New Technology in the Home…3 things to consider when implementing a Home Automation System!

Posted on by pcook

I’m sure that by now most of us have seen the AT&T ads showing a wise older couple greeting their children as they arrive to the vacation house and asking them if they stopped by the house fully knowing that if they did, they probably left lights, appliances and the water on.  Sure enough, the kids mentioned that they did stop by and so the father immediately pulls out his smart phone and proceeds to turn off the lights, appliances and water from the convenience of his front porch.  Is this a pipe dream?

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Today’s modern technology has surely come a long ways in regards to its simplicity and reliability.  It was just a few short years ago that you could only use one brand of security, one brand of lighting, one brand of thermostats, etc… and everything had to be MacGyver’d together for anything to work.  Furthermore, it was mostly phone based control and involved going through many menus and steps to get to where you wanted to be.  On top of that, there was no way to confirm that what you had pressed had actually worked.  It was called push and pray!


Today, there are a plethora of home control options out there that offer you simplicity, convenience, reliability and even interactivity…but which ones are the best and who should be trusted?  Let’s look at a few factors:

First of all, the system must be simple and intuitive to you!  What might seem simple to one person is totally complicated to another.  Make sure that you see the interface and have the salesperson walk you through the operation of the system to insure that the navigation of the system flows in your mind.  If after just a few minutes of basic instruction, the interface seems to make sense to you…than you have found a good fit!

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Second and perhaps one of the most important factors is the experience and reliability of the company and installer doing the project.  I don’t know about you but it always seems like my most frustrating customer service experiences have come from the phone and cable companies.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spent hours and hours on the phone with some person from India or the east coast that have no idea how to help me, don’t care or don’t have any authority to assist me…they simply keep quoting policy and switching me to some other person.  And this is for basic technology like a phone line or a cable TV connection…can you imagine what that experience might be like for something a lot more sophisticated?   Fortunately, there are some great companies out there with owners and technical staffs that understand the importance of simplicity, reliability and support after the sale.  After all, with the fact that these systems use smart devices, cell towers, both wired and wireless internet, and all requiring power and connectivity…it’s vitally important to choose a company with strong networking skills, vast experience in the home automation field, knowledgeable technicians and local service and support from a company that actually works out of a commercial office and not out of a home!

Finally, look at your budget and communicate up front with the installer what your short term and long term goals are.  Because there are so many options…the Electronic Systems Professional can design systems that are cost effective to incredible luxury and everywhere in between.  It’s important for you to communicate your goals and your budget or at least define a range that is acceptable in order that the Electronics System Professional can design the best system that meets your needs from a simplicity, reliability and budget standpoint.

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Technology when properly designed and effectively integrated can provide many benefits to today’s modern family.  We live in a new world where families have a more mobile lifestyle and so the convenience and flexibility of communicating and protecting our largest investment allows us to live smarter and have the peace of mind that everything at home is okay!  I look forward to hearing from you with your questions, concerns or success stories!!  As always, please know that we are here to help!


About pcook

Peter C. Cook is President and owner of Automation Design + Entertainment, Inc. of Portage, Michigan. He is a CEDIA Certified Electronic System Designer as well as a CEDIA Level One Installer and THX certified home theater designer. He has over twenty years of experience in the sales, design, installation, project management, and ownership of a custom electronics design and installation business located in southwest Michigan.

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