At Urbanology Designs we passionately pursue the beautiful, the boldly creative, balanced and pulled-together spaces. So, when it comes to smart home technology, we expect it to run beautifully and certainly not to distract or add stress. Our world is dauntingly full of apps and algorithms tracking everything imaginable. Companies are quickly converting their products to be Wi-Fi ready, but it all becomes a painful and confusing nuisance when they’re not working right. Below are four keys to consider when making decisions about smart home automation, or “domotics” as they’re becoming known (from the Latin word “domus” for home and robotics).
- You’ll Only Use It If Convenient and Easy to Use
As a busy mom of 5, I have zero time to figure out why my “smart” speaker won’t play my jams while I’m cooking. I crave simplicity in my home, it should be safe and frustration free. Home automation still lacks standardization and older devices become glitchy as technology changes. Simply put, if convenience and ease of use are not there, you may have the “smartest” house on the block, but it’ll go unused if it makes you crazy.
If you decide to go the DIY route, stick with one home automation brand. Do you like Google? Purchase only Google products, don’t add Amazon or Apple products to your home. You’ll be yelling at your Ring doorbell to unlock the door when it’s your iPhone awaiting the command. The other option, and my preference, is hiring a professional tech team to integrate all your devices onto a central, intuitive display station. When done correctly, all your devices, regardless of brand, will work seamlessly, conveniently and follow your preferences. Plus, if your system ever gets the slightest bit glitchy, you call your pro team instead of pouring hot coffee over it all in heated frustration.
We made our home office and event space, the Urban Firehouse, into a “smart” Firehouse. Now all the Urbanology interior designers use the Control4 visually intuitive command screens to operate everything from lighting and security to our sound system and video screens. Control4 is an incredible best value for your dollar brand, but you may also want to explore higher-end solutions like Crestron.
- You Must Have a Fast AND Secure Network
The very first step toward smart home automation is ensuring you have the right network. Yes, this is a super nerdy point, but as you connect more and more of your life and home, you must have reliable network speed and security. Speed is becoming easier to achieve with the new 5G cell network and Wi-Fi 6 technologies rolling out. However, speed without security is like driving a sports car without brakes, it’s not safe. You need and deserve privacy, peace of mind that hackers and viruses will have zero luck in or around your home. Therefore, I strongly suggest hiring a professional to install your network along with all the locks, firewalls and whatever additional Wi-Fi wizardry is needed. As one of the top Dallas interior design firms, we partner with a local, best-in-class home automation company to help our clients with all their tech dreams.
- Smart Homes Become Smarter and Greener
Look at you, you can talk networks and operating systems now! Over the next decade, more and more home appliances and devices will make use of technologies capable of thinking, making decisions, and learning. This translates into tremendous energy savings as your appliances run in more and more perfect harmony with your daily rhythm while using the least amount of electricity required to do so.
Where this also gets exciting as an interior designer is bringing “smart” technology to play with lighting options, windows, and the overall ambiance of your home. Imagine walking into your newly designed living room that automatically adjusts the temperature, lighting, and windows to your liking without even saying a word. After kicking off your shoes you head into the bathroom which already knew the perfect temp and water level to fill your tub.
- It’s a Reflection of You (don’t let it be anything more or less)
Ultimately, anything you bring into your home is a reflection of you. Start small and grow from there if you like. Or go big with all the best gadgets and make a smart home that impresses your most tech-savvy friends. But just because you can, doesn’t mean you have to, make it about you and your family. What home automation options would add value to your life? There are so many ways to customize and improve your life from wellness and healthcare to telecommuting and amenity-rich “smart” home offices. Have fun with it and learn as you go, just like your “smart” devices are.