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andjarnic

Iris 2... you could have owned the market.. now you are way behind

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andjarnic

So this is a sort of rant... I have invested quite a bit in Iris, more so the past couple of months with Iris 2 and had hoped a new version was going to bring all sorts of new additions, advancements, and joy. I am one of the numerous people who have unfortunately had nothing but problems with the upgrade. Maybe brand new users are doing good.. I dont know. I hope not because that would make me think Lowes/Iris is like the cell phone companies, only giving breaks and good things to new customers but the existing supportive/loyal ones are cast off to the side now that they got our money. I am still holding out that that is not the case.

 

First, I will say that I am a software developer, mobile app developer, and also do all sorts of electronic hobby projects, such as build drones, connect triggers, etc up to Raspberry Pi computers and write code to interact, etc. Today, when you can buy a Raspberry Pi for $35 and build your own DIY home automation (of course that does cost a bit more)..  when I pay $1500 or more for light switches, cameras, motion sensors, door/window sensors and more.. and have nothing but problems getting things to pair to the point that NONE of the new devices I have bought pair with my brand spanking new HUB... and over 2 months later no updates have fixed the issues.. there is a problem. To be fair, my hub does work with some of the original Version 1 devices that it migrated over when I ran through the upgrade process. But it lost some in the migration, and I have yet to be able to get those back either.

 

That is but one problem. Another major huge step back is the lack of the web site. I have a small phone... I do not want to try to have to fumble on my phone for every dang problem with this system. Sure, its nice to control some aspects of it, but I much prefer my much bigger computer screen, keyboard/mouse, etc. Some people will love the mobile only use case, most from what I have read loathe it. I cant imagine who at Lowes/Iris thought it was a great idea to abandon the web app entirely. The old one was a clunky interface, but worked. I sure hope they didnt poll a small group of people and get the mobile only fans and from that decided to drop the web app support. I read that it is supposedly going to come back eventually. Well here is an offer guys... Ill build it for you. Give me the back end API interface, Ill build you a modern day very smooth UI web application that can also run on mobile and also be wrapped up in native windows, linux and Mac frameworks for the desktop, in case someone wants that instead of a web browser entry point. It isnt hard... which leads into the next big miss that Iris for some reason has ignored...

 

Today, in a market of Kickstarter and Indiegogo start up ideas.. there are TONS of potential home automation/alarm start ups with WIFI hubs, mobile apps, web apps, and various protocols supported.. hitting the market. In a market like this, Lowes and Iris had a very good chance to lead the market with some great innovations, continual updates, support, etc. To some degree, the large device list looks impressive.. if only that issue of pairing it wasnt a problem! Today.. there are also a whopping LOT more developers, hobbyists, etc that would love to add some level of control to their home automation. Myself included. To support this, several of these up and coming home/alarm options support open APIs... things that developers can use to add all sorts of goodies to a product like Iris. We could build our own UIs, mobile apps, etc. Case in point.. prior to Version 2 upgrade, I had several z-wave light switches on my hub. My kids all have phones or tablets of some sort, and I added light switches to their rooms because they often leave them on. Sometimes, for the sake of being lazy or otherwise, they are in bed, and they leave their switch on cause they are too lazy. Yah..bugs me too.. but still.. making a simple mobile or web app that offers a single button tied to their specific light switch.. that calls an API to turn it on/off, would be very easy, if there were an API to do so. Some of you may think that is ridiculous.. to build an app to let someone be too lazy to get out of bed to turn the switch off. I say, it spurs creativity. It is creativity that brings the next app that suddenly everyone wonders how they lived without it. So, for me, a huge let down and something IRIS needs to rectify immediately is a public well designed API. Again, as someone who has been building APIs for large companies for years, I offer my services to help guide your team on building a solid API.

 

Speaking of APIs... here is a good read.. (https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2016/02/19/new-open-connectivity-foundation-will-further-innovation-of-the-internet-of-things/). Basically.. Microsoft and many other companies formed the Open Connectivity Foundation, in a nut shell a group of companies that will agree on a public API around Internet of Things, so that everything can connect to everything via APIs. Having looked into the specification, they have APIs for all sorts of devices, including light switches, door/window triggers, etc. This is yet another great way IRIS can get involved and ensure they are staying connected with the community and offering a future with their platform! 

