It all seems a long time ago……………………..

In February 2020 just before COVID and lockdown became words that we knew and understood,  CEDIA took a number of BIID members, interior journalists, architects, and AV installers to Amsterdam to the CEDIA Design & Build Conference and the  Integrated Systems Europe 2020 Expo. An opportunity for technological Luddites to view the advances in various systems from home automation, security, audio to the high, high tech of AI systems, data control, and stuff that, to be honest, was difficult to grasp.  It was certainly an eye-opener and an education.

These are a few of the gems that were gleaned from the CEDIA seminars held before visiting the Expo.  The seminars gave us all an insight into the future of technology in the home, how it will affect how we use our home, what control you will have over your energy consumption, how it should be installed, some of the pitfalls, and where technology is moving.  From a Luddites perspective, these are a few items that stood out:

  • Not all technology is created equal. You need to understand and assess exactly what you want to achieve and the costs involved before you commence the wiring in your home.  This is where a good AV company can assist.  RJV Designs work with Drexler Hooke to achieve exactly this with their clients.
  • One of the most essential aspects of any integrated home is networking the house.  Ensuring that you have ‘good’ wifi all around the home so that everything works together.
  • Have a backup option should the wifi go down.  Will lights still work if the wifi goes off?
  • What control system are you going to use? There are 5 different ways to control equipment in your home:  phone, keypad, touchscreen, universal remote, and voice command (Alexa).  Do you wish to restrict control to a couple or enable all of the systems? Important decision to make.  James Davies of Drexler Hooke recommends either Control4 or Crestron.  Both are designed for the residential market. Any company dealing with either of these will be properly trained and will be able to give the correct support.   Control4 is possibly the more popular home automation brand and is known as an entry-level system for control in the home.  Having tried out other brands James says that Control4 has been consistently the best.
  • You should only automate as much of your home as you can understand easily. However, the following can be automated:
      • Climate control – systems that will automatically adjust the heating, cooling systems. Raise or lower blinds to control sunlight.
      • Energy management systems – to ensure the most efficient use of your heating/cooling systems.
      • Lighting – can be preprogrammed so all you need to do is push one button and a particular setting will come up.  Eating – low light levels, homework – high light levels, party – jazzy light levels, etc.  Automatic lighting can also help with energy control.
      • Security – We have all seen the movies, well that is only the tip of the iceberg.  You can have amazing levels of security with fingerprint and iris access, senor monitoring, heat detectors, etc, etc you need to decide what level you want and need.
      • Home Health Sensors – that will manage your circadian rhythms to ensure you sleep well, monitor movement (to ensure you move enough or call help if you don’t), your temperature, door activity, and when to take your medication.  All sounds a bit intrusive, but might be one way that older people can remain living at home for longer.
  • Home Automation is coming and will be integrated into more and more of our home systems.  It does not have to be connected to the wider internet, but if it isn’t you can’t control it from afar.  If it isn’t then it can’t be hacked.  A key security decision to make.

The whole Integrated Systems Expo was amazing.  The technology, gadgets, gizmos, and information at the show were astounding.  It enabled techno Luddites to see into the future and garner information as to the advances in-home technology and its implementation which will, in turn, enable us to advise our clients of the best and most appropriate systems for their homes and if not us, we know a company who can:  Drexler Hooke

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