10 More of Your Home Automation Ideas
More requests from the Electronic House and Control4 "What Do You Want to Control?" contest.
November 16, 2009 by EH Staff

Want all of those Christmas tree lights controlled right from your TV screen? How about holiday songs going in every room in the house, easily controlled, selected and navigated as part of a multiroom audio system?

There’s still time to enter the Electronic House and Control4 “What Do You Want to Control?” contest, in which to enter you must also give us an idea of what you’d love to control, in a 150 word or less entry.

We’ve been highlighting your submissions on a weekly basis, so here are 10 more for you to peruse:

It’s the little things I would like to control. When is the laundry machine done or when are the clothes dry? Remind me in 15 minutes if I haven’t gone to take care of the wet clothes. Did I close the garage door before going to bed? Did I lock the doors? I’m coming home late tonight, so don’t heat the house until later. Record the TV shows I want even if it changes time slot. Don’t record if I have already seen it. Remind me when to change the air filter on the furnace. These are just a few examples. —Marc-Andre, Canada

Since I have perfected my A/V to suit me I’d forgo that aspect. I’d like my control system to go on and off by my iPhone. I’d like to know my utilities’ performance and which are energy hogs and have a “dashboard” set up to show me how today compares to a year ago today. I’d want interior and exterior security systems, including video available to my iPhone. I want all of this wireless and alarms from all systems forwarded to my iPhone. —Jesse, Fla.

I’m constructing a home theater in my basement. So far, I’ve purchased an Infocus IN83 projector, a 106” Draper screen, 2 rows of 3-seat theater recliners, a Yamaha HDMI/Dolby True HD 7.1 receiver, a Sony Blu-Ray player and a complete set of Klipsch speakers. While room construction remains ongoing, my dream is to install a complete home-automation system to control the audio/video, the lights and the home security and heating/ventilation system. I’ve been investigating home-automation equipment and Control4 was at the top of my list. I love its ability to elegantly automate the complete home environment of site, sound, temperature and security. My vision: At the push of one button, the blinds would close darkening the room, the curtains would open to reveal the screen, followed by the lights dimming to set the mood, finally a picture emerges while sound chimes and the total effect would be wonderful! —Carl, Colo.

We are building a new house next spring. My wife stated I can do anything I want, but she does not want the house to talk back to her. I think she has seen too many movies. I would like to control lighting and house temperature when away from home. I would also like to know if the garage door is shut. We always have to double check just before we go to bed. I would like to see the baby room and/or outside the house via the TV, cell phone or computer. A GPS system access like a business would use but for family members. The kids would have GPS in their backpack or watch and can be found via the TV, cell phone or computer. —Joe, Mich.

Our current technology situation is an abysmal patchwork of devices from different manufacturers that are distributed and controlled using an old-school “duct tape and bailing wire” method. For example, there’s nothing quite as marginally satisfying as watching a high-def surround sound (digital) feed that’s been beaten into submission by a standard-def stereo (analog) modulator. While I have grown used to the grumpy behavior of our “system,” my wife has not. A situation of which I am routinely reminded. Visitors are all but completely helpless without one of us to operate it for them—there is just no way to explain it. So, I would be thrilled to be able to distribute and control whole-house audio and video, climate control, lights, phones and security.  Oh, and my wife would like to be able to control them too. —David, Ill.

What is all this nonsense of controlling your house with a remote or your iPhone! This is automation, people! I don’t want to have to touch a thing! When I wake up, my house should know if I need A/C or heat by reading my body temperature. When I walk into the bathroom it should do a full scan to know if it should feed me those sugary waffles or the leaner egg whites. My house should understand my mood and either play some upbeat music to get me going for work or some calming classical to set me up for that morning meeting. I shouldn’t have to think of anything at home except when to pay that enormous electric bill from the millions of controllers and scanners all over my house! —Ron, Mo.

What an interesting contest. Enjoyed reading all that is possible inside and outside our homes. Everything in my home is electric so I would love to get down to a $0 electric bill every month. I’ve been thinking of solar panels for a long time. Have a great southern exposure. Would love some kind of security system and lights are always a problem with kids. My husband has wanted more of a home theater system than the single components we currently have. —Joanne, N.Y.

We have a home automation system that controls lights, blinds, HVAC, and security. When we set the security to “night” it turns off the lights that we want off for the night. However, I still have to make my rounds to insure that all the doors are locked. I would love to be able to retrofit our existing home with programmable locks so that they would lock when I set the alarm. —Ned, Ore.

I would like to control the two things that I manage most in my home—my thermostats and my lights. My wife and I are constantly adjusting the thermostats in the home and turning lights on and off. It would great to have several areas automated so that lights go on and off based on occupancy. We would also love to have favorite scenes for our home that we can set in the morning, at night, and when we leave. Oh, I locked myself out of the house last week so it would be cool to control the door lock and to have control from our iPhone/BlackBerry. —Ed, S.C.

Truth be told, we are lit up like a Christmas tree 24 hours a day—inside and out. We need Control4 to help us! —Jan, Texas

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