It’s happening right now. You see it all around, but you don’t really know how to stop that feeling that you’re kinda’ being left behind… The SMART revolution.
Your phone is SMART, your television is SMART, even you some of your newest kitchen appliances are SMART! And most of these devices reside in the same spot, the same building, the same ecosystem – Your home.
So tell me, is your home smart enough to work/communicate/integrate with these savvy devices? Probably not.
The upside – you may be considering, planning, even undertaking a new build or renovation and have the opportunity to do something about it. But the budget… Will it allow a fully automated Smart Home? Bugger…
So what exactly can you do in your upcoming project to make sure your home is future-proofed for years to come? Here’s my top 3 tips;
1. Look into the physical attributes of you home.
If it’s going to be a multi-storey, super architectural, sitting on a concrete slab kind-of-design then make provisions. These type of homes have almost zero access for future trades and services and any further alterations and additions may cost a bomb. Speak to each of your trades about what can be done to allow for future works to be done quicker, easier and cheaper. In many cases getting a bit of extra wiring, piping or other infrastructure works done while it’s easy can save you anywhere from 4 to 10 times the cost down the track.
2. Consider your communication channels.
Don’t think ‘wireless’ options are always the answer. We’ve all got frustrated when the WiFi stops working and there are plenty of reasons why this can happen. Location, building materials, distance, even your neighbours.
There are also other types of wireless technology that you may or may not know much about (such as Bluetooth) and they all have similar limitations and restrictions. So, consider the following;
– You’ll be consuming more internet/data than you ever have. So from a price, speed and performance point of view investigate the difference between a wired (Ethernet) and WiFi connection. The infrastructure costs of a wired solution may well pay itself off very, very quickly.
– Some things need an almost flawless connection… So avoid wireless here. Imagine you’ve got a few friends around to watch an international sporting event on you new 80″ TV and it freezes, pixelates and ‘re-buffers’ the whole time. The pain. Just a few cables installed will ease this pain forever.
3. What is it you’re trying to control exactly?
Expanding from the last point, WiFi can do a lot but there are many things you will struggle to control. If you want to maximise the performance of your home you’ll be considering integrating items throughout the home into the SMART ecosystem. If you want to automate the climate of your home there will be a need to control windows, blinds and other active sources like heaters and air conditioners. Very hard to do without physical cabling.
Perhaps you dream of a smarter way to coordinate the rain water, grey water and irrigation systems. Again, some cabling required.
Unfortunately, There are plenty more examples too. Get some advice on your dreams, desires and visions of how your home will actually work.
The ultimate solution…
Never underestimate the importance of a good plan. Jumping into a major renovation or build without all the appropriate planning is just plain, well, stupid. It WILL make the project encounter more problems, it WILL slow the project down and it WILL ultimately blow out the budget that you so carefully created. Failing to plan is simply planning to fail.
Engage a good architect or drafts person to design the size, shape and aesthetics. Ensure a good engineer is utilised for the structural elements. But finally when it comes to the homes performance or functionality, engage a functional/technology designer to ensure a future proofed home for life of the building.