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Controlling the curtains.

Forget X10, LonWorks, PowerLine and those other proprietary home automation systems. ZigBee is the name for new wireless technology which, its promoters claim, will soon take over the way you operate your house. Not just your house but, by a logical extension, your clients' houses and, since domestic electronics is sometimes indistinguishable from office electronics and because ZigBee is cheaper than Bluetooth, possibly your clients' buildings in general. For the record the new standard is IEEE 802.15.4, and the promoters include Phillips, Mitsubishi and Motorola, Invensys and Honeywell. So, big guns: think home security, remote thermostats, lighting and curtain controllers, call buttons, TV, smoke detectors and that sort of thing, These may all work perfectly well using current technology but that's not the point. It's claimed that ZigBee peripherals will be available by the end of the year and the big product manufacturing push starts next year. We've heard all that about a lot of new standards including the recent one which promises to deliver power down your network wires just when you were about to go wireless. But at least take a look at what could be The Next Big Thing at www.zigbee.org. Naturally you should also try a 'zigbee' Google search.

Meantime if time is hanging heavy until the advent of the ZigBee networked home, take a look at www.nodomainname.co.uk/cantenna2/ for details about making a long-distance (several kilometres) extension to your current wireless network (a cantenna, it's called) using a modestly modified dogfood can from Tesco and a bit of cable. With one of these and ZigBee throughout the house, you could close the living room curtains halfway home from the office. Progress.
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Title Annotation:Browser
Publication:The Architectural Review
Article Type:Product/Service Evaluation
Date:Oct 1, 2003
Words:283
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