Simple Control 5.5 Now Available!

5.5 Dashboard with Live TV

The journey to reimagine the user experience of Simple Control is nearly complete. Action Panel Editing has arrived. This release matures the new V5 interface focusing on customization and improvements based on user feedback. It brings much tighter integration of home devices. V5 introduced HomeKit support, and V5.5 improves key parts of the app to make any home device including those from HomeKit easier to use and integrate.

V5.5 represents the last major step of the V5 transition – all users should migrate to this release. Legacy Remote Designs are finally gone and replaced by significantly better Action Panel customization. Give yourself time to rebuild any Legacy Remote Designs as customized Action Panels. Anyone building new customizations should consider what you were doing prior to simply building it again. A primary reason people customized Remote Designs in the past is obviated by changes in the architecture of the app. The most common reason for building Remote Designs was to create a panel of controls for home devices like lights. The Homebar now provides exactly that for most home devices without the need to spend any time on customization.

There will always be legitimate reasons for customization. For instance, particular devices treat different buttons as critical based on geographic market. In one market, the Info button may be the most important button, and in another the same device will use Guide as the most important. Moving buttons to the ideal location is one of the best reasons to customize an Action Panel. Migrate your usage of home devices to the Homebar and the new Homebar Scenes feature while your new customizations instead focus on refining your Action Panels to control the actual devices better.

Video cameras are again taken to a new level in 5.5 with the introduction of experimental Netgear Arlo Camera support. Support for the ONVIF standard also now makes discovery and setup of new cameras much simpler. With our unmatched support for RTSP, ONVIF, HomeKit cameras, NestCam, and now even Arlo, there is no other app even close to bringing together everything like we do.

As with any major release, there are terminology changes and usage changes that may require tweaks to your configuration. Understanding the new Activity types is the first step. See below for details on all of the changes, and we hope you enjoy the much anticipated addition of Action Panel Editing and the many other improvements in this release. Thank you.

Action Panel Editing

Customization for Action Panels is here! Action Panels are customized from within the new Activity Editor. Action Panels are composed of modules based on each device referenced by the Activity. Each module can be customized. Entirely custom modules can also be added. Any button can have any number of commands added to it, or even open URLs, launch other Activities, and more.

Legacy Remote Designs can be re-created in the new editor. Make sure to consider when re-creating such customizations whether the customization is needed in the new app. Whereas years ago there may have been a need for custom panels to control home devices, now such needs are largely obviated by the Homebar.

TiVo Action Panel EditingSonos Action Panel Editing

New Activity Editor

Completely redesigned Activities editor greatly simplifying eliminating old cruft and automating old options. All Activities are automatically migrated. Some old activities may have options that need to be fixed manually, warnings explaining how to fix them will be presented in such cases.

5.5 New Activity Editor5.5 New Activity Editor

Some Activities related terminology has changed. Activities now have 4 well-defined types:

  • Media Activity: Traditional activity that opens an Action Panel and changes the current activity for the room. Has Start and/or Stop commands.
  • Inline Activity: Any activity that does not change the current activity for the room. Can open an Action Panel if needed. Has Start commands. There are 3 variations of Inline activity:
    1. Simple: Start commands with no Action Panel. Used to execute commands as needed.
    2. Toggle: Has both Start and Stop commands with no Action Panel, tracks its own state.
    3. Popup: Start commands with Action Panel. Used to open an Action Panel when you don’t want to change the current activity for the room.
  • Homebar Scene: New Activity type that can exist in both its room and the Homebar categories for the devices it controls. Many activities that were previously Toggle activities should be converted to Homebar Scenes to benefit from live feedback state tracking if they were primarily designed to control lights, shades, locks, outlets, and home devices.
  • Power Off: Stop commands only.

Many other optimizations and improvements have been made to activity configuration including:

  • Toggle Activities are now implicit. Any Inline activity with Start+Stop commands is a toggle activity.
  • Power Device: Old setting eliminated. Turning on/off a device added to an Activity is now automatic as part of Activity creation, reset, or adding a device.
  • Reset on System Off option on toggle activities has been eliminated. To reset a Toggle Activity from a System Off activity, stop the toggle activity in the System Off Activity’s commands.
  • Run from Simple Hub is now automatic for any Activity that requires more than 2 seconds to execute.
  • Kodi Device setting is now automatic.
  • Plex Media Server setting is now automatic.
  • Associating an iTunes Media Guide with the old Apple TV 3 removed.

