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  • Control 4 4Sight: What Is It and Do You Need It?

    If you’re thinking about adding smart home technology to your home, you’re not alone. There are so many reasons to make your home smarter. Smart home technology adds convenience, security, and energy savings to your home. You can automate just about anything with a smart home system.

    A smart home operating system like Control4 allows you to control nearly every device and system in your house such as your lights, thermostat, and sound systems. This isn’t like buying a bunch of different smart devices. It is a smart home operating system that connects nearly every device in your home to one easy-to-use interface.

    Control4 works with thousands of brands and devices, so you can use it to operate a large number of products in your home — and add virtually any smart home feature you can think of.

    While Control4 is incredibly easy to use, even for the people who aren’t tech savvy, because it’s a professionally installed system, there are a few limitations. Your installer will create most of the home automation features for you, so If you want to add a new feature or customize an existing one, it can be inconvenient. This is where Control4’s 4 Sight comes in.

    control 4 smart home system

    What is Control4 4 Sight?

    4 Sight is a subscription feature that allows you to get more out of your Control4 system. It includes a ton of extra features including remote access, voice integration, When>>Then personalization, Intercom Anywhere, and more. This yearly subscription allows you to personalize your smart home system without having to call your installer. Let’s go over some of the additional features you get with 4Sight.

    Remote access

    With Control4, you can manage your home from your smartphone or tablet. You can check on the status of locks, check cameras, control your lighting, sound system, thermostat, or other connected devices while you’re at home. But, what if you want to operate your smart home when you’re not in it? 4Sight allows you to operate and control your home automation remotely. You can check the status of your door locks, view your cameras, or operate your lights, music, and more – all conveniently from your smartphone.

    Adds the ability to use Voice Control

    Voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Home are very useful additions to any smart home. These virtual assistants can control your lights, temperature, and smart home scenes. They make it quite easy to turn on lights, raise the temperature, or close the garage door, all with a simple voice command. With 4Sight you can use Josh, Amazon Alexa, or Google Assistant with your Control4 system.

    WHEN >> THEN Personalization

    One of the advantages of a Control4 system is that it is installed by expert professionals. They will set all of your automation up for you and make sure everything functions properly in your home. After your Control4 system is installed, you can use 4Sight to add new features or make changes to existing features. When>>Then personalization is available to you with a 4Sight subscription.

    With When>>Then you can personalize your smart home without having to call your installer. Here’s a quick rundown of how it works. With your subscription you can visit the When>then personalization page to access a library of “if/then” options. “When” options correspond with “Then” actions. For example, “when it’s 9pm”, then ‘lock” the door.

    Intercom Anywhere

    A smart home allows you to see who is at your door and speak to them through an intercom system and a smart doorbell.. Intercom Anywhere lets you do this from anywhere. You can use your smart video doorbell wherever you are. Would you like to check who is at the door? Or use your intercom remotely? With 4Sight’s Intercom Anywhere, you can unlock the door and let guests enter, and then lock the door again once they leave. Intercom Anywhere lets you do this, and so much more.

    Do you need a 4Sight Subscription?

    You can use all of the features of Control4 without having a subscription to 4Sight. However, if you want to be able to operate your home remotely — a major perk of having a smart home – then you definitely need 4Sight. Priced at $100 per year, it’s well worth it.

    Are you ready to make your home smarter? If you’re interested in learning more about a Control4 smart home system, give us a call at (678) 392-2363. We can help you design a customized smart home system tailored around your needs and budget.

  • How Covid Has Affected the Smart Home Industry

    When the Covid pandemic started, it caused a lot of things to change in the technology industry. Our entire workforce was disrupted as many employees were forced to work from home. Not surprisingly, the sale of PCs went through the roof. In fact, more people bought laptops and computers in 2020 than they had in the last six years.

    Because so many people were working from home, home technology became a necessity for many American workers rather than a luxury. This led to a spike in purchases of home office tech products such as webcams, microphones, and printers. Companies and employees were forced to become more innovative and make adjustments.

    covid and the smart home industry

    Covid initially disrupted the smart home industry

    While Covid created a surge in home office technology purchases, the smart home industry did not fare as well. The economic situation was frightening and with social distancing in place, many consumers decided to postpone new installations of smart home systems.

    Initially, the pandemic caused a big drop in the sales of smart home systems. However, as people have adjusted to living in the “new normal”, they have become more aware of the benefits of smart home technology. Covid has sparked a lot of interest in two areas of smart home technology in particular – home security and voice-controlled devices.

    Covid has created a huge interest in smart home security

    Home security is the main category driving growth in the smart home industry right now. Many homeowners purchased devices like security cameras, smart locks, and smart doorbells with cameras. According to a survey by Homes.com, 70 percent of consumers said that home security was their number one reason for purchasing smart home products. The majority surveyed also said that smart home tech had helped them during an emergency situation.

    Before Covid, people didn’t put much thought into who was coming to their door. They used home security systems mainly to protect their homes when they were away or to keep them safe at night. As contactless deliveries became commonplace, people wanted to know who was at the door before they answered it.

