franklin97355 wrote:All of the things you mention exist and there are plenty of links on Google to them. There are also links to home automation.
Yes, and frankly, 98% of them suck (and the other 2% are barely tolerable). The commercial solutions are overpriced and expensive, and the FOSS solutions are either so hopelessly mired in legacy cruft (Misterhouse) or too "bleeding edge" for day-to-day use. I've spent a ridiculous amount of time over the last two years experimenting in this arena, and have spent way more money than I care to admit trying out different technologies and solutions (seriously. You don't want to know how much...). This frustration is what drove me into the warm embrace of Arduino <g>
Some high points from my digging, however:
* The X10-based motion detectors are cheap and extremely reliable; combined with the WGL W800 wireless receiver, you can put together a very usable occupancy/motion monitoring system. Forget anything else X10, it's all banned. And for goodness sake don't buy anything direct from the X10 site or they will spam you within an inch of your life.
* Z-Wave is an excellent technology for lighting, power monitoring, HVAC control, etc. The OpenZWave project has made integration with these technologies very straightforward, and the technology has the backing of several big-name manufacturers (Leviton, etc.) This is a perfect application of wireless mesh networking; the more devices you have installed, the more reliable the network becomes.
* Don't be drawn into Insteon. The devices are pretty and it works well enough, but it is a proprietary solution that is still bogged down by X10 legacy. My house is about 50% Z-Wave and 50% Insteon, mostly because I found Insteon first. I'll be replacing the devices with Z-Wave as they die off.
* UPB? forget it. Ridiculously expensive, and like wired Insteon and X10 before it STILL subject to line noise, slow transmission speeds, and quirky behavior. Don't believe vendor assurances to the contrary.
* Pachube rocks, and thingspeak isn't far behind. Gather data locally and push it out to the cloud; let them perform backups, administration, system patches, security updates, firewalling, access control, etc. Unless you like that sort of thing.
* XBee and Digi ConnectPort are very, very handy technologies. Pick up a copy of Rob Faludi's "building wireless sensor networks" for practical examples and ideas. This book caused me to re-think my whole approach to data acquisition, monitoring, and integration.
* Forget 1-Wire. It's a dead technology. (See previous point). The current fascination with temperature sensing with single DS18B20s is perplexing to me, as there are other cheaper, less complex solutions on the market for this use case. 1-Wire is a neat networking topology, and shines with lots of devices sharing a single bus. One sensor? forget it.