The home automation and control market is a healthy segment of the AV and computing industry. Companies like Crestron, Savant, AMX and Extron, while acknowledging the size and importance of the corporate markets, have a significant stake in being the “smarts” that control your living room Every year the main residential AV show, CEDIA, introduces new and more integrated ways to monitor, control, and manage your home environment.
As these technologies become smarter, mostly due to advances in software and computing, really cool new applications are starting to emerge. Explicit control over AV in your home is one thing, but living in a home that is intelligent enough to support your needs automatically is very interesting. One new application being explored is the ability of AV control systems to simulate an active house, even when no one is home. These “poltergeist” technologies create virtual residents by introducing lighting patterns, the use of home appliances, and even EM transmissions.
One of my favorites is BeON, a Kickstarter project for intelligent lighting. BeON is a smart LED light that learns your lighting behaviors over time and then mimics them accurately. The BeON system can be integrated with other home systems to act in fairly sophisticated ways. For example, BeON can learn to turn on a set of lights in a specific sequence when the doorbell rings. Another example of smart home technology is the FakeTV, a simple light that creates illumination patterns that mimic an LCD television. There are also audio systems available that simulate the sound of a family walking upstairs, the sound of someone in the shower, or the sound of someone rummaging through a junk drawer. This is likely to be an innovative area of technology for several years as AV home automation companies look to draw on artificial intelligence for “counter-burglary” systems.
These are good examples of how new applications are being developed (or reborn), as intelligent computing collides with the traditional world of AV. These technologies are taking us beyond the timed dimmer switch in the living room, to a home that can understand and ghost your behavior.