Automation: Control Your Home from Your Cellphone

November 10, 2011, By George Lang

Have you ever wanted to do something to your house when you were not there? I know, dumb question. But what if I were to show you how to close the blinds in your California living room from your hotel room in Norway? …or how to turn lights on and off in the kitchen, making it look like someone is home, and effectively deceiving potential burglars?

The technology has actually been around since the late 1990s in the form of a system known as HAL2000. Many exciting improvements have been made over the years. It is a voice-activated computer software system that uses the existing wiring in your home to control your lighting, your heating and air conditioning thermostat, and much more.

As a licensed electrical contractor and home automation hobbyist, I was first exposed to HAL2000 in the late 90s when I was invited to a Home Automated Living (HAL) three-day seminar. I was already familiar with the original SmartHome technology, having pre-wired new homes for the system; but the things I learned at the event blew me away! No new wires were necessary, making the system viable for existing homes as well. The system uses the computer and power-line carrier technology (e.g., X10) with addressable plug-in devices to control your home.

One of the most awesome features is the remote capabilities of HAL2000. Authorized users only can call from any phone, anywhere in the world and direct the HAL computer to manage their home! This is made possible by a special phone modem called a “Voice Portal” which not only interfaces with the HAL control system, but serves as an answer machine when no one is home (i.e., when taking time off from controlling your home from Norway, you can always retrieve your phone messages from there as well).

HAL2000 voice-activated home automation technology, while still in its infancy in the late 90s, has come a long way with the improvements in speech recognition software and more powerful computers. For those of us who enjoy “consuming” futuristic gadgets that actually work, HAL2000 has a truly fascinating and permanent place in our geek-friendly menu!

© 2008-2012 - All rights reserved | Privacy Policy