Home Automation

BusinessWeek story

Home automation has been one of my hobbies for more than twenty-five years. In the early days it was mostly lighting control using X10 technology. There was a PC program written by a researcher at IBM’s Almaden Research Center that calculated the precise time of the daily sunset and at that time signal went across the electrical wiring of the house and turned on some exterior lighting. At midnight the lights would turn off. Since that time I have learned a lot about home automation and after Year 2000, when I began to think about e-tirement from IBM, I also started planning a new “smart home”. It became home at the end of March 2002.

I have not written about my home up to this point, somewhat out of modesty but also not sure how many people are interested in home automation. I ran into Steve Hamm from BusinessWeek in April 2006 in Rome at the Business Leadership Forum and he convinced me to open up about the subject. Steve visited the following September and I was confident he would write something thoughtful. There was a follow-on visit by BusinessWeek TV and Greg Clarkin. Their filming ended up on BusinessWeek Weekend (carried by ABC-TV) on the Sunday after Christmas. The story ran in the January 22, 2007 issue, pages 82-83. Here are links to the story and video.

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Not so sure about “master” and I certainly don’t think of my home as a “castle” but once the cat was out of the bag, I decided to write a series of stories to share the details about the home automation system in the hope that it would be useful to others. I have not gotten around to doing this but when I do it will include what went into the planning, what technology choices I made, the design choices, and what I learned. Stay tuned.