What we can now expect from our homes is quite revolutionary and exciting. But with smart home technology continually changing, you may wonder if there’s a real benefit to today’s smart home and if it’s all worth your time and effort. For 2022 and into the future, we think it is. We have seen happy clients love many easy features that turn a premium home into a smart home.
Three top tips on what makes an ideal smart home
- The ideal smart home is included in construction drawings before a new home remodel or new home construction begins.
The ideal smart home is designed before construction, as it often requires precise planning to accommodate differences in the mapping of electrical wiring to leverage smart home features. For example, smart home construction does not use light switches, and instead uses strategic control points. You can even plan for smart home audio systems with speakers that can be placed behind sheetrock, for incredible acoustic sound!
2. The ideal smart home uses proven, reliable smart home products.
While some people love to buy the latest technology, most of us want something that gives us great benefits while avoiding future hassles. For example, some large smart home manufacturers have not survived, and many of us do not want to research which manufacturer is safe. We suggest that you rely on a quality integrator who can recommend the right manufacturer for its stability while providing proven, easy-to-use products.
3. The ideal smart home is built by a quality smart home integrator.
First, a strong integrator will help identify the best smart home products after guiding you through a needs assessment for your home, lifestyle, and budget. This integrator should also have a strong track record for its smart home installation and support. It’s especially important that they have a strong skill set for programming your custom smart home solution.
Our trade partners at Protech Solutions are those quality smart home integrators you can depend upon. As a Portland, Oregon distributor of technology and smart home products, they work with only tried-and-true solutions. They understand that most homeowners want smart home products that just make life at home easier and more enjoyable. They can start the conversations with you, your architect, and builder by appointment.
At Hamish Murray Construction Inc., we recently finished a wonderful home called Maple Rock with Protech Solutions, and we are looking forward to our next projects with them.
Guide to 2022 smart home products
Your smart home products should remain viable well past 2022: we recommend smart home features that will provide benefit and support you for many years. The best and most reliable smart home manufacturer should 1) stand for high-end quality, 2) have easy but rich functionality, and 3) provide solutions that will last and can evolve with your needs. Lutron meets our top criteria. Their up to 10 year warranty, starting with two years of impressive labor, parts, and customer support is admirable.
As a general contractor, we have no financial incentive to promote this particular manufacturer. Our incentive is helping our prospective clients learn more about how to make a sound decision.
A Unified Experience: Your Control System
Most homes have at least some kind of connected products. For example; your music has an app, your bluetooth lights have an app, and even your doorbell can have an app. Managing a huge pile of apps can become a hassle; that’s when a control system steps in. A control system puts all the various connected products in your home under one umbrella.
Imagine having one centralized system that manages your security cameras, indoor and outdoor smart home lighting, garage and front door, music and video entertainment, smart home locks, smart blinds, motion sensors, smart shades, heat, and scheduling.
We like a smart home control system for a couple of reasons:
- All the things you ever want to do are in one place. No more searching through your phone for the right app.
- It gives you new ways to control your house, like a wall touchscreen to answer your front door, or a voice command to turn off your sprinkler.
- These systems also enable different parts of your home to work from single commands, so your bedtime routine can be a single button press to lock the doors, turn off any music, slowly dim the lights off, even activate wifi blockers to get your kids off their screens.
Control4 and Savant are two great products that we recommend. They provide you with control keypads throughout your home. Both have their own strengths, but in essence, they can both be customized to the features you want while offering an intuitive interface. Control4 and Savant are among the most popular brands because they each have an array of options with multiple price points – and can be deeply customized to meet your needs and budget.
Finally, it’s worth noting that the best system is built with a new wiring design ahead of construction, taking advantage of all the best features.
Keep in mind that the key to a good smart home system platform is not the product you choose as much as the knowledge and programming skills of the integrator to make your life simple and easy – based on how you live.
Logical control switches throughout your home.
Having a centralized control system allows you to place control switches in the best strategic locations throughout your home. For example, at your garage door, you may have a simple and elegant keypad in place of a light switch which can light up a path going into the home, or turn off the whole house when you leave.
In higher traffic areas like a kitchen-living passthrough, you may want a wall-mounted touchscreen to easily select music, see what the temperature is set to, who just rang the doorbell, or when the front porch light is scheduled to turn on. It’s really all about options, and all the products we’ve mentioned give you tons of options.
The controls on your wall should be stylish, intuitive, and minimal. No designer in the world thinks a bank of a dozen light switches looks good. Control switches or touchscreens can be tailored to your lifestyle. Does it make sense for your nightstand to have a simple “Goodnight” button to turn off the house lights, or do you want a screen to check the cameras, lock the doors, and arm your security system? Each place in your home can be professionally tailored to your family’s lifestyle and wishes.
Smart home voice commands
There are many people who like the idea of Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or Apple Siri but are either too uncomfortable with the potential lack of privacy or can get frustrated with their rudimentary and limited commands.
Our recommendation: voice-controlled digital assistant, Josh. Like other mainstream voice platforms like Alexa or Siri, Josh is a small microphone pod that can understand your voice from anywhere in your room and executes your requests at any given moment. What sets Josh apart is its natural, conversational ability. You can give it complex requests like “Hey Josh, lock the back door, close the shades, and turn up the music.” With Josh AI, the best part is your interactions stay within the house, with no outside internet connection and no big corporation listening and selling your personal data.
Smart home lighting
Lights can be adjusted over the day to provide healthy lighting for your family.
There are many features of smart home lighting including: adjusting the light to follow our natural circadian rhythm each day, changing the mood of a home, and controlling light sections of the whole house or property from control keypads. Smart home lighting can also be modified to give that candlelight glow that we used to easily get from candescent lighting. Imagine one keypad that turns on not only each room’s lights, but a set of rooms in the home, and with lighting that automatically changes to the right lighting for the right time of day.
Tell us about what’s important to you.
At Hamish Murray Construction Inc., we seek to build each project on schedule and on budget, and always with top-notch quality results. We solely work with independent architects and designers, and we build long-term lasting relationships. If you are planning on home construction and are wondering about smart home products, we would be happy to answer your questions and set up an appointment with our trade partner Protech Solutions.
We’d love to meet you. Contact us or call us at (503) 460-7203 with questions you have, or ask us about our philosophy, experience, or any other question that is on your mind.