Machine control heads for home

Feb. 18, 2005


-home technology, a residential control concept based on automation components from Beckhoff, got the star treatment Jan. 31 when Microsoft founder Bill Gates helped launch the E-home technology system at the “Home of Today” event held at the National Garden Festival in Munich (Germany). The Home of Today is a fully networked house that  integrates Beckhoff automation technology, Microsoft’s operating systems and Ethernet connectivity.


Beckhoff's managing director Hans Beckhoff with Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

Beckhoff’s managing director Hans Beckhoff demonstrated the core of the E-home technology, the Embedded PC CX1000 with Windows CE operating system, to Bill Gates. "Our PC and Ethernet control solution is an ideal platform for building automation,” said Beckhoff. “A modern home needs integrated IT, media and control functions which are user-friendly and cost-effective. Our Bus Terminals form the practical interface to domestic electrical systems.”Microsoft was the leading partner for the E-home installation and made its software technology available for the infrastructure at home of today. This project is the first “networked” home in Europe involving Microsoft technologies. Beckhoff further supported the effort by installing the intelligent building control system in the Home of Today. All data points required for home automation are connected directly to the Beckhoff Bus Terminal system. Local I/O stations are distributed throughout the home and networked with the central PC control via Ethernet. Control tasks are dealt with by the embedded PC CX1000 running Windows CE. The standard Ethernet network is used for PCs, telephones, home entertainment, and as a bus system for building control tasks which eliminates the need for a second subsystem.All building control functions can be displayed and activated via four Beckhoff control panels distributed throughout the house. Messages can be retrieved via SMS, video, voice mail or e-mail via a touchscreen interface. The control panels are integrated in the network via Ethernet.The TwinCAT automation software forms the home automation control center. Depending on the hardware and the application, Windows XP, Windows CE or the new Windows XP Media Center Edition can be used as the operating system. The control functions either run in the background or based on the personal configuration of the user.The Bus Terminal stations distributed throughout the home for connecting the data points are either equipped with Ethernet bus couplers or embedded PCs. Subordinate subsystems such as RS232, RS485, DALI, EIB or LON can be integrated into the Ethernet network via communication bus terminals.