Avi-on . . . the un-IRIS
0

12 posts in this topic

Well, I stumbled on to another type of SH system: Avi-on. GE makes switches for Avi-on that look just like the GE Z-wave devices (which explains why I now have 2 Outdoor Smart Switches off of eBay that won't talk to IRIS).  The twist is, these are Bluetooth controlled. Seems really limiting, right? Well, yes . . . and no. Each device acts as a Bluetooth repeater, so the system can have a wider footprint than expected. More fundamentally, the programming resides on the device, not in an app, not in a hub, and most definitely not in the cloud. Here's how Avi-on describes it:

  • Avi-on is built on a new technology called Bluetooth Smart Mesh: schedules and programs live on the devices, and the Internet is optional. 
  • Avi-on is a distributed architecture where the schedules and programs live on the devices. That means that once you have programmed a switch with sunrise/sunset, groups or other functionality, they work 24/7--without access to the Internet or your smartphone.

There is a hub you can buy if you want to access these devices via internet; I don't. The distributed architecture allows me to use these in places where I want a schedule to run whether the web, hub, etc. is working or not. I'm thinking primarily security 'presence" lighting. I can set up 7 different on/off times per day.

 

sparc likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting. Depending on how diverse their portfolio of devices is this might
offer a solution for some applications where internet or phone access is not
available. I know of one such remote location where this might work.

But...after looking at the reviews on Google Play, and not seeing even one
positive review, I think they have some growing pains to work through just
as Iris did when they switched to the V2 hub, so it might pay to hold off for
a bit. However, the app looks very nicely laid out and has some features
that would be nice to see on Iris. Of course the ratings for Iris by Lowes are
no better so I guess that's not much of an indicator. But still not one positive
review is a concern to me.

In the app description on Google Play and on their website, the only available
devices listed are:
· GE Brand Smart Plug-in Switches and Dimmers manufactured by Jasco
· GE Brand Smart In-wall Switches and Dimmers manufactured by Jasco
· GE Brand Outdoor Timer Switches manufactured by Jasco
plus the RAB

Looking through the support website I didn't see anything about security of
their BT-mesh network or the RAB (Remote Access Bridge) which connects
your Avi-on system to the internet via Wi-Fi.

AND... the kicker is that to do grouping and some other cool features will require
you to subscribe to their premium service so NOT as free and easy as they lead
you to think. But, the premium service is not available from what I can see at this
point in time because when you follow the link on their website directing you to
where you sign up for premium you get a 404 error, so no one home. Apparently
if you buy your RAB from Avi-on premium is included, but if you buy it elsewhere
you have to pay an additional fee to Avi-on. Now the reason you can't sign up for
premium at this point may be that it's free just a Iris did when they were starting.
They're probably following the same marketing model that drug dealers use, give
out the candy for free and once they're hooked start charging for it.

     *Upgraded features like grouping are not available for all devices and users.
     Grouping can save you thousands of dollars in electrician costs by allowing
     you to combine and control multiple devices and lights as a single group in
     real time. If you would like to add grouping to your Avi-on app, please visit
     avi-on.com/premium.

All in all I like the concept of each device running independently as far as maintaining
it's own schedule, that would let a device continue to follow its schedule if connection
to the optional hub is lost. But if premium service is required for the grouping function
to work then one of the big advantages of the system is lost, that of independency.

I did find one support article that I thought was interesting which talks about issues with
Bluetooth on Android mostly, but some references to iOS too.

https://support.avi-on.com/hc/en-us/articles/207914438

Phones and Tablets With Known Problems with BLE 4.0

Here is a list of smartphones and tablets that may have connection difficulties because
they either have poor quality Bluetooth radios and/or they do not have a BLE 4.0 radio at all.

THIS LIST IS NOT ALL-INCLUSIVE. As phones get older, and new phones are released,
then the performance of different phones vary.

  • Early iPads (early generations don't have a BLE 4.0 radios)
  • Nexus 4
  • Nexus 7 (some models do not have BLE 4.0 radios)
  • HTC (all models)
  • HTC One Max
  • HTC One X 
  • HTC Sense
  • Moto G (some models have poor quality Bluetooth radios)
  • Moto Droid Ultra
  • Moto Droid Maxx
  • Moto Droid Mini
  • Moto Droid RAZR Maxx
  • Moto (most models)
  • LG G Flex
  • Samsung Galaxy (some early models do not have BLE 4.0 radios)
  • Samsung Note (some models have short ranges that deliver a poor experience)
pavalov likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I work for a City government and we use these extensively for holiday lighting on and around Main Street.  The City electrician used to have to drive the alleys several times a year to adjust mechanical timers.  It is kind of experimental at this point, but they worked great this past holiday season.

