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Integrated Home Systems - Chapter 2 - Functions


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It is perfectly possible to install a domestic electrical installation with a distribution board brimming with integrated home system equipment, but without any of the integrated home system functions implemented. In such a case, all programmed functions could have been implemented through a traditional electrical installation, which would have been much cheaper. We cannot call such a sit uation an integrated home system, as it would be an abuse of the term. It should be clear that the installer has to provide added value before he can call it an integrat ed home system. To do this, he has to start with the needs of t he people living there. Suppose that we have two identical homes, one next to the other, with the same integrated home system equipment. A young couple with two young children live in the first home, while in the second an elderly married couple move in. The integrated home system functions implemented in the one home will be of a different nature to the other. Young people with small children have totally different needs as opposed to elderly couples whose children have long since left home.

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Integrated Home Systems - Chapter 2 - Functions

  1. 1. INTEGRATED HOME SYSTEMS COURSE CHAPTER 2: FUNCTIONALITIES Guy Kasier August 2015 ECI Publication No Cu0224 Available from
  2. 2. Publication No Cu0224 Issue Date: August 2015 Page 1 Document Issue Control Sheet Document Title: Chapter 2: Functionalities Publication No: Cu0224 Issue: 02 Release: Public Author(s): Guy Kasier Reviewer(s): Noel Montrucchio Document History Issue Date Purpose 1 May 2008 Initial public release 2 Aug 2015 Revision 3 Disclaimer While this publication has been prepared with care, European Copper Institute and other contributors provide no warranty with regards to the content and shall not be liable for any direct, incidental or consequential damages that may result from the use of the information or the data contained. Copyright© European Copper Institute. Reproduction is authorized providing the material is unabridged and the source is acknowledged.
  3. 3. Publication No Cu0224 Issue Date: August 2015 Page 2 CONTENTS 1. Introduction................................................................................................................................................ 3 2. Exercise....................................................................................................................................................... 4 3. Thinking in terms of integrated home systems versus traditional approaches............................................ 5 4. User-friendliness......................................................................................................................................... 6 5. Software functions in integrated home systems ......................................................................................... 8 6. Tailor-made functions............................................................................................................................... 10 7. Identifying requirements .......................................................................................................................... 13
  4. 4. Publication No Cu0224 Issue Date: August 2015 Page 3 1. INTRODUCTION It is perfectly possible to install a domestic electrical installation with a distribution board brimming with Integrated Home System (IHS) equipment, but without any of the IHS functions implemented. In such a case, all programmed functions could have been implemented through a traditional electrical installation, which would have been much cheaper. However we cannot call such a situation an IHS, as it would be an abuse of the term. It should be clear that the installer has to provide added value before they can properly call it an IHS. To do this, they have to start with the needs of the people living there chiefly in mind. Let us suppose two identical homes next to the other. And suppose further that they are each equipped the same IHS equipment. A young couple with two young children live in the first home, while in the second, an elderly married couple move in. The IHS functions implemented in one home will be of a different nature to the other. Young people with small children have totally different needs than those of the elderly couples whose children have long since left home.
