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Control & Automation

How to Test a Home-Automation System (the Professional Way)

Tips from a veteran integrator on testing an audio, video and control system to make happier customers and stronger bottom lines. Hint: It's not about looking for system bugs.

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6 Comments
Posted by Adroit1 on January 27, 2018

This has been an issue for along time. I work mostly on yachts and vacation homes. One of the companies I did work for was owned by an engineer. He knew that the people who used our remotes didn’t use them every day. He had me give him all the remotes I programmed. If he had to ask me any questions about how to do anything, it was too complicated. Many installers of systems on yachts make their systems too complicated because they seem to be trying to impress their customers. Instead, all they do is confuse them. It was a valuable lesson I have never forgotten.This article is important to all integrators.

Posted by Jay Basen on January 27, 2018

Thanks so much for sharing your experience Adroit1.  I had the opportunity to learn a similar experience on the first residential system I programmed.  The homeowners had 3 young daughters.  The husband was very technically knowledgeable but I quickly learned that if I was going to be successful the wife and daughters all had to fully understand, and be very comfortable with, the operation of the system.  A five year old girl has no patience for learning how to operate a remote to watch DirecTV or movies on a Kaleidescape player so everything had to be intuitive.

Posted by ddetton on January 28, 2018

Great article and good advise Jay!  Sounds like advise from someone that worked at an enterprise software company.  Based on what I have seen in the field, not very many companies follow your advise.  I hope that this article inspires a few new job postings for QA Managers and Technicians.

Posted by Jay Basen on January 28, 2018

Thanks ddetton. 

Yes, during the 1990s I ran the development arm of a consulting company specializing in the development of custom software solutions for fortune 1000 companies.  We developed our own programming methodology and specialized in delivering software systems on a fixed price basis.  The largest contract we took on was a fixed priced contract for $7m for the the parent company of one of the major stock exchanges.  In 2004 I decided to simplify my life and turn my home automation hobby into a second career.  I’ve tried to bring the lessons I learned in custom software development and consulting to the residential automation business.

Posted by manishved on January 29, 2018

Nice article. As a IT professional I can also relate to this approach.

Posted by Jay Basen on January 29, 2018

Thanks for pointing this out manishved.  I completely agree the principles in the article are applicable to testing various implementation of technology

6 Comments
Posted by Jay Basen on January 29, 2018

Thanks for pointing this out manishved.  I completely agree the principles in the article are applicable to testing various implementation of technology

Posted by manishved on January 29, 2018

Nice article. As a IT professional I can also relate to this approach.

Posted by Jay Basen on January 28, 2018

Thanks ddetton. 

Yes, during the 1990s I ran the development arm of a consulting company specializing in the development of custom software solutions for fortune 1000 companies.  We developed our own programming methodology and specialized in delivering software systems on a fixed price basis.  The largest contract we took on was a fixed priced contract for $7m for the the parent company of one of the major stock exchanges.  In 2004 I decided to simplify my life and turn my home automation hobby into a second career.  I’ve tried to bring the lessons I learned in custom software development and consulting to the residential automation business.

Posted by ddetton on January 28, 2018

Great article and good advise Jay!  Sounds like advise from someone that worked at an enterprise software company.  Based on what I have seen in the field, not very many companies follow your advise.  I hope that this article inspires a few new job postings for QA Managers and Technicians.

Posted by Jay Basen on January 27, 2018

Thanks so much for sharing your experience Adroit1.  I had the opportunity to learn a similar experience on the first residential system I programmed.  The homeowners had 3 young daughters.  The husband was very technically knowledgeable but I quickly learned that if I was going to be successful the wife and daughters all had to fully understand, and be very comfortable with, the operation of the system.  A five year old girl has no patience for learning how to operate a remote to watch DirecTV or movies on a Kaleidescape player so everything had to be intuitive.

Posted by Adroit1 on January 27, 2018

This has been an issue for along time. I work mostly on yachts and vacation homes. One of the companies I did work for was owned by an engineer. He knew that the people who used our remotes didn’t use them every day. He had me give him all the remotes I programmed. If he had to ask me any questions about how to do anything, it was too complicated. Many installers of systems on yachts make their systems too complicated because they seem to be trying to impress their customers. Instead, all they do is confuse them. It was a valuable lesson I have never forgotten.This article is important to all integrators.