Smart Home Software

There are a number of applications available for use with X10 and other home automation standards; however, it is fair to say that the software applications out there are not very well known. My post today critically evaluates the leading software packages you can use to automate your home.

ActiveHome

One of the most well-known home automation products on the market is the X10 ActiveHome kit. The application comes with the CM12U module. ActiveHome is a good starting point for somebody starting out with… home automation; however the program is rather old-fashioned looking and simply adds to the geeky reputation of home automation.

You would have thought given that the application was developed by the market lead; X10 who have been around since the 70’s that ActiveHome would be slick and sophisticated by now. It’s saving grace however, is the fact it is readily available in Europe.

HomeSeer

HomeSeer is a more refined software application than ActiveHome because it allows for greater flexibility, such as, controlling the home from web or email, something which ActiveHome does not initiate. The application supports the INSTEON, Z-wave and X10 protocols. HomeSeer has an interface that somewhat resembles Microsoft Outlook with a bar situated on the left hand side of the screen that provides the user with three options; devices, events and logs.

A limitation of HomeSeer is the fact the PC must be running at all times, there are no options for downloading pre-defined settings onto a PC controller like you can in ActiveHome.

Powerhome

Powerhome differs from and arguably betters ActiveHome and HomeSeer. The application has a fully programmable interface, meaning tech savvy home owners can input custom Visual Basic scripts to allow for greater control and flexibility. There are many advantages to Powerhome, for example, you can configure the application to send status updates via email to a mobile phone when away on holiday and the text-to-speech feature can be setup to greet visitors on arrival via intercom or it can act as an alarm by warning approaching visitors at night that the house is monitored by CCTV.

Powerhome’s limitation is the fact that it is not very user friendly and the program is probably best avoided if the user does not have any programming skills.