I also used one of the outdoor plugs for Christmas lights at my Moms house.  It was easy to set a schedule, but I kind of wish I had remote access to verify operation.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I got one from GE to test out and it has been real stable. I think in the last few months only once I had to resync it. But the biggest drawback to me was the inability to control the lights remotely. Hell sometimes at one end of the house I have trouble getting it to connect. But if you just want something to run accent lighting these things are hard to beat, set the schedule and forget it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The RAB is not available yet from what I read on their website. You can pre-order but that doesn't help you today.

Didn't see any mention of connecting to Amazon Alexa which would be huge. If they get it working reliably and
you could tell it what to do using a Alexa skill that would be all you'd need. Add the RAB and you would have
remote capabilities from your smartphone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, sparc said:

The RAB is not available yet from what I read on their website. You can pre-order but that doesn't help you today.

Didn't see any mention of connecting to Amazon Alexa which would be huge. If they get it working reliably and
you could tell it what to do using a Alexa skill that would be all you'd need. Add the RAB and you would have
remote capabilities from your smartphone.

From their support website:

Amazon Echo/Alexa support is coming Soon!!

Get an Avi-on Remote Access Bridge at Avi-on.com, then connect to any Alexa compatible deviceincluding Echo, Echo Dot, Tap, and many others.

We are doing final testing now and expect to see the Avi-on Alexa available on Amazon.com very soon!

It is working great in our internal testing.

sparc likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, sparc said:

The RAB is not available yet from what I read on their website. You can pre-order but that doesn't help you today.

Didn't see any mention of connecting to Amazon Alexa which would be huge. If they get it working reliably and
you could tell it what to do using a Alexa skill that would be all you'd need. Add the RAB and you would have
remote capabilities from your smartphone.

From the pre-order page for the Remote Access Bridge: " Expected release date is Feb 28th 2017 ". Price: $99.

sparc likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, sparc said:

But...after looking at the reviews on Google Play, and not seeing even one
positive review, I think they have some growing pains to work through just
as Iris did . . .

The reviews on iOs are not much better - four good ratings out of fourteen. My limited experience so far has been  trouble-free. The link-up with a device was quick and stable (only one installed so far). The app quickly connects when I'm in range -- no log-in issues that some reviews complained of. The Bluetooth range through walls is a lot less than 100 feet, though. With only one device installed, I can't comment on how effectively the repeater function between devices works. That said, I'm really not using it as a system for constant interaction; more as a set it and forget it schedule, which is where the distributed architecture really shines. It's going to work as long as there is power to the device, regardless of hub or internet status.

As for the app itself, it is clean and fairly intuitive. I really like the ease with which you schedule the switch. It has a virtual dial just like an old mechanical timer, and all the days of the week are on the same page with the dial, so setting the timing and the applicable days is very fast. For instance, I was able to set 7 on/off entries and schedule them through the week in about 2 minutes.

sparc likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, I like the app too. Very nicely done I thought.

OK on the RAB being released soon, and on Alexa compatibility.

It looks like a very nice system for controlling your home lighting.
I saw where they have some outdoor lighting controls coming too.

Did anyone see anything about what the premium service will cost?

Also, not sure what the included means if you buy the RAB from directly
from their website. Is that the first year, forever, first 3 months, more
information needed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Installed my second outdoor switch on an indoor lamp; the first switch is outdoors. Having just two devices greatly increases the Bluetooth footprint, so it looks like the repeater function really works.

sparc likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Picked up a few of these last year as they went non-stock in lowes from the 2015 holiday season.  So far only had one issue with a plug and it was fixed quite simply by a reset on the plug.  The app isn't the best (about on par with the Iris V2 app).  But not a bad little setup.  Now if Iris could tie into these (since the Iris hub has a BT controller on it), it would be wonderful.

pavalov likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is a very good deal on the Avi-on indoor smart switches on e-Bay -- $10.97 OBO!

Search for:

GE Plug-In Bluetooth Smart Switch Wireless On/Off Light Timer Module 13867

By the way, the Remote Access Bridge (only needed if you want access outside of Bluetooth range) is now available at the Avi-on website; on sale for $80.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
0