|A system "in the Cloud"|
There have been systems introduced lately that are more reasonably priced. Some of these systems use Zwave. The switches and other devices are as low as $30 instead of $75 charged for devices using other methods. They also have "routers" that enable you to control your house using any computer or phone via the Internet. Pretty cool huh? Maybe. These system use something you've undoubtedly heard of, "The Cloud". What this means is that there is data stored or programs being run on a computer outside your home or office that sends data over the Internet. What happens if your Internet connection goes down or is slow. At best you will push a button and in a few seconds (or longer) the light will turn on or off. Or maybe you weren't sure that you really pressed the button.... so you press it some more times then sometime later the light might go ON OFF ON OFF ON... hopefully ending up in the state you wanted. Or maybe nothing at all will happen after you press the button 75 times. Why would you want to do the communication over the Internet using a distant computer? First of all, if you want to use your phone or another computer to control a light its easier to do it this way than to communicate to the "server" or to a device itself directly from your phone or computer. Then there's something called "control". If the computer in the cloud goes down your system won't work. Therefore this computer has to be watched after. This costs money. Some companies use the fact that you need them and only devices that they approve can work with their system. They might finance their system through licensing fees to device manufacturers. OR they might charge the user a flat fee or a monthly service charge. If you don't pay the fee your system is disabled and useless. They shut you off. But at least you got the trial period that was a little bit longer than your money back guarantee period.