February 08, 2010
| by Lisa Montgomery
You can have your home automation system perform and combine about any task you want, provided it is comprehensive enough and you have the right team of creative custom electronics pros to program it. You also need some creativity yourself, as well as some practicality and restraint—as in, what don’t you need the system to do?
So ask yourself, what types of streamlined and quick-trigger tasks would you like to have done at the touch of a button or automatically each day to make your life easier? Here are four common applications to consider discussing with your CE pro:
Create a Favorites Button. By this we’re talking something different, and much more robust, than adding favorite channels to a universal remote control. Your CE pro can program a button on a keypad or touchpanel that sets the electronics in a certain room (or the entire house) exactly that way you like them. For example, a “Dad’s” button could dim the lights, cue up the big-screen TV, tune it to ESPN and lower the room temperature.
Follow a Routine. Say you wake up like clockwork at 6 a.m., immediately head to the bathroom where you catch a few snippets of news, then down to the kitchen for a quick cup of coffee. At 7 a.m. you’re out the door and into your car. Your CE pro can program your home control system to start the music system to wake you up at 6, turn on the lights and the TV a few minutes later, start the coffee maker and light a pathway from the bathroom to the kitchen. When you leave the house, the system can turn down the heat or AC, shut off the lights and arm the security system.
Show Only What’s Important. Systems that can access thousands of songs, movies and TV programs provide your family with a remarkable number of entertainment choices. The selection may be great, but it can also bring confusion and complexity to the operation of your home’s A/V equipment. Rather than scroll through a huge list of options every time you want to watch TV or listen to music, you can get to your favorite songs, videos and channels lickety-split by having your CE pro design your keypads or touchscreens only those few key buttons.
Extend Warm Welcomes. In busy households, different people enter and leave the house at different times. You home control system can be programmed to make your house welcoming for everybody, regardless of what time they return. For your kids, for example, you could have the system keep the house fully armed, the TV to be on for a half-hour then locked out, the lights in the kitchen and their bedrooms to switch on automatically. Something completely different might happen when you arrive home a few hours later—music in the den and the gas fireplace in the family room could switch on, for example.
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.