Home Automation Questions Answered!
What is Home Automation?
It means a lot of things to different people. There's been a lot of focus lately on being able to turn on lights or alter their colour with a smartphone. That's cool and all, but it's just the tip of the iceberg.
At LiveHouse it means making your home respond automatically and intelligently to the people living there and the environment.
Your home knows whether you're home, if the kids have left the lights on, if a bathroom or toilet is in use. It knows the weather, your morning schedule, if the garage door should be opened or the front door locked. It uses all of this to control security, lighting, heating and cooling based upon the rules you give it.
It's about solving life's problems. And yes, you can still turn your lights on from your smartphone.
How do we differ from the rest of the crowd the sells smart home products?
Unlike the myriad of online stores that sell smart home products and expect you to design, install and configure it yourself, we are a local Perth company that specialises in installation and integration.
Do I need an Electrician to install the devices?
Some devices will need a certified electrician to install the device as it connects directly into your 240V mains wiring. However, the majority of devices are battery powered and can be installed easily by anyone. However, If you do need an electrician we have certified electricians who are familiar with our products that can come out and install your device in no time!
How do the devices talk to each other?
The sensors communicate to the controller (the brain of the system) using a wireless mesh called Z-wave. Each sensor also talks to other sensors passing on messages from sensors within the network. This means the more devices you have in your Z-wave network the better! This also reduces your installation costs as there is no additional wiring required for the devices to communicate with each other.
How far can I have my devices from each other?
The usual range for a Z-wave device is roughly 30 meters. This obviously depends if there are walls or obstructions that get in the way of the radio frequency. However, because Z-wave is a mesh network you just need to have your sensor roughly 30 meters from the nearest Z-wave device and not the controller.
What if I need help installing the products?
We specialise in design and installation of the products we sell and also integration with products you already have. If you need a helping hand just give us a call or drop us an email.
What type of batteries do the devices use and how long does the battery last?
Unfortunately there isn't a standard battery size that is used. Fortunately the batteries last a long time! You can expect your wireless Z-wave device to have a battery life of 6 months to between 2 to 3 years - depending on what the device is and how often it is activated. If you don't want to worry about having to buy batteries (especially some of the odd shaped ones) then sign up to our Battery Maintenance Service where we will monitor all your batteries and send you batteries and instructions on replacing them.
Will the devices interfere with my existing home devices? e.g. telephone, wi-fi
Z-wave operates on a unique frequency of its own and will not interfere with your Wi-Fi or other RF equipment.
What can I automate?
There are currently over 1000 Z-wave approved devices available in the market today. You can automate everything in your house from your lights to your pool and reticulation system. The only limitation is your imagination! If you need a little help with a specific problem give us a call and we can design a solution and even install it!
Why are other Home Automation systems so expensive compared to your products?
Some Automation systems are based on proprietary commercial solutions that have been around for a long time and are focused on lighting and security control requiring dedicated cabling. Z-Wave systems have been around since 2005 and are based and designed on open standards, modern lower cost hardware and software systems.
Will this gear be compatible with Apple HomeKit?
HomeKit is Apple's licenced Ecosystem and is a means of unifying all of the individual Gadget+App solutions available so they can communicate with each other. At this stage it's not clear which Home Controller vendors will licence HomeKit. However we do know that the Vera User community has reverse engineered the HomeKit API and made available a plugin for those that want to use it.
Do I need to have an iPhone to access your phone application?
There are applications for Android as well as iOS. Our solutions are based on iPhones because these are what we have tested on and know how to support. These are solutions that automate our homes and we live with every day. For the tech savvy it's possible to choose and configure applications for Android. If you're really passionate about your handset LiveHouse can develop a custom solution for you.
Can I automate my home in parts or do I need to have it all done in one go?
To get started with Home Automation you simply need a Home Controller (E.g. Vera Lite) and a Z-wave device. That device could be a plug in switch to turn a lamp on and off or a motion sensor to let you know someone's at the door. You can then start growing what your Home Automation system can do by adding new devices and then integrating with the existing devices. E.g. You can have your lamp turn on once it detects motion at your front door.
Do you have a showroom where I can see this stuff working?
We do not have a showroom at this point in time but will do in the very near future. However, we have several of our solutions installed throughout WA that we can take you through.
Is it hard to install the sensors and configure the controller?
Apart from some devices requiring a licensed electrician the majority of devices are extremely easy to install. The devices are wireless and battery powered so your not constrained by your existing power locations. The controllers also has a simple GUI (Graphical User Interface) to setup triggers and basic logic. However, you will need to complete some coding if you require more complex logic involving multiple devices, conditions and triggers. LiveHouse can take care of this for you.
I really want to save Power, will Home Automation help?
Yes, in so far as you can monitor power usage and automatically turn off devices when they are not in use. But if you're after the biggest bang for your buck, you're probably better off replacing all of your lighting with LED's first.