Total Connect – Connected Home

Hi Friends!

In our previous Tech Blog we talked about the LYRIC Control panel. Today, I want to explore how we can use the internet to control our alarm system, and other devices.

Today’s “Connected Home” is an ever-changing and expanding environment, filled with many different opportunities for interaction with your home. With universal wireless “languages” such as Z-Wave and Zigbee, companies can use similar devices that are 100% compatible with other companies’ products. For example: With a Honeywell LYRIC alarm panel, actions or schedules programmed in the panel can turn off light switches made by Leviton and Linear. At home I use an Amazon Echo and Samsung Smartthings Hub controller to control bulbs made by Phillips and Cree.

This integration offers one main benefit: Companies can specialize in what they’re good at, saving product cost, and almost guaranteeing a product that works correctly.

Lets talk about the different  ways we can use our alarm systems to control our connected home. Alarm systems typically add a step to your routine on a consistent basis: When you leave or go to bed, you arm your alarm system. When you wake up, or come home, you disarm your alarm system. The goal with a connected home is to take these steps, and automatically perform other steps, such as unlock your front door, or adjust your thermostat to save energy.

Typically when I look at these devices and their capabilities, I have an incessant urge to make them work, not from a practical standpoint, but just to prove that I can setup automation for automation’s sake. Call it a disease, I don’t know. After I conquer the different programming and functions of a device, I usually begin to open my mind to the REASONS behind them. What if your thermostat turned off every day when you leave for work, and came back to 72° when you get within 5 miles of your home? What if your front door automatically unlocked when you disarm you alarm system, or if a fire was reported from your smoke detectors? What if there was a flood sensor that would detect water in your basement and alert you via iPhone app or phone call? What if every morning your coffee pot kicked on when motion was detected in the hallway? What if, when you went on vacation, your lights turned on randomly, to create a “lived-in” appearance?

Can you understand the challenge we have as system designers, to try to appeal to everyone’s desires? The Connected Home takes a little bit of understanding and a lot of imagination from you, as the person who lives with the equipment and benefit’s from the automation.

Next session we will discuss Honeywell’s TotalConnect web app, and how we can use it to control our alarm system.

Until next time,

-Patrick