Noun. A smart home consultant provides advanced electronic systems for your home. In this article, we discuss the evolution of smart home systems.
Just because you can, doesn’t always mean you should…
In this article, Guy shares his views on overly complicated systems, which ultimately and invariably disappoint.
Guy Singleton MIET LCGI MInstLM (our principal engineer) is a fully qualified and registered electrical and electronics engineer. He teaches and lectures internationally and is a subject matter expert for CEDIA’s education council, specialising in lighting, HVAC, home theatre design, fundamental electrical theories, electrical maths and control systems and programming. Guy has been at the helm of Imagine This for over 20 years.
Local, central, local! (The changing Smart Home Consultant Approach)
I’ve seen much change in my 30-year stretch in this industry. In the past, local control systems (remotes) were utilised to simplify the control of the equipment within a room. We’d now refer to that as a localised system. Equipment was relatively expensive and distributing a VCR to work throughout the house was neither easy nor practical. Moving forward a decade and a centralised system became the order of the day. Large AV racks cooking away in a basement or cupboard, supplying selected rooms with the output from central source equipment.
Here is where I believe the problem started for the industry as a whole. Complex system design and unsympathetic code writing seemed, in my eyes anyway, to make the whole thing very elaborate and prone to failure. Effectively allowing smart people to create the solution to how a homeowner will eventually live with a system.
I wonder just how many people of the mid to late 90s and running through to the mid-2010s have systems that have effectively devalued their homes? Overly complex systems and fragile support packages deter potential buyers. They can’t live with them, and they can’t live without them.
Later, the systems became much easier to design and install. Reverting to a much more localised approach and removing some (but not all) of those user issues. For a while, iPads, iPhones, and Android devices seemed to make up the vast majority of handheld control interfaces. These, although seemingly inexpensive compared to a dedicated remote, were simply not as practical as a dedicated device. So yet again the industry talked itself into the front door and straight out the back.
Our Approach – Smart Home Consultant and Client
We at Imagine This believe in the mantra “just because you can, it doesn’t mean you should”! Put simply, when clever programmers write overly complicated control code, it can cause more harm than good.
We believe that you have to live with a product to understand how it performs and to perceive how you may want to use it. Thus, as a company, we ensure that our project experts experience these systems in their own homes. This gives such an invaluable level of insight and pays dividends to the outcomes of our projects.
Our ethos is to keep it straightforward. Light switches to turn lights on. Handheld remotes in each room, to control those rooms, simply. We understand what works well together and what doesn’t. We live with these systems ourselves and know that simple is often the best strategy. We use tried and trusted systems from leading manufacturers such as Lutron, Crestron and 2N.
But as an experienced smart home consultant, we also know that providing something that appears simple can sometimes be quite complicated. And this for us is where the magic is. We start by learning about our clients, making sure that we understand how they want to live, and how home technology can support that. Then we deliver systems that provide simple, intuitive control.
We can because we are Imagine This…