iPad and Other Portable Touch Screen Technology Breathes New Life Into Home Automation Market

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love gadgets. From Media Servers to lighting control and talking alarm panels I have always been one to play around with technology. I even look back to when I decided to get into the Alarm Industry, I was 20 years old and interested in Robotics… Why? Because it seemed cool to have a machine do stuff for you. So why Alarms? Well, the Security Alarm Installation course information was on the reverse side of the Robotics brochure. At the time, I had no idea Security Alarm Systems would lead to Home Automation and Distributed Audio but I did find myself playing around with Relays and timers to make my own versions of Security and Lighting integration. (In the “Early days”…. I’m only 40 and I’m sounding more like my parents every day, not really a bad thing.)

Now back to the topic at hand… The iPad and how it has opened up a whole new market in the Home Automation, Distributed Audio and Security marketplace. To start off, I will talk a little about the history of Home Automation.

Home Automation is not really a new concept, Automating Building functions has long been the mainstay of the HVAC and Production facility industries. Using electronics to perform various routine tasks by way of motors, relays, switches and photo beams is really not all to much different from the Modern Home Automation systems. Of course, installing a production facility grade automation system into the average home would be financially unfeasible for most, so the Home Automation industry relied on consumer grade powerline lighting control systems such as X-10.

Anyone familiar with X-10 and the various other earlier versions of Line Carrier technology will know of the inherent weaknesses of the technology. Basically, the premise behind Line Carrier Technology was sending coded information down the powerline to control specialized light switches and modules. This way, lighting could be controlled without the need to run any additional wiring. Sounds great right? well not really. The problem with the old Line Carrier technology was the limitation in the number of codes combined with a lack of stability and sources of outside interference. Simply put, with the old technology, your lights may turn on completely on their own, or they may not turn on at all. Back then, the only other option would be to install low voltage relay’s and run additional wiring in the home or install a high end building automation system which would not be financially feasible for the average new home construction and pretty much a non-option in a retro-fit situation.

Nowadays, new versions of lighting control such as UPB (A digital version of the original Powerline technology), Radio Ra, Lutron and many others offer various ways of automating your lighting. Even Canadian Security Alarm Manufacturer, Paradox has jumped into the Automation market with Shmuel and Gang’s recent creation, the Paradox Imperial Security Alarm System. Much like building automation systems, the Paradox Imperial Security Alarm/Automation System relies on Low Voltage Communication Bus modules to control electrical devices in your home. When combined with a Security Alarm System which can monitor activity in certain rooms, The Paradox Imperial Controller ends up being sort of a Green Machine in that it conserves energy by controlling your home lighting based on if you are at home, on vacation or even in the room in question.

Other systems, such as HAI, Elk and Colorado V-Net go one step further by integrating temperature control and Audio / Video Distribution into the equation (Control 4 also has a touch screen Automation system, however I prefer the more professional grade systems such as HAI, Elk, Colorado VNet, and Paradox Imperial – as the price point is generally better and they are usually built better.) So not only can your security alarm system protect your home from intruders, a properly integrated system can also control your lighting, temperature, Video Surveillance, Multi-room Audio, Garage door, hot tub and more through one interface allowing these systems to work together in “Seamless harmony.”

So what about the iPad, you ask. Well, the most expensive part to many home automation systems is the Touch Screen Keypads. Although you do not need to have a touch screen keypad to control your Home Automation system, depending in your system, standard keypads, telephone, smart phones, PDA’s, universal remotes and your Home PC are some of the ways you can control and customize your Home Automation System. The problem with some of these, though, is accessibility. Having to walk over to your keypad or computer often takes away from the convenience offered by Automating your Home.

Enter the iPad. At about half the price of your average Automation System Touchscreen Keypad, your iPad and the appropriate iPad Security / Automation Ap will provide you with a convenient user friendly interface to all your Home Automation Functions. From turning your Security Alarm System onto Night Mode or Unlocking your front door to Controlling your Temperature, Lighting and Home Audio Distribution the iPad and one of the many Home Automation Systems offered by some select security alarm companies the control is now in conveniently placed in your hands to take with you wherever you go. Yes, if you like, you can even access your Home Automation System from a remote location via the Internet or a Standard Touch Tone phone. With many systems, you can even call in and listen in to your home to either talk to your pets or verify an Alarm occurrence. So really, it is almost like having your own personal Robot Butler… Strange how things work out eh!

In addition to the iPad there are now several Android OS Aps available for many of the Home Automation Systems on the market.

Home Automation Software – The Brain Behind Home Automation

With the advance of computer technology, it is now possible to use home automation for automating the house fully. Imagine all the chores that can be taken care of automatically by just a program that is set in a computer. Say for example, when you wake up in the morning, the window shades are opened, the heater set to warm up the house and as you shower, coffee is brewed automatically in the coffee maker in the kitchen. You may even be given a recount of last night’s football game you missed or the weather forecast for the day. This may appear to be as if you are in a science fiction movie, but this is a reality possible now due to home automation and advanced computer technology. This technology is widely available today and at affordable prices.

