We enjoyed this short video from Control4. It sums up how smart home technology from Control4 can make your life even better! Check it out for yourself....
If you are interested in learning more and seeing these systems in action, please contact us to set up an appointment at our design center.
It's difficult to go through your day without being exposed to new "smart" technologies that people are using to try to improve their lives. Just the other day, I was having lunch with a two of my tennis friends who were all excited about their high-tech fitness bracelets. The bracelets provide all sorts of data, such as how many steps they take in a day, calories burned, and even monitor their sleep. The data from the bracelet was automatically updated to their smartphones, providing them with relevant feedback and alerts.
As the saying goes, "Information is power" and I could tell just listening to my friends talk that having this data was inspiring them to exercise more, eat less, and get the right amount of sleep. Not a bad thing!
This is a term to describe products that have the ability to communicate with the Internet. Every day, more and more such products are introduced into the marketplace. Examples include the most obvious ones like smart phones, tablets and computers, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. Many home appliances have built-in intelligence, like refrigerators, oven, dryers, and washing machines. The list goes on and the trend is that more and more products will be connected devices in the future.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
You've probably heard this term used often lately. A good definition of "The Internet of Things" is:
a proposed development of the Internet in which everyday objects have network connectivity, allowing them to send and receive data.
So what does this mean? Since so many products manufactured today are connected devices and have some kind of Internet connection, they can be configured so that they are able to identify themselves and communicate with each other, without requiring human intervention. This is a significant development. Because the object is no longer simply relating to a person, but is instead connected with a network of other devices, it allows the various devices to gather data and work in unison. In other words, with the Internet of Things, the physical world is becoming one big information system.
Home automation has been used to add comfort, convenience, and added security for homeowners for many years. The most popular systems that people have automated have been lighting, climate, security & surveillance, and audio video systems.
Technological advances that have taken place more recently have resulted in an even greater interest and demand for home automation, or smart home technology. People are realizing that it simply makes good sense to take advantage of the built in intelligence of the various products we us every day. Smart home technology helps us live more efficiently and provide us the information we require to make better choices and can allow us to lead even better lives.
Staying up to speed with the ever-changing world of home entertainment can be a challenge. Many people choose to block out the constant noise from the media about the latest and the greatest products being introduced in the marketplace.
That being said, sometimes a new technology should not be ignored. Such is the case with 4K TV and Ultra HD. We have summarized what this technology is all about and why it may be something of interest to you.
What is 4K TV and Ultra HD?
Don't be confused by the two different terms - they are pretty much the same thing. Any TV described as 4K or Ultra HD will have a resolution of 3840 x 2160. The "4K" is derived from the number of horizontal pixels. Basically, the more pixels the better resolution and greater picture more detail. While 4K Ultra HD TVs have 8.3 million pixels, the current Full HD TVs have just over two million. The result is 4K TVs have four times as many pixels than Full HD TVs at the same size.
Why should you care about 4K TV?
There are a number of good reasons why you should consider making your next TV a 4K. Here are our top 4:
1. A 4K TV today will future proof your viewing tomorrow - There may be limited 4K content being delivered at the present time, but all indications are that this is the way of the future and it is coming soon.
2. 4K makes today's HD TV look better - A 4K UHD screen makes today's TV content look better, too. A large screen 4K panel delivers a noticeably smoother looking image than an equivalent Full HD screen because the pixel density is four times greater.
3. 4K does justice to your digital photography - The digital photos we take are taken at a higher resolution than we are seeing when we watch them on our current screens. A 4K TV with Ultra High Definition JPEG playback will reveal four times the picture information.
4. Sports coverage is better than actually being there - With the enhanced fluidity of movement that the technology offers, complete with unbeatable detail, watching sports on TV has never been better.
If you are interested in learning more about 4K TVs, please call us to talk. One thing to know is this is not a fad - 4K is here to stay!
At simpleHome, we have been touting the benefits of lighting control systems since we started our business in 2004. And it just keep getting better. Control4, a leading provider of home automation products and software, has recently created a their Next-generation lighting products that feature elegant design, custom-back-lit engraving, ambient light sensors, and are available in a broad range of colors and finishes.
The video below from Control4 shows an example of how one family is enjoying their new lighting control system.
An Odd Couple?
At first thought, you might not appreciate the importance of a great relationship between a sophisticated interior designer and electronic systems integrator (aka CE professional or home tech nerd).
However, the most successful interior designers understand the benefits of cultivating excellent working relationships with experienced, highly qualified electronics integrators. Why? Because doing so is a win-win scenario all around.
Beauty Meets Function
The best interior designers realize that people want their homes to look beautiful, but still require the conveniences, comforts, added peace of mind, and fun that current home technology can provide. By designing homes that seamlessly integrate the technology people want with their desired aesthetics, they can achieve the best results and have the most satified clients.
This process , however, does not just happen by chance. It requires excellent communication, collaboration and commitment between the interior designer and the CE professionals.