  5. 5. Publication No Cu0224 Issue Date: August 2015 Page 4 2. EXERCISE Let us first conduct an exercise. Let us look at the drawing of a bedroom in a home. It contains three light groups. Light point 1 (LP1) is connected to a dimmer and serves as general lighting. Light point 2 (LP2) provides the lighting for the fitted wardrobe. Light point 3 (LP3) is also connected to a dimmer and provides the lighting by the bed. There is another light group (LP4) on the landing. There is also a roll-down shutter (M1) in the bedroom. We can ignore the heating in this example. Figure 1: How many pushbuttons are installed in this bedroom and what functions will they perform? (Illustration source: E&D Systems) Assignment: Where and how many pushbuttons would you provide in this bedroom and what function will they perform? Complete this exercise before reading further. M Bedroom 1 LP1 LP1 LP2 LP2 LP3 LP3 M1 LP4 LP4 LP4 LP4
  6. 6. Publication No Cu0224 Issue Date: August 2015 Page 5 3. THINKING IN TERMS OF INTEGRATED HOME SYSTEMS VERSUS TRADITIONAL APPROACHES In a traditional electrical installation, installers will have learned that it is necessary to provide at least one switch and, in some cases, several switches, for each consumer (lighting point, roll-down shutter, et cetera). This is the traditional way of thinking. Every consumer has its own switch. But even with modern IHS, we find that installers often proceed in the same way. The result is that the IHS only provides the same basic utilitarian traditional installation. Many installers would like to install five push-buttons to operate the separate lighting circuits one through four respectively, with the fifth push-button reserved for the roll-down shutter. We thus see that traditional thinking prevails. Every consumer has its own push-button. IHS systems are not needed for such designs. They can be realized with a traditional installation. If we want to add value to the above example, then we have to think about the intentions of the residents when they suppose the bedroom. Suppose that the occupant enters the bedroom with the intention of going to sleep. Then we provide an “I’m going to sleep” button. When this button is pressed, the general lighting can, for example, be dimmed to 70% and the lighting by the bed to 50%. In the meantime, the roll-down shutter is lowered. If the light in the corridor is still on, then this lighting circuit is instructed to switch off after an appropriate delay. When the residents leave the bedroom in the morning, we provide an “I’m leaving the room” button. Pressing this button could mean that the lighting in the corridor goes on when there is not enough daylight in the corridor. Furthermore, all lights that are on in the bedroom can be given a delayed fade function. The possibilities are endless. For example, the lights that are connected to a dimmer can be given a fade-out time of one minute. You are, therefore, not immediately in the dark when you operate the button. The roll-down shutter will also be given the command to rise. In the above example, a few push-buttons will of course be provided for individual operations. If you want to get something out of the built-in wardrobe, then a separate button near the wardrobe would be handy for turning on the light. If so desired, this light could also be controlled by a magnetic switch in the wardrobe. When the wardrobe is opened, the light will come on automatically. When the wardrobe is closed, it goes off again. Other intention buttons will also be fitted in this room. There can be a “sleep well” button beside the bed. All lighting in the bedroom is switched off with this button and the roll-down shutter is closed (if not yet done). With very small children who are afraid of the dark, it is perhaps advisable to leave the lights on next to the bed, dimmed at 10% to 20%. After a while, these lights can fade out softly and slowly. That concludes the example in the bedroom. In the living room too, and in all other rooms, we need to consider what the intentions of the residents might be when entering and leaving the room, or when using the room. In the living room, it might be: watching TV, receiving guests, playing with the children, reading a good book, spending a romantic interlude with a partner, et cetera. In such a case, we are inclined to provide a push-button for every intention.
  7. 7. Publication No Cu0224 Issue Date: August 2015 Page 6 4. USER-FRIENDLINESS To make sure the user is not confronted with too many pushbuttons, controls for individual light points, roll- down shutters, et cetera can be placed on a remote control. Several intention buttons are then installed in the walls. The pushbuttons can also be provided with an icon or text to indicate what function they will perform if pressed. This means the user does not always have to remember precisely which button must be pressed to activate a particular function. Figure 2: Icons that indicate the function of a button increase user-friendliness. (Illustration source: Teletask) Figure 3: Icons are also used in service flats for the elderly to clearly indicate the function of a pushbutton. (Illustration source: E&D Systems)
  8. 8. Publication No Cu0224 Issue Date: August 2015 Page 7 Figure 4: Example of a keypad on which the user can read the function of the buttons. (Illustration source: Vantage)
