Like most things, there are several degrees of home automation. Today let’s talk about the differences.
1. Simple lighting control-
For most people starting out in home automation, the initial goal is to be able to control a few lights remotely. This can be from a wall switch, a keypad or remote control. This is very simple and easy to do and can be done inexpensively. There are several home automation standards that are capable of this.
2. Computer management-
The next level of home automation involves using a computer, Mac or PC, to run your system. This involves an interface of some sort, often times a USB to powerline type connection. Depending on the home automation standard and complexity of the system, the computer may or may not need to be on and connected at all times for the system to run.
3. Advanced computer control and information gathering-
This type of system builds on the previous system but takes it to the next level. In this type of system the computer is used in more advanced ways such as information gathering and decision making. For example a computer connected to the Internet, could check weather for the local area and then use that information to decide if the sprinkler system should be activated. This could use simple logic to check the weather report to see if there is rain in the forecast or if it has already rained in the past 12 hours. Then it would decide if sprinklers are needed.
4. Total home independent control and automation-
This is the ultimate level of home automation. A house can be completely autonomous and oversee all the day to day activities for the family. This could include waking family members up with a greeting and music, turning on lights and adjusting the thermostat. Then turning everything off when all members of the family leave for the day. Throughout the day the house could oversee everything from vacuuming & lawn mowing, to opening and closing of window shades to regulate both light and temperature. The home could have a role in home security with motion detection and door & window monitoring. Security cameras could be used to monitor the home and notify the home owners via email, text or phone call if there is trouble. Then at the end of the day, the home can prepare for the families arrival by adjusting the temperature, and illuminating certain lights to specific levels. With todays technology, your imagination really is the limit.
Depending on your personality and your finances, you will have to decide which level is right for you. Venture into Home Automation slowly or dive right in to a complete and whole home system. The choice is yours.