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  • 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.

  • How‌ ‌Your‌ ‌Smart‌ ‌Home‌ ‌Helps‌ ‌in‌ ‌Emergencies:‌ ‌Emergency‌ ‌Features‌

    If‌ ‌you’re‌ ‌thinking‌ ‌about‌ ‌investing‌ ‌in‌ ‌smart‌ ‌home‌ ‌technology,‌ ‌you‌ ‌may‌ ‌be‌ ‌under‌ ‌the‌ ‌impression‌ ‌smart homes only add cool‌ ‌tech‌ ‌features‌ ‌to‌ your house.‌ ‌Sure,‌ ‌it’s‌ ‌nice‌ to‌ ‌adjust‌ ‌the‌ ‌temperature‌ ‌in‌ ‌your‌ ‌home‌ ‌without‌ ‌getting‌ ‌out‌ ‌of‌ ‌bed‌ ‌or‌ ‌turn‌ ‌off‌ ‌all‌ ‌your‌ ‌lights‌ ‌with‌ ‌a‌ ‌ voice‌ ‌command.‌ ‌But,‌ ‌smart‌ ‌homes‌ ‌provide‌ ‌you‌ ‌with‌ ‌more‌ ‌than‌ ‌just‌ ‌fun‌ ‌tech‌ ‌gadgets‌ ‌for‌ ‌your‌ ‌home.‌ ‌A‌ ‌smart‌ ‌home‌ ‌keeps‌ ‌your‌ ‌home‌ ‌and‌ ‌your‌ ‌loved‌ ‌ones‌ ‌safe‌ ‌in‌ ‌emergencies.‌ ‌

    In‌ ‌emergency‌ ‌situations,‌ ‌smart‌ ‌homes‌ ‌provide‌ ‌unbeatable‌ ‌safety‌ ‌and‌ ‌security‌ ‌features.‌ ‌Your‌ ‌smart‌ ‌home’s‌ ‌built-in‌ ‌safety‌ ‌and‌ ‌security‌ ‌features‌ ‌allow‌ ‌you‌ ‌to‌ ‌get‌ ‌help‌ ‌faster‌ ‌and‌ ‌respond‌ ‌to‌ ‌emergencies‌ ‌quickly and ‌easily.‌ ‌

    Smart‌ ‌Home‌ ‌Emergency‌ ‌Features‌ ‌

    caretaker of elderly women in a smart home

    There‌ ‌are‌ ‌a‌ ‌number‌ ‌of‌ ‌safety‌ ‌and‌ ‌security‌ ‌features‌ ‌that‌ ‌can‌ ‌be‌ ‌added‌ ‌to‌ ‌your‌ ‌smart‌ ‌home.‌ ‌These‌ ‌features‌ ‌can‌ ‌make‌ ‌a‌ ‌huge‌ ‌difference‌ ‌in‌ ‌response‌ ‌time‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌event‌ ‌of‌ ‌a‌ ‌burglary‌ ‌or‌ ‌medical‌ ‌emergency.‌ ‌In‌ ‌addition,‌ ‌a‌ ‌smart‌ ‌home‌ ‌security‌ ‌system‌ ‌provides‌ ‌you‌ ‌with‌ ‌around-the-clock‌ ‌monitoring‌ ‌so‌ ‌you‌ ‌don’t have to worry ‌when‌ ‌you‌ ‌are‌ ‌not‌ ‌at‌ ‌home.‌ ‌
    Burglaries‌ ‌and‌ ‌Break-ins‌ ‌

