Today we have a wide assortment of interface options when controlling our home systems. While we don’t have to deal with baskets full of remotes and walls cluttered with light switches, we still have some choices to make when it comes to touchpanels, remotes and keypads.
Justin Dohman of Smart Homes of Texas in Dallas shared his top three suggestions when planning your control system touch points:
1.Main Entryway: The main entrance should have a touchpanel that gives complete access to all the integrated systems, and this includes security, lighting and A/V distribution. The first thing people do when they walk into their house is to adjust the lights (hopefully to a preset lighting scene) and turn on some music. Having access to a volume control is also useful for when guests come to the door, so you can turn down the music to welcome them in (or turn them away).
Dohman adds that if your main entrance to the house is through a garage, then you probably want to put a connected touchpanel there in addition to the main foyer.
2.Back door: For most families, the back door is almost as important as the front door, especially if the backyard includes a pool or entertaining area. If your AV system includes outdoor music and video, then a control interface at the back door is essential. Once outside, many users prefer to control their music via an app.
3.Kitchen: The kitchen is the most active part of the house. Meals are prepared there (and often eaten there). Family meetings happen there, and visiting relatives can never seem to be budged from there. People like to listen to music while they cook, check surveillance cameras from the kitchen, and of course switch on or off lights around the house.
What about key rooms like the theater/media room or the bedroom? For the theater, a dedicated remote with hard buttons can be more practical, and an iPad app can also act as a good supplement.
In the bedroom, more basic keypads can be used to shut out the house lights, or apps can do the same thing. Each house is different, and each homeowner will have different needs and wants, but it’s important to make sure the most critical and frequently used controls are available in the most convenient parts of the house.
Related: Why Home Integration is Important
Related: All About Touchpanels
Check out the slideshow for examples of great touchpanel designs.
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Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had training from THX, the Home Acoustics Alliance, Control4 and Sencore. He's also the author of the book The Trouble with Rivers
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.