How to Get Started with Smart Home Technology

How to Get Started with Smart Home Technology

Many Washington residents dream of living in a smart home one day, but that dream is often of a Jetsons-style future where we’re all traveling via flying cars and robots are making our meals. The reality is that while robot cooks and flying cars aren’t available just yet, you can have a fully automated smart home today. If you’re just now dipping your toes into the possibilities for smart home technology, then keep reading to learn about the most popular starting points.

Most Popular Smart Upgrades

There are tons of things you can make smarter throughout your home, but some options are far more popular than others. Here are the smart upgrades that are taking Seattle by storm:

  • Lighting Control: Say goodbye to the standard light switch. With home lighting control, you can turn the lights on and off via phone, tablet, or voice. You can also use the smart technology to dim lights to just the right brightness for specific activities and connect the light fixtures to other devices throughout the home (like the window shades or security system).
  • Motorized Blinds and Shades: Cut down on solar heat gain with window shades that open and close automatically. You can set the shades to adjust at certain times each day or based on occupancy or the amount of sunlight in the room. And with a single push of a button, you can control whether the shades are opened or closed throughout your home.
  • Connected Audio and Video: From the same app that controls the lights, shades, etc., you can also reach all of your home entertainment. Control TVs, multi-room audio systems, home theater systems, and more. Using your smartphone, you could turn on a TV in a specific room (or multiple rooms at once), pick out a movie to watch, and start playing it. Or how about pushing a single button to start playing your “party” playlist throughout your entire home?
  • Smart Home Security: Ditch the standard lock and key setup for a smart security system that keeps your home protected at all times. You could get smart door locks that allow you to unlock or lock entryways remotely. Pull up real-time, high-definition surveillance footage on your phone whenever you’d like. And get notified whenever there’s an issue with your home, whether it be a fire in the kitchen or a garage door left open.
  • Climate Control: Get the perfect temperature in every room of your home with a smart thermostat. You can adjust the temperature remotely, set climate schedules, and include the thermostat in smart “scenes” that adjust all of your home’s smart technology settings at the push of a single button. It helps save a lot of energy while increasing comfort.

 

How to Control the System

One thing that sets full smart home automation apart from “a home with smart devices” is that the entire system is connected as one cohesive platform. You don’t have to open up 15 different apps if you want to adjust the technology throughout your home. Instead, preset scenes can create the perfect environment with a single voice command or press of a button.

In order to achieve that one-touch control, you need the right platform. Our recommendation goes to Control4. It’s a user-friendly, powerful system that can do just about anything you want. As Seattle’s top Control4 dealer, we can confidently say that you’ll be happy with the reliability and ease of use that you get through Control4.

Continue reading
  1566 Hits

The Key to a Great Dedicated Home Theater Design

The Key to a Great Dedicated Home Theater Design

Let’s talk about dedicated home theaters. Specifically, let’s talk about home theater design and the work that goes into creating a cinema that immerses you in ambiance as soon as you walk in the door.

Going from a standard theater system to a fully themed, immersive cinema is a process that involves the input and collaboration of a lot of different people – the homeowner, theater installer, interior designer, etc. And one of the biggest mistakes people can make when adding a theater to their Seattle, Washington home is to wait until after the installation is completed to decorate it. Keep reading to learn why that matters and how we avoid that mistake with our approach to theater design and installation.

Why Not Decorate After Installation?

To answer that question, we need to talk about what goes on during the installation process. Transforming a room into a private cinema is not as simple as mounting a projector and screen, throwing in some chairs, and calling it a day. It’s a strategic process of choosing the perfect screen size, seat placement, speaker positioning, location of acoustic panels, and more.

There’s a science to setting up theaters so that every single person in the room has a clear view of the screen and pure, immersive surround sound. If a theater seat is off by a few inches, for example, the sound waves from one of the surround sound speakers could be unable to reach the person watching the movie. It’s a subtle thing, but it’s what separates a DIY, basic cinema setup from a professional system.

What Can Go Wrong:

So after every element of the theater is installed with exact positioning, what can happen is an interior designer then comes in and starts adding themed décor. Perhaps the theater has a nature theme, with a twinkling sky ceiling and faux grass carpet. To help with the overall ambiance, a designer might add some plants throughout the space.

Continue reading
  1490 Hits

An Effortless Way to Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly

An Effortless Way to Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly

Seattle, Washington is often considered to be one of the most eco-friendly cities in the country, with green initiatives to save energy and promote sustainability. If you’re seeking easy ways to lower your carbon footprint in your Seattle or Bellevue area home, then consider this simple solution: motorized blinds. Typically, technology is thought of as a contributor to the growing need for sustainability efforts, but when used correctly, it can be used for good. Keep reading to learn how.

