Anth's Computer Cave

New features in AAIMI Home Automation 0.7

8th August, 2016

This article covers an older version of AAIMI. Click here to see the current article.

Version 0.7 of the AAIMI Home Automation system is available for download now.

There is a new property-wide occupancy-awareness system that tells AAIMI who's home without using third-party apps. We've also refined the device-management and remote login process.

The main AAIMI Home control-center with live camera footage. Picture: Anthony Hartup
The AAIMI control-center displaying system details.

Who's home?

The new occupancy awareness system is a complete break-away from the previous method, and now involves no third-party apps or accounts.

Previously AAIMI used its incoming email system along with a phone app from IFTTT, and Android's location services on your phone. Not only did this involve third-parties - IFTTT and Google - having theoretical access to your communications with the AAIMI system, it also simply did not work well enough. The IFTTT side of things was hit-and-miss, generally working about 70% of the time. I'm sure there are other apps that may work better, but the AAIMI concept is to build a system without third-party tools, so we've created a purely server-based system.

AAIMI now decides who is home based on the last contact between your phone and the main AAIMI GUI. At its most-basic level, if the last contact occurred from your phone's 3G or 4G IP address, AAIMI assumes you are out. If the contact occurred over your home's LAN, AAIMI knows you are at home.

There are several ways to increase the accuracy. I use a dedicated browser on my phone that is always logged into AAIMI, and I keep this browser on. This ensures frequent communication between the phone and AAIMI. I also turn my 4G data connection off when I am at home. Your phone should automatically use the LAN to communicate while you are home, but turning off phone data makes sure of it and prevents overlap. It's normally a good idea anyway just to increase battery-life.

Devices

The other big change is the login system for users and devices.

Up till now AAIMI used IP filtering by default to block login attempts from devices that weren't associated with a user. This made it almost impossible for outsiders to gain access to the network, but it could be a real headache for genuine users to log in as well. In short, I've killed it before it drove me mad.

Without filtering in place AAIMI is seeing about 100 automated login attempts per day that weren't there before, but these are normal and they bounce straight off without a username and password. AAIMI can detect concerted attempts and block that IP or IP range at server level if it gets out-of-hand.

The IP filtering system is still in the code, it's just disabled by default. More sercurity-conscious users can enable and use it if they're game.

Web GUI

The AAIMI browser-based GUI is now more scalable and easier to configure. It can now automatically scale up to a dozen rooms without modifying any web files.

We've also added a panel to display weather and radar images within the GUI alongside your room-details, cameras, etc. This is handy when you have washing on the line, a quick glance at the AAIMI display can warn you if rain is on the way.

Anth


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