Computer controlled lighting is being installed in more and more new homes because it offers many advantages over conventional lighting. After you have experienced pressing a single button and watched several lights gradually go on or off you will begin to realize how primitive and limited conventional lighting is by comparison. Once a home has been wired for computer lighting you are able to change which switch buttons control which lights and scenes simply by changing some settings in a configuration program running on a PC. Lights can additionally be controlled by motion sensors, and computers (including wireless PDA's). You can download a Windows based program to control the lights in your home based upon a floor plan from this website here.
All of this accomplished by running wires between the light fixtures and a solid state relay panel.
This compares to conventional wiring where wires are run between the light fixtures and a wall switch, and then to a circuit breaker. By using low voltage computer technology for the control of the solid state relay panel a home is freed from the limitations of conventional wiring. With computer lighting not only can you decide at any point in time which buttons (or motion sensors) will control which lights, but you can specify how bright you want the light to be. You can also specify the rate or speed with which the light goes on and off. You will discover that light bulbs actually last much longer (in addition to being easier on the eyes) when lights are ramped slowly to say 80%, vs. being thown from off to 100%. Having outdoor walkway lights (for example) that go on at sunset, and go off 10pm is trivial and straight foward for a computer controlled lighting system. Computer touch screens or 24 button status panels allow you to turn off lights that are not being used. Perhaps someone left a light on in the guest house or on a different floor, by looking at a status panel one can immediately detect the situation and correct it simply by pressing a button on the panel. You can also control sprinklers, window shades, and other low voltage circuits with the same system.
Below is an example of a web based solution for controlling lights. This interface combined with web based video camera's would allow you to monitor your home from anywhere in the world day or night. The green indicates that the light is currently on in our home. If you press the on or off button for a particular light you will be prompted for a password.