There are "hardwired" automation systems available, but they are usually proprietary and are not as flexible as an X-10 based system. Many times they are lighting systems only. CEBUS is another open standard that has been in the works for years but is not catching on, therefore there are very few products available to date.
The advantage of X-10 is that it is relatively low cost, flexible, many products made by many manufacturers,is an open standard, and has been around for decades. The main disadvantage is that it isn't as reliable as a hard wired system. But, you can do things to improve the reliablity of the X-10 communications substantially buy isolating AC power line noise, and increasing X-10 signal strength (see my other posts in this forum).
If you choose the right type of X-10 based home automation controller, it will really be a hybrid system. We are a dealer for the Stargate system. This home automation controller communicates via X-10 (mainly for lighting), but also communicates via 3 RS-232 ports(serial), a RS-485 port, relay ouputs, digital inputs, and analog inputs. All of these are "hardwired" communication channels, except X-10. So if you want to communicate with an alarm panel but don't want to use X-10 commands, Stargate will do that via its RS-232 port (many alarm panels allow full control of the system via RS-232). Another example is sprinkler control. If you don't want to rely on X-10 commands to control your sprinklers, the Stargate has 8 relay outputs that can be connected directly to sprinkler solenoid valves for hardwired control. Another example is HVAC control. You can use the Stargate's RS-485 port to control up to 16 thermostats.
If you are interested in this type of system, please take a look at our web site at: [Link: ourworld.compuserve.com]
RCI Automationrciautomation@compuserve.com[Link: ourworld.compuserve.com]