    Covid also spurred an interest in indoor video cameras. Quarantines made it difficult for friends and family to visit each other. This was particularly concerning for people with elderly parents. Having an indoor security camera allows you to check-in or connect with your loved ones, even if you don’t live nearby.


    There has also been a surge in voice-controlled devices and home automation

    Since Covid started people are trying to keep their homes cleaner and safer. Smart home technology allows people to cut down on the number of high-touch surfaces they touch, such as doorknobs, light switches, and remote controls. By using voice commands, people can unlock a door without touching it or turn on a light without using the light switch. Homes and businesses are switching to more automation to reduce the need for touching switches or controls

    This might explain why smart lighting is currently the second-largest segment of the smart home market. Voice control and automation are trending, partly because of Covid, but consumers are also buying smart home products for other reasons. A big one is energy reduction. With more people working from home, consumers are looking for ways to reduce energy. Smart lighting is one way to do that. Similarly, consumers are also looking into smart thermostats and HVAC systems.

    Covid has changed our lives. We are doing things differently and are more connected than ever. As we move forward, more people are getting interested in smart home technology. Intuitive AV can help you add a smart home system to your home. No matter what kind of system you’re interested in, we can help you get started with smart home automation.

  • Smart Home Technology for Seniors

    Smart home technology is often considered the domain of the young, but it can also benefit seniors! Truth is, seniors can use smart home tech to benefit a lot in many ways. For example, they can use voice commands, smart programming, and alerts to feel safer and more secure at home.

    They can also set up automatic programming so that their lights and thermostat are adjusted automatically throughout the day. Seniors can even use smart home technology to help them stay safe if they have disabilities.

    Smart home technology has been helping families take care of elderly parents for a while. With cameras, sensors, and voice-activated systems, family members can make sure their parents are healthy and safe from a distance. But, if you think seniors are too intimidated by technology to invest in a smart home system themselves, you might be surprised. Seniors send text messages, use Facebook, use smartphones, and laptops.

    seniors using smart home technology

    As seniors get older, many want to age-in-place. This is a big trend in the baby boomer generation. To make sure they can remain safe and independent, many are looking into smart home technology.   When seniors and their families learn how to use this technology, it’s an appealing option for both seniors and their families.  It provides the family with peace of mind that they can check in on their older parents remotely while providing seniors with the ability to live in their own homes.

    Smart Home Features Seniors and their Family Love

    There are a lot of cool things you can do with smart home automation, but seniors and their families love the safety features, security, and convenience.  Here are a few features they love.

    Medical Alerts, Reminders, and Emergency Features

    There are a lot of built-in safety features in a smart home. With a little training and programming, a smart home can do everything from reminding you to take medication to sending medical help to your home with a voice command. A smart home is great for reminding seniors to take medication. They can even be programmed to tell you what the pill looks like or what dosage to take.

    If a medical emergency arises, emergency personnel can be sent to the house immediately. An alert can also trigger automatic unlocking of doors so that emergency personnel can enter the home. In addition, if family members receive an alert, they can check on the senior with remote viewing.

    older senior using a smart phone

    Smart Lighting and HVAC

    Seniors love smart lighting and HVAC systems They can enjoy the convenience of automatic lighting and temperature regulation. Voice commands make it easy for them to turn on or off all the lights, and seniors love it.  They can also turn the thermostat up or down without having to touch anything. A smart thermostat can adjust the temperature of the house based on a schedule, or adjust it automatically to keep the house comfortable. This is perfect for seniors at home who want to save money without having to keep track of everything.

    Motion Sensors and Monitors

    Another thing that seniors and their families like is the ability to set up motion sensors and monitoring. This can be useful for everything from sending an alert when they receive mail to turning on the hallway nights automatically when motion is detected. This is also a useful safety feature. To keep seniors safe in the kitchen, a motion sensor can be programmed to alert them to check the stove when they leave the kitchen.

    seniors cooking breakfast

    Smart security features

    Seniors, who often live alone, can feel uneasy about answering the door to people they don’t know. That is why cameras are so important. They allow seniors to see who is at the door before they open it. Cameras also allow family members to receive notifications if someone comes to the door or enters their garage.

    Smart door locks also eliminate the need for keys. Seniors don’t have to remember where they left the keys. They can just open the door with their smartphone. This is really handy if they want to double check if a  door is locked or unlock the door without getting up. They can even program doors to lock automatically at a specific time.  It’s also nice because caretakers can be given access to the house without having to set up an extra lock. For example, when a home health aid stops by they can just enter with a code.

    Smart home technology is useful for all ages. It can keep your home safe and secure and can even add a level of comfort that makes daily life easier. The setup process can be difficult and intimidating, but with the help of a professional, you can get started right away.  Get in touch with Intuitive AV with any questions you have about smart home technology or to help you get started

  • Smart Home Routines that Make Your Life Easier

    Smart technology is making its way into everyone’s home in one form or another.  If you have just started researching smart home systems, or already have a system in place, there are so many things you can do with your smart home. Aside from the obvious benefits of safety, security, and convenience that come with having smart home automation, there are so many other things you can do.

