Expert Advice - Smart Home Systems
A home renovation is the perfect time to install smart home technology in your home, making your living environment more efficient, comfortable and entertaining.
We catch up with smart home technology company LC-AV to find out some more about the benefits smart home technology can bring to your home and the range of products and opportunities available.
What smart home products are available for my home?
You can automate almost anything that's powered by electricity! TVs, audio and lighting are the obvious ones but full home systems are becoming more popular where absolutely everything is automated and brought together under one control system and app - that's really where people see the benefit of the technology.
Anything from motorised curtains and blinds, electric fires and climate control to CCTV, door entry, and even garden irrigation systems.
Products are only becoming easier to integrate with smart home automation systems.
Home cinema complete with motorised curtains, smart lighting, HVAC control and 4k projector, by LC-AV
What are the benefits of smart home technology?
There is a real aesthetic benefit of having multiple products running off a single keypad, touchscreen, or remote. It avoids having multiple remotes on the coffee table or ‘wall acne’ with unnecessary alarm keypads, temperature controls, switches and door intercoms dotted across your walls.
It also provides lots of clever ways to hide technical appliances through motorisation. Whether that’s drop down screens, hidden motorised blinds, or pop up TVs - they can all be integrated discreetly into your interior for invisible technology.
Having all your technology controlled by one system not only looks better but is simpler to use in everyday living. You can control all products from one device or keypad, either at home or remotely, giving you easier access to technology. Our clients often end up using their technology so much more regularly because of this.
A good example is a ‘wake up’ scene that we can create that opens curtains or blinds and turns on the radio/TV and lights in the morning. Or a lighting scene that turns off all of the lights in the house near the front door when you leave.
An issue we see becoming an increasing concern and one where smart home technology can really help.
Not only can door entry, security alarms, electric gates and CCTV all be controlled from your phone or touchscreen remotely but there are other clever programming options available. For instance ‘mockupancy’ which imitates behaviours whilst you’re away from home for longer periods of time, these include turning lights on and off or shutting and opening curtains and blinds. You can even programme all the lights in the house to flash conspicuously when a security alarm is tripped.
lcd television with ceiling speakers by LC-AV
When in a renovation do I need to consider smart home technology?
The earlier the better as you really need to get all of the cabling in when the walls are open. It’s also much more effective for you, or your architect or interior designer, to work with your Smart Home specialist from the start so that the tech can be tailored around your design and vision.
Also consider where the system will be housed early on in your layout and configuration. A large cupboard with good ventilation will be required so it’s helpful to plan this in up front.
What are the latest smart home trends and are there any exciting products being developed?
The lines between technology and design are blurring more than ever with the demand for ‘invisible’ technology growing and with lots of fantastic new products meeting this need.
In terms of specific products, motorised window treatments are becoming more accessible with more clients choosing automated blinds and curtains. At the top end of the market we’ve seen this grow into motorised sliding/bifold doors which are very cool!
This past year, unsurprisingly with people spending more time at home, we’ve also seen a big increase in popularity of outdoor products - audio, lighting, wifi and even outdoors TVs and cinemas.
Ceiling speakers & underfloor heating automated via Control4, by LC-AV
What would be your top product to integrate if you were to choose?
It’s hard to pick just one as the benefit of smart home automation is that it brings multiple products together seamlessly.
However the highly customisable nature of lighting means that you can get a lot of benefits from just one product that you’ll use every day. Good lighting design combined with different lighting scenes can also transform a space dramatically.
How easy is the smart home technology to use?
If installed well your smart home technology should be really simple and intuitive to use. Our preferred automation system is Control4 for this reason as it’s really customer friendly.
Ultimately someone should be able to walk into your home and work out how to use the tech easily without having to have a lesson in it.
Media wall with automated sliding panels to hide the TV, from LC-AV
Anything else I need to know?
1. It’s really important to use an installer or company who provides aftercare support. The systems, whilst easy to use, are very complicated behind the scenes and it usually isn’t just a case of handing it over to a client. There should be an allowance for support to make any tweaks or customisations you might want having lived with your smart technology but most importantly to have someone who is available when things go wrong.
2. If your budget doesn’t stretch to cover your smart home technology ambitions, seek advice and get the cabling in whilst you’re renovating, so that you have the option to fit the technology in the future.
Published: May 28, 2021