 

Lastly... the mobile app. It is a bit of a mess. In some ways it looks powerful, yet I find it harder to navigate for most things. The design looks nothing like a typical mobile app. Want a great simple easy to use design, check out Googles Project Fi. Very easy on the eyes, well laid out, only a couple things at a time on the screen, not polluted, not having to scroll much if at all, etc. The same UI in the mobile app is on the web site.. but uses a mobile first layout design to ensure that on smaller screens only the most important things are visible...contextually. The BIGGEST problem though.. I capped that because I am about to give up on Iris for this one problem.. is that I constantly have to enter my email and password in to the app to use it. It is like they took a 1990s web site with 30 minute sessions or something, and wrapped it up into this app, so that if I dont keep the app open, I have to log in again. OMG! It is hard enough to type in on the small screen keyboard.. but if I am driving, or out and about, and just want to arm my system.. I can NOT type in all that info..and yes I do use long passwords with numbers, characters, etc. This has been something I asked for a fix for months ago and STILL nothing. Again, if I were not a developer who works in this sort of code area, I would not say it could be done so fast..but I know for a fact this is something easily resolved. There are numerous ways mobile phones can protect apps so that you dont have to type username/password in every time. Especially with the latest phones coming with finger print scanners.. but also simple 4 digit codes if you must lock down the app. Even so, given the previous version 1 app was not locked like this, I dont know why they would do this. I am really hoping it is a bug and they either fired their 1 mobile engineer or that person left due to not hiring more to help get the mobile app updated faster. 

 

For the love of all that is might, Lowes/Iris.. please look to hire a huge number of people soon and fix these issues. I for one am continually checking for other options, and mostly havent jumped ship in hopes they hear my cries and maybe even reach out to me for some help, or at least provide WAY better communication with what is in the works, how soon, etc so we end users are not stuck waiting for months hoping something will be done, with no word on when, what, if... 

 

If any of you that read this book, have other ideas, similar problems, etc.. let me know. Would love to hear about it.

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garbled

Curious, is there any open source interface to the Iris?  Any kind of local (non-cloud) protocol that it speaks that could be wedged into one?

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RiverRat

So this is a sort of rant... I have invested quite a bit in Iris, more so the past couple of months with Iris 2 and had hoped a new version was going to bring all sorts of new additions, advancements, and joy. I am one of the numerous people who have unfortunately had nothing but problems with the upgrade. Maybe brand new users are doing good.. I dont know. I hope not because that would make me think Lowes/Iris is like the cell phone companies, only giving breaks and good things to new customers but the existing supportive/loyal ones are cast off to the side now that they got our money. I am still holding out that that is not the case.

 

First, I will say that I am a software developer, mobile app developer, and also do all sorts of electronic hobby projects, such as build drones, connect triggers, etc up to Raspberry Pi computers and write code to interact, etc. Today, when you can buy a Raspberry Pi for $35 and build your own DIY home automation (of course that does cost a bit more)..  when I pay $1500 or more for light switches, cameras, motion sensors, door/window sensors and more.. and have nothing but problems getting things to pair to the point that NONE of the new devices I have bought pair with my brand spanking new HUB... and over 2 months later no updates have fixed the issues.. there is a problem. To be fair, my hub does work with some of the original Version 1 devices that it migrated over when I ran through the upgrade process. But it lost some in the migration, and I have yet to be able to get those back either.

 

That is but one problem. Another major huge step back is the lack of the web site. I have a small phone... I do not want to try to have to fumble on my phone for every dang problem with this system. Sure, its nice to control some aspects of it, but I much prefer my much bigger computer screen, keyboard/mouse, etc. Some people will love the mobile only use case, most from what I have read loathe it. I cant imagine who at Lowes/Iris thought it was a great idea to abandon the web app entirely. The old one was a clunky interface, but worked. I sure hope they didnt poll a small group of people and get the mobile only fans and from that decided to drop the web app support. I read that it is supposedly going to come back eventually. Well here is an offer guys... Ill build it for you. Give me the back end API interface, Ill build you a modern day very smooth UI web application that can also run on mobile and also be wrapped up in native windows, linux and Mac frameworks for the desktop, in case someone wants that instead of a web browser entry point. It isnt hard... which leads into the next big miss that Iris for some reason has ignored...

 

Today, in a market of Kickstarter and Indiegogo start up ideas.. there are TONS of potential home automation/alarm start ups with WIFI hubs, mobile apps, web apps, and various protocols supported.. hitting the market. In a market like this, Lowes and Iris had a very good chance to lead the market with some great innovations, continual updates, support, etc. To some degree, the large device list looks impressive.. if only that issue of pairing it wasnt a problem! Today.. there are also a whopping LOT more developers, hobbyists, etc that would love to add some level of control to their home automation. Myself included. To support this, several of these up and coming home/alarm options support open APIs... things that developers can use to add all sorts of goodies to a product like Iris. We could build our own UIs, mobile apps, etc. Case in point.. prior to Version 2 upgrade, I had several z-wave light switches on my hub. My kids all have phones or tablets of some sort, and I added light switches to their rooms because they often leave them on. Sometimes, for the sake of being lazy or otherwise, they are in bed, and they leave their switch on cause they are too lazy. Yah..bugs me too.. but still.. making a simple mobile or web app that offers a single button tied to their specific light switch.. that calls an API to turn it on/off, would be very easy, if there were an API to do so. Some of you may think that is ridiculous.. to build an app to let someone be too lazy to get out of bed to turn the switch off. I say, it spurs creativity. It is creativity that brings the next app that suddenly everyone wonders how they lived without it. So, for me, a huge let down and something IRIS needs to rectify immediately is a public well designed API. Again, as someone who has been building APIs for large companies for years, I offer my services to help guide your team on building a solid API.