    With Control4’s smart home operating system you can control all the devices in your home at once., It makes life more convenient and allows you to set up routines to make your life easier

    Smart Home Routines to Simplify your Daily Schedule

    One of the biggest things people love about using smart home routines is that they make sticking to a daily schedule easier. You can program your smart home with routines to start your morning, make your commute to work go smoother and make sure everyone in your home gets a good night’s sleep.

    smart home routines for the morning

    A morning routine is easy to set up. If you have trouble waking up in the morning, use smart automation to ease into your morning.  Before your alarm goes off, program the thermostat to warm up the house. It’s a lot easier to crawl out from the covers if the house is already cozy.

    Program the lights gradually turn on, or the blinds rise automatically in the morning.  Get your coffee going before you’re even out of bed. Start your day off with the right mindset by playing uplifting music automatically to boost your mood and energy.  Program your doors and garage doors to lock or close automatically at a certain time. This way you never have to worry if you remembered to lock the doors.

    You can program your home to do everything for you at night too, so you never have to worry about forgetting something. For example, you can program your lights to turn off automatically in the evening and your thermostat to lower at a certain time. All of this can be done automatically, so you don’t have to worry about doing it yourself.

    mom and daughter putting money in a piggy bank
    Smart Home Routines to Save You Money

    Smart home automation is efficient and cost-saving. It is also incredibly useful. The process of automating your home saves you time and money, and it’s much easier than managing a typical home. Smart home routines can be used to turn your lights on or off at specific times, but the real benefit of a smart home is that it learns your habits. It can make adjustments based on your routines, so you don’t have to worry about anything.

    You can create routines and programming to automatically adjust your home’s temperature and lights when you wake up, leave for work, or go to sleep. Because you can set your home up to automatically adjust the HVAC system and lighting in and outside your home, you don’t waste electricity or gas. The energy savings add up.

    Smart Home Routines to Make Your Home Safer

    Setting up safety routines is another way that smart homes improve your life. They make safety easier because you don’t have to remember all the little things like turning the outside lights on when it gets dark or locking the doors.  You can also set up routines to keep areas of your home like your garage and kitchen (which is where most home fires start) safer.  For example, motion sensors can turn off the stove automatically if someone leaves the room for a certain amount of time.

    Another safety feature people like is being able to set up routines to make it look like you are home when you aren’t there. If you ever travel for work or go on vacation, you can create routines that are similar to what you would be doing if you were at home. It’s added security you can’t get from a traditional home.

    smart home routine for a little girl

    Smart Home Routines to Make Your Life More Fun

    A happy home without stress and worry makes life more fun. Use home automation to make your life less stressful and more fun. Kids love being a part of creating routines. If you want them to be excited about morning time, let them help set up the morning routine by picking the morning music. You can set up other fun routines like when the mail arrives, a song plays like “you’ve got mail” or “Mr. Postman”.

    There are so many things you can do with a smart home system. It’s really up to you how you want to use it. If you’re interested in automating your home or finding out how you can set up routines like these, get in touch with our team at Intuitive AV. We can help you set up a smart home system that works for you and your family.

  • Cool Smart Home Ideas You Didn’t Know About

    The world of smart home automation is expanding every day. Now you can control every device in your home with a voice command, programming, or the touch of your phone. Whether you have a complete smart home system or just have part of your home automated, there are tons of cool things you can do with smart technology.

    You probably know that you can schedule your lights, your thermostat, or program the locks on your doors, but what else can you do? The possibilities are virtually unlimited, but here are a few cool smart home ideas you may not have thought about.

    Get help with your sleep routine.

    One of the coolest things about smart home technology is that you can use all your devices to create schedules, including a schedule to help you get to sleep and wake up at the same time. This is great for adults but, is amazing for kids. Create a scene for bedtime and wake up.

    ~Program your lights to dim at a specific time to help everyone prepare for bed
    ~At bedtime, turn off all the televisions, and lights at a set time,
    ~Set the blinds to automatically close to make the bedrooms dark.
    ~You can even stream classical music, nature sounds, or white noise before bed.
    ~In the morning program your window treatments and blinds to slowly open to help wake you up gradually.

    smart home ideas for sleep
    Keep tabs on your kids

    Smart home security systems provide peace of mind and security for busy parents. There are many things you can program your smart home to do. For example:

    ~At dinnertime, shut off the TV and turn on the dining room lights.
    ~You can also send messages to your kids’ phones with reminders that they need to do chores. For example, put away the dishes or take out the trash.
    ~Get a text message when your kids come home from school.
    ~Check on your home remotely.  With a camera inside or outside the house, you can view your property from anywhere in real-time to make sure your kids are safe when you’re not there.

    Set schedules for just about anything

    If you are trying to develop a new habit at home, you can program your house so that it supports you.

    ~Want to read a book every night? Set up the televisions to turn off at a certain time. Program quiet reading music to play on your speakers and the lights to turn on by your bedside table or desk.
    ~Get your kids in on the routines. Let them pick a tune to play when it’s time to brush their teeth and get ready for bed.

    cool smart home idea for scheduling

    Use your smart home to reach your personal goals

    In this day and age, smart technology can even be used to help you meet your goals. You really can use your smart home to assist you in just about everything.

