19th December 2007, 03:13 PM
Automated Home Legend
Introduction to IDRATEK
Welcome to the IDRATEK forum
This is the place where you can find discussions related to the IDRATEK system and anything vaguely related, but if you’re looking in just out of interest, an introduction is provided below:
Introduction to IDRATEK:
IDRATEK is a UK company whose product is a 2nd generation Home Automation system. 2nd generation? Yes, by this we mean a level of capability that goes well beyond the mundane remote and scheduled control concepts which most people think of as meaning home automation.
The IDRATEK system was designed bottom up specifically for home automation – it is not an extension of a heating, alarm, or lighting system. This means we thought about the most important aspect - integration - right at the start.
To begin to get closer to true home intelligence it was recognised early on that you needed an environment that was rich in sensory information and ability to efficiently interact with numerous appliances. And to be practical any physical system would have to be low cost and preferably lean.
The IDRATEK system attempts to achieve these lofty goals through the following:
IDRANet: This is the networking infrastructure to which IDRATEK hardware (modules) connect. It is a wired bus structure which delivers messages, audio signals and power to attached modules. CAT5 cable can be used for the bus and each cable can be connected to several modules or other cables in a free topology. IDRANet messaging between modules is peerless (no central arbitrator), very efficient, and very robust (error checks, acknowledges etc.)
HARDWARE: IDRATEK manufacture a range of hardware modules containing basic (and some not so basic) elements necessary for home automation: PIR, light level, temperature, hunidity sensors, digital and analogue I/O, IR transceivers, relays, dimmers and so on, but also notably audio input and output for speech purposes (IDRATEK are unique in providing speech output as a well integrated and standard means of interacting with the user, speech input and intercom functions are also provided as standard)
REFLEX: This is a user programmable capability of IDRATEK modules which allows them to interact with each other at a basic level to implement simple event based distributed control functions eg. Button press causes group of lights to go to a scene, or to switch on if light level low and motion detected (3-4 modules interacting in latter case). Reflex programming can provide a wide range of automation functions which are truly distributed ie. do not rely on a central controller/computer. Indeed it is possible to operate a system using Reflex programming alone, however this cannot match the level of sophistication achievable through software running on a much more powerful computing base, namely:
CORTEX: This is the IDRATEK software which takes you from 1st generation to 2nd generation home automation. Cortex runs on a PC platform and amongst other functions is responsible for the wide ranging integration features of the IDRATEK system. In a sense you need to understand Cortex to understand the whole ethos of the IDRATEK system. In non dedicated HA software the user tends to have to program the control interactions themselves, but in the IDRATEK system, whilst this is possible, it is usually not necessary and sometimes even inadvisable. The reason is that you are now dealing with the interaction of typically hundreds of components and goal directives so it becomes much more pertinent for the user interaction to be at higher level of abstraction – in the same way that software programmers nowadays would rarely interact at the assembly language level. Cortex also creates secondary signals from primary sources. For example the IDRATEK system is probably unique in being able to provide and utilise room occupancy information as opposed to basic motion information. Occupancy is derived from both physical signals, knowledge of house layout and other abstract information resources, and as such is a good example of how the integration infrastructure can deliver much more capability than straightforward logic programming.
COST EFFICIENCY: A combination of all the above and innovative technology design means that even a high calibre IDRATEK system can be installed for just a few thousand pounds. However since the system is modular you can start with much less.
For more specific information you can visit our web site:
Or contact me directly:
( Dr Karam Z Karam, Director, IDRATEK LTD )