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Home Automation

            Home automation is a technology that allows you to make your house "smart."  Using home automation tools, you are able to do things like automatically turn on exterior lights, based on dusk, then turn them back off at a specific time (or based on dawn) or create "mood scenes" where you can press one button on a light switch or remote control to set multiple lights at specific brightness (or include more events, like turing on the radio).  Another example would be to have one button that will automatically turn on your TV, receiver and DVD or Blu-Ray player, select the appropriate input on the receiver and TV, then close the shades and dim the lights in the room (with another button to reverse the enitre process).

            Home automation can be used to control appliances, lights (plugged in or wired into the house), blinds, heating and air conditioning, hot tubs and many other electronic devices.  Some systems also allow you to control modules by telephone or over the Internet, so you can turn on the hot tub heater or air conditioner from work so it will be ready when you get home.

             Home automation systems range in price from very affordable solutions that require no additonal wiring to high-end systems that use dedicated wiring.  Some models include a programmable controller, where others are connected to your personal computer either full time or can be programmed from the computer and can continue to operate with the computer off (or disconnected).  Most systems are extremely expandable, and some can be very affordable.

             I use home automation in many locations around my home and yard and for my home theatre.  I constantly find new applications for home automation--as the infrastructure is already installed, I am easily able to add new functions.  Automating functions around the home is fun, practical and can also help save energy--not to mention impressing guests!

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