Bridging the Automation/IP Gap

The Archronix ArcWay ZigBee to WSDL gateway allows two sets of standardized yet disparate technologies to communicate with each other. You can buy products from a variety of vendors and they will be able to plug and play together.

2001 in Retrospect

Clearly 2001 has been a mixed bag in the areas discussed above with the number of bright spots being equaled by instances of postponed growth. The depth of this technology industry downturn has been unprecedented by most metrics. It has reinforced the belief that the tech industry despite its allure is cyclical beyond just the semiconductor segment. Nevertheless over the long-term the technology industry, as an aggregate, should post healthy positive growth.

802.11b Wireless

The newer, and at this point more expensive, 802.11a standard is able to transmit data at speeds up to 54 Mbps, which is more than adequate for today's video and audio technologies. In fact, according to a recent report from the Gartner Group, Inc., it has "enough capacity to simultaneously support two streams of standard television content, data traffic among multiple PCs in the home and an HDTV stream".

HAL Deluxe

I was most impressed with the quick and easy setup and the fact that I didn't need to train the voice recognition system at all. This is a fun ... fun ... fun product that can pretty much become your sidekick in operating your home automation system, answering, dialing and taking messages as well as getting your favorite sports scores, stock prices and weather reports from the internet. What else do you need? And the very best part ... just say "Goodbye" or "Thank-you" and HAL goes to sleep until you awaken it with your next desire.

HAVi and IEEE 1394

The digital home continues to evolve and smarter appliances continuing to perpetrate the home. These smarter appliances and the need for sharing broadband data, voice, and video is pushing the need for home networking. While several technologies exist the technology that provides high-speed and reliable delivery of voice, data and video will win. IEEE 1394 is one such home networking technology that provides both high-speed and reliable delivery. The proliferation of 1394 as the A/V standard will be accelerated through the use of HAVi as its middleware solution to connect disparate devices, thus providing a complete solution to the consumer.

Home Entertainment Networking - COAX

In an office setting, printers are not replicated in everyone's office. A printer's capabilities are distributed by networking it; thus multiple users can share one device. Home entertainment networking is analogous to the office printer scenario, permitting multiple users to share the capabilities of entertainment devices and providing benefits to both the consumers and service providers.

HomePNA Networks the Home with Existing Wires

At COMDEX 2001 HomePNA announced the Voice-over-HomePNA (VoHPNA) protocol, which extends its 2.0 specification to include support for digital voice services. This announcement makes HomePNA the first home networking protocol to deliver a network-based framework for delivering toll-quality digital telephony services for consumer price points.

Streaming Wireless Entertainment

What Whitecap2 does is give priority to the game, movie, and other multimedia content you're running, allowing it more usable throughput within the 11mbps pipeline. If you imagine 802.11b as a highway, picture it with no traffic signs, no lanes, no lights - just data whizzing around with no traffic cop to maintain order. What Whitecap adds, to extend the metaphor, is a commuter lane for multimedia content.

Wireless Toys

Some of the products discussed provide adequate performance under ideal conditions, but there are many things that emit radio interference that can impact performance. These include stadium lights, cordless phones, microwave ovens, wireless LANs, and anything else that operates in the unlicensed 900 MHz or 2.4 GHz frequency band.

CETI Cam 100

The all in one unit contains a high resolution CCD camera and an embedded web server. There are inputs for 3 analogue camera's (CCTV). Other features include an interface for adding on a pan/tilt/zoom function as well as adding a motion sensor. All this can be controlled with a standard web browser ... no additional software needed.

HomePlug - Strength in Numbers

When you consider the versatility and diverse capabilities of powerline home networking solutions, it is clear that there is strength in numbers. Bringing together 90 companies from a range of industry sectors ensures that consumers who want to create a home network will be provided with a variety of cost-effective, HomePlug-certified products that will all work together.

HomeSeer

With just a Web browser you can control lights, appliances, a security system -- almost anything with a power switch. In my home, the system controls the pool pumps and cleaner, opens and closes drapes, and even tells me when someone is coming up the driveway or if I left the garage door up.

HomeVision Home Controller

I'm not going to redo the in depth review of HomeVision here. My original review is still relevant so click here if you want to get into the nitty gritty of this controller. Suffice it to say that when I got my new HomeVision it only took a few minutes to change over all of my schedules and devices from the Enerlogic system that I have used for the past 10 years. I did not lose one day of control and in fact added scenes and modes that I had been thinking about for some time. Not having to write and debug control code has made this experience a pleasure.

Remote Anywhere

Remote Anywhere allows consumers to control their satellite receiver, A/V components, TiVo™, DVD player, tuner, etc., from other rooms up to 150 feet (46 meters) away. This capability is especially useful to owners of satellite systems looking to view programs from a single receiver or recorder on different televisions throughout the home, without purchasing another unit or incurring additional monthly programming charges.

Siemens Gigaset 2420 Cordless Telephone System

The complexity of the system is not overwhelming. The functions are practical and easy to use. No ... you can't browse the web or do the dishes ... but you can get down to business quickly and easily. Isn't that what you need a phone system for?

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Automation & Control - Featured Product

Light sockets; Not just for lights anymore

Light sockets; Not just for lights anymore

Smart Bulbs are out there and they can do far more then just provide light. Speakers, projectors, wi-fi extenders and more. The standard light socket that is wired up and ready to go in nearly every home in North America is now providing an easy and affordable option for home owners and renters alike to enter into the world of the "Smart Home". Here is a look at some of the Smart Bulbs and Smart Lighting options out there, and this list is just the beginning. In this ongoing article we hope to continue to add to and grow this list, so stay tuned!