    ‌Many‌ ‌smart‌ ‌homes‌ ‌come‌ ‌with‌ ‌home‌ ‌security‌ ‌and‌ ‌monitoring,‌ ‌but‌ ‌they‌ ‌also‌ ‌have‌ ‌other‌ ‌features‌ ‌you‌ ‌might‌ ‌not‌ ‌be‌ ‌aware‌ ‌of.‌ ‌Depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌alarm‌ ‌system‌ ‌you‌ ‌select,‌ ‌your‌ ‌smart‌ ‌home‌ ‌can‌ ‌provide‌ ‌an‌ ‌arsenal‌ ‌of‌ ‌protection‌ ‌during‌ ‌a‌ ‌burglary.‌ ‌If‌ ‌an‌ ‌alarm‌ ‌is‌ ‌triggered,‌ ‌your‌ ‌exterior‌ ‌floodlights‌ ‌and‌ ‌carriage‌ ‌lights‌ ‌will‌ ‌automatically‌ ‌turn‌ ‌on. ‌This‌ ‌will‌ ‌not‌ ‌only‌ ‌scare‌ ‌off‌ ‌an‌ ‌intruder,‌ ‌but‌ ‌it‌ ‌creates ‌the‌ ‌best‌ ‌lighting‌ ‌to‌ ‌capture‌ ‌a‌ ‌high-quality‌ ‌picture‌ ‌of‌ the ‌would-be‌ ‌burglar‌ or intruder.

    ‌Today’s‌ ‌smart‌ ‌home‌ ‌security‌ ‌systems‌ also ‌have‌ numerous advanced‌ ‌features.‌ ‌If‌ ‌your‌ ‌alarm‌ ‌is‌ ‌triggered‌ ‌or‌ ‌disarmed,‌ ‌your‌ ‌smart‌ ‌home‌ ‌can‌ ‌be‌ ‌programmed‌ ‌to‌ ‌do‌ ‌several‌ ‌things‌ ‌immediately‌ to prevent a break-in.‌ ‌For‌ ‌example,‌ ‌if‌ ‌you‌ ‌have‌ ‌Control‌ ‌4’s‌ ‌Home‌ ‌Security system,‌ ‌you‌ ‌can‌ ‌set‌ ‌up‌ ‌enhanced‌ ‌alerts.‌ ‌If‌ ‌your‌ ‌alarm‌ ‌is‌ ‌triggered,‌ ‌you‌ ‌will‌ ‌get‌ ‌an‌ ‌alert, but t‌ ‌will‌ ‌also‌ ‌trigger‌ emergency protocols to keep your home safe. ‌The police will be alerted to the event. Your‌ ‌exterior‌ ‌lights‌ ‌will‌ ‌flash‌ ‌on‌ ‌and‌ ‌off‌ ‌to‌ ‌attract ‌attention‌ ‌and‌ ‌scare‌ ‌away‌ ‌any‌ ‌intruders.‌ ‌While‌ ‌this‌ ‌is‌ ‌happening,‌ ‌you‌ ‌can‌ ‌view‌ ‌what’s‌ ‌going‌ ‌on‌ ‌inside‌ ‌your home through‌ ‌any‌ ‌television‌ ‌and‌ ‌outside‌ ‌of‌ ‌your‌ ‌home‌ ‌through‌ ‌your‌ ‌security‌ ‌cameras.‌ ‌ ‌

    smart home safety with a security system

    Medical‌ ‌emergencies

    ‌Home‌ ‌monitoring‌ ‌isn’t‌ ‌just‌ ‌for‌ ‌security,‌ ‌it‌ ‌can‌ ‌be‌ ‌life-saving‌ ‌during‌ ‌a‌ ‌medical‌ ‌emergency.‌ ‌If‌ ‌you‌ ‌care‌ ‌for‌ ‌an‌ ‌elderly‌ ‌family‌ ‌member‌ ‌or‌ ‌someone‌ ‌with‌ ‌medical‌ ‌issues,‌ ‌home‌ ‌monitoring‌ ‌provides‌ ‌you with much-needed‌ ‌peace‌ ‌of‌ ‌mind.‌ ‌It‌ ‌allows‌ ‌you‌ ‌to‌ ‌check‌ ‌on‌ ‌your‌ ‌loved‌ ‌ones‌ ‌when‌ ‌they‌ ‌are‌ ‌home‌ ‌alone‌ ‌easily‌ right ‌from‌ ‌your‌ ‌smartphone.‌

