Monday, April 20, 2009

Home Automation, SOA, DB2, and an awning

Over the weekend I looked into a control for a patio awning. Right now we are planning a patio cover (like this one (English / Deutsch) with an automated awning. The idea is that the awning opens automatically when the sun gets too intense and it closes automagically when either the sun has retreated for a longer time, or the wind gets too strong, or it starts raining. You don't want the house to heat up too much when you are away, but most importantly you don't want the awning to be damaged because of the weather.

There are standalone versions of the control, some with wireless remotes. On the more interesting side for the technology-oriented person are controls which can be integrated or are part of a home automation systems (like the European Installation Bus (EIB/KNX) protocol). The idea is that you can control/automate your heating system, your shades, your lamps, your coffee maker, etc. The different devices offer data on the installation bus, and central processors can read and process the data, react and send out instructions. If it is getting dark outside, let down the shades. If you lock your front door, switch off all lamps. If it starts raining, send the kids outside for a bath...

How does that compare to SOA, Web Services, or DB2? All devices offer their data and services on the installation bus, requests are sent on that bus. It's simple to build new applications or to integrate new devices/services. The same idea is behind SOA and Web Services.
DB2 offers great automation features, autonomics. If the sortheap is too small, increase it by moving resources around - if more storage space is required for a tablespace, let the system add it. You don't want to deal with such issues while you are away (for the night or on the weekend). Let the software do it, so you can focus on other more important stuff.

With the same reasoning I would like some processor/software to take care of our patio shade, of the awning. I know it from my database system, I want it for my home.