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Author Topic: ....the Future....  (Read 2464 times)

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Offline spooky123

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....the Future....
« on: November 23, 2016, 02:58:58 pm »
What is the future vision for the Almond+ or what is the future vision on a model along the lines of the Almond+ but using a modern chipset?

Meaning.... hardware similar product (ie, 5 port, dual 3.0+ usb,, built in zwave and zigbee, etc) based on a supported chipset offering the full current version OS access and package control with ability to upgrade to future version OS?

The newer Almond 2015 and Almond 3 seem be more of a hardware downgrade ... ie, less antenna, less ports, less USB, no Zwave, etc and I don't see talk about an open OS on those.

While the Almond+ isn't perfect, it nailed some features and functions over the last firmware release and I'd love to see it have a future, but because it has been said to be on an unsupported, dead chipset and a very old OS, clearly that will limit its future. 

Its been 3-4 years (I dont recall :) ) since the kickstarter and normally, I'd be one that has changed out already.

So wondering - is there a Securifi plan or vision to basically give the Almond+ an overall upgrade while keeping the additional hardware items? 

Offline Shazster

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Re: ....the Future....
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2016, 11:41:02 pm »
7 days....crickets.
I think you may have your answer. It has been a while since a new firmware has been released. New developments seem to be centered on App updates as opposed to upgrading core elements of router functionality. I think waiting for some game changing update for this gear is going to end up disappointing.
I am also in the "great concept, now execute it properly" camp. They put in all the right plumbing, but cheaped out on the water pump: the USBs have been unusable for me in the way the feature set was marketed. Having an HA oriented router that cannot reserve more than 20 static leases is ridiculous. It runs ridiculously hot. Dumping zwave, but leaving zigbee in the A3 makes no sense for a company trying to make a revolutionary home automation device.
A newer device with the full set of HA protocols and transmitters, better processor, with a newer base OS, and better heat dispersal would happily receive all money...the Almond3 is not that device.
And no I don't care that it has a siren.


Offline msmollin

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Re: ....the Future....
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2016, 01:53:29 am »
Fellow KS Backer here of the Almond+  :) I've also (surprisingly) stuck with it through the thick and thin, however my setup has evolved and changed.

Here's my opinionated $0.02 on the current state of affairs:

The Almond+ is a bit of an odd bird in the Securifi lineup. Ahead of its time at launch, The Almond+ still incorporated the whole touchscreen concept in an attempt to make it easier for newbie users. Unfortunately, HA was, and continues to be, not easy. Device incompatibilities, different versions of protocols, and range/interference problems are enough to cause most non-technical folks to drop it all. So, the touchscreen is pretty much wasted on the userbase willing to put up with current HA deficiencies - technical folks who want more than 20 IP address reservations in DHCP (which I can almost guarantee is an acronym the targeted audience for the touchscreen use case wouldn't know what it means).

Second is the cost. The Almond+ cost a lot in R&D money. You probably recall how Securifi started out with one hardware platform, and then changed it because it was going to be far too slow. As at time of launch the Almond+ had a fairly powerful SoC and a non-trivial feature set to integrate into a thermally constrained cavity, and do all of it without basically being an RF storm. It's still Securifi's fastest wireless implementation with AC1750 and 3x3 MIMO as well as two USB 3.0 ports (which, as Shazter pointed out, still don't work correctly) and 4 GigE. Combine that with integrating Z-Wave, which is a closed standard with somewhat expensive licensing fees, and the Almond+ begins to shape up as expensive hardware all around.

Then there's the less tangible costs. Having all these features requires more testing. Z-Wave and Zigbee integration means trying to integrate thousands upon thousands of popular devices to be supported. Then there's the cloud and app platforms that debuted with the device.

So we have an expensive piece of hardware that does all this whizbang stuff that winds up driving its price range out of the range of someone who might be like "I've never done this HA thing before, lets try it out" and then, even if they have the money to throw at it, they'll probably get fed up with the general state of HA.

In short, I can see why they went the route they did with the Almond 3. Shrink the supported device list and feature set so they could focus on the software and device support. Going with zigbee means cheaper devices (even if IMO the protocol is inferior with mesh network generation, healing, and speed). Cheaper devices means Securifi can start to build up its own line of devices that they can then certify as "guaranteed to work", further improving the HA user experience, and making the touch screen of tangible benefit.

So, what's the future?

My guess is the Almond+ will live on for a few more years. Most people still are only running 802.11n routers, so upgrading to an AC1750 is still a giant upgrade. I would expect a revamped OS at some point because, as mentioned, the underlying OS is super old.

I would hope that they just drop the touchscreen and making a truly prosumer model. The apps are great, the HA is reliable these days once configured correctly, and I'd rather they focus on improving wireless coverage and routing features rather than having a backlit touchscreen causing heat issues inside the chassis. I personally have relegated the Almond+ to purely HA tasks these days, as I moved on to using a professional wireless AP system which supports AP handoff and uses ethernet for network backhaul rather than all these garbage extender setups which use wireless for their backhaul.

Offline Shazster

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Re: ....the Future....
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2016, 09:32:03 am »
I've been working myself up to removing it from router duties as well. I'm putting in more cabling in the effort of getting stuff off wireless that doesn't need to be on wireless. Most of the load these days is from heavier & heavier video - netflix, Google play movies, Apple TV, etc. My Almond2015 was a wireless bridge/repeater, but is now a cabled-in AP. I think moving my A+ to an AP as well, keeping HA up & running is where I'm going - maybe if I start loving it as an AP and decent HA hub, I'll stop hating it as a router.
I don't know about dumping the screen - it is handy as f#%k for setup. I can handle a Web interface just fine, but I do like their setup flow/protocol. And when my wife needs to check if Internet is up or not (we are on a wireless tower network), she just has to hit a screen button. So the screen is what's kicking up all that heat? I always thought it was all the radios they packed into the thing. And plugging in powered external drives just sent it into an overheating black screen death-spiral.

 

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