In a recent survey, more than two-thirds of the 400 U.S. builders queried offer computer networking, structured wiring and central vacuum systems with their homes. Programmable thermostats, security systems and zoned HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems top the list of most frequently offered products.
The signs about home automation are seemingly everywhere. Today's home builders seek to include at least some advanced technology in their homes. As a result, programmable thermostats, security systems and zoned HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems top the list of most frequently offered products. When considering which amenities are most important in selling a home, builders rate a large kitchen, spacious master bath and architectural elements the highest – with security systems and computer networking not far behind.
Technological capacity built into the developments even before actual home construction begins, so a digital lifestyle is assured for the eventual homeowner. Home automation has become all the rage. Initially, years ago, a smattering of builders began to focus on the digital infrastructure in homes by adding basic structured wiring and entertainment systems. Today, multi-room sound systems, computer networking and home automation have become must-have appliances, just like washers and dryers were decades ago. Increasingly, homeowners now want to be able to do more – program lights, control shades, monitor the front door, activate the sprinkler system, turn on the central vacuum and chlorinate the swimming pool – from anywhere in the house.
The trend toward increased home automation is spreading rapidly across the country, as homeowners become more aware of its benefits. Homeowner education has risen, and there's greater awareness to consumer electronics. There is definitely a convergence happening among the different residential disciplines – meaning security, phone, cable TV, satellite, audio, home theater, home automation, personal computer networking. The origins of this technological trend can be traced to the existence of multiple PCs in the home. Essentially, this created the need for computer networking, with structured cabling as the foundation, which started the techno revolution in the home. The revolution is in full effect.
With structured cabling in place, a home entertainment server can direct many of the functions in a house, such as opening and closing draperies or shutters, and operating air conditioning/heating controls and smart appliances. Consumers are going to be demanding – just as you have plumbing and heating in your house, a structured cabling system is going to be a standard subsystem of the house.
In response to consumer demands, contractors are becoming savvier about the new installation and configuration sides of their business. The groundwork has to be laid in the home for all of the various bells and whistles. Once you start making consumers aware of some of the products and the things hey can do in their home, and once they realize the cost isn't significant to at least pre-wire, they usually go for it.
Honeywell Thermostats for Home Automation
Honeywell International Inc.'s VisionPRO 8000 programmable thermostat has been lauded for its ease of operation and innovation. VisionPRO is the winner of the 2005 Building Technologies Product of the Year award, presented by global growth consulting firm Frost & Sullivan. Its design guides homeowners through the programming process with a user-friendly, on-screen menu and flashing touch screen, reducing the need for an owner's manual. The product also features a 10-square-inch, clear touch screen display with easy-to-read current temperature, set temperature and current time programming. Back lighting makes the display even more readable in any lighting condition. In addition, a real-time clock maintains time during power failures and automatically updates for daylight savings, and universal compatibility enables configuration for use on virtually any application.