Completely IP based system - possible?


New Member

I've been spending a lot of time browsing the net for the last week or so. I've got a very specific idea in my head of what I want to do. Is this available and/or possible?

Around the house:

6 touchscreens
5 motion sensors
6 generic 4 button switches
4 ip-based video cameras
\_____ All these are IP addressable devices with one Ethernet cable providing power and data transfer. These all have individual ethernet drops that run into my server room to a switch.

Equipment room:

Internet->Router->80 port switch->server,devices,pcs,etc

I envision one software package that drives the GUI on the touchscreens and takes inputs from all the above equipment, combined with timed functions and a RF remote or two, and based on that adjusts the HVAC, pipes audio to a multizone amp, adjusts lighting, closes curtains, and has options to expand with technology.

I figure I'll need a lighting dimmer box that will connect to the server and adjust lighting based on the server's output. The box doesn't have to be "smart" - it just needs to translate the server code into "Light Zone 1 at 50%, Light Zone 2 at 0%, etc". I figure it would probably be a simple chipset wired to, for example, 64 "zone outputs" consisting of variable resistors combined with relays.

I'm planning to set up this system on a new house that I'm currently designing. I'd like to eliminate all wall switches completely, leaving only the touchscreens, keypads, and PCs to control the lighting. I envision all "lighting zones" (1-4 lights in a room) having some kind of drop (nuetral?) coming directly to the server room into the lighting dimmer box.

I've got the audio and video distribution pretty well figured out, but I haven't found a product or solution yet that allows the PC control of the lighting and HVAC as descibed above, with fully programmable touchpad GUIs integrating customized imbedded menus like these (stars denote button pressed):

Main Menu
* Music * - Thermostat - Lighting
Internet Radio - * MP3 Playlists *
Rock - Rap - Jazz - Country - and so on

So... any ideas? Anyone ever done anything like this? Is it possible? I'd really like to keep everything IP based if possible. Cost is not an object. I'm looking for the absolute best equipment money can buy to get this done the way I want it done.

Thanks for your input,

Going completely IP is definitely feasible. Have you looked into xAP?
I figure it would probably be a simple chipset wired to, for example, 64 "zone outputs" consisting of variable resistors combined with relays.
But using resistors and relays to dim lights is not feasible. Have a look at Control4. They have IP controllable dimmers.
We are short a couple of bits for the short term, but by the time you are ready to roll, our CQC product would be one of the leading contenders for a PC based, network distributed automation system. Some of what you are looking for won't show up until the 1.5 release (probably coming to beta in a couple weeks), and it might require some 1.6 stuff to get you the last 5% or so, which would be early next year. But if you are looking at putting it in a new house, we'd probably be way ahead of you by the time you are actually ready to put it in. In the meantime you could be testing and planning and working it all out. But, in the end, you could get it all done in one integrated package.

For lighting, if you are looking at a new build (i.e. you can run wires) and money's not a problem, then look into a wired Lutron system. It'll be the most reliable in the end, though a little pricey. They are well designed to be controlled by an automation system.