Controlling Comfort in the Networked Home

November 5, 2000
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LAS VEGAS, NV - Invensys Conference 2000 included a trip to the company’s networked home here, which demonstrates the capabilities of a “smart home.”

Applying a variety of hardware devices, specially equipped appliances, and networking software, the house showcases a variety of Invensys technologies and products. The 3,100-sq-ft home - built by American Communities, a Las Vegas-based development company - provides a simplified approach to remote monitoring and control.



NETWORKING

The company’s ControlServer™ acts as the communications hub, interconnecting devices within the home that can be accessed via the Internet or wireless technologies. The Communication Module provides the interface between an appliance’s electronic control system and a communications bus, to enable networking a variety of equipment from various manufacturers.

The Universal Touch Pad provides environment and equipment status, and allows the homeowner to view hvac schedules and setpoints, as well as override and edit the application.

Networked devices can include a web pad mounted on the refrigerator, which was shown at the home. Also shown was a wireless UEI Mosaic™ remote TV controller that can access the network. So besides changing channels for the next football game, the man of the house can also adjust the climate control system and check the security system without leaving the couch. (But it was pointed out that the network cannot yet transport a beer from the fridge.)

The network also allows for video distribution, so that parents, for example, can install a camera in the baby’s room to check on the child from any PC or the TV.



WIRED

The kitchen countertop in the networked home includes a touch screen PC where the homeowner has the capability to scan food products, and, through the Internet, download recipes and cooking instructions, then upload the cooking time and temperature to the oven.

Timers for inside/outside lights, lawn and garden irrigation, and the hvac system can be set locally or remotely. Vacationers or owners of second homes can monitor security or set temperature controls so that they return to a comfortable house. Remote access to the network also enables the homes of elderly relatives to be monitored and controlled, extend-ing the ability of seniors to live independently and safely.

The company says that its hardware, software, and technology can link to nearly anything operated by electricity, using a “no new wires” approach that provides for networking to be accomplished in both existing and new homes.

Such networked homes could tie into wireless monitoring supplied by hvac service companies. It also provides the capability for predictive equipment maintenance.

Publication date: 1206/2000

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