Initiating Hacking The Planet

After several years spending time (including writing a book) in the field of intelligent environments, ubiquitous and pervasive computing, I decided to brings some digital life in our home. As winter is coming, I am looking forward to finally start some home automation project called Hack The Planet.

The project itself has two goals, at first it should be fun. Being a computer scientist, geek, nerd, developer gadgeteer this is obvious. Second, I want to document how to deal with a project, abut the artifacts, the process, pans, restrictions, chances and threats hat might occur. In this article, I am going to discuss the very first thoughts of this project as part of the project initiation.

First of all there needs to be a vision. I am not talking about the business case, yet, just a very first vision statement.

“For me and my family, I want to set up our home in a way, I can remotely monitor and control most of the electronic and mechanical devices any time during the day, at any place where I am currently located as long as I have a decent internet access.”

Let’s have a look and revise this vision so it passes Moore’s elevator test:

“For me and my family who want to monitor and control our home remotely, Hack The Planet is a home automation system that is easy to use and extensible. Unlike available off the shelf products our product integrates hard- and software components from various vendors and can be easily extended with new techologies.”

That’s basically a very broad statement, however, for the near future this will lead the direction. I have seen many projects failing, because of the project management keeping the vision under any circumstances.

Second, I invested several hours if the project as I have it in mind is feasible at all wich is a major constraint. Are the devices I have roughly in mind available as off the shelf components, will they be within the project budget (i.e. can I afford them?), can I connect/hack the available hardware, are the serious technologies compatible or can I at least connect them in any way?

Beside creating a business case, drilling down the vision into scopes should be the next step before continuing with the project.

Project Initiation



  1. Reply

    whoo it seems you’ve taken that way more seriously than I did – I am delighted to see that you’re going to jump into that home automation thingie and that I now have a source for even more ideas – great stuff ahead!

  2. Reply

    Looking forward to build a few things. By the way, are you happy with the EzControl XS1? That’s the only receiver/sender I have found so far covering multiple frequencies.

  3. Reply

    Andreas – looks like the link to your book is broken. It contains a %2C instead of a dot in the domain name. Just fyi. Nice articles – I’m enjoying a quick read through. I’ve been playing also with home automation, but more around information and presentation integration than control. We should talk.

  4. bastian


    also correct the bold text: “start some home automation project called Hack The ___Panet___.”

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