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Home Automation Server

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Automation can be as simple as buying a security light that switches itself on at night or installing a high dollar system with fancy touch screen displays to control your lights, TV, home theater, thermostats and lots more. Basic software products can even be installed on your existing PC to offer some big benefits at low cost. You can even install products that allow you to pick up your telephone and just tell the computer what to do! Appliances are being designed right now that you will be able to buy that will have the ability to communicate with your home network. Forget to turn on the dishwasher when you left for work this morning? No problem, you will be able to pull out your cel phone or PDA, contact your house, and turn it on, if you're ready for the future.

See the explanation of Digital Convergence on the Home Theater page!

Some Basics - Advanced Lighting Controls (ALC) vs. Power Line Controls (PLC) Advanced Lighting Control (ALC) is intended for installation in homes which have been pre-wired for installation of ALC system products. What it requires is a pair of wires run to each light switch, essentially 'networking' them together. Power Line Controls use the actual power lines that exist in the house to transmit signals to the switches, the most common is called X-10. ALC offers reliability and a higher price tag. X-10 can be a very functional but steps have to be taken to prevent problems with line noise, signals from neighboring houses, and signal strength in large houses.

The Automation Part Many new products are available that allow for remote and scheduled control of equipment in your home whether they use ALC and / or PLC switches. Some are integrated into the security system panels. These products can be easily programmed or setup to perform the basics by the installer. The better ones integrate your home's thermostats as well, giving you complete control from a central location. If a fire alarm goes off at night the system can turn on all the lights in the house, perform it's usual alarm and alert duties, unlock doors, and turn the A/C system off!

The Computer Part The obvious evolution is to hook these controllers into a dedicated or existing personal computer. Now the system takes on some incredible capabilities. We can offer a very reasonably priced system that allows you to view the status of your security system, view surveillance cameras, and control appliances over the internet. That means whether you are at work or roaming around with a pocket PC in hand, you will be able to monitor your home and control things remotely.

Talk to Your House This sounds a little too 'sci-fi' for a lot of people, and the press has latched on to some funny stories about microphone based systems that get confused, but there are products available today that use your telephone to connect to the computer and allow you to use voice commands for many of the functions around your house, from switching on lights to changing channels on your TV. The obvious benefit is that you can call the house when you're not home, and do the same things. You can even get the computer to read your
e-Mail messages to you.

Throw Out The Answering Machine You can also throw out the answering machine and use the computer to record messages. It's easy to give everyone in the house their own mailbox. You can play messages back when you're not home. Once they are stored on the computer the voice messages could be forwarded to you via e-Mail.

Last Updated: Wednesday, May 22 2002 - 6:01 p.m. Central Time
©2002 Castlesoft. All rights reserved.
The documents on this site are for informational purposes only and are subject to change without notice.