Intelligent Residences

The security system described above can be one part of an intelligent residence. Intelligent residences are also referred to as smart houses or automated homes. They coordinate control of lighting, sound systems, home theaters, heating and cooling equipment, and security systems. Touch-screen computer controls (Fig. 38-1) or portable plug-in programmable microprocessors are used to set the system. The best and most expensive systems can be controlled by the user's phone.

At least one system is available with intuitive speech recognition that allows the homeowner to control the system by phone or a home computer. The system uses existing phone and power lines, and no rewiring is necessary. The user can talk to the computer from the home or anywhere else to manipulate lighting, thermostats, and other devices, or to retrieve information in real time. Groups of commands for specific lighting settings, security, home theater, and so forth can be preprogrammed in batches so that an entire home can be transformed with one verbal command. The system is designed to be easy to install, simple to use, and affordable.

It is preferable that the components of an intelligent home system, such as the security system or lighting controls, are each wired to run independently of the central control system. If something goes wrong and the central controls fail, each system will continue to operate on its own.

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