Micosoft Embraces Insteon Products

Microsoft Picks Insteon as Home Automation Partner
May 20, 2014

Microsoft has not been associated with home automation since Life/ware offered a customized Windows Media Center PC for residential applications several years ago.

Per a recent CEPro article by Julie Jacobson and a Microsoft press release, "Microsoft funded development of a Windows 8 app for Insteon and will sell Insteon devices online and in its 53 U.S. stores, marking Microsoft’s retail entry into the connected home market.”

Insteon was developed by Smarthome Labs and has been available since 2008 from the Smarthome retail web site. Insteon is considered a significant improvement over the X10 technology because it uses the home electrical circuits similar to X10, but also sends RF signal transmissions to control Insteon devices. The RF signals avoid some of the transmission problems experienced with X10 devices.

JCL Automation published a lighting control solution in January, 2008 featuring the new Insteon products, and has been selling these products online ever since.

Over time Smarthome Labs has introduced other devices, such as thermostats, a garage door automation package, and now an Insteon light bulb.

Insteon has also added the following devices: Motion Sensor, Hidden Door Sensor, Open/Close Sensor, and an Indoor/Outdoor Photobeam Entry Alert Kit to detect security breaches inside or outside the home. Coupled with the new Windows 8 app for Insteon, which allows you to view IP surveillance cameras. The Microsoft-Insteon combination provides the primary features most homeowners seek in an integrated security system.

The above new additions to the Insteon product family make it a viable alternative to consider for whole-house automation applications.

In our experience however, using the Insteon IRLinc Transmitter for controlling entertainment systems is somewhat cumbersome compared to other automation systems available today like Control4.

Update (7/21/2014): Julie Jacobson of CEPro just published an
update to her previous story referenced above stating the Insteon Windows 8.1 app now uses Cortana for voice activated commands for Insteon devices installed in your home.

For those not familiar with Cortana it is the Windows 8.1 equivalent to Siri on Apple iPhones.