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Thread: Thinking of a career in Home Automation

  1. #1
    Automated Home Lurker
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    Sep 2007
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    Default Thinking of a career in Home Automation

    Hello all I'm new to the forum and relatively new to home automation.I'm thinking of a career in home automation and I'm looking for some advice on how to get started.I'm currently and Electrical Engineer with a large company but due to factory closure that could be comming to an end soon! My background is mostly factory automation with PLCs,HMI's,machine repair and project management.I just don't fancy another factory if I can help it,please help!!
    Regards,
    BC

  2. #2
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    Go and visit the next Smart Home Exhibition or similar, take a look at the products. See what you want to install and take it from there. That is what I did. Also look at the competition in your area, see what they install, and maybe try and offer something different.
    Choosing products can be a bit of a minefield, something akin to do I use betamax or VHS VCRs. But with a lot more products. Nobody wants to end up with an obsolete system 2 years down the line.
    Also think about how you are going to provide tech support and back-up. I would suggest installing a demo system in your own home, this way its better to make mistakes installing your system than doing it on a paying clients. Then once you have your up and running you might want to consider offering a cheap install to friends and family.
    Lastly you will need quite a bit of money behind you to be able to survive, and for start up fees. It may be great when you have an install that has potential to make you €3000 in profit but not so great if the job gets delayed or drawn out. I have an ongoing job that should have been finished May 2006. I didn't start until August 2007 (delays with the builders), and if I'm lucky finish the final commissioning probably around October or November 2007.
    I too have experience with industrial automation, most of it with Siemens. Plus a few strange custom built systems. And what I have found, most industrial applications aren't as user friendly as the home systems are. Many utilise more people friendly programming languages. The Ocelot from Addicon uses a ladder logic system similar to many industrial automation systems, but it also has its quirks. I do find programming home systems easier than the industrial ones.
    Some of the products and ideas to think about.
    1. Pick a Home Automation System, X10, Cbus, EIB are just a few, there are others.
    2. Think about a structured wiring system, Abitana or Lexcom.
    3. Whole house audio, too many here to mention, but I like the Sonos system.
    4. How will you integrate it all together, not an easy task. And with many things almost impossible.
    5. Target area. Hi-end, middle of the road or budget installations.
    I thinks thats about it for now, I've probably missed out a few things but no doubt somebody else will post their ideas here as well.
    Good luck.

  3. #3
    Automated Home Lurker
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    Cheers toscal,
    Thanks for the advice,seems like there is a lot to take in,but I'd rather have a bit of a challenge than just stand still.What sort of startup fees would you be talking,ball park figure? It's interesting to here about the ladder logic type systems and I'll give them a look.
    Is there any good reading material out there I could check out? I keep reading about CEDIA and their coarses,is this something I should consider?
    Thanks again, all help and advice is welcome.

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