Implementing Recipes: Texecom Connect

Smart buildings are increasingly in demand, and the delivery of reliable and robust control has become an essential part of any bespoke innovative solution. By basing control on an established and robust graded security platform, Texecom Connect can bypass many of the resilience issues inherent in IoT systems. Flexibility is ensured for users via the use of flexible recipes.

Recipes are a very valuable tool and offer a simple and effective way of implementing flexible programming. User-defined recipes can be extremely beneficial for the creation of bespoke applications, as well as for smart control of automation and general intelligent buildings functionality.

Recipes are based upon ‘cause and effect’ programming. The user identifies a cause (or multiple causes), such as a specific detector sensing motion, a camera detecting a person or a door opening, and then adds an effect, such as switching on a light or activating another device.

What makes recipes more powerful is that the cause can have an AND/OR option. These ensure that fairly detailed scenarios can be created. For example, it would be possible to detect someone approaching a property, but an action might not be necessary if, for example, it was the postman. Therefore a recipe could be written that ignores anyone approaching a property, but then leaving without going further than the front door. However, if they continue to look around, triggering other external detectors, then an action can be initiated.

A night time mode might part-arm a system, adjust heating and initiate a recipe that switches on specified lighting if someone is detected walking towards the bathroom. Equally, a recipe could be used to close automated gates and disable door entry devices if the user does not want to be disturbed.

The use of recipes within modes allows certain ones to only be active when other conditions exist. Subsequently, if a recipe is added to a mode which includes certain doors being open, the criteria for it occurring will be ignored if they are closed.

Where a user has a remote device for system setting and unsetting, the process of arriving home on a dark night could be managed by a recipe. On disarming the system, external lights and hallway lights could be switched on and blinds closed.

Creating recipes is very simple. Each recipe has 15 cause slots (this allows 8 triggers and 7 AND/OR statements) and 10 effect slots.

The user simply taps a slot and selects a cause (motion detected in the living room, for example). They can then add more causes (a door contact activated on an external door into the living room). The decision is then made as to whether the causes must happen in combination (AND) or can happen individually (OR). It is also possible to use groups of devices as a cause (i.e. if any internal detector is activated, or if any door contact is opened).

Once the various causes have been added, along with relevant AND/OR operators, the next stage is to define the effects. Again, the user simply taps an empty slot, identifies the device and the effect it should have (switch on a light, change a device status, send a notification, switch on a radio, etc.). Effects are automatically assumed to be AND, so will all occur when a recipe is initiated.

Recipes can be created to allow seemingly ‘random’ behaviour. For example, if a user is away on holiday, the app can create lighting patterns that follow a ‘chaos’ program. Effectively this ensures that lighting does not follow a fixed pattern, as is the case with many other less well developed systems. It is also expected that a degree of emulation will be added in the near future. The system would then learn normal patterns of behaviour and be able to replicate these if a site was not occupied.

Recipes don’t need to be a part of modes. They can be triggered independently or manually deployed. The choice lies with the customer. By ensuring that the creation and management of recipes and modes is simple and easily achieved from the app, Texecom Connect takes significant steps towards eliminating fear and confusion about intruder alarm systems whilst increasing interaction and real-world benefits.

Benchmark Smart Solutions
Benchmark Smart Solutions is dedicated to supporting those seeking innovative and bespoke value-added solutions for business and the home environment. Through real-world field trials it assesses the potential available from current technologies and integrated systems. Benchmark Smart Solutions is produced by the team at Benchmark magazine.