    ‌If‌ ‌there‌ ‌is‌ ‌a‌ ‌medical‌ ‌emergency,‌ ‌the‌ ‌medical‌ ‌emergency‌ ‌button‌ ‌on‌ ‌your‌ ‌alarm‌ ‌can‌ ‌be‌ ‌pressed ‌(or controlled‌ ‌from‌ ‌a‌ ‌smartphone‌ ‌remotely) to‌ ‌automatically‌ ‌send‌ ‌emergency‌ ‌personnel‌ ‌out.‌ ‌Your‌ ‌home’s‌ ‌entry‌ ‌gate‌ ‌can be opened‌ remotely to‌ ‌allow‌ ‌emergency‌ ‌vehicles‌ ‌and‌ ‌personnel‌ ‌to‌ ‌get‌ ‌to‌ ‌you‌ ‌or‌ ‌your‌ ‌loved‌ ‌one‌ ‌quickly.‌

    ambulance can enter smart home more easily

    Fire‌ ‌and‌ ‌Storms‌ ‌

    ‌Smart home monitoring alerts you‌ ‌when‌ ‌there‌ ‌are‌ ‌changes‌ ‌within‌ ‌your‌ ‌home.‌ ‌Flood‌ ‌sensors,‌ ‌smoke‌ ‌detectors,‌ ‌and‌ ‌carbon‌ ‌dioxide‌ ‌detectors‌ ‌let you know ‌about potential‌ ‌emergencies‌ ‌inside‌ ‌of‌ ‌your‌ ‌home before they happen.‌ ‌You‌ ‌can‌ ‌check on‌‌ your‌ ‌home‌ ‌without‌ ‌being‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌home.‌ ‌If‌ ‌there‌ ‌is‌ ‌a‌ ‌fire,‌ ‌personnel‌ ‌can be dispatched ‌quickly.‌ ‌Your‌ ‌entry‌ ‌gate‌ ‌can‌ ‌be‌ ‌opened‌ ‌remotely. Your‌ ‌front‌ ‌doors‌ ‌can‌ ‌be‌ ‌opened‌ ‌remotely.‌ ‌All‌ ‌of‌ ‌these‌ ‌features‌ ‌allow‌ ‌fire‌ or rescue crew‌s ‌to‌ ‌get‌ ‌to‌ ‌your‌ ‌property‌ ‌more‌ ‌efficiently. You‌ ‌will also ‌be‌ ‌able‌ ‌to‌ ‌see‌ ‌what’s‌ ‌going‌ ‌on‌ ‌at‌ ‌your‌ ‌home‌ ‌during‌ ‌an‌ ‌emergency.‌ ‌
    Monitoring‌ ‌and‌ ‌Sensors‌ ‌Allow‌ ‌you‌ ‌to‌ Check on Your Home Remotely

    ‌Smart home security systems come with so many options from smart sensors, to alerts, and alarms. In a weather emergency, flood sensors can let you know if there is water or flooding in your basement. Smart fire, smoke, and carbon monoxide detectors can alert you to smoke inside the home. Sensors can alert you to close your windows before it starts to rain. Having sensors in place that alert you before there is water or fire damage, allows you to take preventative actions even if you aren’t at home, such as integrating smart water control valves to automatically shut off the water if a leak is detected.

    Along‌ ‌with‌ ‌safety‌ ‌and‌ ‌security‌ technology,‌ just ‌being able to check on your home remotely is one of the best reasons to have a smart home.‌ ‌If‌ ‌you‌ ‌have‌ ‌children‌ ‌that‌ ‌are‌ ‌home‌ ‌unattended,‌ ‌you‌ ‌can‌ ‌check‌ ‌in‌ ‌on‌ ‌them‌ ‌any time.‌ ‌If‌ ‌there‌ ‌is‌ ‌a‌ ‌problem‌ ‌in‌ ‌your‌ ‌home,‌ ‌you‌ ‌have‌ ‌quick‌ ‌and‌ ‌easy‌ ‌access‌ ‌to‌ ‌cameras‌. You can easily take care of issues remotely or ‌send‌ ‌out‌ ‌police‌ ‌or‌ ‌emergency‌ ‌personnel‌ ‌from‌ ‌your‌ ‌smartphone.‌ ‌

    If you are considering turning your home into a smart home, reach out to Intuitive AV’s smart home professionals. We can answer any questions and help you get started with smart home technology.