    For example:

    ~If you want to work out every day, play motivational workout music through your smart speakers at a specific time.
    ~When you want to get down to business, program your smart home to block out distractions for 25 minutes.

    Cool entertaining ideas

    Entertainment is a big part of why people love smart home technology. One of the best features is the ability to control your lights automatically.

    ~When you have guests over dim all the lights at once.
    ~You can also program the lights to dim automatically whenever someone turns on the TV.
    ~Don’t worry about interruptions, if the doorbell rings or you get a phone call, your TV can be programmed to pause automatically.

    cool smart home ideas for entertaining
    Use your lights more efficiently

    The lighting in your house can be programmed to adjust when there is more natural light in a room, saving energy and creating a better experience.

    ~If the natural light in the room decreases, the lights will get brighter automatically.
    ~Lights can also work with motion sensors. If you ever wake up at night, you don’t want to turn on the lights in the entire house. A motion sensor can detect motion and turn the lights up to 15 or 30 percent, just enough light to see but not so bright to blind you or wake everyone up.

    A smart home comes with technology to make it safer, more convenient, energy-efficient, and just plain cooler. There are thousands of things you can do with smart home automation. You can program your home for security reasons, to create useful schedules, or simply to have some fun.

    If you’re interested in making your home a smart one, either now or in the future, get in touch with us at Intuitive AV. Our team of smart home professionals will be happy to help answer your questions.

  • DIY Smart Home: 10 Important Reasons Not to Do-it-Yourself

    Nowadays, homeowners are keen on implementing smart home technology to improve their home experience and make operating home devices more convenient. convenience by As the technology advances, you can easily find many of these smart devices available to purchase and install yourself. You can purchase smart home devices for every function from security to climate control and install them yourself with minimal supervision or professional help.

    In the next 5 years, smart home devices will be more popular than ever. The number of devices in a house is expected to grow. This is partly due to the romantic notion of a DIY smart home. Technically, you don’t need to hire professionals to install devices one by one. However, there are key issues to watch out for if you are thinking about doing it yourself, and some of them are highlighted below.

    1 DIY Devices Don’t Work Together

    This is one of the biggest issues people have when trying to DIY smart home. When you DIY you may waste money on devices that just won’t work together. The more complexity you want in your system, the more this can be an issue. If you hope to have a fully integrated smart home, adding devices and integration one at a time is still possible. But rather than doing it yourself and purchasing the wrong products, consult a professional. You don’t want to end up with multiple remote controls and apps. You want features that can’t be integrated into one control panel or app.

    couple trying to DIY with their smart home technology

    2 Installation is Too Complex

    Smart homes are not plug-and-play. When you’re thinking about which devices to purchase, you’ll want to consider things that require wiring or configuration. Smart home devices should be selected carefully to make sure you can actually set them up yourself.  Many systems are not DIY and will require professional installation. Even some of the simpler devices require professional installation.  Some devices may need professional configuration or electrical wiring.  For example, mounting a smart TV to the wall is best done by a professional.

    3 Getting an Incomplete System

    Just because you have a lot of smart devices, doesn’t mean your home is all that smart. When you opt to create your own DIY smart home, the chances are high that you won’t create a complete system of home automation.  People often shove smart devices on a wish list, without even knowing if they will work with the rest of their devices.  Possession of many DIY devices may create an impression of having an automated smart home. But, if they are not integrated together, all your really have is a bunch of different remote control devices.  If you are looking for an actual automated smart home, consulting a professional installer is recommended.

    4 Privacy and Security Issues

    When you buy a smart home product, it may be to upgrade your security. However, some DIY smart home devices may be less secure than they seem. Installing a smart home system professionally is important to ensure your network is secure and updated frequently to reduce any security issues,  Like anything that connects over the internet, there may be vulnerabilities. This is why it’s important not only to select the right devices but to make sure your connected devices aren’t vulnerable to hacking or other compromises.

    man operating remote control for television in DIY smart home

    5 Too Many Remotes and Apps

    The point of a smart home is to make your life more convenient.  It’s a pain to turn on your smart TV and then navigate through the inputs for your streaming player, cable box, and Blu-ray player with a different remote. It would be great to have a universal remote for all of your smart home devices. Most DIY smart home kits don’t provide this convenience because each device has its own proprietary system.  A professional installation provides you with one single remote or app that controls all the smart devices in your home.

    6 Wi-Fi Demands and Network Failures

    A smart home is only as good as its network. A solid network will ensure minimal interruptions and a seamless connection between devices. A good smart home system is one that has reliable network connectivity. Bundling a lot of DIY devices in your home doesn’t give you a better experience if your networking is not configured properly, it may cause lagging, buffering, and network failures.  A good networking system should be installed by a professional.

    7 It will Be Difficult to Use

    If you want a great smart home system, it’s important to consider how much effort you will need to put in to navigate through the system and set up smart devices. With so many applications that can be installed and so many DIY smart devices available, adding your own DIY devices can be really difficult to figure out how to use. Also, if you ever want anyone besides yourself to be able to use it, you may find that DIY products are just too hard to set up and use.  The nice part of hiring a pro is they can show you how to use it.

