Automating beyond gadgets and devices to true lifestyle aligned.
About This SiteWe recently completed one of our more interesting projects in that it is more unusual than we normally do: a web page that can control a home. It remains true that although home automation has become very popular recently, the market is still very 'gadget' oriented and to organize devices in ways that are truly systematic and lifestyle oriented still remains elusive. The website is still database driven (e.g. devices are added as data fields at the admin panel) but builds the page dynamically.
The webpage automatically updates each 'control' to reflect what the current configuration of the page is and each control/ device/ scene can be managed through the interacting with this website.
The outline below explains the features and function of the main dashboard. Other functions that are available through the site (but not discussed here) include:
- Device management including battery maintenance for devices that use batteries
- Water leak detection: The house will shut off water if it detects leaks in any monitored area (water heaters, bathrooms, laundry etc)
- Camera feeds: Security cameras around the house are all viewable in the website. Recording can also be managed through the webpage.
- Door and motion detector status
- Security and event logs
DashboardThe dashboard aggregates all the central functions of the house into one simple, easy to use, intuitive webpage. The outline below explains the features and functions of the dashboard.
The house status runs on a schedule (which can be changed and in fact does change if it's a weekend or public holiday). Each house status changes the configuration of the house e.g. in the morning and evening, the public areas (hallways etc) will illuminate. In the evenings the garden and exterior house lights are on. During sleep, the pool pump is off, the house climate is cooled, and the lights that automate on with motion stay on much shorter and illuminate to a much lower level. There really is no limit to how these configurations can be configured.
The house status buttons below the image can be used to manually change the house status.
Note the weather displayed over the image. This weather information is sourced from the weather station on the house. The weather station also provides ambient light level and sunrise/ sunset data to the home control system.
The lights on the slider represent all the available scenes for a given room/ area with increasing levels of illumination (left to right). As the user slides across, the appropriate scene is set and the light bulb icon gets brighter. If Automation is set 'on' for each room, the house status changes automatically set the required scene for the room. Each room/ area is also set with motion sensors which automatically increase the illumination and the slider responds accordingly. e.g. in the evening, the hallway lights are set to a low level but brighten to full illumination should someone enter. If a storm passes during the day (when the lights are off) and the light level in the house is therefore too low, motion will cause illumination in the respective area. Light levels can manually be over-ridden for any given area by switching a wall switch or adjusting the controls on the web page. Should no motion in the area be detected for the required period, the programmed illumination levels will resume.
If Automation is set off for any given area, then motion and house status will not influence the illumination for that area.
If a room has the 'do not disturb' icon adjacent its name, this means the door is closed and again, automation is suspended.
Climate is also automated through the a schedule with all thermostat zones tied into their own 'scenes'. These are set as presets that, like house status, can be manually changed by the buttons which over-rides the automated schedule. Status of each zone is easy to see from the controls and by using a mouse (or finger for a mobile device), the blue and red balls can be moved along their respective arcs to change the temperature settings for each thermostat.
The garage is a little unique. The above icons are clickable and by clicking on any one of the garage doors above, it will roll open or closed. Presently they are shown as closed. If the car is present, it will also show in the garage! Pretty cool! Clicking on the lightbulb will turn the garage lights on/ off and when the lights are on, the bulb will illuminate on the web page.
The cinema is fun! It will operate light any other room however clicking on the stage curtain above, will turn the cinema on. The page will show the curtains drawn open and display a little video indicating that the cinema is playing (we'll eventually have it stream exactly what is going to the cinema screen itself) to indicate someone something is playing. Turning the cinema on also closes the shades, switches the equipment on, lowers the lights (then extinguishes them once the projectors is playing) etc.
The window can also be clicked to have the shades open or close (if the cinema is switched on during the day then they will automatically close of course). The shades also automate with the house status.
For general lighting not associated with specific interior house rooms, clicking on the icons above turns the lights on/ off. Presently you can see that indoor seasonal lights are on but everything else is off.
Security is obviously a big issue. Setting 'Away from Home' will lock all the house doors, set the climate to 'away', prevent garage doors from being opened remotely and set the house alarm on.
Holiday Schedule tells the house to treat the day as thought it is a weekend and adjust the House Status schedule accordingly.
House Security comes on when the House Status sets to 'Sleep' and locks all doors, sets the alarm to 'Armed Stay'.
Exterior door locks are also automated (helpful for when kids forget to lock doors when they go to school!). This automation again can be disabled. Doors can be remotely locked by also clicking the button.
Unlocking could also be enabled however this is disabled at the request of the house owner.
There are several functions that are seasonal. e.g. the pool pump should not run during winter when the pool is winterized to prevent damage from water freezing in pipes etc. These settings therefore switch on of off capabilities for the season.