  • DIY TV Mounting: Why Mounting your TV Shouldn’t be a DIY Project

    You purchased an amazing flat-screen TV and now you need to mount it. You might be thinking about doing it yourself. What could go wrong? While it may be tempting to save money by doing it yourself, you really should leave this project to the professionals.

    Before you decide to do it yourself, we are going to explain all the reasons why you should work with a professional to make sure your TV set is mounted safely and correctly.

    7 Good Reasons to Hire a Professional to Mount Your TV

    two men mounting a flat screen tv

    Finding the Best Place to Mount Your TV Isn’t as Easy as You Think

    You have the TV, now where should you place it? You know you need it mounted securely, but your TV also needs to be mounted in the area that creates the best viewing experience. In order to mount your television securely to the wall, the TV needs to be secured to a stud in the wall or multiple studs depending on the TV size and mount type. What if the location of the stud is not where you want your TV set mounted? What if you can’t mount it at a comfortable viewing height? This is where a professional can help. They can help you find the ideal location to mount your television, and may have solutions such as an automated TV lift to allow you to move your flat screen up or down.
    Hiding Power Cords Can Be Dangerous

    To mount your TV safely, doing it yourself isn’t a good idea. If you want your television wiring to be hidden behind a wall, you can’t just run your TV’s power cord behind the wall. It’s illegal and dangerous since that is against electrical code. But, a professional can conceal your electrical wiring safely behind your wall, while maintaining electrical code standards.

    Unsafe Mounting Injures 18,000 People a Year

    Imagine what could happen if your television is mounted incorrectly. What would happen if your television suddenly came crashing down? You might not think this will happen, but it happens more often than you think. According to a report by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, over 18,000 people a year are injured from falling televisions, mostly children.

    A professional knows the best method for mounting your television, as well as the weight limits for the brackets being used. Additionally, mounting your TV may require a combination of brackets to ensure that it’s safely mounted to the wall, or wherever it is placed.

    beautiful home with flat screen tv

    Concealing Wires is Challenging

    Nobody wants an unsightly setup for their entertainment system. Hiding wires requires technical know-how and the right kind of wiring. One of the ways to conceal wires is to hide them behind a wall. However, this is not something you want to do yourself. Not only does this come with electrical safety concerns, how to do it without damaging your walls can be tricky. A professional can assist you with the best plan for concealing wiring, either through in-wall cables or other solutions.
    Mounting a TV to a Brick Wall Requires Special Care

    Trying to mount your tv to a brick wall, tile, or stone? This comes with a lot of challenges. If you have never mounted a television to a brick wall before, don’t assume that you can just follow a DIY YouTube video. Mounting a television to a brick wall requires experience and knowledge. Drilling holes into a brick wall can damage your wall, and even create structural issues with your wall if done incorrectly. You also can’t just throw cables behind a brick wall. Before you damage your home, call a professional. They know the correct way to do this so that your television is mounted securely without damaging your walls.

    tv mounted above fireplace

    Mounting a TV Over a Fireplace Should Never be a DIY Project

    Even if you’ve mounted a television before, mounting a television over a fireplace, requires the right kind of fireplace, television, and mounting methods. A fireplace puts off a lot of heat. Heat and electronics are not a good combination. If you’ve seen a fancy house with a TV mounted above the fireplace, it’s almost guaranteed that it was professionally installed. Before you even attempt to put a tv above your fireplace give Intuitive AV’s professional team a call, to let us evaluate if this is a feasible option for your home and the best way to mount it.
    A Professional Installation Comes With Cool Features You Can’t Do Yourself

    Want a television with automatic lifts? How about a TV concealed in artwork or a bathroom mirror TV? You can even have an outdoor television mounted on your patio or deck. These kinds of features you can’t do yourself. They are not only cool but add value to your home.
    A Professional Mounting is Fully Insured

    One of the biggest reasons to hire a professional is because all of the work is licensed and insured. If you do it yourself and damage your television or home, you may not be able to get your home owner’s insurance to cover it.

    If you are interested in professional TV mounting services, give Intuitive AV a call to see how we can help.

