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10 Inventive Home Automation Applications

Automated showrooms, gotta go buttons and text-messaging refrigerators.

As part of Control4's ProTest contest, designed to showcase the creativity of whole-home automation solutions, we've received a number of inventive and innovative installation stories.

We've rounded up a number of the creative solutions from ProTest entrants. They range from residential installations to commercial applications, and provide practical and inventive solutions.

The 10 inventive home automation applications have been edited for publication.

Back Hand Dimmer Control

The client had some difficulty with the use of her fingers and needed a dimmer that she could control with the back of her hand. She also wanted to have a slow ramp up and down time in some rooms to help adjust the levels.

Her direct request was for no small push buttons or screens, and she wanted the table lights to turn on and off automatically. We were able to give her the ramp speed she requested and turn on/off her table lamps using switches to control the outlets.

We turn on and off six table lights and both outdoor and indoor lights -- she almost never has to touch a light switch (unless it is at night).
Brian Whelpton, Simply Sound Solutions, Newmarket, ON.

35 Blinds Drop One at a Time

The client had 35 outdoor electric 115 volt window blinds installed, and he wanted us to have them close when he alarmed his alarm -- and do it one at a time.

We used 18 relay extenders to communicate when the alarm system gave an "armed" output message and if the blinds were open. We had to use 18 relay extenders because nine could not stop the 35 blinds half way. We needed nine more relay extenders to cut the power to each blind.

The Control4 system allowed us to have one blind open or closed at a time, with the push of a button. Rather than using a 3-button keypad to control each room, we opted to just use the mini touchscreens in different locations and group the windows by rooms.
Rob Cairns, Cairn Control Systems Inc., Mississauga, ON

Automatically Generate Non-Urgent Help Requests

Our customers are adjusting to their new technology, but they are sometimes reluctant to ask us for help or support because they don't like to "bug" us or just feel stupid for asking the question.

To alleviate some of the client's apprehension, we programmed a button on one of their six-button keypads to automatically generate a 4Sight email request to our support group that indicates that the client has a non-urgent request for technical support and is requesting a call back within 24 hours.

The body of the message includes the client's name, account number, controller name and home phone number. They also receive a copy as confirmation of the request.
Jamie Gibbon, Nexus Business Innovations, Scottsdale, AZ

Intruder Alert, Intruder Alert

The client is in control of the security system, receiving emails to the phone base about security events that take place in the house.

If the client is away from the home and the alarm is triggered, an audible voice will come over the audio zones and alert the intruder that the police have been notified. The client will also receive an email on their phone when this event happens.
Richie Harris, 4Home Control, Sandy, UT

Thermostat Adjusts to Outdoor Temperature

During the summer months in Utah, the customer noticed that he would often come home to find the air conditioner running while the outside temp was actually lower than the air conditioner was set to.

To solve this, all we did was connect a Card Access contact switch with an external temperature sensor. An event of the temperature reaching 73 degrees outside turns off the thermostat and flashes the lights to signal it's time to open the windows.

I later added a time conditional to not shut off the air after 11:30 pm since no one was up to open the windows and it would get stuffy inside.
Troy Jordan, Beyond AV, Salt Lake City, UT

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Article Topics

News · Home Automation and Control · Home Automation · All topics


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