Back in April, we wrote a post about VERA releasing UI6 firmware (Should I use VERA UI6?), and in our opinion, people should stay with the then current UI5.
Well, things have moved on, but not in a positive way.
In the latest batch of VERA Lite and VERA3 controllers we've found that they have the new UI7 installed and it is now very difficult to downgrade the system to UI5. This is causing even more issues than the earlier silent release of UI6.
The 7th version of the VERA firmware (UI7) is aimed at a more mass market (less technical) user than the previous versions, including UI5. Note - UI6 was a short lived release, and as we said in April, was just a stepping stone to UI7.
UI7 is designed to be more user friendly and is intended to make it easier to create scenes and configure devices. It includes set-up wizards for a number of devices to help configure them and it can use predefined 'Home' presets to automate your system, such as Home, Away, Night, Vacation etc.
It also includes a new remote access system that is intended to make it faster and more reliable to control your VERA network while you're away from home.
From what we can see from our testing, UI7 uses a lot of UI5, in fact most of the new features in UI7 are a thin veneer on UI5. The new look and feel is built on top of UI5. But, and this is an important but, there are a lot of things missing or broken, which means we cannot recommend people use it.
And this is where the problems start.
VERA hasn't provided any UI7 API or documentation and many 3rd party developers haven't had access to UI7 until recently. This means that many plugins (one of the great things about VERA) don't work with UI7. The new remote access system isn't supported by most of the VERA smartphone apps, so remote access either doesn't work, or it's unreliable.
Even worse, many devices that worked fine in UI5, don't work correctly in UI7 - this includes most motion sensors, Danfoss, StellaZ, Secure and many more devices.
- Device Support - UI5 compatible devices do not install or work correctly
- Remote Access - does not work correctly except if you use the VERA own app
- Motion Sensors – trip information is reversed
- Scenes - basic scenes work, but there is no access to the advanced tabs or LUUP/LUA
- Plug-ins - the vast majority of plug-ins don't work with UI7, many developers are holding back on development until UI7 is in a more stable condition
Should I use UI7?
Our view is no.
UI7 will become a good solution in the coming months, but at the moment there are just too many issues for us to recommend using it, we feel that it is still only Beta quality at best.
If you're an existing UI5 user, we recommend you stay with UI5 and install UI5 updates as they become available.
This is where it gets confusing and our support guys have worked with many frustrated new users to get their systems working.
When the VERA first boots up it automatically downloads the latest version of UI7 and then the problems start when they start trying to add devices and plug-ins. Our advice has always been to stay on UI5, but this new situation doesn't give the user a chance to not use UI7. Even worse is that the system will now not allow you to downgrade to UI5, you have to get permission from VERA and have them set a 'flag' in the VERA to allow you to use the firmware version of your choice.
We strongly recommend that you IGNORE the Quick Start Guide included in the VERA packaging and downgrade to UI5 before you do ANYTHING.
- Contact VERA support and ask them to remove the 'forced upgrade' flag from your VERA - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Go to cp.mios.com
- Register a new user account
- Log into your VERA and upgrade to the latest version of UI5 firmware outlined in - How do I upgrade or downgrade the firmware on VERA?
If you follow these steps, you'll be using the latest UI5 and you won't be missing out on anything. Later, If you decide to upgrade to UI7, that's fine as you'll be doing it in a controlled way and you'll be fully aware of the consequences.
This is our view from what we've seen over the last couple of weeks. I'd be glad of any feedback or comments you have.