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Will Ubiquiti continue to develop the mFI building automation system?

I will start with a bit of background, then I'll ask the critical question:

 

I am extensively remodeling a 23 year old home. As part of the remodel, I have been researching and implementing upgrades to the homes systems. I just wrapped up an extensive low voltage wiring project for a new security system (55 sensors), wired and wireless networking (70+ cat6 cables), video surveillance, etc.

 

I am assessing options for all of the homes subsystems (HVAC, pool, irrigation, building access, surveillance, lighting, Audio/Video, security, environmental sensing (water leak detectors, temp, humidity, lighting, occupancy ..), etc) with an eye towards automation, control, and cross subsystem communication and control.

 

I have spent a huge number of hours over the last couple of years researching various options from the fully custom (Crestron, et. al) to the homebrew.

 

I have had a hard time finding hardware/software solutions that meet my simple requirements:

 

1) Robust, low latency, local control (i.e. no cloud service based monitoring, remote access, or control)

2) User manageble/upgradable/changeable. Preferrably via openly accessible/programmable via public API's

3) Interoperability and potential for technical longevity via forward compatibility

    - uses standards for communication such as ethernet, wifi, bluetooth, etc instead of proprietary HW/SW/protocols

 

My entire neighborhood lost internet service this week for 3 days due to a hardware failure at my local neighborhood network aggregation point. Some of my friends lost control of portions of their homes during the outage due to reliance on cloud services for command/control. See requirement number 1 above.

 

I stumbled upon Ubiquity products 6 months ago and have been very impressed. They meet most of my requirements.

 

I have since purchased and installed a Unifi system for IP network functionality consisting of a cloud key, 4 AP-AC-Pro's, security gateway PRO 4, and 1 each Unifi POE switch 24 and 48. I have also purchased and installed a Unifi Surveillance System consisting of 11 UVC-G3 Video Cameras (with the LED nightvision accessory) and a Unifi NVR.

 

These systems have functioned flawlessly for months now. Am still learning all of the capabilities and command line control and customization capabilities, but kudo's to the Ubuiquty folks for incredible products. Please continue to include support for older products as you evolve the Unifi system, obsolescence is a serious concern for me. I can't afford to repurchase, reinstall and reprogram all of this every few years. I need at least 10 years of supported lifespan.

 

Side question: Can programming and control of the Unifi NVR be integrated into the Unifi Controller Software/Cloud Key ?

 

The last paragraph leads nicely into my question. I spent a year looking for a standards based, non-proprietary home or building automation system. I finally ran across the mFI system. It is a great start for a home automation system and meets most of my criteria again. But, in spite 2 years of extensive web searches and lots of time on the ubnt web site, I just found the mFI system today. 

 

Is the mFI system actively supported with new software and hardware development? I.e. is there a future here? If I invest in the mFI system, will I be left stranded in a few years? I can't even find the mFI system and hardware products on the ubnt website via the main menu system. I.e. go to www.ubnt.com and click on products. You won't find the mFI system anywhere. I found it completely by accident today after two years of massive searches via many different keyword options and I don't know which keywords finally located the system. To find mFI product pages, I have to use web searches to locate the pages on the ubnt web site. Thus my question ... is this really a supported product line with long term development planned?

 

And on a related topic ... why the ethernet and wifi based mFI system wasn't planned to be part of the Unifi HW/SW ecosystem from day one is also a separate mind boggling question :-). Help me out here with some answers please.

 

Kudo's again to Ubuquiti for some very impressive, enterprise grade, robust products at rational and affordable prices. Please help me understand the product positioning and future prospects for the mFI line. And please for Gods sake put a link to the product line on the corporate web page.

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Re: Will Ubiquiti continue to develop the mFI building automation system?

Forgot to add my 4th requirement:

4) High security: Capable of secure remote and local access to all of the homes systems via local, secure access systems (vpn, ssh, https, etc) that do not rely on cloud services for access.