Today, we all live a hectic lifestyle and each individual tries to cut out on the tedious chores that take up much of the valuable time. With home automation you have a computer that takes care of all the time consuming activities like switching the lights on or off, watering the lawn to even the security of your home and family. The home automation software looks after all these aspects and allows you the utmost convenience in your day to day life.

The home automation software is installed into a computer. The sensors are placed in various locations of the house as per your convenience. The computer and the software will communicate with the sensors or the devices you want automated that may be the lighting system, home entertainment system or the security systems. This is the basic principle of a home automation system. The system will be installed in your house by a professional technician, and the placing of the sensors and the devices to be automated will be as per your preference.

The bathroom may be the first place where people head to complete their morning routines. Home automation systems may be installed in the bathrooms. For example, health check systems operate when you look into the mirror. The sensors placed on the floor will measure your height and weight. The home automation software may inform you in text format if you need to lose weight or exercise. There may be an organizer installed in your bathroom to inform you of your daily activities like meeting somebody at a particular time or it reminds you of someone’s birthday, an oil change for your car or a dentist’s appointment.

The higher end automation systems include security devices and infrared sensors to do a better job of protecting your home. These may be digitally coded devices to unlock and lock your homes and the more sophisticated ones may use fingerprint recognition devices for entry into your home. Home automation systems come equipped with backup power to take care of power failures.

Home automation is a futuristic technology that will ensure you automated convenience, comfort and moreover, security of the highest level. This is science fiction brought to reality and it is a technology that is becoming very popular with the common man as it has become affordable now.

The ideal home automation software should handle all the daily activities that you find time consuming, like lighting control, security systems, lawn watering, etc. You need to make the proper selection of the home automation system to suit your requirements.

Looking For A Home Automation Company In Houston Texas?

Home automation represents a rising and rapidly evolving industry. Home automation installers are highly trained professionals who are equally savvy as technical experts, licensed electrical contractors, and creative designers. Illuminations Lighting and Design, Houston’s premier lighting design and electrical consulting firm, heads up the city’s most impeccable home automation department, with installers trained and cross-trained in every nuance of equipment selection, installation, and project development strategy.

Home automation clients can be new homeowners or existing homeowners who decide to take their lifestyles to the next level. Often we encounter new clients who have already installed or had installed a measure of home automation from either a retail source or a competitive entity. The first thing these clients usually tell us is that their existing home automation network fails to deliver control over every element of life. A client with a state of the art home theatre system may suddenly realize he or she has to get up and walk across the room to close the shades or dim the lights. Clients hosting parties at home quickly realize that remote control of the air conditioner would not only add convenience to the event but help them save on energy costs as guests fan the doors all night and move back and forth between the home theatre, the garden, the patio, and the spa. Such integrated and centralized control is the difference that sets a custom home automation project by ILD apart from competitive entities specializing only in the equipment itself or limited home automation installation specific only to segments of the lifestyle rather than comprehensively accommodating the entire lifestyle.

When our home automation installers step into such an arena, they carefully evaluate existing technology and retrofit the very best in new technology for a home automation network that leaves room for future growth and evolution of technology. Since most home automation installation in today’s market requires customizing or creating a home theatre system, we require all of our home automation installation consultants to train and certify in high-end home theatre systems by Sony, Boston, and Vienna Acoustics. This way, our clients are assured that every element of living is not only automated, but also fully optimized to manufacturer standards and equipment specifications.

ILD’s home automation installers spend many years in training and continuing professional education programs to develop the knowledge base required to meet the high demands of this intense, technically demanding industry. Additionally, each ILD technician mentors as an apprentice under a veteran technician to learn the proprietary methodologies exclusive to Illuminations Lighting and Design. The result of our intensive training and apprenticeship programs is a knowledgeable, experienced team of home automation installers whose expertise in current and upcoming technologies enable us to install home automation networks that are completely unique and individualize to each specific client we service. The safety, reliability, and exceptional value of our work are backed up with tangibles every time at the end of the day. Our home automation installation specialists carry design certifications and undergo frequent cross-training with other industries such as architecture, construction, and landscaping as well to ensure that our solutions truly address every aspect of home build and home living.

Throughout Houston and now Greater Texas, our division of home automation installers is rapidly gaining not only notoriety, but also an outstanding reputation for being the single source of the most comprehensive home automation designs that apply only the very latest and advanced technology in a one of kind design. Best of all, our home automation installers are good communicators and even better listeners who know how to make a project not only a technology upgrade, but a lifestyle upgrade as well that exceeds the expectations of clients. Call today 713-863-1133 to see what our team can do for your world starting now.