Clear Thinking about Home Automation

"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.

Compaq iPAQ 3835 Pocket PC

So ... we're off on a new journey into the future of technology with a new tool to help us mark the way. I don't think everyone needs a Pocket PC ... but if you work or play in a busy information packed world then you will probably use one in the future. I like the iPAQ because it's functionality is totally familiar to me (as a windows user) and the learning curve was short. The unit is well made and easy to use ... that's all it takes to convince an old dog to try some new tricks :-)

CONNECTIONS™ 2002 Wrap-Up

CONNECTIONS™ would like to extend a Texas-sized "thank you" to the more than 50 exhibiting sponsors, two supporting organizations, and 24 supporting publications for their participation in and support of what has become the industry's largest, most important and focused executive conference and trade show for the home networking and residential gateway industries. We'll expect many happy returns in 2003, when CONNECTIONS™ will convene for the seventh consecutive year!

Home Entertainment Network Growth

Caveats and concerns aside, the next two years promise to bring significant development in the field of connected entertainment. Growth will come from partnerships between platform developers and service providers (think set-top boxes), new forms of content, emerging business models, and a growing awareness and acceptance among consumers for these applications.

Invoca Voice Activated Universal Remote

It's amazing how they can get voice recognition into such a small package. For the ultimate couch potato ... this is the greatest tool around. You don't even have to lift your head from the pillow to surf the channels :-)

Marmitek AWM2 Micro-Module

Once configured, the AWM2 works like a charm. Toggling the switch switches the relay instantly, and the X10 message that accompanies it is sent immediately. Toggling the second switch also sends the appropriate X10 message out. If you're installing the AWM2 in a ceiling, chances are that you're not going to be using the second switch input. If this is the case, make sure it's well insulated and taped up out of the way - it doesn't take much to trigger it.

Programmable Logic Controller Application

The programmable logic controller (PLC) allowed for the integration of three basic electrical systems: lighting, drapery and audio. It also allowed for all of the systems to be controlled from one common wall station, thus eliminating the conventional switch wall clutter.

Quest for Ultimate Service Provider

If you're a consumer living in a small town or in rural America, get ready for a big surprise. If you live in rural Wisconsin, the Dakotas, Georgia, South Carolina, upstate New York, Alaska, Texas, Nevada, or pretty much any other rural state, your phone company is about to provide a range of services that no other provider will be able to, if it isn't already. If you live in the big city, eat your heart out!

The IndraNet Technology in a Nutshell

At the core of the IndraNet technology are a unique tridimensional fractal mesh network architecture and a set of operations protocols that enable key problems faced by wireless communication networks to be solved and that addresses the global emerging market demands for massive increases in broadband communications. The IndraNet Core technology, and in particular the IndraNet Network Architecture are unique and protected internationally by patents.

Wireless Wars or Wireless Weddings?

Innovative semiconductor companies are introducing software-defined radios for wireless LANs this year, and we already see examples of multi-mode in mobile phones and enterprise wireless access points. I expect to see multi-mode PC adapters in 2002 that help move the industry away from the confusing Wireless Wars to a more cordial Wireless Wedding. Consumers and industry will both benefit from this new direction.

Bluetooth: Finally Making An Impact

The outlook for Bluetooth technology is once again positive, albeit cautiously so. Bluetooth at its core is an embedded play. The desire to purchase add-on, aftermarket Bluetooth solutions is limited. For Bluetooth to succeed integration cost and power consumption are key determinants.

Controllers Need to Look Nice

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.

Easy Use Products

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.

Flexibility in Design

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.

Grabbing Control

Remember that the control system interface occupies valuable and prominent real estate in a home. They are placed in important positions: by the front door, on the coffee table, in the main hallway, etc. There is limited wall space and the device should be an invited part of the home and not a distraction. If careful attention is paid to the physical and digital interfaces, the system will be used more often, and hopefully shown to visitors who will want the same system installed in their home.

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