Home automation is with us for many decades. And for all those years, when you know where to look, you could have the future running in your house. The first question that arises is "what is it?" It starts with terminology, e.g. in Europe the term 'domotics' is often used, or 'domotique' in French or 'domotica' in Dutch. Home automation is more American, and also smart or intelligent house is often used. Although you could use these terms as synonyms, there is more then a particular flavor to each. However, if you ask an ordinary citizen what is home automation and if they have it at their place; you will probably get a blank expression back. And then if you tell them it is about home toys, they will relax: "Oh, it's 'toys for the boys', go have fun, I go on with my life." The most striking definition of domotics came forward two years ago when I edited a domotics trend analysis, which, after two years, is still remarkable accurate: "domotics (or home automation) is something that doesn't work; as soon as it works we do not call it domotics anymore ?". State of the art Especially in America home automation, as a low cost easy to install system, is probably best known in relation to X10 applications. Based on the power cabling a wide variety of home management and control solutions are available (www.x10.com or www.hometoys.com) . X10 mainly directs the switching of lights and all kind of appliances (by managing the power plug). Also in Europe you have many systems, but they are more based on installation by professional, and to an increasing extend based on more open standards like EIB and Konnext. But either by wireless remote control or computer controlled management a remarkable versatile and flexible in house service and comfort situation can be achieved. At present a new group of home automation solutions are offered in relation to wireless television and camera system, directed either to flexible in house locations of viewing television (including remote use of your video or DVD recorder), or simple surveillance applications like viewing the baby room, the front door or your garden. Even more recently wireless safety and security systems are coming on the market. An intriguing example is the system of Trust, which you might know as a vendor of computer peripherals. May we expect Microsoft to be offering home automation in the near future? Based on telephony you also see directions of development. Most visible are probably the telephony based home care systems which a range of services to support elderly and less or disabled people. Primarily this is directed towards calling external help in cases of emergency, but often also functionality in included like simple burglary alarm of fire safety components. In Europe you also see new safety and security applications and services based on mobile GSM telephony, which in Europe is much wider spread then in America. Interoperability Specific, non integrated one issue solutions, however, do not add up to mature home automation systems. First there is not much of interoperability between systems. You can buy specific systems directed towards a specific task. But at that time you are in a lock-in situation. Your system won't communicate or integrate with other systems and probably even worse; you know that technology is developing very rapidly and that it is very likely that your system will already be obsolete when you are unpacking. Maybe not in the sense that it is not functioning any more, but that new systems, even from the same vendor, will perform better or are easier to operate. And you may only hope that replacement parts of your system will still be available in the (near) future. Secondly it is also hardly possible to exchange a part of a system by a component of an other brand. Of course from a technology point of view it won't be too hard. If you know enough about Mhz and you understand the specifications of your systems, you might be able to manage a multi-vendor system. But then you must know what you are doing, and that means it is not for the general public or user friendly neither to choose nor to install and operate; and that brings home automation back to the niche of 'home toys'. External communication What also is lacking about traditional home automation systems is that they are confined inside your home. For a bit of luxury and comfort that's OK. But what happens if you are away and you had a power failure, who is switching on your freezer again? Or can you have your television reprogrammed online without having a service person coming to your house? Or can you check that your heating system is functioning (and switch it on or reboot) when there is a sudden cold and you are away for a few days. With computer appliances this direction is already visible with, for example high end printers which automatically arrange maintenance if a malfunction arises. Of course there are systems that can do that, but again you must know what to look for and know what you are doing. Although many home automation systems support functionality for dial-in communication, this are specific vendor dependent solutions. More in general for communications with the outside world you have the concept of a residential gateway. However, these systems are still in their infancy. Many questions have not been addressed yet, let alone that they are fully operational in the sense that they are open systems able to interface with all kind of devices and appliances. Probably the main question is ... who will be the service provider for your residential gateway. Will it be the power company? Then it might be more of metering system?. Will it be your telephone or television company? Will it be a broadband system? But you have no cable or are more interested in satellite services? And why broadband if you are only interested in checking your heating system, switching on your freezer and such. You only need to be able to get a few bits over the line and not Mbytes. And even worse, how does your residential gateway knows how to communicate with all these devices and appliances? A general article about exchanges/gateways is Design Challenges for Home Gateway Devices by Satish Gupta. Internet connectivity A rather new direction is the development of internet into an intelligent network. Not only are the devices and components IP-enabled, but they are also aware of other components on the net and are capable to interact directly with each other without human interference or a central management computer; when the door opens, the light, heating, and ventilation 'know' that they should become active.
