The prospect of home automation came into our collective consciousness about the time Bill Gates finished his mansion in Seattle around 1995. Widely publicized in the press, visitors would wear pins specifying their preferences for heat, art, music, and lighting and, as they passed through the house, these preferences would manifest themselves.
15 years later and with some individual components widely available, we are only beginning to see IP based home control systems that take this on for something less than a $100 million mansion. Enter the iPad, accommodating programmable appsthat can be installed to drive many systems and devices.
So take a device that is in large demand for its beauty, coolness, portability, and functionality, install a flush mount charging station that doubles as a central control board, and voilaâ€¦ home automation on steroids.
First introduced in April of 2010, within months, many a home entertainment specialist (the guy you bring in to make your universal remote work) had been converted, recommending the iPad as the wise decisionin controlling your mess of remotes and more. The bleeding edge operators are finally seeing a path to sell a wide assortment of automation functionality.
The company Savant has introduced an in-wall, charging, docking station for the iPad and the iPod touch. It’s framed, it looks good, it magnetically attaches the iPad, and allows easy removal for regular use. Savant has a home control app called TrueControl. With their entire product line OSX based, Apple talks to Apple so to speak not a bad thing!
Crestron, a company that established and has led the industry in touch-screen controllers and many home automation products has created the Mobile Pro GiPad app allowing installers to custom configure each system for the homeowner. Their iDoc is a sleek, modern, built-in, wall mounted charger/controller for your iPad.
Control4′s My Home for iPadapp offers access to all your home automation systems. Offering a total solution, their systems are easy to install, scalable, and simple to use.
Here’s a laundry list of just what’s possibleâ€¦ now today. Using an iPad for a central control station and an iPod touch or your iPhone here and there for home entertainment controls or unlocking your door, you can:
- Control music through iTunes or using a player to access music subscription services such as Pandora, Rhapsody, Last FM, or Sirius Internet Radio. The system can be configured for guest access (listen to your own playlist), and allow various access and control levels for other services. Listen to different music and music sources in different areas of the house.
- Control multiple entertainment centers with shared access to audio and video files.
- Control thermostats for total climate control by zone and time of day.
- Control lights view a layout of any room or landscape controlling individual lamps or activating preselected setting combinations.
- Utilize as an intercom throughout the house.
- Check garage door status and activate.
- Lock and unlock doors.
- Control your irrigation system.
- Turn on or shut down your fireplace.
- Control automated window coverings.
- Manage your total home security including alarms, cameras, video recording, and remote alerts sent to your phone or email.
Home entertainment needs often provide the impetus to beginning or expanding your home control system. Adding control to lights will require special switches and wireless outlet controls. If you already have a security system, check with your provider for new apps that give you more extensive and remote control. And, if you’re just shopping for one, make this a priority. Your system can be programmed to access all of these features remotely through Wi-Fi or 3G. And, whether an iPad or another brand of tablet computer, the time is here for home automation with the potential to substantially bring down costs. Home automation is a proven energy saver allowing you to better manage the power consuming systems in your home.
Authored by Michael Samsel of StylishHome.com