When someone says Apple, what comes to mind? Beyond those iconic iNames, it's probably something along the lines of "innovative devices that enhance everyday living." We tend to think first about the vast utility of the world's most popular smartphone rather than the underlying technology that makes it possible to chat, send a text, take a photo, look up a recipe and navigate our way to the closest Thai restaurant — all in a matter of minutes from a device that fits in your pocket.
So it goes with home automation. When homeowners talk about smart-home living, the conversation is not about the awe-inspiring stack of gleaming processors, AV components, patch panels and the miles of cable tying everything together. It's about what all that technology can do for you. How it enables the systems governing heating/cooling, entertainment, lighting and security to communicate not only with each other but also with the homeowner to simplify everyday living and bring convenience and comfort to just about any scenario you can imagine. It's all about lifestyle.
Ultimate Comfort and Convenience
Home technology professionals bring the smart home to life through seamless integration of disparate systems, sophisticated computer programming and intuitive user interfaces. Entertainment is typically at the core, with whole-house audio systems and home theater leading the way. Music is readily accessible in any or all rooms, and a big-screen HDTV and carefully placed surround-sound or immersive-audio speakers come together in an environment equipped to deliver a riveting experience for movie-watching or video-gaming.
One-touch presets that execute many tasks at once are also hallmarks of today's smart home, for example:
- A Movie button that closes the blinds, dims the lights, turns on your AV system and starts the movie
- Lighting "scenes" (with or without music) that automatically dim or otherwise adjust lights to evoke specific moods
- A Vacation preset that arms the security system, puts the thermostat in energy-saver mode, turns off lights and electronics throughout the house and starts a night program that turns random lights on and off to ward off would-be intruders
- A Wake-Up mode that plays chamber music, ramps up the lights and raises the window shades when its time to start your day — the ultimate alarm clock
Another hallmark of smart-home living is the ability to monitor and "control" your home from anywhere using a smartphone:
- Locking and unlocking doors for repairmen or visiting relatives
- Confirming that the kids have arrived home safely from school
- Turning lights on and off
- Monitoring household temperature and making adjustments on the fly
- Checking security cameras, including video doorbells
Smart homes can also bring safety to the fore by automatically shutting down the furnace or AC unit in the event of a fire and turning on pass-way lighting to help guide family members out of the house. The list of possibilities goes on and on.
To learn more about how home technology can enrich your life, consult a CEDIA professional. Click here for a list of CEDIA-member electronic systems contractors in your area.