Need Plug and Play Automation Ideas


Senior Member
I have family members and in-laws who want me to help them get into Home Automation but they all live in different parts of the country. I don't really want to travel around and get into big install projects and I REALLY don't want to be on call constantly for tech support for them so I'm trying to come up with a reasonable Plug and Play sytem that i can just ship to them.

When I say Plug and Play I am serious in that my Grandmother needs to be able to use it without looking at a manual. That rules out even things like Hawkeye motions sensors because you have to reset the address on those each time you change the batteries. This system needs to have NO configuration required beyond plugging stuff into it.

As a starting point I am thinking along the lines of a small PC with some version of HAL installed on it. I would include a monitor that has built-in speakers and microphone, and a handful of X-10 plug-in modules. They would still have to plug in the ethernet cable, phone line, and line out to their stereo, but with good lables on the cables it shouldn't be too bad.

Features would include:
Microphone voice control
Phone voice control
CID and answering machine funtions
CD ripping and playback
X-10 control of lights
TTS alerts and reminders
TTS weather announcements

Anybody have any other options for a true Plug and Play setup I can ship via UPS and have a reasonable expectation that it won't turn into a support nightmare?
Maybe not fully HA related but make sure you have a program like VNC or remote admin on the machines so you can support it from home.

and on that note get them a webcam so you can watch them install it too... ;)