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Re: Will Ubiquiti continue to develop the mFI building automation system?

mFi had a lot of promise but it's EOL as far as anyone can tell.  There have been hints of a new, similar product, but I don't know that there are any firm details available and it may or may not be "cloud"-based.

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Re: Will Ubiquiti continue to develop the mFI building automation system?

As it stands today, your best bet for what you describe is unfortunately crestron. Bespoke solutions only cause problems long term.
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Re: Will Ubiquiti continue to develop the mFI building automation system?


@scbartling wrote:

 

 

Side question: Can programming and control of the Unifi NVR be integrated into the Unifi Controller Software/Cloud Key ?

 


No.

 

More info from the man himself on the mFi line here: https://community.ubnt.com/t5/mFi/is-MFI-dead/m-p/1544924/highlight/true#M16166

 

I still use mFi and continue to find solutions that it is a nice fit for.

Sadly it is well beyond being 'on life support' and I had to recently setup a separate server for it alone just to keep it running due to UFV controller changes (they used to be co-mingled along with my UniFi controller)

 

As you said, cloud and IoT is certainly not a direction this type of hardware needs to go, and should not rely on - nor would I like to see it app-ified.

This market space is awash with cheap options... sadly all hinky cloud type solutions that rely on 'smart' phones... along with higher end solutions like Crestron that don't necessarily have the supporting/flexible HW.

 

Am hopeful the product line will be revived in some fashion in the future. I still haven't won the lottery either though...

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Re: Will Ubiquiti continue to develop the mFI building automation system?

Please Lord Baby Jesus bring on a Christmas miracle of reviving mFi or do we have to wait for Easter. For other religions, insert your deity of choice for similar events.
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Re: Will Ubiquiti continue to develop the mFI building automation system?

Thanks Jakematic, the link you provided pretty much spells out the answer to my question. 

 

It's sad really. This 1st generation platform might not have been ideal, but it had a lot of the right features in my mind and the overall architecture is what I am looking for.

 

I do NOT want cloud based services. I want local controllers for all of my subsystems, especially the key subsystems such as HVAC, lighting, communication (internet and VOIP), A/V, security, etc. For most of these, I want independent controllers that can communicate with each other. 

 

This architecture provides robustness from several perspectives: 1) it insulates home functionality from disruptions in the internet (loss of connection, high latency, cloud server problems), 2) if a company decides to shutdown their cloud service or goes out of business, my existing functionality will not be disrupted, and 3) it provides redundancy in system control (if my irrigation controller dies, it does not take down my HVAC system, etc). Otherwise, the internet connection becomes a single point of failure that is critical to local functionality and this should be avoided.

 

Also, if the elements in the system can communicate with each other, then they can share information and avoid duplicating sensors. Example, an occupancy sensor in the lighting control system can share status with the HVAC system.

 

I also don't want my raw sensor and control data to be available to any corporation (as much as realistically possible anyway), but the reasons why are an entirely separate topic (machine learning algorithms can learn a lot about you and your habits and correlate them with your purchasing behaviors, etc).

 

Speaking of raw sensor data, the "everything in the cloud" architecture that I hear so many Silicon Valley cognicenti discussing is rundamentally flawed and will not work. In this vision, all sensor data is sent directly to services running on cloud servers and control decisions are made in the cloud and transmitted back to the devices in your home. Think about this for a few minutes. If there are a few trillion sensors (10^18 power) and each sensor produces data at an average rate of 100 kilobytes per second, that would consume 10 to the 23rd power bits per second. By the end of 2016, the total world wide communication capacity of the internet was "only" 1 zeta-byte per second (10^21). That means that If a few trillion sensors are communicating raw data with cloud servers, it would require 100 time more total communication capacity than exists on the internet today. This is just plain stupid, if not totally unworkable and horribly inefficient. There needs to be a hierarchy for information and information processing. Call this my personal axiom: "Information should be consumed and acted upon at the lowest level possible in the information and control hierarchy".

