Applying computer technology to home theater, home automation, and security, is the key to making control of these systems not only simple, but also fun. The technology to do everything stated in the article is here now, or very close. As PC integrated solutions become more widely used and refined, they will rapidly simplify the complexity of our electronics systems, making their operation a pleasure for everyone.
It's exciting to see so many appliance, computer and entertainment suppliers join the home automation fray. It's also a bit scary because forces this powerful can have a profound effect on any market. Over on the demand side, meanwhile, consumers already leery of living in electronic mazes are looking for somebody to make it all work and make it all safe, simple and secure.
Close coordination between contractors is a must, and you must be able to 'work well with others'. There is a lot of planning involved, both before the project starts and during the installation. Again, a well-designed system is one in which the only time the homeowner calls, is to invite you to dinner.
If the system designer is not an expert with regards to every aspect of the system, he or she should look for outside design resources, including other system designers, programmers, consultants or even the manufacturers. Making the system work will win you friends and future business. Making a poor system design will cause your phone to ring endlessly . . . and mine too.
"System Integration" speaks to the need for intelligent cooperation between the electronic systems in your home. It could be a matter as small as controlling different lighting zones by time or circumstance, or it may go so far as interfacing audio/video, security, lighting, heating & a/c, sprinkler systems, & oh-gosh-so-many -other-things. Remember the key idea: Integration of systems.
For a satisfying automation experience, incorporate aesthetically pleasing, intuitively simple control interfaces into your home. Throughout your search, just keep in mind that if you don't really want to live with it, you won't really use it.
The home networking market is not aiming to be a market of gadgetry, but rather a utility that is routinely included in homes. The less customers have to rely on outside help to maintain the system -- and the more customer friendly and flexible those systems are -- the more likely it is that home networking will see an increased rate of adoption.
My first reaction to seeing some of the products in the marketplace was "you're not putting that in my house", or, "where can we hide it". To me, initially, some of the interfaces seemed unwieldy and incongruous; especially considering they were placed in a room where the homeowner had spent hours agonizing over the perfect lamp shade to highlight the artwork which was selected with even more painstaking care.
Networking hardware manufacturers would benefit from digging deeper into the residential homeowners' psyche before developing confusing, expensive products and services to a disinterested population.
It should be every installer's objective to install their systems so that the home owners entire family including their children, and the occasional houseguest can operate the lights with no questions, let alone manuals. This includes putting lights on and off in their bedrooms, dining room and living room, exterior lights, scenes, path lights, etc. One shouldn't have to press a button, and wait to see what happens, and where.
Whether you design your touch panel pages internally or outsource to a professional design team, the key to touch panel design success is planning and communication with your customers. Knowing in the beginning what functionality can be achieved will make designing pages an easier task. Dedicating the right amount of time will enable you to produce eye-pleasing page designs and help you introduce a little "technology warmth" in the home.
New types of devices have helped to change the thinking of home networking experts. Six years ago they said to put bedroom phone outlets by the bed and TV outlets across the room. But they didn't anticipate interactive program guides or NetTV devices that require both a phone and TV outlet. So today they put a phone outlet by every TV outlet. Still, no one can fully anticipate future wiring needs, and that's the message of this article.
The next time you have an opportunity to observe a group of individuals demonstrating precision and harmony, be it on a sports field or on stage in an orchestra or play, remember that it takes both talent, teamwork and many hours of practice to achieve this level of performance. Remember to expect that same level of performance from the products you use to populate your home network.
There is a time and a season for everything, and indeed, even in a two-way system there is a time to "speak" and a time to refrain from "speaking". So the focus of the issue before us is whether a system can support two-way communication and not when and how this capability is used.
Ask 100 people on the streets of the UK what X-10 is and I reckon the two top answers would be: 1. It's a sci-fi movie. or 2. It's that cream for hemorrhoids isn't it? Up until very recently X-10 had only been available from a couple of mail order specialists. Then, about 12 months ago, products finally became available 'over the counter' in Maplin stores (something like your Radio Shack) across the country. Despite recent price cuts, modules are still very expensive. A lamp module, for example, is around 30.00 UK Pounds (the equivalent of just under $50!!). You can imagine how sick we feel when we see US units advertised at around $10. But at last X-10 is slowly starting to get exposure in the UK.
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Custom scenes (connecting up to 250 switches) in your living, family or great room, kitchen, study, master bedroom/bathroom, and office. Turn off all lights in your home at the touch of a button. Automatically (Timer Scheduler) turn on/off outdoor security lights, heating and AC, or provide night light convenience anywhere in your home. From creating a virtual 3 way switch anywhere in your home, to turning a group of lights when your garage door is opened, door bell or phone rings.