Our 9 day stint at Grand Designs Live has given us an incredible insight into the views of the homeowners, designers and builders of Britain's homes. Above all they are confused about the merits and benefits of a Smart Home installation however they do seem aware that their home needs more cabling for technology than their last property.
I have put together some simple Do's and Don'ts to help with Smart Home decision making.
- Plan early - this saves costly retrofit installations later.
- Identify cupboard space in the home for technology - 800W x 800D x 1200H for the average home.
- Speak with a trusted technology partner or tech savvy architect to discuss what Smart Home services you need - smarter lighting, heating and security control should be primary considerations.
- Look for hardwired systems rather than relying on wireless technology.
- Allocate a budget - it should be no more than other spends on the project e.g renewables, roofing, kitchen.
- Get quotes on several system options available.
- When decided on a system/installer get them communicating with the other trades early in your project. If they know what each other is doing, things go smoother.
- Allow for minor changes during the project e.g new TV standards released, new Apple devices, light fittings might need upgraded to allow dimming. Keep track of the changes and monitor any extra spend.
- Be involved in the technology discussions, you are the person who will live in the home, the system should be moulded around you.
- Don't be afraid to ask your architect for a Smarter home - it is 2015 after all.
- Don't think that a Smart Home will be hard to operate, it will be simpler.
- Don't be wooed by home cinemas and music systems, if you have a tight budget these options will blow it.
- Don't forget the essentials, a Smart Home should control heating, lighting and security in an efficient and simple manner.
- Don't be put off by long in the tooth tradespeople who may put fear into you about technology always going wrong, they are afraid of it, you're not.
- Don't have reliability worries, the same system you've chosen is often the same system controlling offices, bars, shops and schools across the UK.
- Don't rely on wireless to be the bedrock of your smart home, wires give 100% connectivity.
- Don't take a back seat and let tradespeople make important technology decisions.
- Don't just cable for today's technology, your installer/electrician should wire for next generation technology too like Ultra High Definition TV etc.
For more information on planning for a Smart Home please drop me an email personally to discuss your queries further.