Chapter 33. Automating Your Home

Admit it — you've always wanted a house like the one on the Jetsons, where a robot maid cleans house for you and automatic machines make every aspect of your life leisurely. Okay, so the technology available today still isn't anywhere close to that. However, smart home technology is here today — and it's surprisingly affordable.

Home automation is not new — the most widely used system, the X10 control protocol, has been around since the late 1970s. However, this simple system for controlling lights and other electrical devices through the power lines has been taken to the limit by marrying it to the advanced computer technology available today. Today, many people are computerizing every possible aspect of their houses, and for a variety of reasons, ranging from enhanced security, convenience, energy savings, and, yes, often just for the coolness factor.

It didn't take long for Windows Home Server to get in the home automation act. If you're going to have a server powered on 24/7, doesn't it make sense to also use it as the control center for your home automation? You can even take advantage of Windows Home Server's built-in Web server and remote access features to monitor and control your components from anywhere you happen to be.

In this chapter, we'll give you an overview ...

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