Gadget of the Week - Philips Hue - @tweethue

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Gadget of the Week - Philips Hue - @tweethue

Gadget of the week 

Philips Hue White and Colour Ambiance Starter Kit B22

Forgotten to switch the lights off at home? Don’t worry you can switch it off anywhere using your smartphone. The Philips Hue is a smart lighting system that can be controlled by an app on your smart phone. The bulbs have over 16 million colours including cool white to warm white plus dimming effects so that you can customise your lighting to your own personal daily routine. It is also compatible with Amazon Echo, Apple HomeKit and Google Home.

Available from online retailers, from £149.99

Customised are your Norfolk based CEDIA Smart Home experts.

Philips Hue image

Philips Hue image

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A Week With Customised - #SmartHome #WorkExperience

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A Week With Customised - #SmartHome #WorkExperience

Hello everyone, I am Valentina Mazzilli I am a second year student at East Norfolk Sixth Form College. I study 3D Design, Textiles and Financial Studies and I have be doing my work experience at Customised. I met Kris and Anna through a business talk, and immediately liked them and their business. Customised is a small business who listen and work closely with their clients. Each project they work on is different and Kris and Anna make sure that their clients are happy and get exactly what they want from the project. 

Over my time at Customised I have been on site with Kris learning about how smart lighting works and how smart houses function. Being a part of a real project was extremely insightful as to how much work really goes into projects. Anna and Kris really have so much passion for their work and it shows in everything they do. I have also worked with Anna in the office, I’ve written the Gadget of the Week for the EDP (Eastern Daily Press) also I have been updating the company's Houzz profile with photos and captions. Anna and Zoe took me to ‘Norfolk Tweetup’ which is a casual networking event for local businesses this was a good opportunity for me to meet other businesses and speak to them about what they do. 

It really has been a joy and I am so grateful to Anna and Kris for this wonderful opportunity to be apart of there team. I have gained lots of valuable skills and learnt interesting things since I have been with Customised. Both Anna and Kris are so full of knowledge and were kind enough to share it with me.

Picture by Inspired Youth

Picture by Inspired Youth

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Wipeout Your Wi-Fi Woes with Customised

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Wipeout Your Wi-Fi Woes with Customised

Wi-Fi Woes

I’m always asking new customers about their wi-fi, it fascinates me how many homeowners put up with awful wi-fi coverage. You wouldn’t put up with water slowly flowing out of your kitchen taps or have low voltage at your plug sockets causing appliances not to work correctly, yet having a poor wi-fi signal in parts of your home continues for months and years in people homes. I know it causes arguments in the home.

A kick back comment may be that you’ve tried a signal extender from a high street retailer or you phoned BT. You were either left with a plug in adaptor that requires you to connect to a new network in other parts of the house or your Hub has been shifted around the house where a phone socket appears to see if it’s any improvement.

Why are you committing so much of your valuable time to messing around with your wi-fi coverage, never making any apparent improvement?

For the Customised Tech Team, making wi-fi reach every corner of your home is a bread and butter task for us. We will carry out a 15-20 minute survey of the home. Specify and quote you for a wi-fi system and suggest some dates for installation.

On your installation date we install a high performance wi-fi system. We setup the network equipment, test the performance, show you how to manage the network and sign the installation off with you. You get left with glorious whole house wi-fi, a happy family and thoughts of “what else could the Tech Team do for me?”

A wi-fi system, supplied and professionally installed starts from £500 including VAT.

It’s time you got the Customised Tech Team in. Call 01508 528964 or email demo@customised.uk.com

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One Day Smart Home - Customised #SmartHome Blog

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One Day Smart Home - Customised #SmartHome Blog

Smart Home with Speed is an evolutionary way to have technology professionally installed in your home. For decades, the process of owning a Smart Home was normally aligned with a major renovation of your home or a complete new build project. It typically took months to complete and was a major investment, sometimes costing £10,000 and upwards.

When we were working on the concept of Smart Home with Speed the main objectives were faster installation, lower costs and most importantly a great homeowner experience. The results of  our research and planning culminated in the creation of our hugely popular service.

