In late January 2013 a new home automation gateway in the field of wireless home automation Zigbee/Z-Wave was already available for saling. After more than a year of development, the Croatian company Zipato launches across Europe the Zipabox gateway.

Let’s begin to discover its secrets!

1. Presentation

The first thing that rings the bell is its small size. It is a small cubic box.

Zipabox package

Zipabox unbox

Vera Lite is familiar because the green leaf shaped, which surprised us by its small size, here you can see these two gateways together.

Vera Lite vs. Zipabox

With measures of 86 x 86mm x 48mm, it is very interesting that it can be placed into any electrical box, and has a DIN rail bracket.

Zipabox DIN rail

DIN rail Zipabox

When unpacking, we  find  power supply, Ethernet cable, antenna and manual.

Zipabox unbox

On the cover, there are two buttons (programmable), and three LEDs (two green and one RGB), also programmable, which will be used for scenes.

Zipabox top buttons

On one side, we find the power connector, an Ethernet port, a reset button (to restart if necessary), and antenna connector:

On the sides find a novelty. The unit has expansion slots in order to connect additional modules:

Zipabox lateral slot

The main module of Zipabox integrates natively Z-Wave. Additional modules can be added in the expansion slots in order to add more possibilities. For the moment the company planned modules for Zigbee, KNX, 433Mhz (X-10 and others), with battery backup module and USB for 3G connection and a security module for wired alarm. Of course, all modules are interoperable, which provides to the gateway the potential and possibilities we didn’t see before. They presented a gateway that can evolve both the software and hardware for the modular.

Zipabox modules

Let’s analyze the software. Where it is important to note that is available in 9 languages.

Zipabox languages

2. Control Panel

To begin, you must create an account on the website of Zipato: It is indeed a gateway “in the cloud” that depends on external servers.

Registration is quite simple: name, e-mail, computer serial number… in a couple of minutes you will be connected to your gateway.

Register screen

Control panel is a relatively simple page. It is composed of large blocks, called “widgets”.

Zipabox control panel

2.1 Scenes

One of the most interesting contributions of this gateway automation, besides being installable modular DIN rail, is in the way how scenes can be programmed, which could be compared to a puzzle for children.

These puzzle pieces that fit together (controls, actions, sensors, etc …), in the center of a workspace where do our puzzle, and our proper home automation modules:

Rules generator module

The principle is very simple: we take the pieces of the puzzle that is left in the center. Here’s a simple example to light a lamp in case of detection:

  • Choose the puzzle piece “When”.
  • The slot can fit a “sensor”.
  • Then select “motion detection”.
  • And finally the actuator from the lamp and turning action on detection.

The video below explains it better:

3. Conclusion

The possibilities of Zipabox allows us to say that is a very complete device.

The first time we watch the interface it seems simple to use and with everything at hand, offering great possibilities for not advanced users.

Novice users can quickly add modules, configure the management of its heating and alarm systems and create scenarios with puzzles system to manage their entire home. An advanced user can go further to controll other equipment and even retrieving data and external values.

Finally, while Z-Wave offers the largest ecosystem of modules, most well supported by Zipabox, it will be possible to extend the possibilities of KNX box, 433MHz sensors, Zigbee, etc. The possibilities are many and the team is so modular, that we ensure that almost any present or future technology will be able to be integrated.

The only point to improve (it which they are already working on) is their dependence on external servers.

And what about the price! Despite all these possibilities, Zipabox is only slightly more expensive than Vera Lite, sold since mid-January for 199 € VAT incl.

This gateway is a big surprise, with probably the best features/price relation up to date. We bet that we will hear much about Zipabox during 2013.

About the Author

José Miguel Rubio Varas
Cofounder of Domótica Dainci. Since childhood I wanted to become telecommunications engineer. I got tired of being Engineer Power Point and I decided to undertake. I found my passion in Automation. That automation that is not already expensive or a source of problems, but it is for everyone.