Home Automation or Smart Home Technologies can be used to do many things....

In general, Home Automation will make your life easier. Want to be able to control and monitor your home remotely over the Internet? Want the lights to automatically turn on when you enter a room? Want your Home Theater to turn on, adjust the lighting, and start the DVD with a touch of a single button?

These are just a few of the things that Smart Homes can provide. Call today for a free consultation to go over your specific needs or read on for more information. You may also want to read the other categories under "Residential Installations" for specific information.

If you ask 10 people in the business "What is home automation?", you will get 10 different answers. But in general, home automation systems are designed to make your life easier. Lighting, audio systems, alarm systems, Home Theater and HVAC (thermostats) can all be automated in some way or another.

A simple timer can turn on your outside lights at the same time every day. This is a simple form of home automation. But how do you deal with the fact that it gets dark at a different time every day? Home automation controllers can either sense when it gets dark, or they can track sunset and turn lights on based on the changing time of darkness. Do you want lights to turn on when you walk into a room? When you come home at night? How about the heat/AC adjusted automatically when you go to bed or leave your home? Would you like to come home to your favorite radio station or CD playing on your whole house audio system? Pressing one button on your Home Theater remote can turn all the Home Theater equipment on, setup the proper modes, dim the lighting, close the shades and adjust the thermostat. These are just some of the things ADI can do for you using home automation controllers.

TYPES OF CONTROLLERS

Home Automation Controllers can basically be broken down in to the following categories:

  • Dedicated Controllers--A dedicated controller typically uses a proprietary operating system and control network to function. Companies like AMX, and Elan manufacture these types of systems.
  • IP Based Controllers--IP or Internet Protocol devices are network based and typically run over standard networking technologies like Ethernet and 802.11 wireless and Zigbee networks. Companies like Netstreams and Control4 play here.
  • Personal Computer (PC) based Controllers--PC based controllers typically use a PC as an automation controller and use standards based connections like Ethernet to communicate with other devices. Microsoft is the main manufacturer here with their Windows Media Center, Windows Vista and Windows 7 operating systems.
  • Purpose Built Controllers--Purpose Built Automation Controllers are dedicated to a single function like Audio, Lighting, or HVAC only. Companies like Lutron make lighting controllers. Many times they can be controlled by one of the other types of controllers above. 

WHICH TYPE OF CONTROLLER IS FOR YOU?

We can only answer that question by understanding what your specific goals are for the Automation System. So call us today for a free consultation. But in general here are some things to consider:

  • If you are just trying to automate one specific thing (like lighting only), then a Purpose Built Controller is the most cost effective solution.
  • Dedicated Controllers are typically faster and more reliable, but since they use proprietary communications you are stuck with that specific manufacturer's products or only "approved" products from other manufacturers.
  • PC based systems give you some flexibility as far as connecting other manufacturer's products, but reliability is an issue. Do you really want your whole house running on Windows?
  • IP based systems appear to be the long term trend with most companies going that way. We proudly install Control4 automation systems.

 Systems start at around $500 and can go as high as your imagination!