ONE OF THE FIRST PRODUCTS AVAILABLE that uses the ZigBee networking standard for home automation is Home Heartbeat from Eaton. It's a “home awareness” unit that lets homeowners install up to 32 sensors to keep tabs on everything from windows and doors to the bathroom lights and the plumbing system.
The core product comes with a base station, key fob, and detection sensors. The starter kit, which is priced at about $200, comes with two sensors. Additional sensors cost about $30 each.
The system is designed for homeowners to place the key fob in the base station overnight. The base station has a range of 60 to 90 feet. When a homeowner goes beyond the 90-foot range and something out of the ordinary happens, the base station will send a signal to the key fob alerting the homeowner that a window was left open or the upstairs bathroom light is on. Homeowners can program the alerts to be flashing red lights, vibrations, or beeps.
By early spring, Home Heartbeat will also be able to send text messages to cell phones. Other features planned for later this year include sensors placed on water pipes near the basement to monitor water leaks and sensors used to detect smoke. Log on to www.eaton.com for more information.