Homebar Scenes

New Activity type consolidates home-related devices (lights, shades, locks, switches, fans) into a Scene. The “on” state of the Scene is defined by the start commands. For instance, 4 lights set to 50% and 1 shade at 100% open is a Scene definition. It is on when all 5 of those are an exact match, and otherwise off. Toggling the Scene changes all contained devices via the start/stop command sequence of the Activity. Long-pressing a Scene from the room’s Activity panel will reverse the command sequence sent. Homebar Scenes can be accessed from any Homebar category for the devices it controls, and optionally can also display with its live status in the Room’s activity list.

Homebar ScenesHomebar ScenesHomebar Scenes

Auto Thermostats

Thermostats in an automatic heat/cool mode now use a much improved interface.

Auto Thermostats 1Auto Thermostats 2

Additional Improvements

  • Homebar Sensors + Fans: New panels for sensors from HomeKit accessories including temperature, motion, smoke, contact, leak, humidity, and carbon monoxide. Fans also now have a new Homebar category.
  • Netgear Arlo Cameras: Streaming now provided as an experimental feature added as a new Cloud Service.
  • ONVIF Cameras: Automatic discovery and configuration of many additional cameras via support for the ONVIF camera standard.
  • Activity Order: Activities may now be ordered in the Activity Editor. Dashboard orders via usage analytics.
  • Room Button: Action Panels now show a room button if opened from a room.
  • Navigation: Side swipes now navigate between all Action Panels and Dashboard.
  • System Off Activities consolidated into a menu, those after the first are now accessed as additional items from the room’s System Off menu.
  • iOS Guided Access is now an automatic configuration hard lock. Explicitly locking from a separate device is no longer needed if using Guided Access.
  • Hide from Voice Control options for Rooms, Devices, and Activities are now consolidated into one section in Settings.
  • Samsung TV 2016-2017 models now feature a media guide and direct commands to launch TV apps.
  • Somfy myLink: Somfy shades are now also controlled via the myLink Wi-Fi controller. Add the device manually as Automation -> Somfy on port 44100. Enter your System ID from the Integration panel of the myLink app where requested. myLink does not provide status feedback, so Simple Control remembers the last state. This does mean it’s easy to get out of sync if you also use other systems to change shade state. Depending on your setup, an Inline Toggle Activity may be the best method, or if you remove other control methods they work great from the Homebar.
  • Vizio TVs discovery updated for latest firmware changes.
  • Roku TVs are now auto-discovered and properly matched.
  • Universal Devices ISY manifest entries can now be renamed.
  • Indigo dimmers now properly recognized.
  • Dashboard Watch Live TV button now shows actual Live TV periodically updated on the most recent channel for HDHomeRun.
  • Apple TV: YouTube gesture navigation and issues with other specific apps like DirecTV Now fixed. Many more Apple TV improvements.
  • Apple TV: Fixed commands in System Off activities such as long press to sleep.
  • Graphics Update: New graphics and icon selection interface.
  • Tuning a channel on HDHomeRun now supported for countries that do not have guides/channel listings.
  • Custom images for Activities can now be imported from your Photo Library. Make sure the original format of the image when added to your Photo Library is PNG to preserve transparency.
  • Configurations are updated by this release and many features are not supported by older releases. Ensure all platforms and devices are on the latest release. iOS and tvOS are available from the App Store, and macOS is available at this permanent download link: Download Simple Hub 5.5 for macOS. The old Simple Hub appliance remains compatible modulo the features it does not support from V5 such as Remote Video, Picture-in-Picture, HomeKit, and Homebar Scenes from V5.5.
  • Legacy Remote Designs were removed as announced in 2017 now that Action Panel Editing has replaced them.

For additional information, the User’s Guide has been fully updated.