  • 5 Most Common Smart Home Implementations

    Even if you don’t have a smart home, you are likely using some type of smart home technology in your home. A survey by Coldwell Banker found that 1 in 4 Americans have smart home products in their homes, and almost half of all millennials use smart home technology. These numbers are expected to grow. The number of homes with smart home technology is expected to surpass 350 million households by 2023, according to Statistica, a leader in business data.

    Smart home technology is everywhere, from smart appliances and electronics to smarter energy systems, security, and lighting. Why are Americans so interested in smart home technology? We have always been attracted to innovation, but the driving force behind the smart home industry is efficiency. Smart home devices and products save you time, energy, and money.

    If you have just taken the leap into smart home automation, you might be wondering what are the most common smart home implementations? Most people start with smart appliances, as this requires only a small investment. But, once they see the convenience, time, and energy savings they start looking into other ways to implement smart home technology into their home.

    The 5 Most Common Smart Home Implementations

    smart home appliances

    1. Smart appliances

    When it comes to smart home technology, smart appliances lead the way. This is the most popular implementation of smart home innovation, and where most people start.  Smart home appliances are a great first step to adding smart home technology to your life. You can purchase anything from smart televisions to smart refrigerators, ranges, and coffee makers. They save time and make your life easier. For example, if you are a busy working mom and want to preheat your oven on the way home from work, you can do this remotely if you own a smart oven.

    Owning a smart appliance allows you to create schedules, control things remotely, and program them to turn off or on when you need them.  Once people start to see all the advantages of smart technology, they quickly start investigating other ways to implement smart home technology in their homes.

    2. Smart lighting

    Smart lighting is the most common smart home implementation. According to a study from On World, smart lighting is the most popular form of smart home automation. Consumers are becoming more energy conscious and looking for products and automation that will improve their home’s energy efficiency.  The demand for smart light bulbs has grown dramatically over the last few years and is expected to grow. But, more than that, homeowners want more convenience and control over their lighting system.

    With smart home automation, you can program your lights to turn on and off automatically. They also can be controlled remotely. Have you ever accidentally left a light on in your home?  With a smart lighting system, you can turn one or all of your lights off remotely.  Most smart lighting systems integrate with other smart home products, allowing you to control everything in your home from one convenient app or control panel.

    3. Smart Thermostats and HVAC Systems

    Next on the list of common smart home implementations is smart thermostats and HVAC systems. Although this may not be as cool as saying, “Hey Alexa turn off the lights”, smart thermostats are among the most popular forms of smart home technology. Almost half of all US homes use a smart thermostat, according to a survey by Strategy Analytics.

    A smart thermostat is much different than a programmable thermostat. A smart thermostat can be programmed to change the temperature up or down when you’re away from home. They can also be controlled remotely.  Some smart thermostats like the one by Control4 Wireless Thermostat do much more than that though. They are responsive and adjust the atmosphere in your home based on what is going on. This thermostat responds to humidity and temperature changes in your home and adjusts automatically.

    man using common smart home implementations at home using his phone

    4. Smart Speakers and Sound Systems

    Adding smart speakers to your home can provide your home with an incredible upgrade in high-quality immersive sound.  The sound systems of today are no longer made up of large speakers that take up your whole room or wires that go everywhere.

    Wireless smart speakers are making their way into millions of American homes.  One in four Americans has smart speakers in their home.  People love technology, especially when it comes to entertainment and music. Think about how many people you know that own a smart TV.  We like the convenience of being able to connect wireless to the internet and to control our devices with the touch of an app. The same is true for sound systems.

    What people are most excited about is the fact that you can now have high-quality sound, without taking up a lot of space. Hidden speakers are a big trend in smart homes. You can incorporate smart speakers into your walls and ceilings.  With the help of a professional installer, all of your speakers can be concealed in your walls and ceilings. This way your home sound system sounds amazing but isn’t an eyesore.

    What’s nice about smart speakers is that you can control the sound system with your smartphone or at the touch of a button. Like other smart home products, many smart speakers can be integrated with other devices and controlled through one app or control panel.

    smart locks are one of the most common smart home implementations
    5. Smart Locks & Security Systems

    Last but not least, home security tops the list in smart home implementations.  Security and alarm systems have been around a long time, but they are limited in what they can do. A traditional alarm system will sound an alarm or alert police to your home, but it’s not responsive. You may be alerted to a  break in, but you may not be able to check on your home or your loved ones.

    With a smart home security system, you have access to instant information. With a touch of a button, you can respond to a medical emergency or break in, and actually see what’s going on inside or around your home.

    In addition, many smart home security systems come with responsive features that will scare off an intruder. For example, if someone attempts to break into your home, your smart home security system may flash your exterior lights on and off. You can capture a picture of the intruder remotely and continue monitoring what is going on inside your home from a distance.

    Even if you don’t have a full-scale security system, you can add security to your home with a smart lock. There are a lot of advantages to smart locks that go beyond security. With a smart lock you can allow guests to enter your home without giving them a key to your door. You never have to worry about losing your key because opening the door can be done through an app on your phone. And while some people worry that smart locks may be hackable, the truth is they are more secure than a key lock. Most intruders shy away from smart technology. They are looking for homes that are easy to enter. Just having smart technology at the door may deter them.

