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Home automation concept

The concept of home automation on a global scale is a good concept. How to implement such a technology on a global scale is an interesting problem, or I should say issues to be resolved. Before global approval can be accomplished the product of home automation may need a strategy that starts with a look at companies that have succeeded in getting global approval of their products.

If we look at what companies that have the most products distributed around the world we see that Intel is one of these companies. What’s interesting is that this company has used automation in their Fabs for decades. This automation has allowed them to produce their products faster and cheaper than the rest of the industry. The company continues to invest in automation and the ability to evolve with technology and management. We have many companies that compete on the world stage; I don’t think many of these companies distribute as much product. So to compete at a level to make home automation accepted and to accomplish global acceptance the industry and the factories have to evolve to compete. That mission by the automation can be accomplished by adapting a strategy that updates their automation in their factories, stop using products that were used and developed in the 1970s (another way of saying COTS) and progress to current and new systems. A ten years old Factory may be considered obsolete if the equipment inside is as old as the factory.

Now for cost, when I thank of PLC or commercial controllers I see a COTS product that may be using obsolete parts that are not in production any more or old boards. So I see higher cost for manufacturing, a reduction in reliability. Now many procurement people evaluate risk in such a way that may rate older boards lower in risk for the short term, not a good evaluation for the long term. The cost is a function of how much product can be produced at the lowest cost and how efficient and competitive the company that produces the product. So time is money. The responsibility for cost is the company and the ability to produce a competitive product, not the government.

Now into control systems and safety, if the automation system is used in the house safety has to be a major consideration. I know at Intel Fabs if you violate any safety rule you won’t be working at that company long. To address safety the product must conform to the appropriate standards. Safety should be a selling point for home automation. Automation engineers should get and remember safety is one of the main considerations for an engineer. If someone gets hurt or killed because of a safety issue the first person looked at is the engineer.

Now 30% energy saving in my book is not enough, 35 to 40 percent should be a goal. Now solar cells have improved but the most efficient in the south west US. The Sterling engines are 1960 designs and use rare gases such as helium which may not be a renewable resource, Wind generators need space and are electromechanical so reliability and maintenance needs improving.

Now on to the interface standards, most modern factories that produce processors use the Generic equipment Manufacture standard, good deal works. As far as what and when to uses a standard interface, on BOX produced by one company may use RE-422 where another company may use RS 485 so the system engineer should resolve these issues before detailed design starts. Check with IEEE. Or you may be able to find the spec at every spec.com this is a good place to look for some of the specs needed.

So I conclude, many issues exist, and when broken down home automation is viable and needs a concerted effort and commitment from at least the companies and management that produce products for automation and a different model for manufacturing and growing the home systems.
Home automation with a focus on energy savings as a goal is a good thing. We have a lot of work to make it happen.

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