Home automation, or integrated systems technology, is here to stay. I personally have been involved with the design and installation of more than 500 integrated systems over the past 10 years. It is a reality, it works, and it can be infinitely simple and convenient to use. The key is working with a residential electronic systems contractor who understands the technology, and more importantly, the process to deliver it.
Let’s talk about the primary fundamentals;
The control system is the brain of the automation system and provides the technology that allows for each separate lifestyle subsystem to work from a single device. The control system allows the home automation concept to be truly simple and convenient. Generally the control system utilizes a touch pad or touch screen device that can be programmed to control all systems at any level of ease and comprehension. Generally speaking, there may be anywhere from two to 12 of these devices located at strategic locations throughout the residence.
Lighting control probably is the most compelling and requested subsystem technology we encounter. This system utilizes a central panel(s) with dimmer modules to control light fixtures inside or outside a home. Generally lighting is controlled by low-voltage wiring and powered by high voltage. Such control allows for different scenes and zones of lighting, which are controlled by simple keypads with any number of buttons from two to 15 on one wall plate. This provides a clean aesthetic and eliminates the wall clutter of many different light switches.
Heating and air conditioning is right behind lighting controls. With the evolution of zone capabilities, a demand exists for simple control of somewhat complex events. In most traditional systems single or multiple thermostats control each cooling and heating device. This is complicated and cumbersome and requires moving from area to area to individually control and set temperatures. A control system makes it possible to control all thermostats for all zones from a single touch pad or touch screen device. In this scenario, all thermostats can be hidden in one invisible location and never accessed by the end user unless necessary.
Window treatments. If you count the number of windows in your home and include shades, blinds and draperies you can see how advantageous it would be to control them from a single point. Again, touch pads or screens come into play. It is quite simple to design a control map that allows the user to view each room and each window in the residence and have multiple layers of control of the blinds, shades or drapes. Wouldn’t that be much more desirable than going from window to window and trying to determine which cord to pull to go up or down?
Audio, video and home theater systems arguably comprise the most complicated segment of home technology. Think about the wireless remote controls you use for your television or DVD player. There are at least 50 buttons on each! Once again, the control system comes to the rescue. Utilizing the simplified method of control via a touch pad or touch screen you can watch that movie or access a music collection with the touch of a button. It’s simple.
This simplified explanation of control systems and lifestyle subsystems available today should familiarize you with home automation. For more information contact me directly or go to the CEDIA website at cedia.org, and log onto the dealer locator to find someone to help you.