 

As an example, this is why corporations, governments, etc have management hierarchy. So why do we think IoT architectures should be any different ? The reason is money. When the raw aggregate data from your sensors is aggregated together, machine learning algorithms can figure out that you are a "morning person" that is interest in Japanese Anime. And they learn from other similar people that morning people that like Anime are more likely to purchase Anime related products between 7 and 8pm so they will serve up related advertisements on the web sites you surf within that time period. This is a relatively benign example, I can think of much more negative consequences.

 

The good news is that "everything is in the cloud" architecture isn't going to be practical anyway. Meanwhile, we consumers need help choose the right market winners by purchasing products that have a rational system architecture that will be robust in daily operation and will continue to work for many years after the startup from which you purchased your IoT gear goes out of business or evolves their cloud service beyond the capability of supporting your legacy hardware.

 

I digress. My question has been answered though, so thank you.

 

I sure hope that Ubiquiti reads this thread and thinks carefully about their future IoT and home automation architecture. System Architectures based on phone/tablet "apps" that rely on cloud servers for command/control architectures are a good way to kill your company in the longer term. Think about what computing and the internet was like 20 years ago in terms of technology. Fast forward 20 years from now and think about trying to support 20 year old hardware/SW needed by your customers older but functional IoT products. The answer is that it won't happen and both the company and it's customers will be losers in this technological game. I can go into Thomas Edisons home, walk to the wall and flip a light switch to energize a 100 year old lighting circuit.  

 

I'll finish this line of thought with a real world example. How do you think the customers of Resolv feel about Nest's decision to terminate the cloud services that were handling command/control for Resolve's IoT/Home automation hardware? https://www.wired.com/2016/04/nests-hub-shutdown-proves-youre-crazy-buy-internet-things/

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Re: Will Ubiquiti continue to develop the mFI building automation system?

Iagree

 

ps:

 

No_cloud.pngCloud?

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Re: Will Ubiquiti continue to develop the mFI building automation system?

The new trend is Cloud and Ubiquiti follow as other do.

Back in time was mainframe's and terminal's , now will be Cloud's and terminals, hopefully the pipe will hold strong.

I can't see the mFI in the future since SonOff push up... if you agree to have your "Cloud control" in PRC or hack your own firmware and your own MQTT server .

 

Regards,

 

 

Do not expect me to reply to this post, I'm not sure that I will be able to find it, thank's to ....

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Re: Will Ubiquiti continue to develop the mFI building automation system?

Hi Danmero,

 

The SonOff product looks interesting. Thanks for pointing this out to me. I'll see if I can run a local server that can intercept and control these devices. 

 

Any other suggestions as to alternatives to the mFI products that can function in a similar manner and have local control that is either open source and/or public API ?

 

I am looking for 4 basic capabilitiies:

1) 120V Power switch (control of 15A or 20A circuits)

2) 120V Lighting control for LED fixtures for single and multi-way switch topologies

3) Sense state of normally open or normally closed circuits (basic sensor interface)

4) Powered via line voltage (120V), or via POE (preferable). I am "not" interested in anything with batteries.

 

Communication mechanism should be standard IP based ethernet (POE would be preferable), or non-proprietary IP based wireless communication stack on top of wifi or bluetooth. I want to be able to plug stuff into my wired or wireless LAN for communication and control. No proprietary stuff like ZWAVE. 

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Re: Will Ubiquiti continue to develop the mFI building automation system?

@scbartlingSonoff can do all what you want , however you have to build your own arduino base firmware and build your own "cloud" like MQTT server.

Since mFI development is on-hold(not EOL) i hope, this post is not intended to promote Sonoff(that I don't like for the moment(few months on)).

I'd like to see mFi development continue but in case is not (my supplier is back-order for a long time) we have to find alternative solutions.

 

Regards,

Do not expect me to reply to this post, I'm not sure that I will be able to find it, thank's to ....

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Re: Will Ubiquiti continue to develop the mFI building automation system?

Fair point. I'm not trying to promote non-ubiquity products either. 

