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iPad and Other Portable Touch Screen Technology Breathes New Life Into Home Automation Market
Anyone who knows me knows how much I love gadgets. From media servers to lighting control and talking alarm panels, I’ve always been one to play with technology. I even go back to when I decided to enter the alarm industry, I was 20 years old and interested in Robotics… Why? Because it seemed nice to have a car that did things for you. So why Alarms? Well, the security alarm installation course information was in the back of the Robotics brochure. At the time, I had no idea that Security Alarm Systems would lead to Home Automation and Distributed Audio, but I found myself playing with relays and timers to create my own versions of Security and Lighting integration. (In “Early Days”…. I’m only 40 and sounding more like my parents every day, not a bad thing.)
Now back to the topic at hand… the iPad and how it has opened up a whole new market in the Home Automation, Distributed Audio and Security market. To begin, I will talk a little about the history of Home Automation.
Home automation is not really a new concept, Building Automation has long been a mainstay of the HVAC and manufacturing facilities industries. Using electronics to perform various routine tasks by means of motors, relays, switches and photo beams is not really that different from modern home automation systems. Of course, installing a production facility-scale automation system in the average home would be financially infeasible for most, so the home automation industry relied on consumer-grade powerline lighting control systems like the X- 10.
Anyone familiar with the X-10 and various other previous versions of Line Carrier technology will know of the technology’s inherent weaknesses. Basically, the premise behind Line Carrier Technology was to send coded information down the power line to control switches and specialized light modules. In this way, the lighting can be controlled without the need for additional wiring. Sounds good right? well not really. The problem with the old Line Carrier technology was the limitation in the number of codes combined with the lack of stability and sources of external interference. Simply put, with old technology, your lights may turn on completely by themselves, or they may not turn on at all. At that time, the only other option would be to install low-voltage relays and additional wiring in the home or to install a high-end building automation system that would not be financially feasible to build. average of a new home and hardly an option in a retro-fit situation.
Nowadays, new versions of lighting control such as UPB (a digital version of the original Powerline technology), Radio Ra, Lutron and many others offer different ways to automate your lighting. Canadian Security Alarm Manufacturer Paradox has also entered the Automation market with Shmuel and the Gang’s latest creation, the Paradox Imperial Security Alarm System. Like building automation systems, the Paradox Imperial security alarm/automation system relies on low voltage communication bus modules to control the electrical equipment in your home. When combined with a security alarm system that can monitor activity in certain rooms, the Paradox Imperial Controller ends up being a green machine of sorts in that it saves energy by controlling your home’s lighting based on whether you’re home, on vacation, or even in the room in question.
Other systems, such as HAI, Elk and Colorado V-Net go a step further by integrating temperature control and Audio/Video Distribution into the equation (the Control 4 also has a touchscreen Automation system, however I prefer the more professional systems of class such as HAI, Elk, Colorado VNet and Paradox Imperial – as the price is generally better and they are usually better built.) So not only can your security alarm system protect your home from intruders, a properly integrated system can also control your lighting, temperature, video surveillance, multi-room audio, garage door, hot tub and more through an interface that allows these systems to work together in “seamless harmony” .
So what about the iPad, you ask. Well, the most expensive part for many home automation systems are touch screen keypads. Although you don’t need to have a touch screen keyboard to control your Home Automation system, depending on your system, standard keyboards, telephones, smartphones, PDAs, universal remotes, and your home computer are some of the ways that you can control and customize your Home Automation System. The problem with some of them, however, is accessibility. Having to go to the console or computer often takes away from the convenience offered by Home Automation.
Enter the iPad. At about half the price of your average Automation System touch screen keyboard, your iPad and the right iPad Security / Automation app will provide you with a convenient user-friendly interface for all your automation functions. home automation. From turning your security alarm system into night mode or unlocking your front door to controlling your home’s temperature, lighting and audio distribution, the iPad and one of the many home automation systems offered by several home automation companies. selected security alarm, control is now conveniently placed in your hands to take with you wherever you go. Yes, if you wish, you can also access your Home Automation System from a remote location via the Internet or a Standard Touch Tone phone. With many systems, you can even call and listen in on your home to either talk to your pets or verify an alarm display. So really, it’s almost like having your own personal Robot… Strange how things work ah!
In addition to the iPad, there are now several Android operating system apps available for many of the Home Automation Systems on the market.
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