    As the technology improves, more people are investing in smart home products and smart home automation. If you are interested in getting started with any of these common smart home implementations or just have questions, get in touch with an Intuitive AV professional. Our team has extensive knowledge on smart home automation to help you get started.

  • 8 Reasons Why Smart Homes Are Safer & More Secure than Traditional Homes

    If you are interested in smart home technology, you may have read that smart homes can be hacked. This is a common misconception about smart home automation. People mistakenly believe that the use of technology means that a smart home is more likely to be hacked. Smart homes are not only safer than traditional homes they are less “hackable” and more secure than traditional homes. In fact, the security features a smart home offers is one of the biggest reasons to invest in smart home technology.

    Are smart homes safer?

    If you’re wondering if smart homes are safer than traditional homes, the answer is yes. While some people may question the security of smart home technology (asking questions like can it be hacked? Or is it easier for someone to break into my smart home? A smart home includes safety features you can’t get from a traditional home. Here are a few reasons why smart homes are safer than traditional homes.

    safe community of smart homes

    1. Smart homes provide better lighting

    You might be surprised by the number of accidents that are caused by poor lighting.  Every year, 3 million elderly people are treated in the emergency room for fall injuries, according to the CDC. Poor lighting is one contributor to slip and fall injuries.  Have you ever missed a step when entering or exiting a house or building?  This is often because of inadequate lighting or lights that don’t come on automatically. A smart home can be programmed to turn on lights automatically on a schedule. Not only that, but many smart homes are responsive and can adapt the lighting in and around your home automatically.

    2. Smart homes allow you to check on loved ones remotely

    If you have children, you may not always be home to check on them. Smart homes allow you to monitor your home remotely. We’ve had nanny cams for a long time, but smart home technology is more responsive. If there is an emergency your children can press a button for immediate help.

    This technology helps even more if you are caring for an elderly parent or loved one. Just because someone is older, doesn’t mean they need around-the-clock care. If your loved one has health issues, limited mobility, or dementia, they may need assistance.  However, it may not be feasible for you to be available at all times.  Smart home technology makes it easier for your loved ones to do things like turn on the lights or television, but it also provides you with a way to monitor their well-being when you aren’t at home.

    3. Smart homes allow you to get help instantly

    In an emergency, getting help to your home quickly is crucial. With smart home monitoring and a touch of a button alert system, you can contact police or emergency personnel immediately.  If you need help sent to your home, you can use your smartphone to contact services remotely to send help to your home. If you live in a traditional home, you can’t check on your home remotely or instantly send help. This is an important safety advantage of having a smart home.

    emergency personel entering smart home

    4. Smart homes improve response time during medical emergencies

    Along with being able to get assistance quickly, having a smart home allows response teams to gain access to your home more easily. For example, if you have to enter your home through a gate, the gate can be opened through smart technology. If someone is injured in the home, they can use voice commands to open the door. Or, if you are away from the home, you can unlock doors remotely. Doors can also be unlocked automatically, which can be life-saving during a medical emergency. Imagine if a loved one is home alone and injured and can’t get to the door to open it.  A smart home makes it easier to get help when you or a loved one needs it.

    Are smart homes more secure?

    The next big question people have about smart homes is how secure are they?  Are smart homes more secure than traditional homes? There are a number of security advantages to having a smart home. If you own smart home, you can add smart home monitoring and security features, but these aren’t the only reason a smart home is more secure.

    5. Smart homes are less hackable than traditional homes

    One of the most searched questions when it comes to smart homes is “can smart homes be hacked?”  Some people believe that technology makes a home more hackable and that a traditional door lock is more secure than a smart lock.

    Can smart homes be hacked?

    Hacking a smart lock requires extensive knowledge of hacking.  When it occurs it is generally because someone hacks your smartphone, not the lock itself.  Like any cyber technology, there may be vulnerabilities which is why it is important to work with a professional smart home security company to select the most secure smart lock for your home

    However, most intruders are not hackers. They are looking for homes with easy entry. A traditional door lock can be picked or broken through force. A smart lock makes your home more secure by preventing easy entry. In addition, an intruder may skip your home simply because of the technology they meet at the door. Think about it? If you were an intruder would you break into the house with smart technology or the house with a door that can easily be broken into?

    6. Smart homes allow you to create a “mockupancy” program

    Intruders often break into unoccupied homes. Most break-ins don’t occur while the homeowner is at home. They wait until you’re not there to break in. Having smart home technology allows you to make your home look occupied when you aren’t at home. Lights can be programmed to turn on and off automatically. Your television and interior lights can be programmed to come on so that it appears someone is home. While you may be able to find programmable lights, creating the illusion of being home is not so easy.  Smart homes do a remarkable job of mimicking what a person would do when they are at home, giving the illusion that your home is occupied.