 

I am quite pleased with the Unifi product portfolio and was briefly excited when I ran across the mFI products until I realized they were not part of the Unifi portfolio and have been left to wither on the vine so to speak.

 

I would like to see the mFI product portfolio be refreshed to hit a lower cost point and for control and sequencing functions be integrated into the Unifi Controller.

 

As for controlling devices such as Sonoff, take a look at the MPP server: https://sites.google.com/site/mppsuite/esp2866

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Re: Will Ubiquiti continue to develop the mFI building automation system?


@scbartling wrote:
 

I would like to see the mFI product portfolio be refreshed to hit a lower cost point and for control ....


 They already hit the floor, that's why the production/development is on hold. You can't go lower for any certified product. Other are not!

 


@scbartling wrote:

....and sequencing functions be integrated into the Unifi Controller.


You don't really want that , since the Controller is going Cloud ( Incazzato only) sooner that you expect. Just search the forum for the keywork elite.

 


@scbartling wrote:
 

As for controlling devices such as Sonoff, take a look at the MPP server: https://sites.google.com/site/mppsuite/esp2866


I already know that , but this stuff is too geek for general consumer same as mFI is/was.

 

Regards,

Do not expect me to reply to this post, I'm not sure that I will be able to find it, thank's to ....

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Re: Will Ubiquiti continue to develop the mFI building automation system?

I sure hope Ubiquity isn't that stupid (going "cloud" only). Thanks for the heads up, I will do some searches as you suggest. What forum is the best place to look for this information ?

 

I guess that I need to start coming up with a mitigation plan then. Will probably need to make sure I keep and maintain the last "non-cloud" version of the software.

 

Going cloud only is really the wrong direction to take and if I had known about it, I would have not purchased any of the Ubiquity hardware (and my investment is well over $3500 so far in total).

 

 


danmer: I already know that , but this stuff is too geek for general consumer same as mFI is/was.


 

Agreed. Even Unifi is too geeky given that it is not uncommon to need to use the command line interface to get something configured or enabled that isn't yet supported in the controller GUI.

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Re: Will Ubiquiti continue to develop the mFI building automation system?


@scbartling wrote:

I sure hope Ubiquity isn't that stupid (going "cloud" only). Thanks for the heads up,


 I not about stupid or smart, just the general trend. I personalty interact with all generations, from young to old and most of them don't care how things get done, just to be done.

 


@scbartling wrote:

I will do some searches as you suggest. What forum is the best place to look for this information ?


 The best place is just about here. The community is great, just you have to filter the information by yourself.

 


@scbartling wrote:

I guess that I need to start coming up with a mitigation plan then. Will probably need to make sure I keep and maintain the last "non-cloud" version of the software.


That's always the best plan, find a configuration that works best for you and don't just run after fancy new stuff. New is good but not always Mad2

 


@scbartling wrote:

Going cloud only is really the wrong direction to take and if I had known about it, I would have not purchased any of the Ubiquity hardware (and my investment is well over $3500 so far in total).


By the time the policy will change radically your new hardware will be obsolete anyway. Don't worry for the moment, just plan ahead. Anyway I don't see anything after AC for the moment , M is just the new-old(decade).

 


@scbartling wrote:

Agreed. Even Unifi is too geeky given that it is not uncommon to need to use the command line interface to get something configured or enabled that isn't yet supported in the controller GUI.


That apply for almost any OS , maybe less for the new smartphone/tablet's , but even there if you want more you must dig down.

 

For what is worth, Ubiquiti have the decency(not like other) to give you ssh as alternative UI up-front, others will give you telnet even-if the OS is base on *nix and ssh is available.

 

Regards,

 

PS. Have fun anyway, next year will bring you new goodies.

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Re: Will Ubiquiti continue to develop the mFI building automation system?


@danmero wrote:

@scbartling wrote:

I sure hope Ubiquity isn't that stupid (going "cloud" only). Thanks for the heads up,


 I not about stupid or smart, just the general trend. I personalty interact with all generations, from young to old and most of them don't care how things get done, just to be done.