After a 12 month "sentence" using the Pyramid style IR-RF-IR repeaters we were so fed up. It was always a balancing act trying to get them to work. So..hardwired IR distribution was high on the agenda for James Hoyes annual Automate-a-thon. Here is how we got it all operating...
Up here in Sweden, the summer has been rainy. That means a lot of hours indoors listening to music. Not always, I do have a family, but I have had plenty of time, sitting in my cozy sofa, listening to good music. Today I will have some time with the HDCD CD "Rajaz" with Camel.
This simple system can provide a measure of convenience and security to the homeowner - especially if the video from this system is integrated into the home television system. With that integration, camera coverage may be viewed from any television in the home; and with the system integrated into the homeowner's LAN, camera coverage may not only be viewed, but may be re-positioned from any PC in the house.
We specifically pulled a Mini High Resolution RGBHV cable, an SVGA cable, an S-video cable and 2 cat 5 wires to the plasma location from the rack. This would allow us to handle just about any video signal now or in the future.
Whether it?s in the home theater environment or in the corporate setting, the DLA-HX1U?s ease of installation and user-friendly design are also key selling factors of these projectors.
High quality, affordable AV distribution has just got even easier thanks to the added functionality of the new units.
As the speaker diaphragm compresses the air in the cabinet, the activated carbon absorbs more air molecules. The diaphragm consequently experiences less resistance to its motion, as if the volume of air in the cabinet were larger.
Here's a few product ideas to make your kitchen smarter and more efficient.
With the proper lighting control system, lighting within a room or even throughout and entire home can be controlled automatically when a single lighting control button is pressed, when a button is pressed on a remote control, when a door is opened or even when the sun rises and sets each day.
It's not often we associate something that consumes power-such as lighting-as a means to saving or conserving, but by their inherent design and very purpose, lighting controls are a way to not only save electricity and related costs, they're a fun, convenient and futuristic way to go about it.
The proper dimming system is a vital ingredient in designing the perfect home theater. You will want an easy-to-use, convenient system that offers flexibility and control in lighting scenes.
The features and advantages of modern lighting control systems are truly incredible. Technological advancements have given us comprehensive and affordable home lighting controls that can do things Thomas Edison would have never dreamed were possible. And more and more people are realizing-and taking advantage of-these benefits.
The best way to protect the home, is to protect the main inputs to the wiring distribution center for each incoming feed, i.e. cable TV, satellite, each phone line, and the electrical system for the entire home, by tying them to a true ground and/or through a surge protection system.
This article provides an overview of the design process in order to see how the elements fit together to form a system, and attempts to explain the role of each element in that system. We won't attempt to describe the detailed procedures for configuring the devices; that changes from one manufacturer to another, and the manufacturer's procedure is far more detailed, and far less confusing than anything we could provide here.
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Automation & Control - Featured Product
The GP565 Smart Home RF chip for remote controls supports voice control, motion sensing and the new ZRC 2.0 protocol. The GP565 is optimized for advanced & low cost ZigBee RF4CE remote controls. • 120k or 248k Flash (8k or 16k RAM) memory • 40-pin footprint to support a keyboard scanner interface or other IO interfaces required for remote controls. • Reduced current consumption and improved receiver sensitivity and output power • Patented Antenna Diversity technology enables superior range and WiFi/Bluetooth interference rejection