I have been a long time user, supporter and promoter of the HAI controllers. Having been an end-user, a installing dealer, and even a regional sales manager for HAI for 3 years, I can tell you from my experience, as of writing this blog, there is not a simpler, better value, reliable system on the market than the HAI controllers.
I have enjoyed watching the HAI systems mature over the years. The most notable improvements have been the Touchscreen (with follow-on camera support), Ethernet Port, Hi-Fi Audio System, and finally the lighting controls. There system is hard to beat from a single manufacturer. In addition there third-party support is outstanding as well.
Their software has been a particular interest to me as I love my gadgetry. In my home we have seven devices operating with Microsoft operating systems and 3 Macintosh computers. I started using Web-Link II back in 2000 about when it was upgraded from the original Web-Link. The software was a great addition to the HAI home automation systems. However as time moved along, I longed for better programs and easier ways to control my system.
I often work from home and found it clunky to work with PC Access and Web-Link to do my simple tasks. Don\’t get me wrong… these programs are very useful for their primary purpose, but how I wanted to use and control my system I felt the limitation limited me.
The big problem I had with Web-Link was in its operating limitations. If I wanted to do a simple task I had to navigate to the web page, log in, and navigate to the task I desired, execute it, and then log out. That last step was critical, if I didn\’t log out and shut the browser window I was now blocked from logging in for an hour. So I worked around this by creating several login id\’s.
In 2005, I teamed up with a programmer and my company now sells a home control software called â€œFIDOHâ€ to connect to any HAI controller including the OEM versions by OnQ and Aegis. Our product addressed the challenge I had with simplifying my task on a trusted PC. The product sits in the system tray of a Windows PC and allows two clicks to any Buttons created in this system as well as the All On and All Off commands. It solved the issues of blocked used logins and made the tasks quick and easy. In addition it allows users to control their audio systems, something only PC Access allows you to do.
In 2006, I got my hands on a Snap-Link to try out, and to be honest I didn\’t try it out until I exhibited at the Seattle Home Show in the spring 2007. Overall I was impressed with the product. It was a great improvement over the Web-Link product (I am assuming this is an eventual replacement?) It is portable but requires a PC operating system. I tried to use it on my CE laptop and it didn’t work. With that exception it does all the function of Web-Link in a cheaper form factor. Installation was incredibly easy compared to Web-Link, no IIS or Personal Web Server in Win98.
|MSRP||Est. $350||Est. $150||$39.95|
|Ease of Install||Difficult||Easy||Easy|
|Requires Home Server||Yes||No||Serial Only|
|Aegis/OnQ Compatible||Seperate OEM Versions||Unknown||Works With All|
|Messages and Events||Yes||Yes||No|
|Email Notification||Yes||Yes, when running||No|