MAKING YOUR HOUSE A SMART HOME
Updated: Nov 30, 2021
How to incorporate technology into new or pre-existing builds
When you hear the words “smart home,” your mind may go in several different directions ranging from a house alarm system to Amazon Alexa or automated lighting. A smart home offers convenience and safety and is also completely customizable as it can be built around your personal preferences, needs, and budget.
Building or transforming your space into a smart home starts with your needs and desires. Some homeowners may prefer to begin with convenience, such as automated lighting, while others may be concerned with security, so they’ll start with an alarm system. Either way, there is no right or wrong direction for the start of your journey; it’s all about your priorities and what is the most important to you and your family. The process can be very affordable when you start small and build in phases based on your budget.
First, you’ll need to start with a smart home controller. The controller will help all of your devices communicate and work together. As time goes on and your budget allows, you can add on a la carte smart home items such as door locks, lighting controls, thermostats, and security cameras. Many new products are being created “backward compatible,” meaning they will work with existing products already on the market, so you don’t need to be continuously buy new products when you make an addition.
In today’s world, most products are enabled with built-in Wi-Fi capability. Some products work on different protocols, like Zigbee and Z-Wave. For those products, the controller integrates into your wireless network, and your devices talk through the controller, which then turns into an internet signal that you can access from your smart device.
Infrastructure differs whether you are working on a pre-existing or new build. Sometimes wireless is the only option in older homes, depending on when they were built and whether they have the necessary existing infrastructure. With a new build, you have free range to wire your home or office as it is being constructed, which is less expensive and a more natural process. When installing in a new build, it’s important to run more wire than needed so you can future-proof and install enough infrastructure to support future technologies, in addition to your current needs.
When you have a choice, a hardwired connection is always the preferred option as it provides a more stable connection and a direct link to your network. Hard-wired connections do not use Wi-Fi, which eliminates the issue of products such as security cameras using a ton of your wireless bandwidth, causing other devices like your smartphones or tablets to slow down.
The biggest trends this year include security and having a connected home. People want to make sure their loved ones are safe in either their home or office. They want to be able to monitor their personal space when they are not home and see when visitors are coming and going through smart door locks, alarm panels, and surveillance cameras, which are becoming very affordable and user friendly.
Another trend is audio, as consumers increasingly want to use voice activation to control their devices. It’s essential to rely on an expert to help make sure the products you choose have audio capability and work together, which eliminates unnecessary extra steps. People like the convenience of being able to say, “Hey Alexa, let’s party,” and have the lights turn on to a preset scene, the door unlock for guests, music start to play, landscape lighting illuminates, and more.
Building a smart home may sound intimidating and costly, but it doesn’t have to be. When you are building your dream smart home, it is vital to work with an integrator who is a
trained professional and will make sure all of the smart devices work together at their maximum potential, eliminating any frustrations and headaches.