 

 


 Ah yes, the WalMart mentallity... sigh

 

 


@scbartling wrote:

I sure hope Ubiquity isn't that stupid (going "cloud" only). Thanks for the heads up, I will do some searches as you suggest. What forum is the best place to look for this information ?

 

I guess that I need to start coming up with a mitigation plan then. Will probably need to make sure I keep and maintain the last "non-cloud" version of the software.

 

Going cloud only is really the wrong direction to take and if I had known about it, I would have not purchased any of the Ubiquity hardware (and my investment is well over $3500 so far in total).

 -------------------------------------------------------------

 

Very sad indeed.

Hopefully cloud will be a passing fad, but few think the way we do and just want cheap junk that sorta works, and will flit to the next new thing like a moth to a flame Smiley Frustrated

 

If all cloud all the time is UBNT's direction, then I'm out as well... 

 

Fortunately @danmero has given me some great ideas on other threads... time to warm up the soldering iron for my own creations and get back to programming.

 

One of the main plans moving into my new home (built in 1956) this year was to stay as low tech as possible - yet some came with me, and convenience is nice for now.

Maybe it's time to start pulling the plug earlier than I had planned..... WhyFi will be the first to go.

 

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Re: Will Ubiquiti continue to develop the mFI building automation system?


@jakematic wrote:

If all cloud all the time is UBNT's direction, then I'm out as well... 


 Now you should ask yourself "Why Microsoft is calling Windows 10 'the last version of Windows'" and launch Azure cloud service. Everione go that way , maybe is time to retire.

 


@jakematic wrote:

Fortunately @danmero has given me some great ideas on other threads... time to warm up the soldering iron for my own creations and get back to programming.


 Mad2 back to the source ... but this time will be different.

 


@jakematic wrote:

One of the main plans moving into my new home (built in 1956) this year was to stay as low tech as possible - yet some came with me, and convenience is nice for now.

Maybe it's time to start pulling the plug earlier than I had planned..... WhyFi will be the first to go.

 


Your definition of low-tech is very interesting base on the fact that you spent already a large amount of resources to stay that way Idea

 

Regards,

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Re: Will Ubiquiti continue to develop the mFI building automation system?


@danmero wrote:

Your definition of low-tech is very interesting base on the fact that you spent already a large amount of resources to stay that way Idea

Regards,


LOL, well for the interim I need to monitor, manage, and return to it's former glory over 4,000 sq ft or a mystery that almost all information has been lost on.

Since I already had most of the kit it made sense to put it to use for now.

 

Have already become quite ill and lost too much weight too fast in the last 9 months, so yeah I'll take the convenience of not walking several hundred feet to see if the garage is open Man Wink 

Cringed yesterday when I had to buy an electric circular saw... much prefer solutions I can maintain and control like the hand saw I've had for 40 years.

 

And yes, it is time to retire. In 5 years I'll have the mortgage paid and be selling lumber or something instead. Have spent way too many years in high tech. Maybe I'll start farming again.

Little by little the systems will be turned down as they aren't needed or fail.... but I digress.

 

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Re: Will Ubiquiti continue to develop the mFI building automation system?

I have implemented mFi to my home for a couple years now as a sort of home automation system. I have some switches turning on the landscaping lights, dependent on the amount of day light and what not. 

What I am planning on using is Home Assistant and connecting everything together that way (mFi with Z-Wave door locks, etc.). 

 

I know this is dead, but I really enjoy the mPorts and the sensor data I get from it.

Wish there was a better force on this product, but I gues IOT is more marketable so oh well.  :/

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Re: Will Ubiquiti continue to develop the mFI building automation system?


@avolve wrote:
Jesus bring on a Christmas miracle

 

And ppl ask why I regret my parents naming me after a deity.
My name is Jesus. I'm Mexican. You pronounce it HAY-soos not GEE-sus.