22 Dec Home Automation: The Devil is in the Detail…
There are many key points that are critical to a successfully integrated smart home and this post although not exhaustive has been written to help raise questions and thought for anyone that may be considering a future project.
Where to start?
Planning & Design – This is a critical element and one that is often not afforded the time and input that should be allowed. As many problems can be ironed out in discussing and design team meetings it is critical to be 100% with what it is exactly that you intend to create. With regard to the large modern home there are obviously architectural integrations that are critical to deliver the stunning finished product, but prior to finishing there are mechanical, electrical and plumbing interactions that must be considered.
A large property could take 3 months of design work to develop and ensure all items of Plant, and Field based controls interact with each other as they should.
Systems – What systems are you looking to integrate? I usually split these systems into two elements Building Management systems such as heating, lighting, fire and security and Entertainment Systems, Music, Cinema, Multi Room Video, the fun stuff!!!
We could write pages regarding the above however the one critical point about ALL of the systems above is there are always many ways to deliver. Some methods will deliver cheaper solutions, but be aware that usually if items are cheaper they are usually cheaper for a reason. An experienced integration company can talk to you about price versus performance and usually demonstrate the difference. My recommendation would be allow enough time to visit different suppliers and go to demonstrations to experience different systems so that you can make informed decisions on whatever it is you are doing.
The User Interface (UI) – This is a critical element as this will be your point of call for control of your home. Again a well designed flexible system will be able to deliver a UI experience that will be fast and reliable. Usually most systems I would recommend would have 1 or a maximum of two steps to get to your desired goal. I have seen poorly designed interfaces that require you stepping into systems pressing Watch, then scrolling through a list of sources, then pressing Sky 1, then confirming by pressing OK, then again the reverse to change to another source. This becomes frustrating and shortcuts should be programmable to get you where you need to go in two steps or less.
Installation – A quality installation should be labelled well with all cables managed and dressed for ease of access and service, again something a qualified and reputable company can offer.
Hand Over and Training – Support and user training is critical as there will be times when you may forget how something works or want to know if something is possible a good support network from your chosen dealer will make sure you have access to get the answers you require promptly and in a timely manner.
O&M, Code and Manuals – Documentation is critical as if your installer is not around or you chose to change provider you will need to have paperwork to allow for another party to come in and take over the project. Operations Manuals and Instruction Manuals are critical as well as as built design documentation and most importantly the program code for your project, which upon completion payment of your project you should have access to a copy of your code.
Hopefully this short blog a has helped raise some thought and questions howeve should you be embarking on a project and need some help and advice please do not hesitate to contact ourselves so we can help with a friendly face and some professional advice.
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