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Home Automation: Ingenuity in Action

By Deborah Harkins

Leaks, invaders, septic-tank disasters—your resident genie warns you, wherever you have roamed.

Oddly, although home automation has been around for more than 15 years, few homeowners (or even architects) know how sophisticated this technology now is, declares Alex Sulpizi, president and CEO of Amnet Systems, LLC, a firm headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut. Only recently, he notes, has home automation become so reliable, so easy to operate, and so useful. (One example: From a central point, the homeowner can adjust the climate in all his residences, whether that involves 5 thermostats or 25.)

Your home diagnoses itself and lets you know when there is a problem with just about anything.

Installing this technology should lessen your anxiety about the security of your estate. When something untoward happens while you’re away, the system’s genie will take action—send a voice message to your cell phone (or an e-mail to your BlackBerry, laptop, or Treo) alerting you to (among other alarming events) an air-conditioner water leak in your attic; a sump pump failure; a dangerously low level of oil in your tank; problems with your furnace, septic tank, or water treatment system; the unauthorized passing of a car through your gate (the genie will even email you a photo of the trespassing vehicle). Security cameras will allow you to monitor the safety of your children.

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