To be honest, we don't know a huge amount about this technology because it hasn't been available in the UK. That's about to change though and UK compatible devices will be on the market in early 2013. We will be tracking this technology and no doubt undertaking a few projects and reviews.
How It Works
INSTEON is a reliable home automation technology because it uses a dual-mesh network, using both radio frequency signals and existing electrical wiring to talk communicate. Every message is confirmed as it is received, and if any errors are detected, the message is automatically resent. This makes it a much better option than technologies like X10. Insteon is also backwards compatible with X10, so if you have existing X10 devices they don't need to be thrown away. Each Insteon compatible device is also a repeater, so the signal gets stronger the more devices you have in your home. Each message also contains error detection, to improve the reliability and reduce false switching.
INSTEON commands are simple and universal. One command is sent to all devices simultaneously for instant, elegant scene control. INSTEON commands are also guaranteed to be backwards and forwards compatible.
With INSTEON, there is no central controller or networking setup required. Set up is claimed to be a simple plug and tap to link one INSTEON product to another. Each INSTEON device has its own unique ID, so 3rd parties can't control your home. It also supports smartphone and tablet apps via an INSTEON Hub.
Controller / Hub
The range of INSTEON products available in the UK initially is fairly limited. In particular we are missing the low voltage switching and control modules that enable things like irrigation control.
Controllers & Remotes
Because all devices can be controlled by any other, there are both remotes as well as the more traditional controller or gateways.
This was implemented using INSTEON modules: