Installations: The Home of Tomorrow is Here! Page 5


Photo Gallery

Equipment Control Room

RACKS A Russound audio zone controllers and amplifiers B Network hub with Lifecontroller, Lifestorage A/V servers, HP DECs, and routers C Altronix security camera panel with routers D AC power supplies PANELS 1 Russound house-audio speaker patch panel 2 Whole-house audio keypads and Lifepoint controllers 3 Lifepoint touchpanel power supply - Panel 1 4 Lifepoint touchpanel power supply - Panel 2 5 Cable-TV distribution panel 6 Satellite-TV distribution panel 7 Phone distribution panel 8 Home-network distribution panel 9 Aprilaire thermostat panel 10 Power distribution panel 11 - 13 DSC security-system panels 14 - 17 House-security access control panels
Are PC-based systems custom installation's inevitable future? Given Microsoft's considerable clout (HP is no slouch, either), it's not hard to imagine how far it can run with a flexible, comprehensive, well-executed whole-house solution. And it's got the bucks and marketing clout to make life uncomfortable for the smaller guys hawking high-end systems. But given the Microsoft behemoth's often loutish behavior and its zeal for imposing its products on the public instead of listening to the average guy's needs, there's a good chance it could be its own worst enemy in the battle for smart-home domination.

If EI's Lifeware is indeed a glimpse of the likely future, though, it might be time for even the most hardened computerphobes to think about welcoming a PC into their home-entertainment systems. Silicon is working its way into just about every kind of A/V component anyway, and a reasonably priced system that can take advantage of your existing computers while easily assimilating all manner of third-party gear would seem a godsend for just about any homeowner.

Is Exceptional Innovation's Lifeware the real deal? Well, in this one elegantly tricked-out Columbus home, it seemed real enough to me.