Smarter Homebuilding: How to Best Incorporate Smart Tech Features
The old way of integrating technology into a home could be a major headache. If a client doesn’t know exactly what kind of tech they want early in the building process, they could later face the agony of tearing into drywall or missing out on certain features altogether. Speakers and security products required hard wiring, advanced lighting systems required an electrician, and something as simple as installing outdoor security cameras presented its own set of challenges, depending on the materials used in the home’s exterior.
Thankfully, technology has changed, and the hurdles to integrating connected devices such as smart speakers, smart lighting and security systems into a home have never been easier to overcome. Here are the top things to consider when making your next build a smarter one.
Think About the Network
With today’s products and gadgets, one of the most important things to take into account is the quality of the home network. A bargain basement wireless router might do the trick for people who only plan to use a laptop occasionally from the couch, but for most homebuyers today, that’s not the case. Residents typically want to add dozens of smart devices and video streamers to their home networks, and a low-end wireless router could be the weakest link in the whole chain.
For a large and sophisticated home, you’ll want to consider a system with high-powered antennas or even one of the new “mesh” networking products that send a signal throughout the entire home with a variety of base stations. Also, consider how the insulation used in the walls might interfere with a Wi-Fi signal.
For a home built with ethernet ports for hardwired connections, keep in mind that the network will make or break the home technology experience. Putting in place a solid networking solution will make your homes more attractive to buyers.
Avoid Unnecessary Pre-Wiring
As important as it is to consider a home’s network setup, you might be surprised to know that pre-wiring a home for a security system is no longer a necessity. While there are still plenty of traditional wired systems on the market, many of the most advanced products connect to a Wi-Fi network using an array of battery-powered sensors that stick to walls and doors with adhesive. These tools are just as effective as their wired counterparts, but they’re much more flexible, allowing homeowners to adjust the areas that are monitored as the home’s security needs change over time.
A pre-wired home can be nice to have in some circumstances, but a lack of wired locations is no longer the deal-breaker that it once was.
Make Small Upgrades that Equal Energy-Saving Results
As you save money in the budget by avoiding pre-wiring and using less expensive security products, consider investing in other tools that can lead to big energy savings (and reduced utility costs for the future homeowners). Here are some of the most helpful products to include:
- Smart home appliances. Home appliances like water heaters and washing machines now include powerful energy-monitoring (and saving!) software that can make a big difference in monthly bills down the line.
- LED lighting solutions. LED lighting is more expensive up front, but these fixtures typically use about 80% less energy than incandescent products, while opening the home up to a host of smart lighting features.
- Smart thermostats. These smart tools take temperature control to a new level — adapting to residents’ usage patterns, climate changes and even the amount of activity detected in the home. This fine-tuned piece of technology, which can also be controlled remotely via a mobile app, is a big plus for homebuyers.
The best part of today’s smart home marketplace is that there are hundreds of great options to choose from that get easier to use and install every day, making residential homes more convenient, more efficient and safer. Make sure a new home is powered by a strong network, and it will have everything it needs for homeowners to integrate new tools and technologies for years to come.
Eric Murrell is a software developer and technology contributor to XFINITY Home. He enjoys sharing tips on how people can benefit from incorporating smart home automation and security in their homes on his blog At Home in the Future.
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