Home Automation and Integration
In today’s world of the Internet of Things, inexpensive computing power, and dynamic manufacturing practices, home integration products abound, but that doesn’t mean the home of the future is as easy as 1, 2, 3. Custom Audio Video has been installing and programming integrated house wide control systems since 2001 and has adapted throughout the years as what was once a specialty niche area with only a few options has become a thing that touches nearly every modern home in one way or another.
What It Is and What It Can Do
In a nutshell, home automation and integration systems are computerized hubs that can talk to other sub-systems within your home (or place of business!). These sub-systems might be lights, thermostats, or security systems, to name a few classics. In today’s homes however, there are myriad options now available because manufacturers are making more products than ever before that can “talk” to home integration systems. These might be things like front door cameras, door locks, garage doors, water sensors, weather stations, voice activated speakers; the list goes on and on.
Ultimately, the reason to do any of this is to bring some added convenience to your life. The more electronic subsystems in your home, the more buttons there are to press and the more things that need attention on a daily basis. That’s where the “automation” part comes in. Imagine that you are coming home and you want the air conditioner to drop a few degrees, your favorite music station to play, and the lights in your kitchen and family room to come on to just the right levels. All three (or more) of these things can happen with a single push of a button on your phone, and it doesn’t have to be just for when you come home. Streamlining the control of various systems within your home can and should benefit you at all times, keeping the sub-systems in line whether you are home, out with friends, or on vacation.
Added security and peace of mind is another benefit. Home integration systems can be an excellent alert system for key items in the home, either in addition to notifications from other sub-systems or in taking action in certain situations. Here is an example of the nuanced difference: say a person has approached the back of your home where a security camera has been placed. It is a common ability for a security camera system to alert you via text or email when the camera detects movement, however a home automation system can add to this situation by first knowing that it is nighttime, second by knowing that the burglar alarm is armed therefore no one should be out there, and last by turning on lights all along the back of the house so the intruder knows he has been seen.
Comprehensive Systems Versus a Focused Approach
It takes the “integration” part to get to the “automation” result, so it is important realize that not all products available on the market play nice with others, including some that don’t play at all. That does not necessarily mean that they are bad products, just that there are some limitations involved that are rarely talked about in the marketing material. A great example of this type of product is the Ring doorbell camera. It works great, for the one thing that it does, but that is all. It cannot communicate with a home automation system and by extension do anything more. Single purpose products like these have their place in applications where comprehensive systems may be too much. At the end of the day, Custom Audio Video is here to design systems for you, our client, and if you need only a few key features or just a few sub-systems to talk to each other, then we will find the best solution to meet your needs.
Lighting Control is a Big Deal, but Worth It
In most home automation systems, the lighting control portion is often the largest chunk of the budget. This is because it often requires the most equipment, it can require a large amount of organization and redesign of the switching plans, as well as coordination between various persons involved in the home build like the general contractor, electrician, interior designs, and you of course! So, why go to such trouble and expense?
First, a lighting control system offers the same benefits in miniature as a home automation system, instead of managing multiple sub-systems it manages multiple sets of lights. Five separate lights in your family room, one button sets them all to predetermined dim levels while another button turns every last one of them off, no more wondering which switch does what. Would you guess the average number of light switches in a kitchen is twelve? The second reason for a lighting control system is the tremendous aesthetic gain, reducing the quantities of wall switches and replacing them with keypads that often have four to eight labeled buttons. A kitchen that had twelve switches might be reduced to just three keypads, one at each entrance.
Dependability is Key
Because home integration systems interconnect different things in the home, they can have a lot of moving parts in the background, even if the controls boil down to just a few buttons. In any complex system, the quality of the finished system comes down to three things: the quality of the parts used, the experience of the system designer, and the skillfulness of the programmer. Your CAV system designer will work with you to define your needs and to determine which automation system from Crestron, Control4, Savant, or Lutron will best fit your budget and your home. When it comes to the personalization of the system, your CAV designer will work with you to layout a programming plan that will give you convenience features that make sense and customizations that add personalized control, without going over the top. As for skilled programmers, Custom Audio Video’s programmers have more experience than any others in the Lowcountry. For the best combination of quality, design, and implementation of a home automation integration system, come to Custom Audio Video.