Multimedia is already part of home-automation systems. Take, for instance, Control4’s range of products from lighting and climate control to switched audio. Wallmount LCD panels provide a convenient portal to an array of controllable options within the home (see the figure).
Home-automation system installers typically handle this class of product. In the past, these systems were wired point-to-point solutions. The movement to networked and wireless solutions will make installation easier in addition to opening it up to do-it-yourselfers.
Emerging standards will facilitate this process. For example, a range of ZigBee Pro profiles from the ZigBee Alliance targets the home, including the Lighting Profile and Home Automation Profile. These will allow third-party products to work together. Currently, most home-automation products are designed to work with a specific system.
Home-automation systems already have a video source—security and surveillance cameras—that can be integrated into home media systems.
Of course, integrators and installers will be able to take advantage of standards-based products as well, because they will enlarge the number of options. It will also simplify the job of integrating a customer’s existing network with a home-automation system.