One Day Smart Home

The One Day service ticks all the key Smart Home boxes. From the get go our Tech Team target the source of all your connectivity, your internet connection. We review the location of your router, assess the wi-fi coverage and then install a new, improved wi-fi access point which will send wi-fi further around your home.

From that improved wireless foundation we then target essential services like heating, lighting and security.

A smart thermostat with features like geo-fencing and easy scheduling replaces your dumb thermostat for control of your heating and hot water. This upgrade introduces huge savings to your household energy bills.

Lighting in up to three rooms benefit from a change to Smart LED bulbs which will dim without flicker, save energy and can be scheduled to simulate occupancy when you are out. You can even have different colours and temperature of light.

For enhanced security the One Day system offers two options. Either a Smart Doorbell, which becomes your eyes at your front door to never miss a delivery and answer the front door, or you can choose an indoor camera which will monitor when people enter a room or use it to keep an eye on your pets.

To continue the monitoring theme we install two sensors. The first will detect water and we commonly place this under the kitchen or utility room sink. The second sensor measures air quality, humidity and temperature and can be placed anywhere in the home.

After this installation phase, typically 3-4 hours, we turn our attention to the entertainment devices in the One Day Smart Home system.

Your TV is treated to a new on-demand streaming box. Apple TV is installed and connected to your high definition TV via HDMI cable and set up to your preferences. Apple TV accesses a world of streaming TV, music, movies and games. Apple TV plays a key role in the Smart Home operation, it acts as the hub to allow remote control of your home when you’re away.

Music gets a 21st century upgrade, we install the first part of your Sonos wireless music system with a Play:1 speaker going into a room of your choosing. Sonos is an easy to expand wireless multi-room music system that streams music from all the popular services such as Apple Music, Spotify and TuneIn radio.

So now that's all the tech installed, next we turn our attention to the controls. iPhone and iPad apps along with Siri voice control are the primary methods of controlling the systems. In overall control is the Apple Home app which takes control of the heating, lighting, security, sensors and TV services. Siri is the convenient assistant you can use to issue commands for lighting levels, whole house scenes or request the status of the home. For the Sonos music system we use the outstanding Sonos app to give you the maximum features of the music system available to you.

The most important part of the package is that it is professionally installed. Two highly skilled home technology technicians, members of the Customised Tech Team will prepare, install, setup and show you how to operate your new Smart Home system. Any questions and queries you have about controlling, personalising and automating the system are dealt with not just on installation day but there are follow up appointments made to ensure you are getting the maximum benefits from the system.

Should any technical issues arise, Smart Home with Speed customers get a dedicated support email, telephone number and access to the Tech Team database of FAQ’s and videos. Your first year of service and support is included in the initial purchase of £2000 including VAT.

In summary, your home is going to receive a home technology makeover in under ten hours. Heating, lights, security, monitoring and entertainment services in the home are going to be made smarter. A professional installation team will guide you through the installation from initial survey to installation through to support and servicing. The Customised Tech Team are on a mission to make your home smart with as little disruption to your home and lifestyle as possible. Smart Home with Speed.

Contact Customised on 01508 528964 or contact us via our website at www.customised.uk.com

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Save headaches later, wire for technology today - #SmartHome

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Save headaches later, wire for technology today - #SmartHome

Our free Smart Home survey service is continuing to be really popular with homeowners in East Anglia and London. The projects we’re invited to discuss range from new construction homes to homes being extended or remodelled. The only objective I have going into these surveys is to convince the homeowner or builder that they need to future ready wire the home.

Failure to give the home a fighting chance to handle technology demands today and in the future is fast becoming the single biggest mistake home builders and renovators can make.

Here’s a quick look in to the home that doesn't have the essential technology infrastructure.

