2011 sees Automated Home reach the ripe old age of 15. To celebrate our quindecennium (yes, really) we’ve asked some friends of the site to look back and give us their home automation highlights from the past decade-and-a-half. For an even greater challenge we then asked them to look ahead to what advances the next 15 years will bring to digital domesticity. Chiu from Automated Home’s favourite security system, the CyTech Comfort, gets the ball rolling in the first of our series of specials…
Lu Yung Chiu, Director at Cytech Technology – Cytech first started production of the first Comfort Intelligent Home System in 1996, so we are roughly the same age as Automated Home – you can say that we “grew up” together in this industry. In the last 15 years. The Automated Home website has played an important role in the home automation scene with its news, forums, and reviews. The feedback and opinions of home automation enthusiasts in the mailing list and forums has been very valuable in deciding the direction of our product development in many cases. I wish the Automated Home a very happy 15th birthday and wish for many more good years.
Looking back, what do you think have been the biggest milestones for the Automated Home over the last 15 years ? – There has not been a single milestone I can see which stands out in the development of the Automated Home. It has never been about cutting edge technology or space science, but the implementation of technology in such a way that it becomes cost effective and practical for everyday home use.
There have been several attempts in standardisation, from Lonworks, CEBus (defunct?), KNX, Z-Wave and Zigbee in the wireless domain, but no single standard seems to be possible across the industry. In the DIY domain, the last successful “standard” was X10, but this has been overtaken by technology and limitations but with no dominant replacement. Today, the penetration of Automated Homes worldwide is not up to what I would have expected to see 15 years ago when we started.
Looking forward what does the future hold for the Automated Home in the next 15 years ? – With the iPhone, our concept of what a phone should do has been redefined. A mobile app has become an obvious choice of a user interface for an automated home. The Android@Home program recently announced by Google may have a similar impact or it may go the way of the Nokia Home Centre, which was announced in 2009 but has gone nowhere.
However user interfaces are only one aspect of an automated home. My idea of a true automated home is one that links together all the subsystems in a home so that they can be coordinated by central intelligence so as to act in an intelligent way to achieve Comfort, Security, Energy Savings and Convenience without actiive intervention by the occupants. This will continue to be Cytech’s challenge in the coming years,
I am optimistic (although for no convincing reason) that the Automated Home will make greater strides in the next 15 years than it has done in the last 15.