The Embassy - Home Automation

Introduction:

When it comes to Home Automation there really is no limit to what can be done.

Home automation allows for simple integration and control of key mechanical systems in your home. Systems or areas like lighting, climate, audio, security, irrigation ,pools and other household devices can all be controlled and managed by modern automation systems. Through Automation you can turn off all the lights, turn down thermostats and set the security system with a simple press of a single button. Many events like outside lighting can be turned on or off at appropriate times through the use of system timers and triggers.

The benefits of using an automated system are peace of mind and reduced energy costs by automatically turning on/off lighting, ceiling fans, exhaust fans and zoned heating/cooling in areas that are occupied, and only when their operation is needed.

Automation control options include simple interfaces like wall mounted Keypads, Touch screens, Personal Computers, Media Center, Wireless PDA's and Cell Phones.

The Apartments Control Center:

The touch screen Panel PC [The Server] is the heart of the home, all devices are controlled from or via this Server as demonstrated in the image [left].

 

 

 

 

 

In the case of the Embassy Apartments, the standard set of devices that are installed:

  • A 15" Panel PC [The Server]
  • A Biometrics Door Lock [Fingerprint Access control]
  • A Pinhole Door Camera
  • The ClickOn CBIT Bus system to control lighting, switches, climate control and parts of the security system
  • Ethernet network [Wired / WiFi]

The Panel PC is connected to the building's security Ethernet network where the residents can, amongst other things, select to view any security camera in the building on this PPC, can pre-register guest vehicles, register guests, access billing information, make bookings or order food/drinks, send and receive internal security and personal messages, control lighting and climate and setup pre-set conditions, get access to the states of their apartment from the office, and receive up to the minute feedback from The Embassy's central server/control room.

Access Control:

The apartment entrance is secured by an electronic Biometrics door lock. A camera is mounted in the door (similar to a conventional peephole). In order to gain access to the apartment, a fingerprint must be presented to the biometrics reader. If the fingerprint matches any print stored in the database of the device, the lock will be opened. Please note that access to the apartment is not controlled from the main security access control systems within the building, but by the apartment owner, who is responsible for registering members fingerprints on the biometrics door lock. This gives the apartment residents complete and sole control over who and when registered members may enter. Residents may allow guests access up to their apartments by pre-registering their guests on the Embassy's central server. All accesses to the buildings are recorded on the building's main access control system. The date and time of entry information as well as a picture from the door camera are stored.

Alarm System:

Passive infrared sensors are placed throughout the apartment and magnetic sensors placed on all doors and opening windows. These sensors are co-ordinated through an industry approved alarm controller. The ClickOn system and the Server have the ability to process the responses from these devices into intelligent information.

Examples:

  • Convincing occupancy simulation. The Server actively responds internally to external approaches using the CBIT PIR detectors and lighting to discourage unauthorised entry.
  • Automatic forward illumination of exit routes when Away Arming your home security system before you leave, and of entry routes when re-entering your Away Armed home.
  • In the case of an unauthorised entry, tampering with or disabling of the security system, a notification is immediately sent to you via SMS, E-mail and the building's security is notified. On entering the apartment the alarm system will automatically be deactivated by the Server once you have entered your password. On leaving the apartment, the resident must manually activate the alarm system. The alarm system may also be programmed to exclude sensors permitting the system to be active while residents are in the apartment, as well as immediate activation i.e. panic mode. Any alarm activation will sound a siren and alert the buildings security. A security event will be logged on both the Server and the buildings security servers.

Smoke / Fire System:

Smoke and/or fire detectors are placed throughout the apartment. These sensors are connected to both the Server and buildings security servers. If a fire or smoke is detected, the siren will sound and security will be immediately notified.

Lighting / Climate / Curtains and Blinds / Pool / Sprinklers / Plug Devises:

All lighting, dimmers, wall switches, plugs, relay switches are controlled via the Server using the CBIT system. The lighting and plugs within the apartments are controlled via a standard wall switch as well as from the Panel PC. This gives the resident far more options to manipulate their environment.

Examples:

  • A resident could program a single wall switch to become a Scene Switch that controls a bank of lights and turn the Jacuzzi on. Note that Scene Switches are not physical switches, but macro's that are programmed on the Server and are activated via the wall switch or Panel PC.
  • Step into a dark hall and have the lights automatically turn on because a motion sensor was triggered. If the time is after midnight and before 6:00 AM, the lights may be set to come on at a 30% dimmed level.
  • Schedule indoor and outdoor lighting for a lived-in look when away.
  • When you open the front door after dark and the front light is not on, the front light is automatically turned on.
  • Have the patio lights turn on automatically at dusk.
  • Have all lights turned on in the house in the event of a security alarm or fire.
  • SMS your home using your cell phone to have it run a macro to turn on specified lights when you are five minutes from home.
  • Connect to your home from the office via the web and turn off any lights that were accidentally left on when you went to work.

Media / Entertainment:

The apartment has a Plasma/LCD television and Media Center installed. The Media Center is connected to the building's media servers via the dedicated Ethernet network. Multiple channels (including all standard broadcast TV channels, DSTV channels [via your decoder], in-house promotional and informational streams and streaming audio content) can be selected from the Media Center via remote control. Residents may also select pay per-view content which is then immediately streamed to their television/s.

Any security camera within the building or complex may also be viewed.

Every Apartment has two satellite connection points (one horizontal, one vertical) which will allow for the resident to install their own DSTV decoder should they wish to do so.

Telephony:

Telephones within the building use the VOIP protocol and therefor are IP phones. The VOIP protocol in transmitted over the dedicated Media Ethernet network to avoid any degradation in quality. The telephony system is connected through an IP exchange (similar to a PBX) which will allow calls to be made to and from normal phones as well as other IP phones within the building or complex. These IP phones have a normal telephone number assigned to them. Features such as voice mail and fax mail are standard features. Additional telephones are easily added to the system and the correct person will be billed for the usage. As the building is equipped with a wireless network, any WI-FI IP telephone (registered on the system) may be used within the grounds.


Home Automation System - Screen Examples: