Check it out! You could get in on the positive momentum with the Insteon on Hub app in Windows 8.
The app can be found at: http://apps.microsoft.com/windows/en-us/app/77f93ec1-fa24-4f57-95fb-43c25e769f03
I have spoke with a number of students over the years, and many students see home automation as a way to start a small business. For instance there is an Insteon Arduino Shield, see: http://www.goodrobot.com/wiki/wiki:newarduinoinsteoncontroller.
Become an installer of the Insteon systems. You may need a contractor license in many states, California for instance requires a contractor license for any work over $500. Varies state to state.
Not a use of the Arduino directly, but it would give you a better idea of what kinds of things people want to use the Insteon for. After all what you consider cool might not be the same thing Doctor or Lawyer would consider cool. This way you make some money and find out what the customers want.
What about being a developer for Insteon?
There is a developer site at: http://www.insteon.com/developers-becoming.html , it isn’t free. Is it worth it? I am not sure, I have used the Developer SDK years ago, so things might have changed. Again, I am focused Netduino/Arduino Bluetooth stuff.
Design Considerations: KEEP IT SIMPLE
Bear in mind that the usual customer just wants to schedule their lights on and off (think those plug clock things you get at the drug store for a few dollars), do a little security through a camera and so forth. Insteon’s magic as a company is keeping it simple. Trust me, as an employee of Microsoft, keeping things simple is a full time job.
Open source: There are complaints that the Insteon is not really open source. Umm, personally I think that it is likely that Insteon isn’t open source enough because their attempt at open source through the Mayhem code was under utilized, I don’t know for sure.
There is an Arduino Shield mentioned here: http://www.goodrobot.com/wiki/wiki:newarduinoinsteoncontroller , but not sure if this is widely accepted shield.
If you want to experiment with working with a solid company like Insteon, download their Insteon for Hub from the store and check it out. You can get the Hub from Amazon for $129, and if you are into the Arduino, you likely just spent that on getting a Bluetooth thing working.
You don’t use Home Automation Sam
It is cool to have a home automated using this kind of technology. As I said I don’t use Insteon Home Automation because I am keeping it really simple, and I keep it simple by allowing my wife to maintain the home. She doesn’t really want Home Automation, and what she says goes. My neighbor on the other hand has home automation and I am totally jealous. Well sort of. He has bigger house and lots of power hungry toys, his use of Insteon has saved him money. What am I going to save with a 9 dollar a month electric bill? I can’t even justify solar panels. And I have been ask what do we use for our cooking? Electric, not Gas. Our heating (no A/C) and Hot Water are gas though. We are used to using Electric for cooking, and can’t justify the cost of changing to gas.
Insteon offers a great way to do home automation if you want to keep it really simple with the dimmable LEDs that work on the Insteon Hub available at Costco for 100 buck (LEDs not the Hub)! That’s a good price for just the LEDs and you get the Insteon programmability! Nice.
Again, Insteon is a company that I have been following since I graduated from College and they have not paid me, given me stuff or even contacted me. But the Windows 8.1 Hub is totally cool and seriously wish I could justify the money to buy the Hub. (And no, I can’t accept any gifts from Insteon or any vendors for my testing or review, not a Microsoft rule [or is it?], it’s my rule. Although I should stop by the Insteon and check out some of the stuff, they are US company that has a plan! 🙂