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What Can Be Automated?

What is an Automation System?

Nearly every modern home or office already has a number of automated devices. These can include:

However, automated devices in and of themselves do not comprise either a home or office automation system. With no integration and no centralized control, these automated devices are merely isolated "islands" of automation. In this situation, device control and intelligence could be described as non-centralized or totally distributed.

Conversely, a inclusive automation system provides a high degree of integration, and at least some degree of centralized control. The equipment in the system must be physically and logically integrated in a manner that enables commands to be sent from a controller to a number of controlled devices, no matter where they are located relative to the controller. Total centralization is not required; there may be more than one controller, and controllers may have redundant capabilities. The point to stress is that integrating equipment into a system allows many different control scenarios.

For example, a single controller could directly control or program lighting, security, heating, air conditioning, audio, video, telephone, intercom, and other functions. Extra controllers could be installed in different rooms, providing the same control functions (or a subset of those functions).

Comprehensive automation systems can also utilize feedback from sensors and controlled devices to enhance functionality and provide more information to the user.

The range of automation device and control options is virtually endless. There is no single configuration that can typify a home or office automation system. Every system must be compatible with the unique set of connected equipment items and the physical characteristics of the site. It must also be designed to satisfy the needs and budget of the client.

The following topics discuss basic home automation concepts as well as some different approaches to home automation systems.

What Can Be Automated?

Virtually any electrical or mechanical device or subsystem inside or outside of your home can be automated, at least to some extent.

Because of the wide range of devices and subsystems that you can integrate in a home automation system, it is essential that you select a system that is flexible, expandable, upgradable, and cost effective. It should be a system that is easy to set up and program, and provides a consistent programming interface that doesn't require you to learn new programming techniques every time you add a new device to your system.

AMX Corporation has developed a leading-edge approach to home automation that successfully addresses all of these concerns. However, before looking at the AMX system, we should have a brief look at some other approaches to home automation.

Note: Because of the huge range of characteristics specific to the various systems and components that can be automated, a home automation system can become quite complex. To avoid problems, you should only attempt to automate systems that you are familiar with. I.S.I. strongly recommends that you thoroughly research any unfamiliar home systems or devices (or consult with us) before attempting to incorporate them into an AMX NetLinx or PHAST Landmark system.

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