWave, Zigbe and IP enabled devices.   It uses the SmartThings app and cloud service.  It also works with SmartThings sensors.   Aeotec took over manufacturing the SmartThings hub and sensors in 2021 and it uses the same SmartThings app.

 

Lutron Caseta or RadioRA

Lutron's Caseta Wireless system is perfect for small jobs, condos and smaller homes.  It's rock solid and uses a very fast, reliable and interference free frequency to provide wireless lighting control.  Caseta offers switches, dimmers and plug-in modules.  They also use battery powered Pico remotes that can be wall mounted for remote and scene lighting control.   Caseta is DIY and installer friendly.  RadioRA takes it to another level, supporting larger homes but it requires an authorized installer.  Many Insteon users are now installing Caseta devices.  The Caseta Bridge allows for smart phone control.  The Caseta Pro Bridge allows for integration with third party systems and hubs.

 

WiFi

WiFi is a standard wireless protocol supported by all wireless routers and access points.  It's safe to say that almost all homes have a WiFi network so it makes sense to consider WiFi smart home devices.   For simple automation like app control, voice control or timers, most WiFi devices will do the trick.  Enbrighten WiFi is a great example of low cost flexible smart home devices.  Leviton's Decora Smart WiFi is a complete line of keypads, switches, dimmers and plugs that just work.  In fact at time of writing, Leviton is the only WiFi manufacturer we carry that supports multi-button scene keypads.  Keep in mind that WiFi devices need the home WiFi network to be functional, and in the case of Leviton's keypads - they require live Internet connection to function.  One downfall of WiFi is that if the home's router is changed, reset, or the WiFi password changes, it's necessary to reprogram all the WiFi devices with the new network/password.

 

Z-Wave

 

For many years, ZWave has been the smart home automation protocol of choice for most brands including alarm companies, hub and software developers.  ZWave has matured over the years to become a fast and flexible technology.  Devices that are ZWave certified will work with most ZWave certified hubs.  ZWave has very limited support for scene keypads but has a huge following of manufacturers and device types including thermostats, locks, plugs, dimmers, switches and sensors.

 

Zigbee

 

Zigbee is a wireless technology similar to ZWave but sort of like vhs and beta back in the day, ZWave and Zigbee took a different path.   Zigbee has some nice inexpensive sensors.

 

Conclusion

We hope that Insteon will once again become available in its current form or perhaps under the guise of a new new brand name like Nokia.  Insteon was launched in 2005 so it was hardly a flash in the pan.  In the mean time, users need choices today and we're here to help.  Aartech Canada is the original and leading smart home automation distributor in Canada, celebrating 20 years as of 2022.  Please reach out if we can help answer any questions.  

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