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What we need, and what we want

October 5, 2010 Leave a comment

A couple of articles I randomly read online first introduced the idea of home networking and automation, and as I stumbled into researching how to implement the best system/s for my own new house my thoughts became somewhat disorganised and long-winded. Thanks to some insightful feedback on various forums, I decided to create a simple list of  Needs and Wants – which broke down what I wanted to achieve, both short and long term.

Part-finished tiled floor in the kitchen/diner

Nearly have a kitchen floor...

Like most ‘non-geek’ people, the only thing  I thought I knew about home automation was that it was expensive – only affordable for the mega-rich, with huge houses and money to burn. In fact, that’s not the case. Of course there is investment required, particularly when you start, but just how much depends on which technologies you pick and how far you want to run with them.

For example, a fairly common component of home automation (hereafter referred to as ‘HA’) is the idea of motorising curtains – i.e. they shut and open, without effort from you, either on a schedule, in response to an event, or on a command from you. In my little 3-bed semi there really is no need for this – in about 3 seconds I can move from any one room to another, and I’m not that lazy – yet! (That said, from a security standpoint, it would be useful for when no-one is home – it’s just a step too far for me at the moment)

So, here is what I want, right from when we move in:

  • Sky TV downstairs, preferably HD, with great reception
  • Ability to stream that Sky TV up to the bedroom, and control from up there also
  • Low-level lighting automation – ability to control from around the house via remotes/remote switches/PIRs, plus ability to control from outside the house with keyfob/iPhone, plus use of timers/schedules
  • Some way of viewing TV/web content in the kitchen
  • Fast connectivity in living room, kitchen/diner, main bedroom, office
  • Ability to access web content on downstairs TV
  • Wi-fi coverage throughout the house

Looking further ahead, I would like to have:

  • Music in the bathroom, to be controlled from either iPhone or some kind of remote
  • Ability to stream music around the house – both simultaneous (listening to one source in multiple rooms) and separate (listening to separate sources in different rooms), with access to music library from anywhere in the house / outside the house eventually
  • HD tv both in lounge and bedroom, able to view different sources at same time
  • Ability to watch movies (stored on central hard drive/PC or streamed via the net) in any room in the house, preferably in HD, with full sync capabilities – i.e. if we stop watching a movie part way through in the lounge, I would like to be able to pick up viewing in the bedroom the next day from the same point
  • As with the music, ability to watch either the same tv/movie content in multiple rooms, or watch different channels/movies/recorded shows in different rooms at the same time.
  • More sophisticated lighting control – from anywhere in the world via web/iPhone
  • Integrated security, with the ability to watch camera feeds live from anywhere if sensors triggered
  • Heating control, with a view to being energy efficient and convenient

Plenty to work on then…………

Categories: Uncategorized