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Home Control Assistant Newsletter for Aug 8 2021

Have you read the Important Announcement posted on August 1, 2021? If you haven't you need to.
I want to start this week by thanking everyone who sent kind words in reaction to my announcement last week. It hasn’t always been easy developing and supporting this software, but it has been good to see the creative ways that you all have put it to use. I will spend this week answering some of the questions I have received about the new direction.

The most common questions I received are some form of “what software exists to replace HCA?”. My answer is: don’t ask that question today or even next month or in six months. Let’s wait and see what develops over the next year. Remember what I wrote: HCA and the HCA cloud will be around for the next three years. We have time, and the pace of change is accelerating. Deciding today isn’t wise in my opinion. Now having said that, I do ask anyone who finds solutions that look interesting to please let me know so I can pass them on to others. You may also want to consider looking less at older technology like Insteon, and more at newer WiFi based lighting as you add or replace hardware in your home.

The second common question was about what happens after “the end”. As I said in my FAQ the most important point is that there is NO time lock in the software. If it can run under Windows, it will continue to function forever. Recently I set up a machine with the Windows 11 beta and HCA installed and ran with no changes needed. Microsoft has done an excellent job – much better than Google or Apple – in making sure that older programs continue to work. You should keep the installers – the zip file you download with a new version – some place, so if you change your computer, you can reinstall HCA.

The third question is about what will continue to work when the HCA Cloud ends. The answer is ALL the in-house automation – UPB, X10, Insteon, TP-Link, Phillips Hue, Ecobee and other thermostats, and everything supported by Hubitat. Anything that needs cloud support – voice assistants, Ring, Sonos, Lifx, SmartThings – will not.

That last question brings up an important point. One of the good features of HCA was that it integrated all those different technologies into one application. Finding a solution that spans power line transmission (UPB, X10, Insteon), WiFi (Tp-Link), and Zwave/Zigbee (Hubitat) may be difficult. It may be necessary to become comfortable with a set of applications that gives you what you need rather than just one, but we will see what comes.

Finally, I did get a few comments that were misunderstandings. HCA is NOT going away tomorrow or even soon. Really, three years is a very long time in this world we are in. Relax for a bit yet. Let’s see what Google and Amazon do over the next year before anyone leaps in a new direction.

 
Backup!

When was the last time you made a backup of your HCA design? Not a month goes by without at least one tale of woe from a HCA user. Please use the "Design Backup Assistant" on the Tools ribbon category. The work you save will be your own.


 
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