 

Speaking of APIs... here is a good read.. (https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2016/02/19/new-open-connectivity-foundation-will-further-innovation-of-the-internet-of-things/). Basically.. Microsoft and many other companies formed the Open Connectivity Foundation, in a nut shell a group of companies that will agree on a public API around Internet of Things, so that everything can connect to everything via APIs. Having looked into the specification, they have APIs for all sorts of devices, including light switches, door/window triggers, etc. This is yet another great way IRIS can get involved and ensure they are staying connected with the community and offering a future with their platform! 

 

Lastly... the mobile app. It is a bit of a mess. In some ways it looks powerful, yet I find it harder to navigate for most things. The design looks nothing like a typical mobile app. Want a great simple easy to use design, check out Googles Project Fi. Very easy on the eyes, well laid out, only a couple things at a time on the screen, not polluted, not having to scroll much if at all, etc. The same UI in the mobile app is on the web site.. but uses a mobile first layout design to ensure that on smaller screens only the most important things are visible...contextually. The BIGGEST problem though.. I capped that because I am about to give up on Iris for this one problem.. is that I constantly have to enter my email and password in to the app to use it. It is like they took a 1990s web site with 30 minute sessions or something, and wrapped it up into this app, so that if I dont keep the app open, I have to log in again. OMG! It is hard enough to type in on the small screen keyboard.. but if I am driving, or out and about, and just want to arm my system.. I can NOT type in all that info..and yes I do use long passwords with numbers, characters, etc. This has been something I asked for a fix for months ago and STILL nothing. Again, if I were not a developer who works in this sort of code area, I would not say it could be done so fast..but I know for a fact this is something easily resolved. There are numerous ways mobile phones can protect apps so that you dont have to type username/password in every time. Especially with the latest phones coming with finger print scanners.. but also simple 4 digit codes if you must lock down the app. Even so, given the previous version 1 app was not locked like this, I dont know why they would do this. I am really hoping it is a bug and they either fired their 1 mobile engineer or that person left due to not hiring more to help get the mobile app updated faster. 

 

For the love of all that is might, Lowes/Iris.. please look to hire a huge number of people soon and fix these issues. I for one am continually checking for other options, and mostly havent jumped ship in hopes they hear my cries and maybe even reach out to me for some help, or at least provide WAY better communication with what is in the works, how soon, etc so we end users are not stuck waiting for months hoping something will be done, with no word on when, what, if... 

 

If any of you that read this book, have other ideas, similar problems, etc.. let me know. Would love to hear about it.

I agree with much of what you said, but I am puzzled that you have to sign in each time you want to use the app on your phone. Are you logging out of the app when you use it? My wife and I have Galaxy Note 3s and have never had to sign in again after the first time. I use AppLock which, when we are away from our home network, locks any app I want to with a strong password and, of course, the Iris app is locked then as well, but when we return to the network the Iris app opens as usual with no login. Running Android 5.0 on both phones. The Iris app is version 1.8.1     

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rick6633

I feel very much the same and I'm not even an engineer.  Only a customer for 2 plus years that feels extraordinarily frustrated at the level of inability that Lowes has communicated to its existing customers.  In my opinion they have done a very poor job and providing useful information as to the entire process and what we should expect.  It's practically impossible to get any information from Lowes about what the heck is going on.  No feedback with what's going on with the product, no time lines. (Any that have been given have been vague and have come and gone).  It just all seems to linger.  Every time I call customer support I'm greeted with an automated voice explaining that they are receiving a high call volume and that you wait can be expected to be 10 minutes or more.  Yesterday I spent 1 hour and 36 minutes on the phone.  36 minutes was on hold before speaking to support.  The Iris page is nothing but fluff.  I just don't know what they were thinking.  Who ever is responsible for this transition to version 2 I hope has been replaced.  Very sad considering I have two homes with full Iris systems.  1. Bring the desktop app back.  Whats taking so long? 2. Bring back linked accounts.  What were you thinking.  3. What was Lowes thinking with the non-rechargeable backup batteries?? That was an insanely stupid blunder.  Get your act Lowes!!  

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