If you are constructing a new home or retrofitting an existing home with smart technology, you must have a starting point. That is why we at Capital Technology Group have assembled a checklist so that you can ensure that you have each piece of the puzzle and that you will end up with the smart home of your dreams! In this article, we will outline exactly what you need for your smart home, as well as some “nice to have” devices so that you can live with the most automation and comfort available today. Let’s get started!
❏ NETWORK – WIFI AND WIRING INFRASTRUCTURE
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE NETWORK!
The most important thing that you can put effort and money into for your smart home has the most robust networking infrastructure your budget will allow. It would be pointless to install any other device into your home if it struggles to connect to a weak WiFi signal or there is no network wall jack near the device. That is why you must think about what elements you want as a part of your smart home, and then build the infrastructure to suit your needs. For example, if you know out of the gate that you want WiFi accessibility in all parts of the house as well as the backyard, then your scope of work will include that for your AV Integrator so that they can design a system that would be best for you.
NETWORK CLOSETS ARE A MUST
Do you have a centralized closet for your networking gear? If not, can some space be dedicated to one in a centralized part of your house? This will benefit you in many ways. All of your technology can live in one part of your home. It can reduce costs, making the system easier to service.
Additionally, a centralized network closet can make network wire runs easier and sometimes less costly to deploy. It is vital to ensure that HVAC ducting and proper exhaust cooling are considered before dedicating this space. There should either always be cool air circulated through this area or air must be exhausted out of the closet. It is essential that in the wintertime that hot air is NOT supplied to the network closet!
BE CAREFUL NOT TO TAKE A ‘SHOTGUN’ APPROACH WITH YOUR WIFI
WiFi Access Points (WAP) need to be mapped out so that the proper coverage is obtained throughout your property. Network runs need to go to each WAP. It is important to know that, just as you can have too little WAP, you can also have too many, resulting in cross-talk between each WAP and actually simulating a weak signal, when in fact, there is too much signal. It is vital to leave WAP locations and tuning to your AV Integrator.
SMART WIFI IS A THING
It would be good if you can make sure that your WiFi is modern and feature-rich. Do you have a lot of company? Some WiFi systems allow you just to press a button on the WAP to allow your guest to access your WiFi network without giving them your password! Additionally, your system must be secure, yet allow many devices in your home to automatically talk to each other via the WiFi network. This includes security, computers, printers, communication systems, audio systems, sunshade systems, and more.
❏ CONTROL AND AUTOMATION SYSTEMS
EVERYTHING SMART NEEDS A BRAIN
As discussed, the network is the most critical part of your smart home. A close second is your control and automation system. While the network can be considered the homes’ ‘nervous system,’ the control and automation system is the brain. This is the central hub where all of your smart gadgetry connect to make a living, breathing smart home.
CONTROL4 AUTOMATION IS ALL YOU NEED
There is one automation system that we base our reputation on, and that is Control4. With Control4’s intuitive and innovative design, you can, with one touch, dim the lights, play music, turn up the heat, lock the doors and arm the security system when it is time for bed. Or you can Turn on music, turn up lighting in the kitchen and preheat your oven, with one Alexa command using Control4 as the brains behind the operation. Control and Automation systems like Control4 enable you to make “presets” for your home and then easily access them with a tablet or voice control. To control and automate devices, you need the devices to control them!
DEVICES YOU WILL WANT IN YOUR SMART HOME
❏ BRIGHTEN UP YOUR HOME AND SAVE ENERGY WITH LED SMART LIGHTING
Not only will your energy bill be much happier with your choice to move to LED lighting, but controllable lighting should also be number one on your list of smart home devices. It goes without saying that lighting automation is just as beneficial outside your home as it is inside. Accent lighting, porch lights, backyard lighting, and entertainment areas can all be efficient, long-lasting, completely automated, and easy to control.
❏ SECURITY SYSTEMS KEEP YOU SAFE
Security systems including alarms, cameras, and door locks are an invaluable element of your smart home. With one press of the button, your alarm system can be set, and your doors will all lock automatically. Need to let someone in, but you’re not at home? Just use your smartphone to unlock and lock the door.
❏ CLIMATE CONTROL
To stay in the realm of being practical, be sure that your HVAC systems are integrated with the automation and control systems for your smart home. By centralizing this control, presets can be set up that include the temperature of your home. For example, at bedtime, you can say “Alexa, go to bed” and your lights will dim or turn off, the security system will arm, and your doors will lock. You can also have your temperature drop a few degrees depending on your preference. Smart, huh?
❏ EVERYTHING ELSE CAN BE CONNECTED!
- Sun Shades – Save electricity and make life easier with automated motorized sun shades for your windows.
- Audio Systems – Have your music accessible in all of your living spaces and choose where you want to listen to it by making sure your sound system is connected with your control and automation system.
- Home Theater Systems – Control and automate your home theater lighting, projector, projector screen, and sound systems. Press one button and the whole theater will turn on and set the mood!
- Control and automate your pool and hot tub temps and settings.
- Intercom systems should be a part of your smart home. Make sure that your intercom system utilizes the tablets that you already use to control the system and that each room is addressable or pages the entire house.
- Amazon Alexa integration to add voice activation to all of your presets and devices.
Go crazy with your smart home, or be conservative, whatever your budget allows. Either way, if you follow the steps in this checklist, you will have a stable, smart home that is expandable for many years to come!
For more information on how Capitol Technology Group can help you build your Smart Home in the Greater Austin, Round Rock, Lakeway, Georgetown, Houston, The Woodlands, Cypress, Sugar Land, Spring, Katy, and Pearland, Texas area, give us a call or CONTACT US by filling out this short form.