Maximizing technology usage

Home technology integration is the joining of various home systems to make things easier to operate, offer cost savings, or provide a combination of benefits to the homeowner. HTI has been around long enough to be considered a complete industry with dedicated manufacturers and at least one certification program offered through CompTIA.

HTI may be applied narrowly with simple convenience items like setting all household computers to use one printer or more widely with utility cost-saving measures like automatic thermostat control with automatic window blind control. Full-blown integration offers nearly anything from remotely knowing who is at the front door by way of a security camera video feed to a smart phone to a system that turns lights on or off as a room is entered or exited.

Before HTI, everything was handled by whatever industry typically handled the job. Wiring jobs were done by electricians, Internet Service Providers took care of Internet connectivity, and various retailers took care of stereo systems, computers and so forth. While many things are still done that way, the increasing sophistication and interconnection between newer devices has created a need for workers who can do it all and that need is putting home technology integration back on the map.

A worker in HTI would be considered a home systems technician. They would have the ability to install, integrate and troubleshoot many of the new home technology products and systems which gives homeowners the ease of one-stop shopping for technological needs.

For the do-it-yourself crowd check out Home Toys at hometoys.com for more information on products, reviews and self-help tutorials. For those experienced with operating systems, head over to the Linux MCE site at linuxmce.com and take a look at a free open-source project that provides a great HTI starter platform.

Ron Poland is a professor in the Computer Information Systems AAS program at Clinton Community College. Poland is certified in computer repair and networking by the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). He is also a Cisco certified network assistant. Questions may be sent to him via e-mail at ron@ronpoland.com.

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