Home Automation Specification


Senior Member
Been noticing a lot of people asking for advice on how to get started in HA lately and the conversation usually jumps right into various hardware and software recommendations before it is even clear what the person is looking to get out of their new HA system (though some have done a pretty good job of describing what they want).

I was thinking the best way to latch on to the solution that will work best for you would be to create a brief Home Automation Specification so everybody knows what the end result is that you are looking for.

Just a simple list of priorities would suffice, maybe divided into 3 categories like "MUST HAVE", "NICE TO HAVE", and "DO NOT WANT". This should be strictly a wish list without worrying about how, or if, any particular thing could be done. Just list what you would like to do.

I think the range of prioities and requirements varies pretty widely (I know I am way outside of the mainstream) and it would be interesting to see what features most commonly end up in each category. Using myself as an example:

Home Automation Specification

Must Have
Control 8 RS-485 thermostats (Must be viewable across room similar to RCS TW-10)
Trigger events based on manual changes to thermostats (announce new setting etc.)
Support at least 80 zones of hard wired inputs (not counting security or fire inputs)
Support at least 32 zones of relay outputs
Relays must respond within 1 second regardless of other concurrent activity
Support some sort of LED annunciators similar to RCS KPL7
Low voltage keypads (NOT AC POWERED) to trigger events similar to RCS KPL7
Support LED message signs or similar large display (NO SMALL SCALE LCD)
Support multi-zone TTS and wav announcements
Support different announcements in different zones simultaneously
TTS paging announcement through Panasonic phone system
Support RainWise weather stations
Support xPL messages to Slim Devices Squeezebox displays
Touch Tone control from Panasonic phone system
Lighting control
Monitor detailed energy use similar to http://www.bwired.nl/stroom.asp
Track energy use of individual lights
Trigger announcements when unexpected load detected (burned out bulb etc.)
Internet access to status and control
8 zones of 2-wire smoke detectors
Very detailed logging
Ability to kick off batch files and executables on any PC on the LAN
Programming interface always available and not shared with any attached system
Programming language restricted to hardware capabilities (not generic)
Able to support complex logic (nested if-then, etc.)

Nice to Have
Voice Recognition
Touch Screens (no more than 1 or 2)
Control Slim Server
CCTV camera controls
Email alerts
System status displayed on internal TV channel
Weather forecast announcements
Lightning Detector
6 zones of security (although real cocooners never leave their homes unattended)
Ability to detect if doors are locked
Ability to lock doors
Ability to detect if windows are locked
Ability to lock windows

Do Not Want
Hand held devices other than IR universal remotes (no PDA, Cell Phone, tablet PC)
Media room controls (want to remain stand alone)
Public web page
Built-in media server
I think its a fine idea, just no time to give it that much thought now ;). Plus my musts/wants chaange often depending on which way the wind is blowing and what will increase WAF.