9 Steps for a Successful Home Technology Project
Have you ever thought about converting that bonus room into a private home theater with terrific surround sound and a cinema-sized screen? Or maybe you've considered adding a multi-room audio system throughout your house that can stream your favorite music from the Internet? Or maybe the idea of controlling your lighting and HVAC system from anywhere in the world might be useful?
These are the kinds of projects that get many homeowners excited, yet can leave them scratching their heads wondering where to begin. Fortunately, trained professionals around the world know exactly what to do to ensure that your vision becomes a reality. These experts are called home technology professionals.
If you have thought about hiring a home technology professional for a custom installation project, here are some things that will help you to prepare for your working relationship:
1. Meet early in the project.
The earlier you can meet with the home tech pro, the better. Often they will have design suggestions that can improve the system, and getting in early allows them to better integrate with the project's timeline.
2. BRING ALONG THE DESIGN AND BUILDINING CONTRACTORS.
Maximize your home's electronic systems capabilities by having your architect, builder or remodeler, and interior designer collaborate and partner with a home technology professional from the beginning of the planning process.
3. Paint with big brushstrokes.
The home tech pro is not expecting you to know all the intricate details of the project — that's their job. Instead, describe big ideas and concepts like, "We want music in these rooms" or "I want to be able to control these lights" or "I want a surround system in this room, but it can't dominate the room's décor." The home tech professional can take these big-picture statements and turn them into a system design. However, be sure to mention any must-haves. Notes like "We have a large movie collection that needs to be managed," "I need to be able to remotely access my system," or "I want full control from my phone" will help the home technology professional design a system that fully meets your needs and expectations.
4. Have a rough budget in mind.
Depending on the scope of work to be done, systems can range in pricing from the thousands to well over six figures. Having some kind of budget in mind will allow the home tech pro to deliver the best system for your budget by choosing the best components and allocating your dollars where they will maximize performance.
5. Have an onsite walk-through.
The home tech pro will likely want to visit your home and look at the space before a proposal is generated. This is especially true in retrofit jobs where things like running wiring can be quite difficult. Also, walking through a space makes it easier to visualize which products and designs will best fit.
6. WIRE FOR EVERYTHING.
Whether you are building or remodeling, start with a wiring plan that can support both your current and future needs. Though wireless devices and applications are everywhere, hard-wired infrastructure is still required to support them. Proper wiring can also make it easier — and less costly — to make additions and changes to your system as new technologies become available.
7. BUY THE EXPERIENCE, NOT THE DEVICES.
Find a home technology professional that allows you to experience the thrill of a high-performance system. Few people have the time to research all the hardware choices. It's smarter to focus on the end result and make your choices based on overall performance and value. Additonally, easy-to-use, all-in-one remote controls can be custom programmed so they make perfect sense to you and focus on the functions you want at your fingertips. New technologies also offer intuitive control from mobile devices anywhere in the world.
8. Review the proposal.
After discussing your needs and wants and viewing your space, the home technology professional will prepare a proposal. Typically this is for a "turnkey" system and includes delivery, installation, setup, programming and support. Some home tech pros will give proposals with good/better/best options, allowing you to step up or down according to your needs and budget.
9. Ask questions.
If you're not sure of something, anything, just ask. It's much better to voice any concerns early on in the project when changes can easily be made to the system design.
Ready to start your search? Find a CEDIA member home technology professional to partner with on your next home technology project.