The tech ex­perts: ‘Is it in­tu­itive?’

NZ House & Garden - - SPECIAL FEATURE -

Lloyd Chap­man and Jason Adam of Real IT (re­ say their off-the-shelf so­lu­tion for in­te­grated light­ing and tech­nol­ogy de­sign and in­stal­la­tion will “take the pain away”. Smart home sys­tems al­low you to mon­i­tor and man­age your light­ing, cli­mate and mu­sic from your smart­phone or tablet, any­where or any time.


1 A smart home set-up is a sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment so make sure you ask whether all the sub-sys­tems – mu­sic, se­cu­rity, heat­ing and light­ing – can be in­te­grated into a sin­gle con­troller. En­sure the sys­tem can be eas­ily up­graded and cus­tomised and ask about after-sales sup­port.

2 Look for a sys­tem that is in­tu­itive to use with big icons and large text, not numer­ous tiny but­tons. It doesn’t need to be com­pli­cated.

3 Cen­tral to some of the more clever smart home sys­tems is the abil­ity to cre­ate “scenes”. For ex­am­ple, the “party” scene can ad­just au­dio, video, heat­ing, ven­ti­la­tion, air con­di­tion­ing and more. The “wel­come home” scene could put on the en­try lights, close the blinds and switch on the heat­ing.

4 If en­ergy sav­ing is top of mind, in­stall a fea­ture that mon­i­tors the power use of all ap­pli­ances and turns them on and off ef­fi­ciently.

5 Elim­i­nate vis­ual clut­ter: if your home has mul­ti­ple ther­mostats, a smart home sys­tem can al­low you to ad­just them all from one user in­ter­face.

6 The home tech ex­pert should be in con­stant com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the in­te­rior de­signer/ar­chi­tect/builder. If in­for­ma­tion is not passed along to the guy on the ground, at the last mo­ment the elec­tri­cian may have to cut holes in your beau­ti­fully fin­ished ceil­ing (which will also take longer and cost more).

7 The con­ven­tional light switch is so 1995, say Lloyd and Jason. Mod­ern light­ing key­pads come in a broad ar­ray of styles and fin­ishes – think brushed brass or leather – and from dis­creet key­pad op­tions to touch screen dis­plays.

8 Voice-ac­ti­vated vir­tual as­sis­tants such as Ama­zon Alexa and Google Home aren’t per­fect – yet. Not many peo­ple re­alise you have to train your AI and that, if you per­sist, they should be­come more help­ful over time.

9 The age of 4K res­o­lu­tion is al­most upon us. 4K TVs and 4K stream­ing ser­vices such as Net­flix and Ama­zon Video will soon be the norm. Fi­bre op­tic cabling will fu­ture-proof your home to cater for emerg­ing tech­nol­ogy and trends.

10 It’s im­por­tant to know what’s be­hind the walls of a smart home for trades­peo­ple now and in the fu­ture. Whether you build new or ren­o­vate, make sure you get some de­sign doc­u­men­ta­tion (printed or dig­i­tal) of this vi­tal in­for­ma­tion.

THIS PAGE The Cre­stron TSW touch panel and Sonos Play 1 seam­lessly in­te­grates with Sonos speak­ers, from Real IT. OP­PO­SITE A chan­de­lier is glamorous above a bath but there are reg­u­la­tions around light­ing in a bath­room that your elec­tri­cian can ex­plain...

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