  9. 9. Publication No Cu0224 Issue Date: August 2015 Page 8 5. SOFTWARE FUNCTIONS IN INTEGRATED HOME SYSTEMS There are IHS systems on the market that use small building blocks during programming. The installer can use these building blocks to create the functions the future residents require. Such systems are generally derivatives of the programmable logic controller (PLC), where the software always goes through a program from top to bottom. The software of most other IHS systems offers the capability to use ready-made IHS functions. Generally, you cannot create the functions yourself with these systems. On the other hand, some functions can be combined and used within other functions. In this way complex problems can be solved. The advantage of such systems is the speed with which currently existing functions can be allocated to a button. Let us have a look at common software functions of IHS systems. - Switch function: Every time you press the button, the consumer will switch over. With this function, you can only allocate one consumer that is connected to a relay. - Dimming: A brief push of the button takes the light connected to a dimmer to a setting held in the memory. Another short press results in the light switching off. If the same button is pushed for longer, a dimming process is started. When the pushbutton is released, the light stays in the desired dimmed state. When switching the light on and off, you can use a fade-in and fade-out time. Here too, only one consumer can be allocated to the function. - Timed function: This function is often used in stairwells. When the button is pressed, the light immediately switches on for a programmed time (for example, five minutes). The light then automatically switches off after this time. With this function, you can select a relay-controlled light or a dimmer-controlled light. In the latter case, a fade-out time, for example of two minutes, can be specified. It ensures that the light goes off very slowly, so that you are not immediately caught in the dark when the set time has elapsed. - Motor start/stop: Briefly pressing the programmed button will make a motor that can operate in two directions (roll-down shutter, sunblind, et cetera) run in the opposite direction to the previous time. If you press the button while the motor is running, the motor stops. Here too, only one motor can be allocated. If you press the button for longer (> one second), the motor continues running until the button is released. - Fan function: This is a combination of a light and a fan. When the button is pressed, the light switches on. Pressing it again results in the light switching off and the fan coming on. After a prescribed time, the fan stops automatically. This function is often used in toilets and bathrooms. - Local mood: This function is used to create local atmospheres. There are several lines in the function. A consumer can be placed on each line (relay controlled, dimmer controlled, motor). Each consumer can be told what it has to do: on, off, in a certain dimming state, raise or lower roll-down shutter, et cetera. Aside from specific consumers, other functions of the IHS can also be included on the lines (for example, a timed function or another local mood). - Timed local mood: Similar to the previous function. However, for each line, you can specify the time interval between the previous line being executed and the current line being executed. You can also specify whether the function should be automatically repeated after the last line has been executed. - General mood: This function is used for general operations relating to the entire home. You can specify whether the on or off condition has to be generated for each relay. You can do the same for the list of dimmers. Aside from on or off, each dimmer can also be set to a certain dimming state. In
  10. 10. Publication No Cu0224 Issue Date: August 2015 Page 9 addition to the status of the relays and the dimmers, several other functions can be assigned to a general mood. These can be simple or complex functions (e.g. local moods). - Transparent function: With this function, the output follows the input. For example, the button at the front door and the doorbell. As soon as the button is pressed, the doorbell rings. - Audio functions: The functions listed below all relate to controlling an audio distribution system in the home. You choose the audio zone where you want to do something. Then, you select the audio device (CD player, tuner, amplifier, et cetera) and specify the function to be performed (volume up/down, next CD, next preferred radio station, et cetera). - Sensor functions: This series of functions is connected to analogue sensors (temperature, humidity, light). With temperature sensors for example, the day temperature or night temperature can be activated with this function. You can also raise the temperature in steps of + 0.5 °C or lower it - 0.5 °C, or set the frost protection temperature. - Clock functions: These functions relate to the execution of all types of actions that are activated by clocks. A number of clock tables can be activated or deactivated here. There is a choice of a working day clock table, a weekend clock table and a simulation clock table. Only one of the three can be active at any one time. There is also a special clock table that can be switched on or off. Finally, there is the continuous clock table. Actions in this table are always executed. - If-then-else functions: When this function is allocated to a button, then when the button is pressed, it looks at a condition or stipulation. If the condition is true, a certain program is executed. If the condition is not true, no program or another program is executed. - Process function: With this function, a consumer continually follows another consumer, state or condition. The state of an output or condition is continually examined and monitored. This function is used to switch on the boiler contact for the central heating boiler as soon as one of the zone valves is open, and to switch it off again as soon as all zone valves are closed. - Messages and alarms: Text messages can be generated on keypads with LCD displays, touch screens or on the television. A message appears on the screen and disappears automatically after a set time. Examples of a message can be: “Somebody is coming up the drive”. Alarm texts can also be generated. They stay on the display until they have been reset by the user. The text: “Somebody came to the door during your absence” is an example of this.