An impulse purchase of a smart doorbell during the Black Friday sales was a smart move. It’s wireless and is really quick to install. The delivery arrives and the drill is out quicker than Usain Bolt out of the blocks. 20 minutes later you are ready for the setup via the app. You head to the kitchen to make a cuppa and download the doorbell app. You go outside to the front of the house where you've mounted the doorbell and begin the setup process. Your phone is now on 3G and has disconnected from your wi-fi. Step back inside into the hallway and the wi-fi connection returns. Set it up standing here. Press and hold the button on the doorbell and your phone scans for the doorbell. It sees it and asks you to connect your doorbell to your homes wi-fi. The doorbell app doesn't see the homes wi-fi but eventually it picks up one bar of signal. You finish the set up process but at the end a message pops up saying the wireless signal is weak, please move the doorbell closer to your wireless router. Your router is in the living room, two rooms away and inside the TV cabinet. The doorbell connects but when you test it the picture is pixellated and the audio quality is poor. It also takes 5 or 6 seconds for your smartphone to get the doorbell notification. Frustrated, you see how it goes for a few days but end up removing it from the front door wall and buy a dumb doorbell during another online shopping session. Don’t you hate missing deliveries when you’re at work?

A home armed with a whole house covering wi-fi system wouldn't have this issue and even better, a home with a CAT6 cable to the doorbell location would have meant that the doorbell would have  a constant power supply and internet on the single CAT6 cable. Smarter. Now you’re always home.

This was another 30 minute Smart Home Blog with Speed by Customised director Kris Gamble.

 

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Please Don't Wire Like It's 2007

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Please Don't Wire Like It's 2007

Our weekly routine takes us to multiple homes every week. Many are new construction, others are renovation projects and the majority are finished homes in need of some retrofit home technology.

Customised have a long track record in preparing new build homes for technology connections and pride ourselves in making new homes future ready. Following a run of exhibitions we have done in June and July, we have been booked in by many self builders for free smart home consultations and surveys which we offer.

Most assume that wiring for technology is a standard fit for new construction homes but unfortunately it is not. Essential services needed in the home like Wi-Fi and on-demand TV connections are not wired as a standard.

The core message from our free consultations to new home builders is to wire for technology. A single cable type is used to future ready the building, CAT6 network/ethernet cable is the cable to distribute multiple services around the home.

The rule of thumb for CAT6 cabling is to centralise all the wiring back to one location or wiring hub in the home. This would usually be in an under stairs cupboard or utility room cupboard. Allow a minimum space of around 1000mm high x 600mm wide x 500mm deep for the wiring hub and space for equipment that would be stored there like a wireless router, CCTV recorder or TV distribution equipment.

The amount of cabling needed varies with project size but there is a minimum wiring requirement to make it really easy to install systems that distribute Wi-Fi, security systems, TV on-demand and multi-room music. Customised prepare a low cost wiring design for the electrician to run the CAT6 cables to key locations in the home. Our design includes information to make the cabling process so simple for the electrician. Once the wiring is completed, Customised check that all cables are installed before plastering. When ready we then prepare all the cabling into the wiring hub, which is like your fuse board for tech. We deal with the sockets in the room to get them ready for TV or audio connections and then we fully test the wiring to verify it for use.

From this moment the home is future ready. It's ready for systems to be installed for whole house Wi-Fi or a CCTV system or a multi-room music system or devices like smart doorbells and Smart TV’s.

You owe it to your new home to prepare it for the future. Please don't wire the home for how we lived in 2007, start wiring a home for 2017 and beyond. We are entering the era of virtual and augmented reality, voice assistants, your favourite TV and music being streamed and household appliances becoming internet connected.

Book your free Smart Home consultation with Customised by calling 01508 528964 or email demo@customised.uk.com

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Your Smart Home Budget - Part 1 of 3 - #SmartHome

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Your Smart Home Budget - Part 1 of 3 - #SmartHome

Your Smart Home Budget - Part 1 of 3

This blog is a straight to the point, pull no punches, guide to budgeting your Smart Home systems in a major renovation or new build project. I’m going to highlight all the major spends and stick a price on them to give you a heads up before you start scoping out your Smart Home options.

