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Homeboy Blog

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Get the Deets on Your Smart Home

Figuring out why your smart home is behaving the way it does can be a challenge sometimes. Many smart home apps let you control scenes and devices, but they don't provide you with any useful information about the things you're controlling. Others let you configure devices and scenes, but the only way to research how your system is set up is to wade through all those options.

We think it should be easier, which is why we've created new device and scene details views in our Android and iOS apps. Maybe you just want to know an Insteon device's ID. Or when a particular scene is scheduled to run.

Or—perhaps most importantly—you want insight into what a scene is doing. How is it triggered? What days are included in the schedule? Which keypads are getting sync'ed?

We think this kind of visibility into your smart home is important, and now it's available in the latest beta releases of Homeboy for Android and iOS. If you're not already in our beta channel, reach out to us and let us know the platform and email address for the account registered to your mobile device. We think this is a useful feature, and we're looking forward to your feedback on this update.

In the meantime, here are some screen captures of the new feature.




Remember Me

UPDATE, 3/31/19: We're out of beta! This update is now available for all iOS and Android users.

We are always striving to provide Insteon customers with a better home control experience than they can get through other apps. Sometimes that's by delivering a clean design, sometimes it's by focusing on performance, and sometimes it's about offering conveniences the other apps just don't have. Conveniences like multi-tasking and screen rotation on iOS devices. Like our last release, which added support for multiple homes. Or like our latest beta update, which remembers the last group you accessed.

Homeboy app shows a user's Family Room groupOnce you select a group, Homeboy will remember that selection the next time you pick up your device and switch to the Groups tab in Homeboy. Have multiple homes? Homeboy will remember your last selected group for each home. Stop the app? No problem...it'll still remember. Just installed an update? Yep...even then. As long as it's installed on your mobile device, Homeboy will remember your last selected group.

If you use Homeboy on multiple mobile devices, each device will remember the last selected group separately. Homeboy saves your group selection locally, on your devices—not in the cloud. So you and other household members will have individual experiences. Or so you can quickly access the family room scenes from your coffee table tablet.

This is a little thing, for sure, but it can be a time saver, particularly if you have a bunch of groups defined for different rooms in your home. Plus, we like the little things. The little things are important.

Check out our latest beta release to try this new feature in iOS or Android. If you don't already have access to our beta updates and you'd like to, please reach out to us at info@homeboycontrol.com.

Next up: Multi-Home Support

We're currently working on bringing multi-home support to Homeboy. If you own and manage two or more properties using Insteon, you'll soon be able to switch between homes in Homeboy to control each of them. This is great for people who own a vacation home or manage multiple rental properties. Insteon's own apps don't all offer this feature. Android users currently have to rely on a Windows or iOS device to switch between homes.

If you'd like to be one of the first to try this new feature in Homeboy, we're looking for beta testers with multiple homes controlled by (2245-222) Insteon Hubs. We're making an early beta release available for Android, following up shortly thereafter with our beta release for iOS. Unlike our previous updates, this will initially be a closed beta. So even if you're in our beta channel now and receive beta releases when we make them available, you'll need to specifically sign up for this one.

But signing up is easy! Just send us a quick message to let us know you want to participate in this beta and what mobile platform(s) you have (iOS or Android). Please send your message from the email account associated with the device you'll use for testing. Otherwise, please be sure to indicate what email address we should use.

We're excited to be adding this new feature, and we hope you'll be willing to help us put it through the paces before distributing it widely to the entire Homeboy community. And, of course, we're hoping to get your feedback along the way!

Homeboy Lets You Control Your Environment

Homeboy's thermostat control screen appears on an Android phone. An Insteon thermostat is visible in the background.
Our latest update adds thermostat support
Summer heat getting you down? Homeboy makes it easy to keep your environment comfortable. Set the fan speed with your Insteon Fan Controller-powered ceiling fan. Or adjust the temperature on your Insteon thermostat. That's right—Homeboy now supports the Insteon Thermostat.

The latest release of Homeboy for Insteon Hub specifically adds support for the Insteon Wired Thermostat (2441TH). This and the following additional improvements are now available for iOS, Android, and Amazon Fire tablets:
  • Improved ability to set specific level on dimmable lighting devices
  • Improved visibility into device status updates on Android
  • Better support for Android “Oreo”
  • General bug fixes and stability improvements
Just as with other Insteon products, you'll still use Insteon's own app to set up your thermostat, but now you can control the temperate, fan, and operation mode right from Homeboy. If your thermostat is set to work in Celsius instead of Fahrenheit, Homeboy will show your temperature in degrees Celsius.

Note that we are not supporting the Wired Thermostat for Heat Pumps (2732-242), the Wireless Thermostat (which is essentially a remote sensor and controller for an installed Wired Thermostat), or the Thermostat Adaptors. However, you may find that some thermostat control features may work on those devices.

New to Homeboy? Get started with our FAQ page that lists all the Insteon products we support.

Insteon Thermostat Owners: Wanna Beta?

