We acknowledge that our overall controller layout has some adjuncts that we address but don't really see through; for example, the Ecovent System Smart Hub and the irrigation manager. While they may qualify as controllers, for purposes of this discussion, we can treat them as endpoints since however smart they may be, our access to them is through a series of get- and set-caliber API calls. The more interesting story is in what we ask our controllers to do . We'll start with our most complex challenge.
Thermal maps to heating, cooling and lighting
There are no solo performances here; we will treat the collective of several task-specific controllers as a single entity to help simplify our narrative. It starts with the temperature maps we gather in every room and hallway. The collective of all those measurements gets united into both maps and tables in the context of the floor plan of the house. A calculated average temperature gets associated with each room.
A routine looks for above-threshold temperatures that might indicate the danger or the presence of a fire. A separate routine looks for adjacent cells (thermal pixels) within each room with temperatures similar to each other but higher than the average for the room and tries to identify these as adults, children, infants or pets. A modified map presents the positions of adults, children, infants, pets or hot spots within a graphic outline of the floor plan of the house. One controller renders that map as an HD image and displays it on a control center monitor. A second controller that drives the vanity panel (showing the house number or family name) digital sign at the front door responds to the detection of a fire in the house by displaying a similar floor plan map optimized for the lower resolution of the sign.;
Recognizing people in rooms or hallways leads to several outcomes. That is, for example, the basis for determining which rooms are vacant, a factor in HVAC control as well as lighting control. Routines that recognize (initially a limited number of) patterns in movement can anticipate the destination of the occupant and prepare both the path and the destination by adjusting the lighting, if nothing else. While there are other factors in lighting (like whether or not a TV set is turned on), destination analysis in concert with fixed-point position recognition and some time of day intelligence can help the system understand whether the intent of the occupant is, for example, to watch or to read.
Other factors also contribute to these decisions, like time of day, day of year, weather and the ambient light readings reported from each room.
Garage and driveway
Two classes of vehicles can drive in or out of the driveway: those associated with a garage space (known cars) and everybody else. If there is an occupant present in the house, a controller will sound a brief alert to the entry of any other than known vehicles. When a known vehicle enters the driveway, the system will confirm that its garage space is empty, turn on the exterior lights and open the garage door. It monitors the known car's approach and turns on interior lights, then monitors its entry into the garage space and signals it when to stop. At that point, it unlocks the deadbolt to the house. If the driver leaves the car running (as would be the case if it's a fast trip in to pick up a needed item), the garage door remains open and the deadbolt remains unlocked until the car exits the driveway; exterior lights remain on only when they are needed for light (not just for demarcation). If the driver turns the engine off, the exterior lights turn off while the interior lights remain on and the garage door open for about 2 minutes; the controller also initiates an e-mail message to the drivers of known cars that are not present to indicate that you made it home OK.
Starting from the garage side, whether or not you push its button, the garage door will always open when you start the car. If you just pull into the driveway (to do a little work on the car, for example, or to wash it), the garage door remains open and the deadbolt to the house remains unlocked. If you then reenter the house, the behaviors will be just like arriving home. If you head off somewhere, as soon as the system detects you at the apron and heading away, the deadbolt on the door to the house will again lock, the garage door will close and all the lights will turn off.
When the house detects a fire, a scramble of activity follows. A controller places a landline phone call to the local fire department, reciting the street address, what was detected (smoke, fire or both) and how many people are home. The deadbolts all unlock and the surveillance cameras watching the doors go into full-time record mode. The natural gas feed to the house is shut off just past its first tap, which feeds the backup generator. All fans in the house are turned off and all of the vent registers shut. And the vanity panel at the front door changes from showing the house number to showing a floor plan of the house complete with the locations of every adult, child, infant or pet inside.
Visitors and deliveries
The house knows about mail and package deliveries (from sensors in the mailbox and at the front door) and also knows when people approach the front door, and triggers subtle doorbell-like alert tones as these things happen, as well as exerting some influence over surveillance system decisions to record relevant cameras.
Lawns and gardens
Controllers analyze data from multiple soil moisture sensors and from weather resources to impact the scheduling of lawn watering.
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