May 29, 2009
by Lisa Montgomery
For example, there’s a scene that opens the shades and turns off the lights to allow the home to be illuminated by natural sunlight. Another scene closes the drapes to prevent solar heat gain and turns on the lights. For even greater efficiency, the settings of the lights, shades and thermostats involved in each scene adjust automatically according to the position of the sun.
“We determined the location of the sun every hour, every day, every month of the year and compared that with the positions of the windows to create a whole new level of automation,” says Perez.
The sun wasn’t the only variable Conundrum designed the system around. The identity and location of touchpanel users were also factored into the home control scheme. “The system reacts a certain way depending on who’s using a touchpanel and which touchpanel they’re using,” Perez explains. For example, if the lady of the house is using a touchpanel in the kitchen to operate the whole-house music system, the tunes will be distributed to only the kitchen and a few adjacent rooms. The volume in each of those rooms will be set to different predefined levels of her liking.
About the only technology this home doesn’t sport is a dedicated home theater. The family made up for it, though, by having 13 flat-panel TVs installed. The two largest sets—a 50-inch NEC plasma and a 60-inch NEC plasma—were paired with high-end digital Meridian sound systems. Of course, like every electronic device in the home, these audio/video setups are under the complete control of an AMX controller. With one touch of a button, the family can have the whole room ready for a relaxing evening in front of the display. The lights dim, the shades close, and the appropriate gear revs up.
From there, it’s a simple matter of choosing a movie. Their entire video library, which is stored on the hard drive of a Kaleidescape media server, pops up on the screen of the TV. It’s just one more example of how much more efficiently a home can run with the help of a well-programmed home control system.
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Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.