What is Home Automation?
Today's electronics are more and more sophisticated and are packed with computers which are all designed to communicate with something or other. You can go to your local hardware store and buy a thermostat which has an app which can be controlled anywhere on the planet. You can buy smart locks, drapes, appliances, light bulbs, sound systems, alarm systems, and much more. They all want to connect to something and be controlled remotely.
Home Automation or a "Smart Home" is essentially having or buying all of those smart devices and connecting them with a centralized computer/system which aggregates all the items into one control interface. When you connect all those devices together into an Automation System, that is called "Integration". In fact, pretty much everyone who installs automation products is essentially titled as an "Integrator".
Do I Need Home Automation?
Here are some benefits to having a Smart Home;
- Control your lighting any time, any place, on any device. Set automatic schedules, run timers, have 1 button turn off entire sections, rooms or areas of the property. In the long run, you save money by reducing the amount of time your lights are on and knowing if they are actually on without having to be in the room.
- Control your alarm system from anywhere. Additionally, as with many projects, your Smart Home can be programmed to send you text messages or emails when events take place. For example, if you leave your garage door open, we can tell the system to check the alarm sensor and if it stays open too long, send you a text. You can then check your cameras or alarm with your phone, and close the garage door remotely.
- When you have an entertainment room and you have a bunch of remote controls, you know exactly how cumbersome it is to simply turn on your favorite movie. With automation, you will have 1 remote and typically, two button presses away, you are watching your movie. Easy as pie!
- Voice commands? Today there are a few very affordable options that would allow you to speak commands in the house. The most popular one at the moment is Amazon's "Alexa" or "Echo". You can say things like "Raise Blinds" and the house will do it for you automatically.
- Intercom is another great benefit. You can install a door station at your door or gate and get high definition video intercom calls from outside on your in-wall touch screens. You can also do high definition video intercom from room to room! It's free and included with all Control4 touch screens and door stations.
- Heating & Cooling with an integrated HVAC system, you have the ability to have the cooling or heating run at specific times, intervals and set schedules that help manage your energy use. There are vacation modes and other options that allow you to manage and maintain the temperatures and energy consumption at all times.
- Water Conservation is another benefit. If we integrate a compatible irrigation controller, we can help manage and maintain your watering schedules properly. In many cases, people do not have additional sensors for weather or rain installed. Smart Home irrigation controls use the internet to get live weather data and will set or modify your schedule as needed to save water.
- Extreme Programming Flexibility: There are a billion different things that can be custom programmed in your Smart Home should you choose to do so. For instance, when a doorbell rings, you can have a TV automatically turn itself on, and display a CCTV camera located on your porch/gate to show you a better view of who is at the door or gate, and then turn off or resume the last activity. With smart locks, you can setup, assign and manage user codes to open doors. For example, my pool man comes on Fridays between 1-4pm, so my lock has a code just for him and it is set to only allow his code to work on that time frame, so he can never open my lock on Sunday night, in addition, my locks send me text messages when they are opened and notifiy me WHO opened it and if they forgot to lock it, it will lock by itself. Have a gas BBQ or Fireplace? Ever worry about forgetting to turn it off?? With some simple hardware and programming, you can have any gas or water valves shut down as a matter of safety, which can also notify you if someone turned them on or it was running too long. There are many things that can be done. Your imagination and needs are the key to what can be accomplished!