10 steps to getting the best home automation system you really need and not the one I tell you you need.
1. Think about your daily activities.
What do you do, repeatedly, though out the day or week? Shut off lights, check to see if your doors are locked, open and close the drapes, start a TV show in the living room and finish it in the bedroom, listen to music in the backyard, adjust thermostat, throw big parties… All of those things can be done better or enhanced with an automation/control system.
Don’t think that automation is for lazy people. An automation system doesn’t empower a person to sit around on the sofa while robots do things for them. It allows you to live your life more efficiently by automating and monitoring some of the more mundane and routine activities, freeing you up for more important and valuable activities.
2. Know what’s available.
If you want your breakfast cooked and waiting for you on the kitchen table when you wake up, then hire a cook. If you want to be able to intelligently manage your movie and music collection, enable easier access to your lights, or always know when your kids come home from school, then get an automation system. Often people are surprised at some of the options available, or if they’ve heard about them, they’re surprised at how useful they can be. We hear all the time that automated lighting is one of those things that once you’ve tried it, you don’t know how you managed without it.
3. Think about what your time is worth and what you’re willing to invest to get more out of it.
While there are many DIY options in this market , most of those require time, as well as differing levels of networking or construction know-how. Do you want to put that time into learning and installing or do you want to come home from work and find it all finished?
4. Read Electronic House articles.
Well, of course. professional articles offer lots of advice and tips on systems, designs and issues. It can offer inspiration for your home project.
5. Visit one or more professionals to explain your needs and learn about their offerings.
This is important. Have the integrator show you the systems offered (some integrators use their own homes for client demonstrations, which is really useful to see how these systems actually function in a house) and explain the process. Find out how the integrator can make your dream house come true.
6. Consider remote access.
Do you want to be able to check in on your house when you’re away? Do you want to be able to open the front door from another city? These are great new features available with many control systems.
7. Think about the future—expansion options.
Be sure to discuss scalability with your integrator. Most home control clients end up going back to their integrator at some time with additional projects, so make sure the system you select is one that can be built upon.
8. Select the products and services with your installer.
This where it starts to get fun–picking out what you want.
9. Get out of the way.
When that truck rolls up in your driveway, it’s best to get out of the way. Don’t be that person who leans over the installer’s shoulder all day long.
10. Learn the system and enjoy.
When the work is finished, and the installer puts the remote, touchpad, iPad… in your hand, pay attention to how the system operates. Make sure everyone in the family can use it, then sit back, press some buttons and enjoy.