  • Hidden Speakers: Beautiful Home Design Trends

    Hidden speakers are a must-have for homeowners that love minimalism. Nowadays, overdone electronic systems are not a sign of a high-tech home. It used to be cool to show off your amazing sound system, with all your subwoofers, speakers, and all that equipment with the flashy lights. Now, nobody wants to see all the wires, power cords, and speakers cluttering up their beautiful home.

    Hidden speakers and sound systems give homeowners the perks of a smart home while maintaining an aesthetically appealing and minimalist atmosphere. We know that many of our clients are looking for a minimalist approach. We know what they desire, but the question becomes how minimalist? The answer comes down to hiding as many components as possible, even down to the speakers.

    The Minimalist Design Trend

    beautiful minamalist home with hidden speakers installed

    With technology inundating every area of our lives, we are constantly surrounded by it. Interestingly, this is the driving force for the minimalist design trend. People want the convenience and luxury of a smart home, without having to see it.

    The minimalist trend is everywhere, even our websites and product packaging are getting simpler. The old saying “less is more” is true, especially when it comes to home design. People want fewer cords, less visible technology, and more space in their homes.

    If you have a gorgeous home, you don’t want to take away from its clean, stylish look by placing large speakers all around your room. Hidden speakers are a wonderful way to add high-quality sound to any room, without losing the beauty of your space. It’s a popular home design trend that’s here to stay.

    Why Hidden Speakers?

    When you think of a traditional sound system, you probably picture large speakers placed around your living room or another entertaining area. While this will deliver the all-around sound you love, it doesn’t look pretty. If you are interested in minimalism or having a modern home, old-fashioned speakers just won’t cut it.

    The fact is, a great sound system is an investment, so why not make it one that also adds elegance and value to your home. You can hide speakers in your ceilings, walls, and even outside.

    Ceiling Speakers

    modern living room with hidden speakers and flat screen tv

    Ceiling speakers are a great choice for adding surround sound to your room. Do you know how it sounds when you are in a movie theater? The sound comes from all over, including the ceilings. You can have this same experience in your home, but the sound is totally hidden. These speakers are the perfect addition to any smart home.

    Entertaining guests? Dim the smart lights, and turn on some music all with the touch of your smartphone. Your visitors will be amazed by the immersive sound and they may not even realize where all the incredible sound is coming from.

    In-Wall Speakers

    In-wall speakers are great and are certainly more discrete than floor standing or traditional bookshelf models. There are plenty of in-wall speaker styles and sizes to choose from, but truly hidden in-wall speakers are a level up and can provide great sound quality with no speaker visible whatsoever.

    Moving your speakers off the ground, and installing them in your walls, reduces the sound reflection and in many cases, this allows for even better positioning of the speakers. The sound is not bouncing off the wall, but instead, it’s coming directly out of the wall. This results in a clearer sound, with less interference as the sound waves aren’t bouncing from the floor to the wall.

    Adding in-wall speakers with accompanying ceiling speakers, will deliver sound to your home that can’t beat. Your home will be the coolest house in your neighborhood, with discrete, nearly invisible speakers. It’s not just a smart move in home design, if you are going to invest in a surround system, why not add hidden speakers instead?

    Hidden TV

    woman watching tv in modern home

    To conceal more of your electronics, you can also hide your TV. Television is great for watching movies, sports, or shows, but not everyone wants the TV set to be center stage in their home. This is especially true if you have a large home theater room. Several popular options exist for concealing your flat panel TV including Samsung art frame TV, Mirror TV hide, Traditional artwork TV hide, and motorized projector screens. With a motorized flat screen, your TV can be tucked away when not in use.
    Outdoor Speakers

    Even your outside can be filled with music. Did you know they have outdoor speakers that can be concealed right in your patio, landscaping, or walkways? Speakers are no longer what they used to be. You can add speakers that look like rocks, or other natural elements to your backyard and listen to music no matter what area you are spending time in.
    Add value to your home with hidden speakers

    Hidden speakers are a great investment in your home. If you are just starting to move towards a smart home, speakers are a great place to start. They don’t just add cool sound to your home, they add value to your home. Talk to an Intuitive AV professional to find out how you can add hidden speakers to your home.

