Home application developers depend on middleware to develop solutions that can be implemented across multiple systems, amortizing the implementation cost of different systems integration.
There is no doubt that one of the next technological frontiers is home automation. The really big question is, once we can do everything we want to do, will it be done with a discrete panel or will it be an application developed for the PC. This article discusses home automation, what's available for the PC today, what we can do and what we can't.
I had reviewed the legacy version of ECS in August of 2000 and was asked to have a look at the redesigned Object-Oriented version (now at 2.2.51). Omnipotence has just recently introduced this version to the residential market, having been focused exclusively on the commercial/industrial markets for the last 2 years. ECS Automation Logo
Paul Motz is a businessman and former newspaper publisher from Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. He has been using X-10 technology for over 15 years and is an avid Macintosh user. He currently uses a B&W G3 and a Powerbook 2400 with a G3 upgrade.
MisterHouse is the name of the open source program I wrote to do Home Automation (HA) chores at our house. It runs on Windows 95,98, NT, or any POSIX enabled Unix, like Linux. It can interact with a variety of serial port devices, including the X10 CM11 interface.
There needs to be further software written and easier to use front ends so that people like my wife, who don't want to learn complicated commands and setups, can basically point and click. Unix has all the tools needed to perform all of this and still keep the command line there for those who want more power. After the front ends have been added the next thing to work on will be redundancy. This is an area where most Home Automation systems are lacking.
"Controlling devices in the selected house code is easy but you must know the correct phrases to use. For example "Turn on Coach Lamp" commands the lamp on and "Shut off Coach Lamp" turns it off. "Set Coach Lamp to 75%" ... Brighten Coach Lamp by 10%" etc. Once you learn the key phrases you're all set and with proper training, the voice recognition is quite accurate."
Using any universal infrared remote control set to "Sony" control code, click the "VOLUME+" (move right), "VOLUME-" (move left), "CHANNEL+" (move up) and "CHANNEL-" (move down) keys in order to "move around" on the house map until the blinking cursor is on a device icon.
"Unique to HOUSE/2, and setting it apart from other programs, is the Series Event creation page. It allows you to create a series of module events over a certain date range specified. "
"And since scheduling depends on your computer clock, HCA can be set to automatically update by calling a time service and downloading the correct time to your PC clock. Now that's cool. I wish my VCR, stove, coffee maker, wall clock etc. could do the same. Sometimes I can walk around my house and think that I live in several time zones at once."
"HomAtion cleverly allows anything to trigger anything else. You can have events trigger scenes, scenes create events, events cause events, etc. You can create variables to pass data from one scene to another. You create a scene the same way you add a device, except you attach events to it."
"The new "Bend 'm Shape'm" generation of HTML browsers with close desktop operating system integration, allows simple assembly of easy to use, highly functional PC based, paperless multimedia HTML environments."
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