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Wiring tomorrow’s homes

The vision of a futuristic home, with automated functions and technological gee-wizardry, has moved closer to reality lately, thanks to companies like Plymouth-based ResNet. Owner David Harig talks about sandboxes, networks, and life after the advent of indoor plumbing.

What got you personally interested in doing this work?

Technology has always been my passion, and I’ve enjoyed experimenting with it. Also, since I was little, I’ve always been interested in construction. My line of work allows me to fuse my two passions together: home construction and technology. To me it’s not work, it’s like playing in a big digital sandbox.

How did ResNet get started?

Like many people, I was caught in the downward spiral of the telecommunications/IT industry two years ago. The future of home technology is in its infant stage and my company is on the forefront of the changing, dynamic industry. I love seeking out new technologies and avenues of digital growth, so creating ResNet was the right fit at the right time for me.

What are some of the major benefits of home automationÑwhy should people pursue it for their homes?

In the modern home, I hate to use the word automation. If you have a coffee maker that turns on every morning at 6 a.m., your home is already automated. Instead, homes of the future will integrate the standalone, automated devices in the home. For example, when you arm the security system in the morning, the system will know to turn off the coffeemaker if you’ve forgotten.

Home integration can benefit you any number of ways: Network cameras that can be used to monitor an elderly parent from your desktop at work to having the ability to distribute media, or every corner of the home with touch-screen simplicity. Other benefits include having an energy-efficient home and achieving a higher level of security.

What are some of the challenges that you find in installing networks and doing automation?

The future of the integrated home will be one based on open system architecture. Because Ethernet has proven itself in the commercial marketplace to be the open source communication technology of choice, it stands to reason that home convergence will be based on the same medium.

However, legacy home-technology manufacturers that make things like security systems, sprinkler systems, lighting control systems, and home entertainment equipment are slow to add this open system connectivity to their equipment. This poses the problem of having to use creative connectivity solutions to integrate these previously isolated islands of technology into one cohesive system.

What’s been your favorite project so far?

My favorite project was on a 100 year-old home. This house likely didn’t have electricity and indoor plumbing when it was first built. It was a fantastic feeling for me to marry the technology of today with the classic walls of yesterday. It was an honor to introduce this house to the third major revolution in modern homes.

Have you seen a rise in interest for your services lately, with convergence and home automation becoming more popular?

Yes, definitely! Although complete home convergence is a long way from being as mainstream as running water, the number of “early adopters” has steadily been on the rise. As with any technology that appeals to the masses, it will eventually become a necessity for all future homes.

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