This is the fifth part of our 8-part Deep dive Series into the LiteTouch system. At TSB we are committed to educating people through our own independent research about automation systems. However, we are not perfect, so if something appears wrong in our research, please contact us or leave a comment below for us to address.
In our last blog in this series, we recommended Loxone as a replacement option for LiteTouch because of its ease of replacement, reasonable price and focus on privacy, all while keeping the same functionality and providing the home owner more control.
Loxone is a reliable system that once installed keeps working. I’ve had issues with different cloud-based controllers in the past but the Miniserver, the brain of the Loxone system, has been very reliable in my experience and I have yet to have any issues with a system not working after it has been installed. In fact, Loxone claims to not have one miniserver go down due to internal hardware or a Loxone software issue since its inception.
LiteTouch worked on a model that uses modules to expand your automation system’s capabilities. Loxone has a similar approach in the form of extensions however, unlike LiteTouch, the Loxone extension offer more expandability and integration to your automation system. There is a growing list of Loxone extensions that can add things like the ability for wireless communication via the Air Base Extension, or add DALI light control. All this can easily expand the capabilities and the reach of the automation system throughout your house as you live in it. An example would be adding a new switch in a room or hallway as you get older, hiding a motion sensor to activate the lights in a room, or changing the program on the app yourself to automation a light schedule. This expandability makes your home and your automation system more flexible to your needs and more future friendly.
LiteTouch was well known for its advanced lighting control with smooth dimming and one-button preset scenes. Loxone has similar lighting controls for basic ON/OFF control of a lighting circuit, a Dimmer extension for dimming of most types of light fixtures and even a DMX, DALI and 0-10VDC extension for more complex light fixtures.
One area that Loxone has a clear advantage over LiteTouch, and many other automation systems, is with its ability to control LEDs. This type of light lasts much longer than incandescent bulbs – at least 10 times longer, and they can use up to 90% less energy while still being just as bright. This is great not only for your pocketbook but for the planet as well. The cost of LEDs has been steadily coming down and now most bulbs on the market are LEDs. Loxone has another competitive advantage in that it also has advanced RGBW LED control. So that means if you want to adjust the color of your LED lights you can do it instantly with the Loxone app, and create some truly serene lighting scenes in your home. These color scenes can be saved as presets that can also work based on time of day.
Modern automation systems all come with some sort of app to let your control your system directly from your phone for greater convenience. Loxone is no exception. You can use the Loxone app on your phone or tablet to view and adjust all functions in a room and get important notifications all from one screen.
There are two major added benefits with the Loxone App. The first is that the Loxone app is loaded directly from the miniserver in your home. That means all the automation commands are processed on a local network so even if your internet goes down, as long as your Wi-Fi is still working, your app will still work just fine. Also, even if your Wi-Fi, internet and network are down, the Loxone system installed locally will continue to work. The second important feature about the Loxone app is the Automatic Desginer. This section of the Loxone App gives you the ability to customized your own automation for your home. Want the lights to come on at 6am to 25% brightness, and then 50% at 7am, and then 100% at 8am, if it’s between October 1st and November 31st? No problem you can do this easily by yourself on the Loxone app, no need to call an integrator or pay anybody else money to do this. These two feature on the app, create a more reliable system than connecting to a server somewhere and also one that is privacy focused that protects your data by not sending it anywhere.
While LiteTouch keypads can be described as utilitarian with up to 9 buttons on one keypad, it is not the most pleasing thing to see all those buttons on your wall. Something about it is like being in a cockpit. Loxone switches, like the award-winning Touch Pure, are sleek and minimalistic in their design and with smart programming you only need one button for your lighting needs. All Loxone switches can also control your music and blinds to reduce the number of switches needed on your walls, or as the “professionals” call it “wall acne”. The switches even have a built-in temperature and humidity sensor so you can do individual room climate control without needing to have a thermostat in the room. Pair this with Loxone air conditioning and heating control and you have less wasted heating or cooling in your home.
LiteTouch provided a software called LiteWare to program their CCU to control their home, which can be currently downloaded publicly. Loxone also provides a public software called Loxone Config to program their equipment. Unlike LiteWare, Loxone Config has been available to the public to download and learn how to program. The config software is what we use to initially program your Loxone automation system. The software is not for everybody, but once you learn to use it, it will give you complete autonomy over your automation system and the flexibility to change the programming as you see fit as time goes on. If programming scares you, don’t worry as you can use the Automatic Designer in the app we mentioned earlier to customize your home as well. Also at TSB, we provide lessons and videos online on how to use Loxone Config so you can modify your smart home without needing to call in anybody.
All in all, we feel that LiteTouch was a great system given the time it was made and the capability it provided. We feel that Loxone is its modern-day equivalent, except for some key business decisions made by Loxone HQ at an early stage to ensure a longer lasting product and a more global encompassing solution. With over 150,000 installs around the world, Loxone is truly one of the global leaders in the automation industry and, from our perspective, one of the best solutions to replace your LiteTouch automation system.