In 1912, a new word in Webster’s Dictionary defined automation as “the technique of making an apparatus, a process, or a system operate.” Those in the home automation industry define this word as “making life easier.” Home automation covers a variety of needs, wants, and desires—from audio, video, and lighting control to blind, shade and drapery control, heating and cooling control, security systems and video surveillance cameras, and sensors.
Controlling your system
Now you have all the toys in your home, how do you control it? All the higher-end of automation companies have their advantages, all have a touch-screen panel available, and all offer the ability to custom-design the user face (how you want the control device to look and respond). Going even further, the user face could be personalized to every person’s liking who uses the system. For example, if your father speaks German, the user’s face could be in German. The user face can also feature fingerprint recognition, so only authorized persons can use it. Imagine a simplified lifestyle, custom-designed for your needs. Life at the push of a button is no longer something you imagine for the future. The future is now. With home automation, life can be easy!
Sound can be distributed to numerous areas of the house through an automation control screen. Each one of these areas or rooms is called a zone. Each zone can have its own source of music—a CD, satellite or local radio—the source being who or what is supplying the sound and not the equipment itself. Each zone can be controlled independently for source and volume.
Integrated lighting sets the perfect scene and creates the desired ambiance for any occasion. Are you traveling out of town or working late? The lights can execute pre-programmed scenes to simulate established lifestyle patterns. Dimmers can adjust internal lighting according to natural light levels in the home or incrementally over a pre-determined time period.
Security, surveillance and sensors
Installing security in your home is nothing new. But what about adding video surveillance on a digital video recorder (DVR) backup for storage, with the ability to view it on any Internet connection worldwide? When the doorbell rings or someone pulls into the driveway, the picture of your visitor’s arrival will show up whether you are watching a movie in the theater of your home or standing in the master bathroom. Don’t forget the two-way communication that goes with it—no worries about being in your bathrobe to answer the door anymore!
With the exception of the visual element, video automation is similar to audio. Video sources include satellite, cable, DVD, Blu-ray or HDDVD. Control is key—you choose what you want to watch and how!
Heating and cooling
Automation for heating and cooling will keep your home comfortable at all times, automatically monitoring not only temperature but also humidity levels. No need to get up or even be home to adjust climate controls. You can control multiple zones from one location and easily pre-set temperature set points. Getting home early? Use your PDA or PC to control the HVAC remotely, even monitor the wine cellar or greenhouse atrium temperatures.
Blinds and shades
Automated blinds and shades offer safety and convenience and, best of all, no more cords! You can program the system so in the summer when the sun is coming through the south side of your home, the shades will close automatically, yet on the same wall in the winter, they will open to take advantage of the solar heat. This is not only a convenience but also helps with your heating and cooling bills.
Home Automation Scenarios
Here are some suggestions for different settings your home automation system can include:
GONE FOR THE WEEKEND
- Locks all doors
- Activates security system
- E-mails your cell phone if the alarm is triggered
- Turns on and off the lights to reflect everyday living
- Opens and closes shades to reflect everyday living
- Dims or turns off lights in home theater
- Closes shades in and around home theater
- Lowers movie screen
- Turns on the projector and sound system
- Plays your movie at your controls for volume, pausing and stopping
- Automatically pauses your movie to show you the visitor pulling into the driveway