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Home Control Assistant Newsletter for Nov 10

Have you looked over the version 16 release notes? Lots of changes that you can incorporate into your designs right away.

And if you are looking for answers to the most common questions about HCA check out our Frequently Asked Questions page.

Want to read messages from past weeks? Here you go.

Version 16

In case you missed it, HCA version 16 was released a few weeks ago. There are two big reasons to upgrade to this new version. First there are a lot of new features and a lot of stability improvements that make things go better and faster even if you make no changes in your design. Take a look at the release notes and you can see all the changes. Let me highlight two reasons to upgrade.

First, over the years we have had a lot of requests for ZWave and Zigbee device support. These wireless devices have their pluses and minuses and some people really like them. If this is what you are looking for, then you should look into Samsung SmartThings and Hubitat Elevation. Both offer hubs that provide the interface that HCA needs to talk to these kinds of devices.

The second big reason to upgrade is that you have a lot of time invested in HCA and by upgrading, at a nominal cost, you support the company that keeps this software going year after year. A few weeks back the HCA Cloud got caught up in a bit of a squall when our hosting company came under attack. While it was nothing to do with HCA, our team was there over the weekend and sorted it out within a day. Upgrade now to keep this level of support going.
 
Moving lighting away from power line signals?
Received several questions lately about the various ways that lighting can be controlled, and it seems that it isn’t much known that HCA supports a number of different protocols that are not power line based. Among those are LIFX wifi lights, Phillips Hue, TP-Link, and ZWave and Zigbee controlled by SmartThings and Hubitat Elevation.

While in my own home I am a hold-over from the days of all power line control (UPB), I have started to use more of the new lighting methods because they are so convenient to install. If you purchase the slightly more expensive color changing lights, they can be a bit more fun too.

I’m not recommending that you replace gear that works fine for you, just letting you know there are other possibilities out there if you want to add some new gear.
 
HCA Cloud Renewal
It’s been about a year since version 15 was released and many cloud accounts were created then. I have recently noticed that many of those cloud accounts are at or near renewal time. When near renewal time, the system sends you an email warning, and then another if it does end. But, as these reminders are done vie email and with so many things blocking emails these days, it may be a good idea to check your account and make a reminder in your calendar when to do the renewal. It’s easy. Just go to https://oauth.hcatech.com/login and login with your username and password and the details of your account are shown. And if you need to renew its right on that page.
 
Apple iOS app
The new HCA App for Apple devices is now in the Apple App Store. This App was updated to have the new version 16 “draw text over icon” facility implemented, plus necessary changes for the most recent releasees of the Apple OS. You should get the update reminder on your Apple device.
 
Sonos
I guess with all that Google Assistant and Alexa dofor music that Sonos – the big dog for a while – has been somewhat left behind. But, in my opinion, its ability to integrate many different music sources is excellent. As I type this, I’m listing to Pandora over my office Sonos speaker (I will not tell you what channel as it could make me look too old I expect!)

HCA offers good integration with Sonos though a package available in the library. One nice feature is that you can control it from a “I’m home” type of program so you don’t come home to a dark and quiet house.
 
Want to watch instead of read?

If you are interested in watching some videos about how HCA and Insteon can work together, George De Luca, a HCA users of a few years and technology video creator, has started to add HCA videos to his channel. He has a good knowledge of HCA and its ins-and-outs.
 
His channel can be reached at: https://www.youtube.com/deluca2008. While I’ve offered him some thoughts on the videos, his opinions and advice on using HCA are his own. If you have questions about something you see, ask them in the video comment section and you may see a video with an answer.


User-to-User forum

An HCA User who wanted to set up a forum for user-to-user communication. I'm passing this on, but please know that this is not a HCA company project and I will not be spending much time there so I don't know how this will work out. Here is a link to what he set up.

https://www.reddit.com/r/HomeControlAssistant/

 
Want to take the next step in automation? Want to get started with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant and control HCA by voice commands? Even if you are a long-time user of HCA, the Getting Started guides have all the info you need on client-server, mobile applications, DDNS, and voice assistants.

All of the Getting Started Guides are available on the support website.
 
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