Home automation in todays home is not as far out of reach as you may think. Advanced lighting control for example is as simple as swapping out the light switches with dimmer switches with lighting control capability and installing a simple lighting control program on your PC.
Many existing heating and air conditioning systems, security systems, and sound systems arew capable of being incorporated in a home automation system. There are inexpensive add-on interfaces for many home systems allowing them to be controlled by a home automation system. Many of these home automations systems in turn will allow the end user to control their lights, HVAC, and security system for example with their smart phone (iPhone or Android), iPad, iPod, or network connected computer. Home automation is not as far out of reach as you may think.
Their are a lot of companies out there now offering different levels of home autmation control. My suggestion is go with a company that has been around for a while and not some new home automation company that you have never heard of, or has only been around for a short period of time. If a home automation company is reputable, chances are you will find all kinds of reviews and history on them by doing a Google search or surfing the audio video and home electronic tech forums.
The big names in home automation are Crestron and AMX. These guys have been aroundfor a long time, and they are fairly expensive. You will pay a lot for something that can be done for far less these days.
Elan Home Systems for example is a home entertainment system company specializing in whole house audio and video systems. They have been around for a long time and they recently merged with a home automation company called Home Logic. Together, the two companies have come out with a home automation product called “g!”. The g! System will integrate with a great many audio, video, lighting, security, and HVAC comapnies. Their newly refined phylosophy is to allow their products to incorporate with as many other manufacturers systems as possible rather than OEM all their own home automation products.
It is possible to purchase a g! System and control all of your lights without changing anything but your switched. No rewiring necessary. You can also control your existing security system with a simple interface, as well as control your heat and air conditioning in a simillar fashion. In most cases all you need to do is upgrade your thermostats, if they won’t work with g! already. This can all be done at the fraction of the price of one of the formentioned “elite” home automation manufacturers, and with little or no difference in functionality and reliablity.
These home automation systems are easy and dare I say, fun to use. If you are building a home, or remodelling your existing home, or simply want to add automation to your existing house, you should give home automation a thought. It is very easy to acheive amazing home automation control for far less than you could imagine.
PG Mc Adams
SVI Home Theater Systems, Inc