Home Automation and DIY – a marriage of function and frustration

Home Automation and DIY – a marriage of function and frustration

We all have a friend who doesn't believe in experts. For the perennial 'Jack of all Trades,' home automation is a robust environment. "You don't need to hire anyone," they say," I can do that for you."  So, when is the 'king-of-DIY' the wrong answer to home automation, and when can you use them safely? Alternatively, when should you call for a professional to help you set up the technology in your home?

The biggest determinates of 'enthusiastic amateur' and 'professional' are probably your property's size and the amount you want to spend. If you have just a few lights and windows, hiring a customer integration specialist to install a home automation team may feel like overkill in a tiny apartment. Yet, there are examples of why good automation will work in this case. If your apartment faces west and has more than a few windows, automated shades can ensure you enjoy the view without suffering the effects of all that sunlight. Combining your shade with lighting control will allow you to easily create scenes that maximize the amount of natural light in your home. Once you start to head down this road, you should be willing to spend an additional 3-5% of the purchase price, at least, on a professional home automation approach. If you don't have that money, then it doesn't matter how good the systems work. Also, you are unlikely to do this in a rental or shorter-term lease.

If your reason for not doing home automation is technical fear, you are missing an experienced professional's value. A well designed and implemented system will be no more challenging to use than an iPad and can change the way you see your home (and its resale value). Of course, a poor experience and the lowest cost solution may cause all your greatest fears to come true. If you are worried about how to select the best installer, check out the podcast with BRAVAS CEO, Ryan Anderson, where he looks at how to make these decisions.

Here are six other things to consider:

  • Size matters - while having a tiny apartment may turn you off home automation, once you get over 1,000 square feet of space, there are many ideas that can help you more easily manage your house. Should you live in a home over 3,000 or 4,000 square feet, you will probably make life much more difficult for yourself if you don't have some level of home automation.
  • Too many apps - one of the significant advantages of a well-designed home automation system is that you must learn one interface or app. A correctly designed approach will mean if you pick up a remote, use a touch panel on the wall or use your iPhone or iPad, it should all work the same way. If your friend or installer suggests that you can do the same thing with a screen full of separate apps on your iPhone, they are leading you astray. The point of a home automation 'platform' is that someone else has done all the work connecting the devices in your home, so you don't have to.
  • Device compatibility - you may love the NEST thermostat and the Haiku Fans in your home, but Google (owner of NEST) has decided that they don't want them to work together anymore. Device compatibility is a real problem, especially when you buy the best and latest gadgets. A good home automation platform will provide you plentiful choices but ensure that everything works together.
  • It's hard - no friendly neighborhood gadget guy will tell you have solved all these problems if you buy into a platform like HomeKit from Apple. While that may be true, the range of connected devices is still quite limited, and connecting them is more challenging than you first think. Here is a link to an Apple support page - if this is too much for you, don't go that route.
  • Not enough network - All these devices in your home use your home network and if it’s sized incorrectly; things will not work. An enormous benefit of using someone like BRAVAS to help you with these projects is to guide you on the best way to set up your network for how you want to use your home technology. We do that because we don’t want you to have a bad experience and to keep your service and support visits to a minimum.
  • We are there for you - things go wrong, and when they do, you need to be able to do more than 'phone a friend.' You need to phone someone who has either seen the problem before or knows someone who has. Additionally, because of our national presence, the suppliers of the technology we sell you are very sensitive to giving us the best support, and we pass that on to you. Also, we don't take holidays off - we are there for you 24x7x365.

The final thing to consider is the quality of the install. A professional will do clean work and make sure you the design of your home is not comprised by wires or damage. If you look at the BRAVAS Solution Guide, you can see how we have made some beautiful places into smart spaces. We would love the chance to demonstrate the professional approach to you. Give us a call.

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