A control unit is in communication with the data server through the global computer network utilizing a conventional communications system such as a telephone modem, cable modem, digital subscriber line (DSL) integrated services digital network (ISDN) or other communications system. The control unit is capable of communicating with the data server and other entities through the global computer network. The control unit may be comprised of conventional electronics well-known in the art. The control unit further can be connected to local computers within the home thereby allowing the homeowner to control and monitor the home through the control unit .
The control unit can be programmed to connect to the global computer network either full-time, periodically or only when an event occurs from one of the control devices. As shown in FIG. 10 of the drawings, the control unit may be programmed to connect online to the data Server based upon a specified period X or upon scheduled intervals. As further shown in FIG. 10 of the drawings, the control unit connects to the global computer network and then transmits a “connected” signal to the data center to inform the data server that it is connected online. The control unit then may upload any scheduled or requested data to the data server as further shown in FIGS. 8 and 10 of the drawings. The control unit may also download any data from the data center such as commands from the homeowner. After the data has been properly uploaded and downloaded, the control unit terminates the connection to the global computer network while simultaneously resetting the time period X. After time period X has passed again, the control unit repeats the above connection process to the data server.
The data server monitors the logon activity of the control unit. If the control unit deviates from the specified limits of a schedule, the data server may notify the homeowner that the control unit is not connecting to the data center as scheduled and that there may be problems with the control unit.