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SignSwift is a digital signage company that has designed various products using the latest technologies. Ian Mercer, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of the company designed an home automation system using the Microsoft .NET Framework 4 and Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate that integrates Web-based applications with lighting, thermostats, and other infrastructure. This home automation system automatically detects whether a room is occupied or not, and it adjusts lights, temperature, and other conditions accordingly. The solution isn't limited to the physical environment - it also works with the web-based virtual world. For instance, Mercer integrated feeds from social networking, podcasts, weather, and traffic sites. This case study discusses how Mercer was able to reduce annual energy consumption by more than 40% with the help of software designed by Microsoft. By making use of Language-Integrated Query (LINQ) operators in the .NET Framework 4, Mercer was successful in designing a natural-language engine that allowed him to communicate with his home through IM, e-mail, or a Web based application. Some of the major advantages of this system were that it helped in improving the quality of life by conserving energy, simplifies development as work gets easier with each generation of the Microsoft tool set, and promotes innovation. Mercer says that he will continue to improve his home automation system but will never forget his mainstream.
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