Before we dive in, the pricing I’m going to reveal is relevant to most types of house but is definitely not relevant to the hyper luxury multi-million pound homes. Let’s go!

 

Early Stages

It’s unlikely that the Smart Home install businesses who are quoting for your project will charge you to provide a quote but be prepared to pay for revisions to quotes. Budget around £150-250 per revised quotes for your project.

Once you are happy with the quote and wish to proceed with your installer, demand a contract, get a full list of the work to be carried out and request a schedule of the install stages and time scales for each element of the project.

You should expect to pay a deposit to the installer once the contract has been signed. At Customised we typically invoice for 15-20% of the project at client agreement stage.

 

Design

Your Smart Home installation needs a design. This cannot be omitted from the quote, it's vital. The design will prepare the wiring scheme for the home, it will be the schedule for all the specialist wiring being installed and will be a document that multiple tradespeople will reference during tasks relating to home tech.

At Customised we produce easy to follow designs and wiring schedules for electricians to install the wiring and prepare layouts for detailed parts of the install like a home cinema or a wiring enclosure.

Design Budget - for a 2 or 3 bedroom project, budget £500-800 and for 4 bedroom+ homes, budget around £600-1200.

 

1st Fix

At Customised we undertake the 1st Fix with this mentality; Electricians cable homes. You, the client, do not need to pay two company’s to run wires in your project. Customised provide the wiring schedule and layouts to the electrician on the project. You have to be prepared for additional charges from the electrician for running the Smart Home wiring but it will still be more economical for just the electrician to wire the home. What we always price into the 1st fix is site checks of the 1st fix progress. The checks ensure that the right cables have gone in at the right positions and locations. This low cost check could save thousands of pounds if an important cable is left out.

One element of the 1st Fix that Customised maintain control of is the supply of the Smart Home cable. It’s crucial that the cabling installed is capable of meeting current and future technology demands. Smart Home cabling typically consists of Cat6, loudspeaker, coaxial, HDMI and fibre optic cable.

1st Fix Cable - for a 2 or 3 bedroom project, budget £500-800 and for 4 bedroom+ homes, budget around £800-1400.

1st Fix Checks - any project size, budget £200-400.

 

Parts 2 and 3 of this blog will cover items like 2nd Fix labour and materials, wi-fi systems, multi-room audio, TV distribution and lots of other Smart Home options. Let me know your thoughts on Part 1. Comment below or email kris@customised.uk.com.

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Gadget of the Week - Fibaro Button - @FibaroGlobal

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Gadget of the Week - Fibaro Button - @FibaroGlobal

Gadget of the Week 

Fibaro Button

A universal manual switch for devices or scenes, an emergency button or handy tool, the Fibaro Button can recognise up to six actions.  

The Button is battery powered and can be placed virtually anywhere, so its always where you need it.  Secure your home with a single click, or get notifications on your smartphone from an elderly relative.

Available via Fibaro UK on Amazon

Customised are your Norfolk based CEDIA Smart Home experts.

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Smart Home Technology For Everyone, Not Just The 1%

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Smart Home Technology For Everyone, Not Just The 1%

Off The Peg Smart Home

How many of you reading this blog have had your car's custom vinyl wrapped, had your living room walls covered in acoustic enhancing fabrics or have had your family initials woven into your luggage? Super high-end, luxury purchases.

Other luxurious buying questions could be, how many of you have had a suit made to measure for you on Savile Row or commissioned personalised engravings on his and her platinum gold watches? Fantasy shopping for many of us.

I recently read a magazine article that stated that my home technology business should be providing Savile Row suits not Marks and Spencer suits, made to measure, custom installed Smart Home not off the peg home tech. A bespoke solution rather than a standard option. This statement prompted me to pen this blog.

Smart Home living is no longer just for luxury homes it’s available for every home. Luxury homes are barely 1% of the housing market.

Here are some of our most common installations in our Smart Home with Speed services. Services for the 99%:

  • Voice controlled lighting costs less than £100.

  • App controlled heating costs less than £200.

  • Smart HD video doorbells cost less than £300.

  • Multi-room music costs less than £400.

