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Whole House Home Automation Systems

A whole house automation system should be able to allow you to control many devices in and around your home through some kind of interface. The interface could be a handheld universal remote control, a personal computer (PC) with dedicated software or web browser access, or even an in-wall toughpad display. The sophistication of the interface should provide a wide range of interaction to please gadget lovers, who like to schedule every device in the home individually, and also please non-technical folks who just want a button to push when leave and return.

Whole house automation systems' components can communicate with each other through several types of media, including many types of cables and many types wireless protocols. Some of the communication methods are standardized, such as ethernet, while others are proprietary, meaning the devices can only communicate with other devices from the same company. There are many open standards for device communication, which can be used by any home automation maker. Devices using open standards can talk to devices from other companies. There are even wireless standards that do not need a power supply orbatteryto power transmissions.

Whole house automation systems typically control several aspects of your home, including Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC); Lighting; Windows; Landscape Irrigation; Entertainment; Security; and Intercoms. We'll briefly discuss each, then spend the most space on those types of systems that are focused on saving energy.

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  • Entertainment

    Home automated entertainment systems can go way beyond a single room. You can have multiple sources of music and video piped throughout the house. You can also have controls in each room, as well as scheduling.

  • Intercoms

    Intercoms have been around for decades. However, today's home communication systems allow you to leave video messages for other members of your family. Here is a cool system by Intel that allows you to do just that. The Intel Intelligent Home Energy Management Interface calls it "Video Memo".

    Intel version of intercom called video memo
    Intel Intelligent Home Energy Management Interface
    Intercom called Video Memo
  • Security

    There are hundreds of products available for home security automation. However, they typically fall into a few simple categories: alarms, cameras, and sensors. In a good whole house automated system these should be integrated so that they work with all the other home automation components.

  • Lighting

    Controlling lighting is a the origin of home automation. A good whole house automation systems should control all indoor and outdoor lights in many ways. You'll want to be able to dim or turn off lights in rooms that are not in use, provide a secure lighting schedule when no one is home, and have the proper lights come on when entering the home.

  • Landscape Irrigation

    You can have your home automation system manage your landscape's irrigation. Not only can it water on a schedule, but also sense rain and moisture levels on the grounds, then adjust the watering schedule accordingly.

  • HVAC

    Similar to controlling home lighting, a good whole house automation system should control your heating and cooling in such a way that it maximizes comfort when you are at home, and minimizes energy when you are away. The home aution system should follow your lifestyle.

Home Efficiency Tips