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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Advances in Home Automation

Home automation has really come a long way in recent years. What used to require elaborate and complex equipment can now be controlled from simple touchscreens or even Apple’s iPad. Home automation can be used by year round owners to control many systems or by seasonal owners who might want to monitor their second home’s electricity use. While automation systems can be quite elaborate, let’s focus on a few areas: audio systems, lighting, and security. It is important to consider these items when planning your remodeling project.

With the use of iPods and digital music, the audio environment has become a common consideration and component of most remodeling projects. New automation systems can link to music libraries stored on computers or iPods. Simple interfaces on the systems allow you to search for the music you want and control volume levels. No longer do you need to go to several pieces of equipment to control the music – it’s all on one screen!

Automation systems can also be used to control a home’s lighting. With some systems you are able to create themes for various lighting scenarios – say if you are entertaining. You can also set themes so that designated lights turn on or off at specified times. Some systems allow you to access and control lights or appliances from a remote location. If, for example, you are on vacation and want to check to make sure you turned off all of the lights or perhaps you would like to turn them on – home automation systems allow you this ability.

Finally, home automation technologies allow you to better control your home’s security system. As with lighting, you can control when the system turns on or off and you can control it from a remote location. You can also integrate surveillance cameras and view those over the same touchscreens. Automation greatly increases the functionality of systems and provides new opportunities to expand their capacity.

So when you are planning your next home remodeling project, ask your design-build professional about home automation. These systems are best incorporated when you are already planning new wiring and lighting, so it’s best to install these systems at the same time. We’ve touched on a few key features of the systems but they can do much, much more!