  • 55 inch 4K Smart TV costs less than £500.

These five options above are a perfect fit for 99% of homes.

 

Here is the price list below for the 1% of homes:

  • Voice controlled lighting costs more than £1000.

  • App controlled heating costs more than £1000.

  • HD video intercom system costs more than £1000.

  • Multi-room music costs more than £1000.

  • 55 inch 4K Smart TV costs more than £1000.

 

The first list, where products cost hundreds of pounds, uses M&S like brands. Brands you have heard of like Philips, Nest, Sonos, Ring and Samsung. The products from these brands will deliver the Smart Home features you requested and perform excellently.

The second list is made up of brands you’ve probably never heard of like Crestron, Gira, Comelit, Control4 and Loewe, similar to Savile Row tailors. These elite brands are powerhouses of professional, high-end home technology and also perform to very high standards but they are out of the price range of millions of homeowners. Out of reach for the 99%.

Customised are a home technology installation business for the 99%. We’ve chosen tech that is affordable but reliable, luxurious but attainable, a good fit without being hand cut.

Get in touch with Customised today to book your free Smart Home assessment.

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Smart Home With Speed - #1DaySmartHome

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Smart Home With Speed - #1DaySmartHome

 Need For Speed

We now live in an era where speed is everything. Healthy meals cooked in 15 minutes, Norwich to London in under 2 hours and same day deliveries from online shopping are all examples of our need for speed. Super fast services have been the inspiration for the new home technology packages from Customised.

Smart Home with Speed

Historically, smart home installations have taken hundreds of hours to design, cable, install and calibrate. You also had to be in the process of a major renovation or a new construction project to run all the necessary cables. Customised have a long heritage in these kind of developments and know that large, luxury homes will continue to require the dozens of days needed to make them smart.

When we brainstormed the idea of Smart Home with Speed we set ourselves an ambitious target of creating a Smart Home in just one day. In less than 10 working hours in the average sized home we would have to undertake a home tech makeover that would result in all the major home services benefiting from a smart upgrade. We're delighted to share with you details of the One Day Smart Home.

The One Day Smart Home is a technology transformation of your home focusing on 7 key areas. Lighting, heating, security, home health, wi-fi, smart TV and multi-room music. Each of these areas get a boost of intelligence. Your simple light bulbs get a smart upgrade to energy efficient LED fittings with app control of colour and easy to create lighting scenes. The dumb thermostat gets the smart treatment to enable features like geofencing, voice control and intelligent heating schedules. High quality HD equipped video cameras and doorbells mean you've always got eyes on your home and alerts to your smartphone when people arrive. Information from your home like motion, humidity, temperature and air quality can be used to trigger notifications, turn on devices and help you track your living conditions. These first four key areas are conveniently controlled and managed with the Apple Home app, which is already loaded on all iOS 10 equipped Apple devices. One really cool feature of it being controlled by your phone is that you can even ask Siri to control your lights or adjust the thermostat temperature.

The final three elements of the One Day Smart Home cover connectivity and entertainment. Wi-fi coverage in your home is a genuine argument generator in some homes. We reduce wi-fi frustrations with wireless devices that cover the whole home. Having access to all your favourite TV and movie streaming services in one device makes time spent in front of your big screen a real pleasure. Apple TV provides the apps to make any TV smart. Music in every room of your home is a cinch with Sonos and this talented wireless music system brings your home to life with your favourite tracks and playlists.

Our new easy to access smart home packages merge professional installation with the best of DIY smart home products. You get everything setup by an expert, a full walk through of the system and access to an exclusive customer support service should you need any assistance. We've made sure that all the technology installed is supported for updates and that the system is expandable, allowing you to easily add tech to your home when you want more smart lightbulbs or additional rooms with Sonos speakers.

The One Day Smart Home is available with a fixed price of £2000 and is our entry level Smart Home with Speed service. You can call 01508 528964 or email demo@customised.uk.com to arrange a free survey for your Smart Home upgrade.

Customised are your local, CEDIA certified, home technology professionals.

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