Give Your HVAC Unit a Break

During the winter, windows are a primary leaching point for heat. Your HVAC unit is probably working overtime to try to keep your home at a comfortable temperature, but glass is notoriously bad at holding in heat, so it slowly leaks out through the windows. However, by adding window blinds or shades, you can significantly reduce the amount of heat that leaves your home, which will in turn give your heating system a break. Certain window solutions like honeycomb shades are designed to create warm air pockets and form a barrier between the room and the glass.

But what about summer? While Washington isn’t as sunny as California or Florida, it still gets enough warm days to make solar heat gain a concern. Basically, as the sun shines down on your home, large windows serve as conductors for the heat. The sun’s rays essentially bake your home, causing the temperature to rise in window-heavy areas. This is turn causes your air conditioning to kick in and constantly run to try to keep that room cool. Here, too, motorized blinds can be of use.

Smart sensors in the room keep track of lighting and temperature levels. When the sun’s warmth goes over a certain threshold, the motorized blinds will automatically lower to block out the heat. That way, your air conditioner doesn’t have to kick in.

Put Smart Sensors to Work

On the other hand, the sun’s rays aren’t necessarily a bad thing. You can take advantage of natural light throughout the day instead of relying on your home’s artificial lighting. Using the same smart sensors that are monitoring temperature, you can have your blinds automatically open to let in natural light. In response, the artificial light fixtures will automatically dim so that the room still has optimal lighting levels without wasting energy.

Continue reading
  1372 Hits

The Best Technology for Interior Designers: Lighting Control

The Best Technology for Interior Designers: Lighting Control

Interior design is an art form. It’s no easy task to choose the perfect décor, color scheme, furniture placement, etc. to make a room flow or evoke a certain feeling. Technology is starting to make that task a little bit easier. Smart home devices are changing the game for interior designers, offering new ways to make each room look its best for any given occasion or activity.

One of the best technologies to implement into an interior design plan is lighting control. Keep reading to learn more about how automated lighting can enhance the look and feel of homes throughout the Seattle, Washington area.

The Need for Lighting Control

The amount and quality of light in a room (and where it’s located) can have a big impact on how everything looks. If you want to draw the eye to a portrait or sculpture, you’ll want ample lighting focused on that area. Too much light can make everything appear washed out. Too little light can make a room look dingy.

Up until now, the solution to this challenge was a strategic lighting design that included spotlights around artwork or architecture and lamps that you could turn on or off to adjust brightness as needed. This is a step in the right direction. However, with such a manual process, homeowners often find that getting that perfect lighting is more trouble than it’s worth. 

The better approach: lighting control.

Continue reading
  1847 Hits

3 Reasons Why Builders and Remodelers are Embracing Smart Home Tech

3 Reasons Why Builders and Remodelers are Embracing Smart Home Tech

In the early 2000s housing bubble, smart home technology was all the rage. Bellevue builders and remodelers quickly embraced any feature that would give them an edge above the competition, and smart tech was a hot item. After the crash, builders took a wide step back, preferring to leave smart homes alone. However, smart home automation has recently been a rising trend in the Washington area for builders and remodelers both. Why is that? As the largest Control4 dealer in Bellevue, here’s our theory…

1. Smart Home Automation Has Gone Mainstream

People want smart homes much more now than they did a decade ago. Technology is a part of everyday life, and many homeowners view home automation as an essential aspect of the luxury lifestyle. A recent study by Houzz found that 45% of homeowners add automation systems while remodeling a property. That number will only grow as more technology becomes available, especially with devices such as Amazon Echo and Google Home offering the novelty of voice control.

SEE ALSO: The Biggest 2016 Smart Home Trend: Voice Control

2. The Technology is No Longer Cost-Prohibitive

The profit margins on smart homes simply weren’t lucrative enough for early builders and remodelers to consider them worthwhile. But the growing popularity of smart technology has had another beneficial impact: larger manufacturing efforts have significantly decreased the cost of the products. On top of that, as the technology has improved; implementing it into new construction or renovations is now a much simpler process. All of this results in plenty of opportunities for increasing feature offerings without breaking the bank for builder or homeowner.

3. Builders are Getting Smarter about Implementation

Back in the early 2000s, nobody knew which smart home brands were reliable or top quality. Everything was brand new, which resulted in a lot of guesswork and speculation. As history shows, it didn’t end well for many construction companies. Fortunately, finding an established and reputable smart home automation brand is a much easier process now. Builders can have a solid idea of what they’re getting before they jump into the smart home movement.

Continue reading
  1751 Hits

Headquarters:
14210 NE 21st Street
Bellevue, WA 98007
p:  (425) 998-8008


Powered By One Firefly