Tips to Create a Networked Home

With today’s “smart homes,” long gone are the days when all you had to worry about was putting in a telephone and cable TV jack in every room.

The modern home might have high definition TVs and distributed music throughout; automated lighting, draperies and HVAC systems; and, of course, wired or wireless Internet in every room.

While working as a custom electronics technician in high-end luxury homes, I saw touch panels that not only controlled lighting, HVAC, security, the home theater and multi-room audio, but also pool heaters, hot tubs, underground coils that melted driveway snow and a retractable roof over an outdoor patio.

One home had a basement recreation area with a motorized panel in the center of the ceiling. With the homeowner’s press of a single button on a touchscreen wall pad, a siren wailed for 10 seconds, then the panel slid away to reveal flashing and spinning disco lights while dance music started up.

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