10 More Home Automation Ideas

Here are highlights from the latest group of entries into the Electronic House and Control4 "What Do You Want to Control?" contest.


You’ve got about a half-month left to enter yourself into the “What Do You Want to Control?” contest, from home automation manufacturer Control4 and Electronic House.

That means if you’re looking to lump together your electronics controls along with systems such as lighting and climate, for example, hop in and tell us in 150 words or less why you should win a $5,000 prize package from Control4. We highlight some of the entries every week to help give you ideas, so here are 10 more for this week.

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My goal is to create an affordable home automation solution that integrates all of the convenience and entertainment aspects many homeowners strive for while adding personal flair with integrated RFID projects. I would like to control lighting throughout the entire home from mobile and stationary control devices. I want to have all of my media centralized, indexed, and available through a creative UI. In addition I would like to monitor and control heating/cooling remotely to ensure the low energy usage. Lastly, my goal is to use RFID technology to automate and enhance certain parts of the system. For example, upon entry of the home and verification of my RFID tag the house will illuminate, change, temperature, and perform other set automated tasks that are coded into the system. A Control4 system would enable me to accomplish these goals and give me a starting point to put my ideas into action. –Nicholas, Ariz.

I’d like to be able to control the temperature and lighting in my home as well as the security system. An especially great feature would be a mailbox sensor so that I would know when the mail had been delivered in my box down the street (especially in winter when the snow and wind is bad). –Cyndi, Colo.

This would be so ideal for me. I am a stay-at-home/work-at-home mom, and every second of my day is scheduled. There is no down time. If I could tell the temperature to change to keep my children more comfortable, or tell the alarm to set from a distance, where the beeping won’t wake the baby in my arms, or adjust the volume of the music so that it helps keep baby asleep and drown out other noises, I would be one happy camper! –Elizabeth, Ga.

With great excitement my fiance and I purchased our first new home. With big dreams I convinced the builder to let me do some prewiring in the house. Not knowing how I wanted to control everything, I wired every room with coax and Ethernet cable. I know that I want to control lights, TVs, thermostat, and pretty much everything that has power. My main goal is to control everything from one remote while conserving energy and being cost efficient. I would love for my first home to be one that is envied but more importantly convenient. –Ryan, Ga.

I would love to have one-touch control for the home theater and lighting to begin. Also, to have the ability to control HVAC, lighting, and security from anywhere I am is my ultimate goal. I love gadgets and am slowly preparing my bonus room to become a theater, so Control4 is definitely on my list of purchases. Music and Intercom capabilities in every room are also on the list. –Kent, N.C.

My biggest wish is actually not a home theater want … it’s automated windows, blinds, and curtains, so I can open up the house at the touch of a button, and close them all–upstairs and down–in a flash when I hear the thunderclouds roll. –JoLee, Tenn.

I would like to find something to monitor home power usage at the circuit breaker level. There are plenty of hokey receptacle power consumption monitors that plug in the wall and monitor an appliance or TV but nothing at the circuit breaker level. For example an easy way or a kit product that monitors each circuit breaker with individual current transducers wired to a branch circuit monitor routed to a home computer via RS485 or some other type of interface card. Of course having a cool software application to monitor and graph the output would be needed as well. This type of power usage visibility would truly be a modern home feature. –Russ, Wash.

I do not, at this time, need an overly automated house. However, my mother does, though she will not say so. We recently lost my father and I would like my mom to be able to have greater control of her house. She should be able to turn on the lower-level lights, television and home theater from the first floor. I would like her to be able to control the whole-house stereo on the first floor from her sewing room on the lower level. I would like the lights to be on sensors that turn them off when she leaves the room. I would like her to be able to turn on the lights and control the security system from her car. I would like the thermostats to control not only the furnace/air conditioner, but also the ceiling fans. I want my mom to feel safer in her house, and it has to be easy to learn and use. –Andy, Minn.

I have the iPhone and for me it would be awesome if I could control all the A/V equipment I have in my house (with one device). Especially when the kids are glued to the TV and I’m trying to get them to do something. Maybe even switch the picture to me and talking to them directly. Plus would be fun for Halloween parties. –Thomas, Ohio

I would like to have control over my future ability to own my own professionally designed music studio/home theater setup, where I could peacefully work on projects. I need various electronic devices in which to do this with, but there are too many items to list here. In addition to the musical equipment, and the filming equipment required for such a room, I would be more than happy to add theater chairs, dimming lights, party lights, a giant screen to watch my movies, and a sectional sofa in the office/music studio. I’d like to have the control of doing everything and enjoying every second that I am using it, remotely. –Jennifer, Wis.


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