  • Common Causes of Slow Internet and How to Fix It

    If you’ve ever tried to watch a streaming video or get work done with slow internet, you know how frustrating it can be. Trying to troubleshoot the problem can be a headache. If you’re wondering why your internet is so slow, there are a few common causes of slow internet. Some of the reasons for slow internet are easy to fix. These are the most common causes of slow internet.

    woman frustrated with slow internet

     

     

    Slow Internet Caused by Your Computer

    When someone has slow internet, the first reaction is often to look into the router or internet service provider. However, a slow computer may be the root of the problem, especially if you are only noticing slow internet on only one computer or device. One way to find out if the problem is slow internet or your computer is to check the internet using another device. If you discover, the internet is loading fast on your other devices, the culprit might be the particular device that you are using.
    Ways to fix slow internet on one computer

    Run a malware scan
    If your computer is loading slow, the first thing you should do is run a malware scan. Use an anti-malware or computer health program to scan your computer. Make sure your computer doesn’t have adware, trojans, worms, or spyware on it. If your computer is malware-free, try defragmenting your hard drive using your computer’s defragmenting tool. You can also try using a PC cleaner. This should remove stored cached files that could be slowing down your computer.

    Use an ethernet cord
    If it’s still connecting to the internet slowly, run an ethernet cord from your router to your computer. Because an ethernet cord connects directly to your router, the internet will load faster. If your computer’s internet loads faster with ethernet, the issue could be your computer’s wireless adaptor or your wifi network configuration.

    Use a USB wifi adaptor
    When a computer runs slow over wifi the issue may be with your computer’s built-in wireless network adaptor not having enough reach. An easy and affordable solution is to purchase a USB wifi adaptor. This should extend the wifi reach on your computer.

    fixing slow internet by using an ethernet cord

    Slow Internet Caused by Internet Service Provider

    Sometimes the issue is simple, your ISP does not provide fast enough service for your needs. You may need to upgrade your internet plan to one that provides a faster connection. If you experience any of the following issues, your slow internet may be caused by your ISP or internet plan.

    -Netflix or Amazon Prime buffering during shows
    -Zoom meetings not connecting or out of sync
    -Slow internet when several devices are used at the same time
    -Slow internet at night
    -Slow internet at the end of the month

    To determine if your internet speed is the problem, check your internet speed by visiting a website like fast.com or speedtest.net This will tell you how fast your internet speed is. We recommend using these 3rd party speed testing sites and not the one provided by your ISP. Sometimes the issue with internet speed has to do with how many users are connecting to your ISP at the same time. Problems at night or at the end of the month are mainly due to data caps or ISP network congestion. If your connection is slow, try running an ethernet cord to your computer and checking your speed over ethernet. This will help you narrow down where the problem is.

    Ways to fix slow internet due to Internet Service Provider issues

    -Upgrade your plan
    -Contact your internet service provider
    -Reset your router
    -Switch internet service providers
    -Slow internet caused by Wifi Networking Issues

    If you are on a great high-speed internet plan, your wifi connection should be fast. After all, that’s why you are paying for the upgraded speed. If you discover your internet is running slow in spite of having an adequate plan, there may be an issue with your wireless networking. Common reasons for wifi networking issues include having a large house, an improperly configured network, high latency (or the amount of time it takes for your wifi signal to travel back and forth), an outdated or inadequate router.

    wireless router

    Ways to fix slow internet caused by Wifi Networking Issues

    -Reset your router
    -Replace your router
    -Secure your router
    -Move your router to a more central location
    -Use a wifi extender
    -Use Ethernet cables
    -Contact a professional

    When it comes to wifi networking issues, the best solution is not always a DIY solution. There are a couple of fixes you can try. If you find that after trying these, your internet connection is still slow, you should consider consulting with a professional. Intuitive AV offers wifi networking services. We can troubleshoot any networking issues, install a wifi networking system that’s ideal for your home or office. The right router and wifi networking can significantly improve your internet speed.

    Why hire a professional to install your wifi network?

