Just about to leap into Home Automation? Hold on 5 secs! Here's a few pointers when starting out that we wish someone told us when we started.
1. Think BIG start small
This statement sounds cliche but let me guess. You're already envisioning your Home Automation system to involve your fridge ordering your food automatically and a steaming cup of coffee handed to you by personal Honda Asimo every morning? This is definitely attainable and this sort of end game thinking is key to the success of your Home Automation journey. But for the beginner dipping their toes into the grand ocean that is HA we recommend crawling before running (OK, I'll stop with the cliches).
Start with a small project first. Just make sure you select a system that allows you to add functionality easily without having to redo everything you've already done. That's why we use and recommend the Z-wave range of HA products. Z-wave products are inter-operable and the system allows you to start with a few sensors or devices and grow from a selection of over a thousand devices. All you need to start with Z-wave is a controller and a sensor.
2. Does it make your life easier or solve a problem?
Home Automation is here to make your life easier, safer or better. If whatever you're trying to setup doesn't fit into these three categories then perhaps you should rethink what you're trying to achieve. Those who are relatively new to the concept of Home Automation often provide the argument "Why do I need to turn my lights on and off via my smart phone when it's much easier to use the light switch!". Our response to that is that they're absolutely right! In the time it takes to take your phone out of your pocket, open the app that controls your lights, select the right lights to control, then dim or turn the lights off you could have easily stood up and hit the light switch. This is not good use of Home Automation! However, programming those lights to turn on automatically while you're on holiday to simulate someone being home - that's solving a problem. That makes your home less likely to be broken into while you're gallivanting in the Cayman Islands on your yacht.
3. Would you like fries with that?
Your head says "no" but your heart says "yes!" (actually your heart is probably screaming "NO!" too). But we're constantly being up sold to. Whether it's in the Macca's drive through or on Danoz Direct luring you in with steak knives. It's the same in Home Automation. There is a blinding array of sensors and devices that purport to be multi talented like the Philio 4-in-1 sensor or the Fibaro Multi Sensor. So do you buy the sensor that just does what you want or do you spend a little bit extra to get the additional features? From our experience the multi function sensors are great value for money and worth the extra couple of dollars. You don't have to use all the features immediately but its good to have the flexibility in the future. Having the additional features also gives you the option for more complex scenes.
4. Think outside the box
There are thousands of Home Automation devices out in the market today to complete a variety of tasks. Window motor controllers, humidity sensors, doorbells, smoke alarms, thermostats, flood sensors, door locks, the list goes on! Some devices are very task specific and will only complete one function like the Lockwood Deadbolt. While others are advertised for a purpose e.g. Fibaro Door and Window Sensor but with a little creativity it can be used for multiple functions. Check out Antony's custom doorbell where he used a Fibaro Door and Window Sensor. So when you're shopping around for a device to do a specific thing and can't find it. Make your own! We also specialise in custom solutions so give us a bell if you have any custom Home Automation requirements.
5. Do your research
Last but not least. Come to the party informed. Do your research and there are plenty of forums and websites that provide reviews and advice. Read lots as you will make the best decisions when you have a good understanding of the options.
If you get stuck or just want to pick our brains don't forget we're here to help. We're a call or email away and it doesn't cost you a thing!
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