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Charmed Quark Won’t Open-Source Automation Software

Charmed Quark has decided to take another shot at business, rather than abandon shop and open-source its CQC home automation software. Too late for CE Pros?


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Just as it was about to close shop and relinquish its software to the open-source community, Charmed Quark has changed its mind.

The maker of CQC home-automation software is not going to open-source its product after all. Instead, says owner Dean Roddey, “Our first goal is still to try to find someone with significant resources to really help us move the product forward more quickly.”

Roddey and his partner Mark Stega will “create a substantial pool of equity from our holdings, and offer this to three to five people to come on board and help grow the company,” he writes in the Charmed Quark forums less than three weeks after declaring the end of the road for the company as we know it.

He notes that Charmed Quark will implement changes to make the system more appealing to professional integrators, who have generally shunned the DIY-oriented software.

Most importantly, Roddey says, Charmed Quark will add a “simplified layer over the existing complex substrate to help make it more appealing to installers.” Today, CQC software is notoriously complicated because it does not offer out-of-the-box templates from which to build a complete system.

“We will likely put some of the new resources towards creating specialized, fixed-function, versions of the product for sale without the need for customization,” Roddey explains.

Charmed Quark also is seeking a hardware partner beyond Vidabox, which currently offers CQC for premium whole-house solutions.

Too Late for CE Pros?

Unfortunately, the move probably comes too late for the pro market. The few integrators that considered CQC in the past (only a “handful” have actually installed it, Roddey admits) may have lost faith in Charmed Quark’s stability as a company.

To make it, Charmed Quark will need a hardware partner and an accomplished business person running the show.

Professional installers will demand something a little more concrete than this:

We will probably phase out the maintenance scheme, or limit it to one year at a time in the future, or some such thing, because of the experience with our recent announcement [customers demanding refunds for multi-year service agreements].

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Even if all of us for a while are working part time on it, that will still be way more manpower and time zone coverage than is currently available. With this extra manpower, we should be able to address the issues that have limited the product in the market, and subsequently move everyone towards full time employment as soon as possible.

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Given this decision, I’m going to ‘open the store’ again, though we will discourage the purchase of maintenance coverage for the moment until we decide for sure whether we want to do that or not in the future. It’s awfully convenient, but it has been shown to be a bit of a potential problem. Maybe we’ll continue to allow it as long as the buyer indicates agreement with some fairly common sense potential business realities in the future, which I would have thought everyone should already understand but obviously not all of them do, and limited to perhaps one or two years or something like that.



  About the Author

Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Email Julie at [email protected]

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