Honeywell has introduced the Honeywell Automation Server, a device that lets homeowners control household appliances and electronics by voice, computer, phone or personal digital assistant (PDA). It also allows users to store movies, music and digital photos in one central location, making them available throughout the house. The Automation Server is the first turnkey solution to provide homeowners with the benefit of complete control over home technology and entertainment.
The Automation Server recently made its prime-time television debut on ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, where it was installed for a blind man and his family who can now control lighting, thermostats, the security system, the coffee maker and more, all by voice.
Because the Automation Server contains a pre-integrated platform, builders and integrators can easily install their preferred brands of lighting, appliances or HVAC controls. Programming the system is also easy; builders and integrators can have a new home up and running quickly. Along with the chance to sell a larger suite of automation and control products, the Automation Server provides an opportunity for recurring monthly revenue (RMR) by offering value-added service and maintenance programs.
The Automation Server is based on state-of-the-art technologies from Intel, Microsoft and other industry leaders. It is housed in a computer that uses Windows XP Professional - used specifically for automation and control applications - to ensure reliability and stability.
"The Intel technology allows us to provide builders and integrators with a proven integration platform," said Tim Trautman, senior product manger for Honeywell. "Integrators and builders are very familiar with the Windows/Intel architecture, how it works and how to use it, so this solution is a perfect fit."
Integrators and builders can program the Automation Server by using a series of simple pull-down menus. They can also use the Automation Server to increase profits by selling a service and maintenance contract, where upgrade and maintenance tasks can be routinely performed by remotely connecting into the system.
"Integrators and builders often lose money on maintenance contracts by traveling from location to location, but many aspects of the Automation Server can be maintained and serviced right from their office," Trautman said. "There's also the chance to sell value-added services. For instance, if the integrator sees that the homeowners are football fans, he can offer to customize their system's settings to record every game."
Using a software application for the Automation Server, homeowners can control their household systems - including lights, appliances, home theater, climate control and security. The server can be accessed whether you're home or away, through computer, phone, PDA or spoken voice. HAL Professional, an award-winning application from Home Automated Living, makes this possible.
"Once installed, a homeowner can turn on the lights by simply saying, 'Rosie, turn on the lights,'" Trautman said. "Users can even create a series of scheduled events by using detailed commands, such as, 'every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at sunset, turn on the front door lights for five hours.'"