Migrated from Indigo - Initially Very Satisfied with Hubitat

For those users of Indigo on macOS out there that might be open to an alternative solution, I'm happy to report that I successfully migrated ~40 z-wave devices and supporting configurations from Indigo on macOS over to Hubitat. My migration took about a day and was trouble free other than encountering the general wonkiness of excluding and including some z-wave devices. Which may not have had anything to do with Hubitat.

Why did I leave Indigo behind?

My main motivation for moving away from Indigo was the lack of Alexa voice control of devices. When I narrowed the search for alternatives, I was also motivated by Hubitat's:

  • Hardware Appliance Form Factor - It gives me just one less reason to manage and depend on our Mac Mini home server. Along these lines, the embedded support for z-wave in the Hubitat appliance vs needing to use a z-wave dongle on our Mac Mini with Indigo helps me further simplify our HA set up.

  • Browser-based Admin Interface - Using Screen Sharing to get into the Inidigo admin UI was a pain.

  • Initial Price and Pricing model - The initial purchase price of the Hubitat hardware appliance at < $100 USD is much less expensive as compared to the Indigo software at ~$250 USD plus needing a macOS environment on which to run it. Additionally, with Hubitat there appears to be no extra cost to obtain updates and major version upgrades down the road (unless I missed reading some important fine print). With Indigo, there's a ~$60 USD annual "Indigo Up-to-Date" subscription required to obtain updates (feature releases and minor releases) in the context of your current major release. Upgrading to a new major release in Indigo could incur additional costs.

Initial Positive Impressions of Hubitat

Apart from what one should expect as table stakes in such HA platforms, here's what has impressed me thus far in comparison to Indigo:

  • Alexa Voice Activated Device Support - Beyond the simple initial set up, additions and changes I made to devices are made available almost instantaneously via our Echo devices and Alexa apps.

  • Hue Lights Integration - Although configuring Hue lights integration with Indigo was straightforward, it was also easy to do with Hubitat.

  • Logging Support in Rules App - It was easy to test and refine a motion activated action rule by simply checking several boxes in the logging section of the rule. I was able to focus on only the events of interest during testing. Beyond the logging feature, the Rules app has met my initial needs.

  • Vibrant Community Forum and Use of Discourse - Since I've been a huge fan of Discourse-based forums for years, I was delighted to see that Hubitat uses the modern take on forums via Discourse. More importantly, the community appears to be vibrant and Hubitat staff appear to be very engaged in the discussions.

Initial Impressions of Areas for Improvement with Hubitat

Nothing too significant to report thus far after a day of intensive use.

  • Confusing Web UI - Although the Hubitat UI has gotten the job done for me thus far, I often find that its dialogs are confusing when you are configuring and updating settings throughout the platform.

  • Dashboards - Based on initial superficial exposure to them, I'm skeptical about whether they'll end up being easy enough to manage, sophisticated enough, and be pleasant to consume.

  • Mobile App - I'm not wowed by the mobile app thus far, but it's not super important to me and I expect that it will improve over time. For example, with the Indigo Domotics Pad mobile app, you get your list of devices and action groups available by default. All without needing to create and manage dashboards.

  • Backups to Cloud Storage - I was hoping that I could configure Hubitat to automatically back up configurations to Amazon S3, but it doesn't appear to be available. Discourse itself provides a great example of how it can be easy for administrators to manage cloud-based back ups.

Initial Set Up Work Left to Do

  • Insteon Integration - Since I have some legacy Insteon/X-10 devices and an Insteon PLM, I need to try out the Insteon direct PLM dimmer/switch driver. The out of the box Indigo integration with Insteon seems easier to use than Hubitat's multiple means of integrating with Insteon, but since I plan to replace our remaining Insteon and X-10 devices with z-wave devices, ease of Insteon support is not high on my list of requirements.

  • HomeKit Integration - In order to satisfy the Apple fanboys in our home, I need to try out the New Homebridge Plug-in via MakerAPI.

Other Capabilities of Interest

  • Send Voice via Echo Devices - It appears that this is possible with Hubitat, but I haven't spent much time looking into it. This capability will help us decommission our existing home announcement amplifier that's connected to our Mac Mini, no longer care about managing text-to-speech (TTS) software on the Mac, and supplant several ceiling speakers with use of Echos. More simplification!
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Take a look at this and see if it meets your needs for Send Voice capabilities

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Thanks for taking the time to write this up. It’s fair and Indigo wasn’t always as good as I’ve heard it is now, but I too have heard how it’s not keeping up either.

Once you’ve used something for a while, you get used to what seems quirky at first. And I’m not denying there still are a number of quirky bits. Hubitat does not deny this either, and acknowledges that. It may help to understand that much of the platform design choice was to allow developers to more easily bring their code over from SmartThings, where a lot of great code already existed at the launch of Hubitat Elevation. The founders were the first developers and they also started with SmartThings.

This was a really smart move, as it created the needed enthusiasm for the new local-centric platform, whereas creating a hub platform that wasn’t compatible would have been an uphill battle they would have been unlikely to succeed at. Instead, in the very short time the hub has been around, we have a robust community and a very rich selection of great community apps.

Know that the Hubitat team listens and they too want the experience to be much friendlier than it is today. They are building the functionality stronger and more stable by the day. The form will come, but that will take time and the primary goal is automation, not an app centric remote control like some of the other platforms emphasize.

In regard to the Insteon integration which I helped test, and the Homebridge integration, which is not at all sanctioned by Apple, they are community integrations, not Hubitat built apps or drivers. Functionality is the name of the game there too. Don’t judge the platform by the extra computers needed for those or any lack of polish. Having said that, I use both and they’re very stable and fast.

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Nice write up. I have moved two of my friends off of Indigo to the Hubitat this year and they really do like the platform and that they no longer have to keep a Mac up and running just to have automation. Most of their devices were compatible and they had some really simple rules.

Moving from one platform to another takes time and many of the items that they were used to were there but just needed to approached a bit differently.

I suggest you move this to "To-Do Next" :slight_smile: because it can supplant both Dashboard and the Mobile App. I have Dashboard for historical reasons, and I do glance at it every now and again. Generally speaking, if I have to whip out a phone (tablet) to do anything around the home, I consider it a fail and need to improve the automation. What I DO use iOS Home app for is 'light wars' with my kids at bedtime. I turn it off.. they turn it on, ad nauseam