    7. Smart homes provide responsive security

    Even if you have home security or monitoring system, it is not as responsive as a smart home system.  With a smart home, your home reacts to emergencies by triggering an automatic alarm along with other security features. For example, if your alarm is triggered or disarmed your exterior lights can flash on and off to attract attention and scare off intruders.  Your exterior lights can be turned on automatically and capture a clear high-resolution photo of the intruder.  Your security cameras or televisions can be used to view what’s going on in and around the home remotely as well.  These features are not available through a traditional home security system.

    8. Smart home technology allows you to address security issues remotely

    When you have a traditional home, even if it has a security system, you may get an alert if an alarm is triggered, but you can’t address security issues remotely. Having a smart home security system allows you to see what’s going on inside and around your home right from your smartphone. Your smart home can respond automatically, but you also have immediate access to what’s going on at the home so you can respond to it remotely.

    As you can see, a smart home is much safer and more secure than a traditional home. Aside from the convenience and tech features, a smart home truly improves the safety and security of your home. If you are interested in starting with smart home automation or would like to learn more about the safety and security features of a smart home contact an Intuitive AV professional.

  • Average Costs of Installing a Smart home system

    The smart home market is growing at a fast pace. What used to be science-fiction is now a reality in many homes across the country. We now have smart appliances, smart lighting, smart thermostats, and HVAC systems. Owning a smart home can involve installing a multitude of different products, features, or systems, the cost to make your home a smart home will really depend on how comprehensive and feature-rich your smart home is.

    The costs of installing smart home systems can range from $1,000 all the way to $15,000 or more, depending on what system or systems you install. However, on average you can expect to spend an average of $10,000 to have a smart home system professionally installed.

    couple discussing costs of smart home systems

    Every smart home can have different levels of automation, not to mention a large range in different size homes that might need more or less equipment/devices. This is the reason there is such a huge range in the costs of installing smart home systems. If a homeowner, only wants one feature, for example, a smart thermostat and HVAC system, they will naturally spend less than someone who wants their entire home automated. Let’s break down the costs of installing various smart home systems.

    Average costs of smart lighting systems

    A smart lighting system allows you to control your lights remotely or with voice commands. You can dim lights, schedule them so they turn on or off automatically, or turn on based on motion detection.  For the average homeowner, 20% of their electric bill is spent on lighting.  Newer smart light bulbs use around 80% less electricity than traditional incandescent bulbs. This is one reason why smart lighting systems are often the first step homeowners take in smart home automation.

    women excited about smart home lights

    When it comes to smart lighting, the cost of a smart light bulb is around $30-60 for a single light bulb. Multiply this by the number of light bulbs in an average home and you can see that smart lighting can cost $1000 or more in just the light bulbs. In comparison, many professional smart home integrators will opt for installation of smart light switches or dimmer instead of light bulbs.  This solution is more flexible allowing for any type of light bulb to be controlled as part of your smart home system.  Also installing “smart bulbs” only leaves room for the light switch controlling the smart bulb to be left off leaving the “bulb” unresponsive in your smart home app. For a professionally installed lighting system, you can expect to spend on average $3,000-$4,000.

    Average costs of smart HVAC systems

    With the cost of heating soaring across the country, many homeowners are looking into smart thermostats and HVAC systems. When you use a traditional thermostat, each time you adjust the temperature your furnace kicks on to heat up the room. This creates a lot of extra work for your furnace. A smart thermostat adjusts the temperature automatically, reducing the amount of work the furnace has to do to heat your home. Switching to a smart thermostat can reduce your costs to heat your home, while also adding convenient home automation.

    A smart thermostat costs on average somewhere between $200-300. In general, switching to a smart thermostat is an affordable step in smart home technology. However, if you have an older furnace, replacing your furnace with an energy-efficient furnace can add to the cost of installing a smart HVAC  system.

    Average costs of smart home security systems

    Smart home security systems are one of the big-ticket items in smart home automation. However, unlike lights or thermostats which are more affordable, you may be willing to invest more in a security system that comes with all the features that many smart home security systems have. This isn’t a traditional security system, that just monitors your home or triggers an alarm during a break-in.

    Many of the smart home security systems connect with all the devices in your home.  You can control an array of products including your smart thermostat, lights, door locks, and garage doors.  You can also view your home remotely right from your smartphone.  In many cases, professional integrators like Intuitive AV can monitor your traditional alarm system already existing in most homes and add additional features to allow it to be controlled by the larger smart home system.  This can allow your existing infrastructure to remain while making it smarter at the same time.

    There is a wide range of products and systems available when it comes to smart home security.  Pricing can range from $1,000 all the way to $100,000 or more for a larger home.  This is because there are so many different smart home systems available.  Most of the lower-priced smart home systems are DIY systems or require a monthly subscription.

    If you want a fully-connected smart home security system, you can expect to pay on average $10,000 to $20,000. These systems require professional installation, but most homeowners are also paying for other smart home integrations.

    If you are interested in installing a smart home system in your home, get in touch with Intuitive AV. Our professional installers can answer any questions you have about smart home systems and options in smart home automation.

  • Pros and Cons of Smart Home Tech

    Smart Home Tech is popping up everywhere. Everything from your home appliances to your HVAC system, to your lighting, can be automated. As the technology improves more people are hopping on the smart home bandwagon.