Updated 6/12/18: Our iOS beta is also available now!
We've released a beta version of Homeboy on Android and iOS that supports Insteon Thermostats—specifically, the Insteon Wired Thermostat (2441TH). This is the current version of the standard Insteon thermosat. Note that we are not supporting the Wired Thermostat for Heat Pumps (2732-242), the Wireless Thermostat (which is essentially a remote sensor and controller for an installed Wired Thermostat), or the Thermostat Adaptors.

Android and iOS phones showing Homeboy thermostat controls in C°
Don't worry...it supports F° too
If you use the Insteon 2441TH thermostat in your home, we'd like to get you into our beta group. You'll get an advance preview of this new device support in Homeboy, and in return we'll ask that you provide us with feedback along the way so we can get some more real-world exposure for our new features.

This beta release of our Android and iOS apps include the following:
  • Insteon Thermostat status and control, including temperature, mode, and fan control
  • Improved light dimming precision, showing specific dim level percentage while adjusting
  • General performance, stability, and usability improvements
If you're in the iOS camp, you don't have to feel left out...that's coming soon, too! (yeah...like now!)

If you have the Insteon Wired Thermostat, and you’d like to try out this new support, please reach out to us at support@homeboycontrol.zendesk.com.

How to Control Sonos with Homeboy

Insteon added support for Sonos speakers over a year ago, allowing you to trigger favorites and basic playback controls (play/pause, skip, etc.). Unfortunately, Insteon only made this feature available in its iOS app, leaving Android and Windows users without similar capabilities. Third party apps and services also can't take advantage of this Sonos control, because it's not exposed through Insteon's API.

But there is a way to control your Sonos speakers with Homeboy on any platform...as long as you have the Insteon for Hub app on just one iOS device. The trick is to set up your Sonos devices and create scenes for the functions you want to access in Homeboy.

Setting It Up

Setting this up is pretty easy, and Insteon's in-app instructions will guide you through the process. Just follow these steps in the Insteon for Hub app on your iPhone or iPad to set up a Sonos player:
  1. Add a Sonos player the same way you'd add any device.
  2. Select one of the Sonos devices the Insteon app finds on your network.
  3. Assign the Sonos player a name and room(s). You may want to consider adding a new "Sonos" room to group all of your Sonos devices and scenes.
  4. Add some player presets, following the in-app instructions, for your favorite stations, playlists, or sources. Note that not all Sonos sources can be added as Insteon presets.


Now you need to create some scenes:
  1. Create a scene including the Sonos player you just added, and select the Play/Pause function. Name it something simple, like "Speakers."
  2. Add this scene to the room that contains the device (and to your Sonos room, if applicable).
  3. Create a scene for each of the presets you want to control from Homeboy and add them all to the appropriate room(s). Again, name them simply, so they make sense in the app (e.g., "Radio 1," "Chill Time," or "WTOP").
Test the device and scene controls you just created before you close Insteon's app. Each of your presets should play when you turn on the scenes you created for them. If you have speakers grouped through Sonos, they should play, too. Turning a scene off pauses playback.

Turning the Speakers scene on and off should resume and pause whatever you were last playing, respectively.

Ready for Homeboy

Now go to the Homeboy app on your device—any device: iOS, Android, or Windows Phone. To ensure Homeboy reloads all your device information, you may want to unload the app first, then open it up again.

Your Sonos room—or the room where you assigned your Sonos player and scenes—has all the controls you just set up, allowing you to start any preset or play/pause your Sonos speaker(s) by triggering those scenes.
Sonos scenes on Android phonePlay/Pause scene on iPhone
Kitchen scenes on Windows Phone

Added Bonus(es)

Now you may be thinking, "hey, if I can create Sonos scenes, could I add Sonos music to other scenes I already use around the house?" Why yes...yes you can. For example, you could turn off all Sonos speakers in your home as part of your Good Night scene or turn on a specific station as part of your Wake Up scene. The possibilities are proverbially endless.

And if you're a friend of Alexa, the scenes you just created will let you control Sonos from the Echo devices in your home as long as you've configured Insteon's Alexa Skill. So in addition to using Homeboy, you can also ask Alexa to "Turn on Radio 1" or "Turn off the Speakers."

Enjoy!

Homeboy Now Supports FanLinc

After positive feedback from our beta testers and even some support from the folks at Insteon, we've completed our work on the latest Homeboy release to support the Insteon Fan Controller. If you're a long-time Insteon user, you may be more familiar with this product by its original name, the FanLinc.
  
This update is available for both the iOS and Android (including the Fire tablet) versions of Homeboy.

Additionally, we improved how the Android app behaves after you haven't used it for a while. Instead of displaying a view with potentially outdated device information, the app now returns to show your Favorites, reloading all devices and status information, just like on iOS and Windows Phone.

You should get the new update automatically if you installed the app on iOS, Android, or Amazon Fire tablet. Let us know how you like the update by adding a comment to this post or by reaching out to us at support@homeboycontrol.zendesk.com.