“We start by asking clients non-technical questions about their lifestyle and then we recommend the appropriate technology” says Millson. The key is not to pick the technology or products first. It’s to decide what you want to do or what problems you want to solve and then find the technology that solves them.
Which control system is best for you?
There’s a wide variety of solutions available, from simple one-room, do-it-yourself products to professionally-installed residence wide systems. The best product for you is going to be the one that meets your specific needs today and can be expanded and changed as your needs grow.
Another key factor in your system selection is “scalability”. This term refers to how easily the system can be expanded; assuming expansion is something important to you. For example, if you begin with a DIY home monitoring system, you may find that you can’t easily integrate it into a more sophisticated system in the future. On the other hand, with a lighting control system designed to be expandable, it would be a simple matter to add temperature or shade control to the system at a later date. View interactive demo
“We find that the number one request our clients want is music… people love music and the idea of being able to listen to music throughout their home” says Richard Millson. “The other thing is lighting control including both electric light and natural light,” he adds. “The larger the space, the more lights you have and the more light switches you need to control them. With a lighting system you can reduce or eliminate all those switches and press a single button to adjust large groups of lights or even the entire home.”
When considering a DIY solution, it’s a good idea to consider how much time and effort you’re willing to invest. “With home control, you may have the ability to do one room, but if you want something more (like linking in audio, video, lighting, security and HVAC) it will be best to call in a professional.” says Rich Black.
If you are building a new home and considering home controls from the outset, starting your planning early on in the construction phase can be a big benefit. Millson notes that planning early, while not always possible, is the best way to go and this is especially true if you’re planning a system for a large house. “There’s really no such thing as too early. We have received calls from folks who say ‘we’re ready to dry-wall in two weeks, can you come meet with us,’” he says, but starting earlier would have saved the client money and opened up many more options.
Whether you’re starting with one room, planning a remodel, or building a new home there are many available control solutions to fit your specific needs. Working with a professional integrator can help you establish which solution will work best for your situation.
Wired or Wireless?
Another popular option in home control is “wireless”. Many homeowners balk at the idea of having new wires run throughout an existing home, so wireless systems look appealing. Rich Black of Lutron notes that for existing homes, retrofit and remodels, wireless can be a time and money saver. Some automation systems may require running power to places where you can’t run a wire. In those cases look for products that can operate for a long time on batteries such as remote controlled lights and shades. Wireless technologies are becoming more and more prevalent in today’s home control systems, and offer a great deal of functionality. However, if you are starting your project while your home (or room) is being constructed, then wired systems will continue to be the optimal solution in the long term.