    If you are trying to get the best internet speed, you may mistakenly believe that it’s easier and cheaper to do it yourself. For some people, fast internet service is a luxury, but if you work from home or depend on fast download and upload speeds, having fast, reliable internet is important. A professional can actually save you money, time, and headaches. This way you aren’t purchasing unnecessary equipment, spending hours of time trying to figure out the best way to configure it, and once it’s set up, you don’t have to worry about it again.

    A professional knows wifi technology best
    Because this is what they do, they will have the most up-to-date information. Trying to Google the answers to your problems may result in outdated solutions or fixes you’ve already tried. A professional has experienced it all and knows what works best.

    A professional can fix something quickly
    You might be surprised by how fast a professional wifi networking service can fix your issues. Have you ever spent hours trying to set up a new router? An installer can do this in minutes.

    A fast wifi network involves wiring
    If you’ve ever had an internet service provider come out and rewire your internet cables, you know that not all of them are great at this. Have you ever had someone walk through your home trying to determine which wires were left behind by a previous cable company? Hiring a professional ensures that your wiring is set up correctly with the best access points. They can hide cables and make sure that your internet not only runs fast but that your home is not left with an unsightly mess of wiring.

    A professional can boost your internet speed inside and outside your home
    If you are looking for the fastest connection, a professional not only knows how to speed up the internet inside your home, they can boost your wifi signal outside the home too. From setting up wifi extenders or repeaters to choosing the best access points, they have the experience to provide you with the best all-around wifi networking.

  • Soundbar vs. Home Theater System, Which Is Right For You?

    If you are like most Americans, you have a big flat-screen television in your home. You might think that with all the bells and whistles that come with these bad boys, that you would get top-quality sound to go with the high-def picture and price tag. Unfortunately, the built-in speakers that come with your TV just don’t cut it when it comes to sound quality. Even if your television’s sound quality is decent, you won’t get the experience you get with a soundbar or home theater system.

    If you are trying to decide which is better for you, a soundbar or a home theater system, we are here to help. Which is right for you depends on your budget, your space, and what kind of sound you want. We are going to go over the difference between a soundbar vs a home theater system to help you decide which is right for you.

    SOUNDBAR OVERVIEW

    Although it looks like a single speaker, a soundbar is a multi-speaker unit that houses several speakers integrated into one rectangular-shaped box (or bar). Because of its size, it can be placed on a shelf below or above your television or mounted to your wall. On first thought, a home theater system probably sounds like the best way to go, but there are some advantages to using a soundbar.

    Back in the day, if you wanted to connect a sound system to your television, you had to use wires and large speakers. With a soundbar, you can connect to any of your Bluetooth devices and stream music or television, without the need for extra cables or wires. They are easy to set up even if you’re not tech-savvy.

    Soundbars are affordable and convenient for small spaces. If you don’t have a large space to work with, a soundbar can provide you with better quality sound than you’d get from your television speakers. Although they don’t give you all-around sound like a home theater system, they can mimic a surround system to give you a digitally created surround-sound effect.

    HOME THEATER SYSTEM OVERVIEW

    If you are looking for the best quality surround sound system, a home theater system may be best for you. A home theater system gives you immersive all-around sound. It creates a theater-like experience, with sound coming from all around the room. A soundbar can replicate surround sound, but you won’t actually be surrounded by sound.

    You can customize your home theater system by selecting the speakers you want and placing them in different areas. If you have a theater or media room, watching movies can be just like being in a real movie theater. A soundbar is just one speaker unit that is placed near your television. With a home theater system, you can decide where to place your speakers to provide the best acoustics.

    There are a few drawbacks to a home theater system. They are more expensive than a soundbar. They require more space for speakers and may be difficult to set up. You can opt for a smaller home theater system and add speakers to your home theater to build out your system as you go. But, sometimes integrating new speakers with your sound system can be complicated. Some products are not compatible with each other. Before you go out and purchase a bunch of components, you should talk with a professional to make sure they will work together.

    HOW TO DECIDE WHICH IS RIGHT FOR YOU?