  11. 11. Publication No Cu0224 Issue Date: August 2015 Page 10 6. TAILOR-MADE FUNCTIONS Earlier, we looked at what software functions are normally available in IHS systems. However, these are merely the tools we need to create functions that are grafted to a particular home in which certain residents live with their own needs. Now let's take a look at solutions which guarantee the personal ease and comfort of the residence. Below are several examples of additional functions. As mentioned earlier, not every function needs to be installed in every home. It depends entirely upon the family composition, the lifestyles and the needs of the residents. The first example below could be attractive for families with small children, but will be of no value to a family without children. - Light path to the children’s room: Young children often wake up during the night. One of the parents has to get up to see to the child. By using dimmers, we can ensure that the one who gets up is given a dimmed light path to the children’s room. Using a button (perhaps with LED) next to the bed, the lighting sequence is set in motion. The light next to the bed is switched on softly at 20%. In the meantime, the lights in the corridor and the child’s room go on at 50%. Arriving in the room, you can decide to increase the lighting with a local switch. When the night-time intervention has ended and the parent is back in bed, the button to switch on the light path is pressed again. Everything is gently dimmed to 0%. When the children are older, this function may no longer be needed. Then, if so desired, you can decide to reprogram this button to operate the garden lighting from the master bedroom when you hear strange noises or a noisy cat in the garden at night. - Light path to the toilet: A similar light path can also be created at nights from every bedroom to the toilet. Thus, we do not have to fumble around in the dark nor do we get the full intensity of the bright lights in our still sleepy eyes. - Little Eva is awake: Little Eva (3 years old) is in bed, but cannot sleep. She gets up in the dark and goes down the darkened, dangerous stairs. The risk of her falling is high. In order to prevent this, we can place a pressure mat beside her bed. When she wants to go on her night-time wanderings, the lighting in her room will switch on at 30%, as well as in the corridor and on the stairs. While Eva’s parents are watching television, a message appears on the TV: “Eva is awake.” The unsafe situation has changed to a safe one. - Surgeon D is on call: Surgeon D is home, but he or she is on call and can be called at any time of night by the hospital because an urgent operation is needed. We provide a “call button” in the bedroom. When the surgeon answers a call after 22:00 in the evening with the phone beside the bed, it is detected by the integrated home system. The light on that side of the bed comes on at 30%. If the telephone call is made to call surgeon to the hospital, then he or she presses the call button. This creates a light path to the bathroom. In the meantime, the circulation pump for the hot tap water is activated. The surgeon goes to the bathroom to freshen up and dress. When the lighting is switched off in the bathroom, given that the telephone next to the bed was answered after 22:00 and the call button has been pressed, a light path is made to the garage. When he goes into the garage, a motion detector detects his presence. There is already light, but now the garage door automatically opens. The driveway lighting goes on for five minutes. The light path to the garage is switched off. The garage door is closed manually with the remote control in the surgeon’s car. It is clear that many of these automated features were only executed because two things had happened: the telephone next to the bed was answered after 22:00 and the call button was pressed. In all other cases, the garage door will not automatically open and a light path will not be created. - Corridor lighting 100% during the day and 30% at night: In the corridor, we have some switches to operate the corridor lighting. If we operate such a switch between 07:00 and 22:00, then the corridor lighting will adjust between 0% and 100%. At night, however, the same switch will adjust the corridor lighting between 0% and 30%. At night, there only needs to be enough light to get through the
  12. 12. Publication No Cu0224 Issue Date: August 2015 Page 11 corridor safely. If, however, we want to clean the corridor during the day, then the lights must be at 100% so we can see adequately. - Mood buttons in the living room and kitchen: In the living room and kitchen, we can fit mood buttons that correspond to the intentions of the residents when going in, leaving or using these rooms. For the living room, there can be a button to watch TV, receive guests, play with the children, read in good light, enjoy a romantic interlude, have a nice dinner, et cetera. For the kitchen, we can provide a button that puts on all lighting when we are cooking and a button for breakfast in the morning (soft lighting and heating in comfort mode). If the residents want to adjust individual lights in the living room, then it can be done by remote control instead of the push-buttons on the wall. Thus, the buttons on the wall remain linked to the intentions of the residents and they can set everything individually with the remote control. - Intelligent “all out” button: At the garage door, the front door, and perhaps the back door, there is an “all out” button. The last person to leave the home presses it. All lights in the home are switched off, except in the area where the “all out” button has been pressed. To increase safety, certain appliances (coffee machine, iron) can be disconnected from the mains. The dormant consumers (appliances in standby mode) can be switched off, and also the kitchen boiler under the sink. All heating is set to night mode. If desired, all roll-down shutters can be raised or lowered, depending on the time of day. If it is still dark outside (for example in the winter), the lighting in the area where the “all out” button has been pressed will stay on for a while and then