Lighting Control, Shade Control and Minimizing Wall Clutter
When it comes to home technology, the most common areas of interest for interiors designers is managing the light in the home and eliminating wall clutter. Lighting and shading control systems offer a great solution to creating the proper light throughout the home in an elegant, unobtrusive and easy to use manner.
Further, by integrating various systems, such as lighting, HVAC, security, into one control platform, the need for separate controls for each system on the wall is eliminated. As a result, wall clutter is greatly reduced and systems are simpler to control. Another win-win!
An Entertaining Home
Not only does the number of televisions and home music systems per home continue to increase, the choices of options available is also growing. For example, great sounding, easy to install wireless music systems that are now available make it easy to create a whole home music system at a fraction of the time and expense it would have cost just a few years ago.
And when it comes to video, dedicated home theaters, televisions that look like beautiful mirrors or retract into furniture pieces when off, and even outdoor televisions, are more commonplace than ever. The reality is that homeowners who want to live in a beautifully designed home while still enjoying the benefits of outstanding home entertainment and home automation are in luck. They just need to make sure to engage with design and technology professionals who can work together toward the desired results. Did we mention win-win???
One thing we know about home technology is that it is here to stay. How do we know this? Because home technology has the ability to enhance what is most important about the home experience for each of us, regardless of what that may be.
For some, the peace of mind that their home and loved ones are safe and secure is at the top of their priority list. For others, energy-efficiency is an important feature for their home. While for others, a home filled with their favorite music is what they most desire.
Properly designed, installed and programmed home technology is the key to achieving all of these experiences folks desire.
Peace of Mind.
The ability to remotely lock your door, be notified via text when your child arrives home from school, or pull up an image of who just rang your front doorbell on your tablet are not simply conveniences that make your life easier. They are tools to provide what is so important to many people - peace of mind. No matter where you may be, you can relax knowing that you are in control of your home.
A Healthy, Comfortable Home
Who doesn't want to live in a home with fresh and healthy air? A smart HVAC system can seamlessly maintain healthy air at the proper temperature, via constant or timely ventilation, humidification or de-humidification, mold and mildew resistance and eliminate allergens.
Enjoy & Have Some Fun With the Family
For many people, home is their refuge. They desire a place to relax and escape from the stress of the outside world. Easy to use, reliable, robust music and video systems can be an excellent way to bring together family and friends and allow them to enjoy their time at home with loved ones.
Whether the motivation is to save the earth, or save some money, many people are concerned about only using as much energy as the need to use.
Control systems can be an excellent tool in managing our home energy usage more effectively.
In addition to adding convenience and peace of mind, home control systems simplify and add elegance to a home. By integrating control of a multitude of independent systems (lighting, HVAC, security, etc.) into one platform, unsightly wall clutter becomes a thing of the past. And properly programmed lighting and shading control can effortlessly ensure that your rooms are at the proper levels of light at all times, enhancing the beauty of your space.
At simpleHome, we often discuss with people the benefits of a using a professionally installed and programmed control system to help you to easily with a greener life everyday. Control4 did an excellent job of summarizing their top 10 tips for going green in this chart.
What is especially appealing about adding a Control4 system to your home is that, as the folks there like to say, "you can dream big, but start small." Many of our clients start off by simply using the controller (or "brain" of the system) to control a few key lights and their thermostats. From there, it's easy to add on to the control platform with more lights, surveillance camera integration, and music and TV control. It's all up to what matters most to you!
Isn't is nice to know that you can combine a living a greener lifestyle with adding more security, convenience, elegance and peace of mind to your daily life at the same time? Welcome to the connected home!
The Home & Garden TV network, HGTV, is once again giving away a Smart Home to some lucky person. This year the home they have built is located in Nashville, TN.
If you are interested in entering the sweepstakes for a chance to win, or you just want to take a virtual tour of this beautiful, functional home that was created by a team of many talented design and build professionals, check out the HGTV website.
Among the many smart features in this smart, connected home are Lutron automated drapes and shades. Because the home was designed with many large windows, the automated shades and draperies will provide an easy, elegant way to manage the sunlight and provide added security and peace of mind for the homeowners who end up living in the home.
It is fact that much of the greenhouse gas emissions in the US are generated from the energy we use to power our homes. Fortunately, we can all take small actions that add up to big savings in terms of both the negative environmental impact on our planet and the money we waste on unnecessary energy usage .
When we think of the steps we can all take to reduce energy use, many people do not think of adding control systems to their homes. However, a well designed control system can make energy saving almost effortless and go a long way to helping you be a better eco-citizen (and did I mention save money while you are at it?).
This Earth Day, we are republishing a blog we wrote last year that chronicled the steps one simpleHome employee took to reduce his monthly electricity bill by 30%. (Spoiler alert: A control system that takes advantage of energy monitoring and management is involved). Click here to read the steps Craig took to save energy at his home.
Happy Earth Day!