    What’s driving the growth in smart home technology? Aside from the fact that Americans love technology, the major driving force for consumers is energy efficiency. As this year’s heating costs soar, more consumers are looking for ways to save money on their energy bills. Smart home tech does just that. It is a merge of convenience and energy efficiency.

    Homeowners are seeing the value in upgrading their home technology to smart home automation. You can now control your home’s lights, heating, and appliances from virtually anywhere while saving money at the same time.

    If you are thinking about adding smart home automation to your home, you might be wondering where to start. What smart home integrations are the best to start with? And, are there pros and cons to smart home tech?

    Pros and Cons of Smart Home Tech

    Let’s get into the pros and cons of smart home tech. While there are many advantages to adding smart home tech to your home, there are a few disadvantages to consider.

    smart home pros and cons include energy efficiency

    Smart Home Tech Pros

    Energy efficiency

    Smart homes provide energy efficiency in a way that a traditional home can’t. With smart home automation, you can program your HVAC and lights to be used more efficiently. This way you aren’t using unnecessary electricity or gas when you’re not home. This can be done through behavioral automation or programming your home technology to turn on and off at certain times or days.

    Smart home technology is getting more responsive. Some smart home integrations will actually adjust the humidity or temperature in your home automatically. Additionally, smart appliances can be programmed to avoid using energy during peak demand times. All of these automated features provide you with a reduction in energy use and cost savings.

    Safety

    You might not think about safety when you’re considering smart home automation, but a smart home provides safety features that you can’t get from a traditional home. Better lighting, home monitoring, and responsive alerts are some of the available features with smart home tech.

    With smart home monitoring, you gain peace of mind, knowing you can check on your loved ones and your home through remote cameras. If there is an emergency, you can see what’s going on inside your home instantly. More than that, smart home integrations allow you to take action remotely when an emergency takes place. Because you can control all your home devices including your outside gate, garage door, or front entrance through an app on your smartphone, you can open doors or gates for the emergency crews without being home. And, you can see what’s going on while it’s happening.

    Security

    Smart tech security systems allow you to monitor your home from anywhere at any time. You can see what’s going on remotely through cameras or even the televisions inside of your home. Smart locks provide added security as well. Just having a smart lock on your front and back entrances is a deterrent for intruders. Unlike traditional key locks, smart locks can’t be picked or easily broken through force. Most intruders will skip a house with smart home security and opt for one that’s easier to break into

    Home security that uses smart technology is more responsive than traditional home security systems. Instead of just setting off an alarm, with a smart home security system you can take action remotely. Your system can be programmed to flash your exterior lights on and off when an alarm is disarmed or triggered. With properly positioned lighting, you can capture a high-resolution of any would-be intruder and respond to any threats remotely.

    Improved Home Value

    Adding smart home automation to your home provides a lot of cool features, safety, and security. But, another bonus of adding smart home technology is that it increases your home value. More and more Americans are interested in homes with smart technology. While it’s not a guarantee that a buyer will pay more for your home, as the demand for smart home technology increases, homes with smart home technology generally attract more buyers. Many are willing to pay more for the home automation that’s already set up for them.
    Home Automation is Cool

    While this may be a minor perk, people who love technology go for smart home tech because it’s cool. Who doesn’t like being able to control all the music in their house with a voice command, being able to preheat their oven on the way home from work, or dim the lights all at once when guests come over to watch a movie?

    Smart Home Cons

    Initial investment

    The biggest hold back people have with adding smart home tech to their homes is the price. There is an initial investment to get started. While some home automation products can be installed without a professional, many of the smart home products require professional installation. For some, this price is more than they want to invest, even with the cost-savings.

    However, investing in smart home technology doesn’t have to be completed in one step. You can slowly add smart home tech to your home by adding one integration at a time. It’s best to talk to a professional like our team at Intuitive AV to plan out your smart home automation. This way you can be sure that you are selecting the best products and that everything you purchase will be compatible with other devices as you add additional integrations to your home.

    Internet Outages

    Most smart home tech is operated through a wifi connection. While it’s awesome to have connected technology, it’s only as good as your wifi connection. If your wifi goes down, many of your smart home features will not work. While some smart home products and systems have a backup system, not all products do. Most work best with a solid wifi connection, so this can be a con. In most cases, outages don’t happen often enough for this to be a problem. It is also suggested to work with your smart home professional to make sure your network is up to the task. Proper network design including hard-wiring of the most critical components can help ensure the best reliability for your smart home and other network connected devices.
    Set up Can Be Complicated

    Adding smart home technology can be complicated and confusing. There are tons of products on the market, figuring out which one is best for your home, and installing them may seem like more trouble than it’s worth.

    Some products are easier to install than others. Once they are installed, you have to learn how to use them. This is why it’s generally recommended that you work with a professional if you are interested in setting up smart tech devices or automation in your home. They can save you money and time while choosing the best options for your budget and needs.

    If you are interested in getting started with smart home tech, get in touch with an Intuitive AV professional. Our team of professional installers can answer any questions you might have about smart home systems and products to help you find the best solution for your home.