The tech experts: ‘Is it intuitive?’
Lloyd Chapman and Jason Adam of Real IT (realit.co.nz) 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.
10 TIPS FROM LLOYD CHAPMAN AND JASON ADAM OF REAL IT
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.
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