automatically switch off. If it is dark the outside lighting will also come on and automatically switch off after a set time. If, however, it is already light when the person leaves the home, these last two actions will, of course, not be executed. If the home has a burglar alarm, then the last resident to leave the home has to enter the code into the alarm panel. In such a case, a separate “all out” button is not needed. The alarm system tells the IHS that an “all out” function can be generated. When returning home, the code is entered again. The alarm system now tells the IHS that the residents have returned. The heating can then be set to comfort mode automatically. - Bathroom fan: As in the toilet, we install a fan in the bathroom and we let it run for a few minutes after the person has left the room. This can avoid the build-up of excess humidity from a shower or bath. Fitting a humidity sensor in the bathroom avoids steamed up mirrors. When the humidity gets too high, the fan will automatically come on to rid the room of the damp air. If the use of an analogue humidity sensor is not possible, then you can do the following: when the light is switched on in the bathroom, a timer can run for a specified period. If the person continues to stay in the bathroom, the fan will come on after the set time. The chance that we are taking a bath or a shower is greater because we are in the bathroom for longer. - Stairwell controller with flashing LED: In part five, we looked at the timed function. This is intended to switch on the light in a stairwell, and switch it off automatically after a certain time. That is fine, in and of itself, certainly when we connect the light to a dimmer. However, we can go one step further. We can give the switches that activate this stairwell controller a LED. When the stairwell is shrouded in darkness, the LED is on. The person can thus see which button has to be pressed for light. As soon as this action is done, the stair lighting goes on at 100% and the LED flashes quickly. When the set time has lapsed, the stair lighting slowly goes out (fade-out function) to 0%. As of that moment, the LED is on all the time. If, for example, the user wants to stay in the stairwell for a longer period while the light is fading, he can press the button with the flashing LED again. The scenario starts again. This same stairwell has to be cleaned every now and again. When the same button is pressed for a little longer, the stair lighting will come on without switching off automatically. Then you do not need to press the button every five minutes to obtain light again. In this situation, the LED also flashes, but at a much lower frequency. In order to switch off the stair lighting, the same button is pressed again for a longer period, so that the lights immediately go off, or the button is pressed briefly whereby the timed function is activated. - Automatically switching the kitchen boiler: The kitchen boiler can be switched on automatically when the kitchen is used. At night and when no one is in, the kitchen boiler may be switched off to
  13. 13. Publication No Cu0224 Issue Date: August 2015 Page 12 save energy. - Sleep well button beside the bed: This button has almost the same function as the “all out” button. The entire home is set to sleep mode: all the lights are switched off, the heating is set to night mode, the roll-down shutters are closed, a light path on the landing comes on, et cetera. - Door locking: When the front door is closed, the door is automatically locked in night mode. To open the door from inside, you simply have to push the door handle downwards. The door can be opened automatically remotely by means of a pushbutton or by an access control system. - Presence simulation: Presence simulation as prevention against burglary. When you are not at home your home can still show the outside world that someone is in. This is done by activating lights, roll- down shutters and other consumers at particular times. The above list is certainly not intended to be exhaustive. The needs of the residents and the creativity of the installer and architect will certainly be put to the test in developing specific IHS features.
  14. 14. Publication No Cu0224 Issue Date: August 2015 Page 13 7. IDENTIFYING REQUIREMENTS What has to be installed and programmed in a certain home depends entirely on the habits and lifestyles of the residents. Hence, the installer has to use them as a basis for developing and implementing the specific IHS functions. It is not good idea to merely let the IHS functions provided determine the capabilities of the installed IHS system. The choice of an IHS system functions has to be determined by the user requirements and lifestyles and not because the installer always uses the same IHS out of habit and is not familiar enough with other systems. Nevertheless, there is a practical problem. How does the installer and/or architect detect and list the IHS requirements of the customer? A chat with the customer is an absolute must, but without appropriate tools this is time-consuming. To make this process simpler, a checklist has been drawn up. On the one hand this presents the customer with practical, everyday IHS functions and acquaints them with possibilities that they were not aware of or had perhaps never considered. On the other hand, the customer can tick off on the checklist whether or not a particular functionality is wanted, or that a function must be able to be installed later but will not be immediately required. It can be seen for each function by means of green icons, whether it promotes comfort, communication, energy consumption, security or the care components. Figure 5: Example of a function from the Design Guide for IHS systems. (Illustration source: E&D Systems) In this way, the determination of the customer’s needs runs much more smoothly, takes less time and reduces the chance of missing something important that will later be needed. The end result is that the installer and the customer have a list showing which functions will be installed. This avoids surprises for all parties on delivery. The ‘Checklist—Design Guide for IHS systems’ can be downloaded here.