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Inexpensive Home Automation

Boot Camp feature for Monday, December 19, 2005

Inexpensive home automation. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. There are some pretty elaborate systems out there for home automation and control that can cost thousands of dollars. For years, devices that use a standard called X10, which uses home wiring to send signals to turn lights on and off or control thermostats, have provided a cheap alternative. But it hasn't always been the most reliable system. A company called Smarthome…is giving the technology a boost with new devices it calls Insteon. Vice president Rajeev Kapur….Insteon uses both home wiring and wireless signals for control….

"Both technologies by themselves have challenges. Imagine if you had your laptop or your Treo or your Blackberry and it worked only 8 out of 10 times. I don't think you'd be very happy with those companies. Now what Insteon does is it takes that reliability up by quite a bit. Right now, our current reliability testing shows about a 99.7 reliability. That's been the key advantage of what we've been able to do, is being able to mesh those technologies together."

Smarthome sells an Insteon starter kit with two lamp dimmer modules, a table top controller and two signal enhancers…for under a hundred dollars…

"The beauty of the Insteon product line also is that it's also backwards compatible with X10. We estimate that there's about 7 to 10 million homes in America alone that have X10 in their homes."

And with most of the equipment…there's no need for professional installation. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.