I had the chance to visit Grand Designs Live at the Excel in London’s Docklands over the weekend. For our non-UK viewers Grand Designs is a TV programme on the UK’s Channel 4 which each week follows the trial and tribulations of a self-build house project from empty site to interior design. Excellently hosted, it is very popular. Grand Designs Live is an associated live event that features all the bits and pieces you would need to put such a build together.
It’s a big show split into various sections, Build, Interiors, Kitchens, Gardens etc. I was very impressed with the event which seemed far better to me than the similar Ideal Home exhibiton in London.
The show had a technology trail which although small had some interesting content. This ranged from glass that darkened at the touch of a button through Fingerprint locks to MediaCenters designed for use on yauchts and boats. This latter was running XP media center but was moving to Vista once some teething troubles could be ironed out. I’ll post more on this later.
Domia were also exhibiting (www.domia.eu) specifically their Bye Bye Standby product which is designed to switch off all your gadgets with one switch – I love this marketing concept it really catches the ‘green’ power saving mood but also gets home automation to the masses. This is a product based on Domia Lite which is a Radio Frequency based home automation system and looks a lot neater than the equivalent (though not to be confused) X10 products. In conversation Domia mentioned there is a new version of their excellent Harmony home automation system coming out which should feature a Domia Lite interface. This could be a very low cost way for handling home automation in the UK and europe.
Harmony should also get a new Vista media center plug-in and I hope to be able to give more details of this soon.
I was also very impressed by another stand which was showing a home security system which appeared based on long range RFID. Again more on this later.
So all in all a very interesting show and one I highly recommend if you are considering a self-build or refurbishing your home.