Order the CEDIA Electronic Lifestyles® Issue: In Home Automation, No Substitute for Custom
The CEDIA Electronic Lifestyles ® Fall 2013 Expo Edition is available now. Handsomely produced with striking photography, the magazine's departments, columns and features inspire the audience of architects, building designers, interior designers and builders to embrace the integration of technology in the home. You can purchase 1-9 copies for $9.95 each, or 10+ for $7.95 each, a number that drops to $6.95 each at the show. Order your copies here.
Here, from the issue, is why home automation is no substitute for custom:
A new crop of mass-market home automation offerings from providers such as Lowe’s, Verizon, AT&T, and ADT are arriving on the scene, promising simple and convenient control over home automation and security features at a price that’s appealing for a wide range of homeowners. Most of these emerging systems offer some sort of modular or buildable starter kit that lets users customize their experience, combined with an ongoing subscription fee.
There might be a temptation to save a few pennies by using one of those options for the next major home project in lieu of a professionally designed and installed home automation system. According to many home technology professionals, though, this would be a mistake.
The reasons for this center on the level of customization that comes from combining smarter technologies with more experienced and attentive installers, say several CEDIA members. In other words, although these new systems promise custom control at a mass-market price, if it seems too good to be true, chances are it is.
We talked with a few CEDIA members to better understand the specifics of how these systems differ from working with a home technology professional on a custom system, and here’s what they had to say.
• Integrators can often combine different proprietary systems with ease—or know when they can’t.
Unlike mass-market offerings that prefer operating with products from the same company, home technology pros can use their knowledge and expertise to bridge systems from various entities. “We know what devices can and can’t communicate with each other,” says Chris Tyler, owner of Aurora Technology in Omaha, Neb. “We know how to work around when two companies’ products don’t want to play in each other’s sandboxes.”