What is an ‘intelligent house’?
Asking this question of a variety of people/companies, will produce a variety of answers. It often seems to depend on what the individual or company is selling!
Our company is named “Intelligent Environments” and our focus is creating exactly that: intelligent environments where you work, where you live, and where you play.
Our definition of an intelligent environment is one that responds intuitively to the needs of those using the space.
We would therefore define an “intelligent house” as one that can react (seemingly intuitively) to the needs of the family inhabiting the home. Additionally, any system that is set up to make the house intelligent, should have the capability for change, or expansion, to meet differing needs for the family as time progresses, or indeed the needs of an entirely different family should the house change hands.
An “intelligent house” will have sub-systems within the home linked to a central control backbone that will allow one or many sub-systems to operate in a seamless fashion.
For example, a wake up scene for the family may start in the early hours of the morning when towel rails heat up to provide cosy warm towels for the morning shower, and the under tile heating comes on in the bathrooms.
When it’s time for the day to start, the bedroom lights gradually dim up at a scheduled time, and favoured music tracks start to play quietly in the bedrooms, perhaps followed by drapes opening while privacy blinds remain in place. In the teenagers’ rooms different music is played, and the volume gradually increases to ensure they’re awake!
At the weekend, a more leisurely pace may apply.
A ‘scene’ such as this becomes possible when systems such as lighting, towel rails, under tile heating, multi room audio, and blinds are all incorporated into an intelligent ‘whole house’ control system.
As above, the house can be programmed to behave in an intuitive fashion by changing the way it interacts with different members of the household.
When younger children get home from school, perhaps the lights brighten in the dining area for homework activities, background music plays to assist with concentration, and the TV cannot be activated until scheduled study time is over!
Later in the evening, the kids may be watching a movie in the family room, but elsewhere mum and dad’s favourite sounds are playing, the heating is warm and cosy, and the lighting in the dining room dimmed for a romantic dinner for two!
With the movie ended, and kids’ bedtimes approaching, ‘goodnight kids’ scene perhaps turns off the TV and starts to dim lighting in the family room, prompting the children to head for bed.
When children grow older, the programming for the “intelligent house” can be adjusted to meet changing needs.
Homework is now carried out in bedrooms, with teenagers choosing their own choice of music. Their bedtimes may be later than yours! Your ‘goodnight’ scene may simply dim all the lighting in the house gradually to off, apart from the bedrooms, and set the security alarm.
An intelligent home is all about comfort and convenience for the family living there.