Site Information

 Loading... Please wait...


Return of HAL or an Echo of the past

Posted by Ivor on

First posted on July 16, 2015

Being smart is part of today’s trend. Technology these days makes it easier for us to perform some tasks. Smartphones and other gadgets make our life much simple and no doubt add some experience to it. However, your home also needs some attention and Home automation can provide that much needed modernisation. It can include a number of things like the control of lighting & appliances, more adaptive heating control, added security and other systems which enable you to have all the comfort and security whilst improving the energy efficiency of your home.

There is nothing new about home automation, X10 was developed back in 1975 by Pico Electronics in Scotland. The technology has been improved and is still useful for home automation projects today. Increasingly the demand is for affordable products which are reliable and easy to use. These devices can be controlled using your smartphones as well as tablets and computers. What else could you want.? Well, one of these home automation devices you may of heard about is the Amazon Echo.

Amazon Echo is a small and cylindrical in shape with a 9-inch speaker and 7 piece Microphone array. It’s basically a command device that as the name shows is from This device contains many functions like answering questions, music playing, providing news, weather, traffic and sports reports, as well as controlling other smart devices using voice commands. However at the moment this is limited to Wink, WeMo and Phillips Hue devices

The device gets started as soon as it notices the wake word. When in default mode, the device initiates and responds to the name “Alexa”, nonetheless, this can be changed once the user knows how to operate it. Though till now there are only two options, one Alexa and other Amazon.

This device is an interesting choice for those interested in home automation for their home, however you have to wonder if this is another way for Amazon to sell product, as another feature is the ability to purchase products from them

Voice command has been available for some time now with varying degrees of success and has not previously been taken up in a big way. For the serious Home automation user you may want to look at Homey a far more versatile device than Echo, providing control of a vast range of devices like Z-wave, Zigbee, X10, 433Mhz modules, Infrared and more.

We may not be at the stage of HAL from 2001: A space Odyssey but technology is moving in that direction!

View Comments

Smarthings compatibility with Z-Wave devices

We often get asked if a certain Z-Wave device is compatible with the Samsung Smarthings controller. As with all controllers software needs to be available to get the best functionality out of the device. Currently the choose of products within the Z-Wave range is fairly limited. Below are the items which are known to be [...]

Read More »

Home Automation products supported by RFXCom RFXtrx433

We sometimes get asked which home automation products are supported by the RFXCom RFXtrx433. Below is a list of the known devices but this may not be definitive so if your device is on the list then you always check with us. • 1byOne • Alecto SA30, WS1200 • ANSLUT • Aoke relays • Avidsen [...]

Read More »

What is HomeWizard / Smartwares automation?

HomeWizard from Smartwares is a new, wireless home automation system which has been designed to provide excellent home automation capabilities at an affordable cost.The system works using wireless communications between the modules. You can program a remote control or sensor to switch a single receiver or multiple receivers together.Using the HomeWizard controller, you can make [...]

Read More »

Getting started with Home Automation

So, you're thinking about home automation?Well, it's a pretty daunting subject when you're just getting started. We're sure you have a few questions, so we've tried to answer the common ones below.If we've missed anything, or you need a bit more help, give us a shout on Facebook, tweet us, or use the more 'old fashioned' contact methods [...]

Read More »

Using X10 for lighting control

Update - Sept 2015: When we wrote this blog post a few years ago, X10 was still the simplest and cheapest way to control your home lighting. If you're looking for a reliable entry-level control of home lighting, we recommend HomeEasy and HomeWizard by SmartWares (which are both compatible with each other). However, X10 is [...]

Read More »

How to control X10 with an iPhone, iPod, iPad or Android device

What is X10?X10 home automation can be used to control basically any electrical equipment you have in your home. From creating lighting scenes to switching on your coffee machine in the morning before you get up, the possabilities are limitless.The beauty of X10 is that it doesn't require any additional wiring to [...]

Read More »

What is Z-Wave Plus? (5th Generation)

Z-Wave Plus™ also known as 5th Generation is an improved standard for Z-Wave devices which brings improved performance and reliability to the user. Devices using Z-Wave plus technology are based on a new series of chip and are fully backwards compatible with other Z-Wave products. The benefits and features you can expect are as follows:50% improvement [...]

Read More »

Using X10 for Home Automation

Disclaimer This article has been modified from it's original form by UK Automation with permission from Kevin Boone. We have provided links to relevant products in our shop where they are mentioned by Kevin Boone. Kevin Boone does not in any way endorse or recommend our products. To view the article in it's original [...]

Read More »