Looking into home tech improvement projects? Here are the top five ways to automate your home and step into the future… Actually, step into the present.
“Alexa, automate my entire house.”
This can be your reality with a complete in-home automation system. Gone are the days of separate devices for each room – companies like Media Systems, based in Houston, can turn your entire home into an easy-to-use, streamlined wonderland. We sat down with Media Systems CEO Donnie Boutwell to put together a list of the top five ways to automate your home.
Every home automation system today requires a good Wi-Fi network. Without this, the rest of your home automation becomes a lot harder. Typically, the box people get from their service providers can only serve up to 1,500 square feet and a limited number of devices (even with a booster). If your home is over 4,000 square feet, it is best to call a professional to install hardwired access points distributed around your home; one for about every 1,200 to 1,500 square feet.
Security & Surveillance
Security and surveillance start at the front door. Video doorbell cameras have become the standard way to deter crime and monitor what’s going on at home. Ring Video Doorbell is a brand that most people recognize, but there are some higher-end solutions that not only look good on your home but also offer more services. Holovision, 2N and DoorBird connect to home intercom and phone systems, they work over the local network and, most importantly, they can connect to the home network over a hard-line connection without the use of Wi-Fi.
The next line of defense is the home alarm system. “We believe that the most reliable solution is a traditional hard-wired alarm system with hard-wired sensors and fire alarms,” says Boutwell. These traditionally use a monitoring system over the phone line. “But today, we highly recommend using a cellular line,” adds the University of Houston grad.
There are dozens of inexpensive surveillance cameras, however a hard-wired professional camera is the gold standard. This option is more expensive, but you will benefit from higher resolution video, professional installation and, most importantly, the video can be stored safely and securely onsite.
Music & TV
Everyone loves to have music playing and it is always going to sound better in a home that is professionally wired for speakers. There are speakers that are hard-wired for the internet and streaming devices so that they not only sound better, but they are easy to use. You can also make your life easier by getting rid of all of your TV and DVD player remote controls and having everything managed by a one-touch system that is so easy to use, even Grandma approves.
Get rid of all of those ugly light switches and replace them with one beautiful single-gang control keypad called a Central Dimming System. Buttons can be programmed to do anything. Press the Away button when you’re leaving and the Home button when you arrive. When you go to bed press the Goodnight button and watch the entire home shut down.
Want to be able to control the temperature of your home from your phone while you’re away? Having your thermostat professionally automated can make a world of difference in the comfort of your home. Having an integrated solution working on the same app on your phone is very convenient, but it does require a professional installation, and you’ll want to make sure that your AC and heater are working properly prior to installation.
Cover photo courtesy Media Systems
Gabi De la Rosa lives in Houston with her husband and three children. You can usually find her at a great local restaurant or out exploring HTX with her family. Visit her on Instagram @gabioftheroses_htx