We talk to Jim Brown, our Technical Director and answer some of your frequently asked questions relating to Home Automation …
Do I have to make my whole house smart?
No, you can add as much or little technology as you like! There are a few ways to achieve this; 1. you could install some Internet of Things kit (IoT) from a local consumer shop. This could include some Sonos and/or Alexa which is easy to setup at home and start to experiment with. 2. Approach an installer and ask about Retro-fit options – this is the kit that is able to be installed with minimal redecoration. It is normally wireless (which has its own drawbacks) but one of the big advantages is ease of installation. 3. Ask an installer about a full Custom Installation (CI). This need not require upgrading the whole property in one go, but having a plan is a must. For example, when designing a system it is extremely affordable to “flood wire” the property for all eventualities, and then bolt on the required hardware as you wish. This is best practice as it means you have all the cables pre-installed and adding / upgrading the equipment is hassle free.
What are the benefits of having a smart home?
Security, ease of using all the possible technology, remote access, family wifi filters, sensors/timers/schedules, improved User Experience, comfort, remote healthcare, the list goes on!
Are smart homes affordable?
Absolutely. There’s a huge range of technology out there. Not only does the cost vary wildly, but so do your requirements, so every home can be as bespoke as needed. Consider asking “is a car affordable?” Well, yes. You could start with a Ford Fiesta or go all the way up to a Ferrari F50! There’s huge scope for what you want to achieve and what fits your budget.
Can I upgrade an existing or older home with smart home technology?
Yes. We would typically use Retro-fit options. They have their own drawbacks and limitations and should be considered properly to ensure you will get what you want. Even so, the kit can usually be installed with minimal re-wiring and redecoration.
I’m building a new home, when should I start thinking about smart home automation?
Now! Simply put, if you want central heating you have to plan a position for the boiler and install the plumbing before you can finally add the radiators. Our technology is no different. Too many people build a property and then think “OK, now how do I make it smart”. Although it’s not too late, this is just the wrong way round. Have an idea of what you want (or discuss your options with an installer like ourselves) and get some cables in. They’re cheap and will save you huge expense in the long term if you decide to use them. Cables are the most important thing for your Smart Home. If done properly then they will provide you with the best performing system, and also allow you to upgrade in years to come. We all know that technology is outdated very quickly these days, and so being able to upgrade is a necessity. With a proper cabled infrastructure you can simply replace the easily accessible equipment to keep things up to date. If there’s one bit of advice I can give it’s to put in the highest spec cables you can sensibly afford – you won’t regret it when you want to upgrade the rest of the system!
What are the elements of a smart home system?
- Music distribution
- Video distribution
- Automatic lighting
- Automatic heating
- Security, CCTV, alarms
- Intercom, remote monitoring / door answering
- Remote Healthcare
- Good quality internet & wifi
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