I guess the first article I write should be about the automation I have in my own home. My home automation addiction started about 7 years ago and continues today as I'm always looking for ways to make my life simpler through automation.
My initial goal was to simply have the lights turn on and off automatically. I tried using a few different wall switches with motion sensors (i.e Heath Zenith) but was disappointed by their motion sensing qualities. I soon realized I would need a more full featured solution.
My first home automation purchase was a X10 bundle including a CM15A a bunch of wall switches, motion sensors and rocket sockets.
For software, I started using the X10 ActiveHome Pro software but quickly realised that it was slow and bloated. Over time I have developed and enhanced a custom software solution that better satisfies my home automation requirements.
Software:Since I have a software development background, the X10 ActiveHome Pro software was quickly replaced with a custom application. The application I developed consists of a .NET windows service as well as a secure ASP.Net web service. A Windows Mobile application was also created to allow access to the home automation functions via smartphone. All of the applications's functions can be accessed through a secure web site or from secure smart phone application (Windows Mobile and Android).
Hardware:Over the years I have pretty much purchased every X10 hardware module available. For the most I found that they work well and are reliable. Slowly I have replaced most of my X10 hardware with Insteon hardware modules. Although X10 was a great way to learn about home automation I felt it was necessary to upgrade to more secure/modern technology as time and money permitted.
Modules include:7 X motion sensors
Automated features include:Scheduled home status updates via text message.
Over the next few months I will go into more detail about the system I have in my home and how all the various hardware components and software works together in automating my family's life.