    Before you make your decision, think about what you want in a sound system. A soundbar may be a good option if your budget is limited, but if you really want a theater experience, starting with a few speakers for a home theater system might be better. If you purchase a soundbar and later want to have a better system, you may not be able to integrate your soundbar with the rest of your sound system. Soundbars are intended to be used as standalone speakers. Before you purchase either, consult a professional to see if your soundbar will work with a home theater system later.

    SOUNDBAR PROS AND CONS

    Pros

    • Affordable

    • Perfect for small spaces

    • Easy setup

    • Wireless (or minimum cords and wires)

    Cons

    • May not include a subwoofer

    • Sound will only come from one area of the room

    HOME THEATER SYSTEM PROS AND CONS

    Pros

    • Customizable

    • Scalable

    • Exceptional immersive surround sound

    • More options in speakers and components

    Cons

    • More expensive

    • May require professional installation

    • Takes up more space

    • May not be available in wireless options

    If you are still trying to decide which is right for you, give Intuitive AV a call and talk to one of our professional home theater specialists. We can help take some of the confusion out of which products are best for your space.

  • Top 5 Tech Essentials For The 2021 Home Office

    If you’re one of the folks that suddenly found yourself working from home in 2021, you may have created a home office. With the trend of working from home continuing, you might be ready to invest in a better setup for your home office. If your home office isn’t working for you, it might be because you don’t have the essential technology for a home office.

    Whether you run a business or work from home, everyone needs a functional workspace. If you don’t have the tech products you need, it will make working from home challenging. We’ve put together a list of the top five tech essentials for your home office in 2021.

    NOISE-CANCELING MICROPHONE

    Love it or hate it, Zoom meetings are here to stay. If you’ve been winging it on Zoom, it might be time for you to invest in a noise-canceling microphone. By now you probably have the hang of connecting your laptop to video and audio for your video conference calls, but are you the guy in the Zoom meeting that nobody can hear? The standard microphone on your laptop is not ideal for video conferencing. Consider purchasing a noise-canceling headset with a built-in microphone for your Zoom meetings.

    DO YOU CONDUCT VIDEO MEETINGS OR WEBINARS FROM YOUR HOME OFFICE?

    If you’ve been getting by with your laptop microphone, 2021 is a good time to invest in a better quality microphone. If you create social media live streams, webinars, or do any type of video recordings from home, having a good sound system is critical.

    Have you ever listened to a video conference or webinar and couldn’t hear what was being said due to background noise or poor audio? It’s frustrating! If you have to struggle to hear someone -— unless you have to be there — you probably leave quickly. A podcast microphone or studio microphone will make all the difference in sound quality. Bring your home office up to speed with a high-quality, sound-canceling microphone.

    HIGH-QUALITY CAMERA

    Maybe you’ve thought about getting a camera for your home office, but have been making do with your laptop webcam or smartphone camera. Your laptop camera is not designed for making high-quality videos. Have you noticed how grainy you look through your laptop’s webcam?

    Perhaps, you’ve been using your smartphone for video conferencing instead. Your smartphone is usually a better option for making videos, but it’s nearly impossible to do everything you need to do from your smartphone. You can’t see or share screen shares or presentations from your smartphone. And, even if you have an expensive smartphone with a great camera, saving large video files is difficult.

    If you do a lot of video conferencing, a high-quality camera is a must-have. With a high-quality camera, you will have the best quality video for web conferencing. It’s perfect for creating video presentations that you can save and share too.

    WIFI NETWORKING

    If you worked in a traditional office, you may have gotten used to high-speed internet that works from everywhere. If you have a home office though, your internet connection may not as be as good as you’re used to or sufficient for your needs. When it comes to internet connections, a high-speed internet provider is just one part of what makes a good wifi network. If your office is not located right next to your router, you may have trouble connecting to the internet. Moving your office may not be an option. If you want your wifi to reach your living area and your office area, you may need to improve your setup. Intuitive AV can help you set up your wifi networking so that your entire home is getting the coverage and speed you need.

    CORRECT LIGHTING

    Even if you don’t do video conferencing at all, good lighting is something you truly need in a home office. If you are working in a dimly lit room, it’s hard on your eyes, and will actually make you less productive. You can improve your lighting naturally by moving your desk closer to a window and opening your blinds during the day. But, if natural light is limited, you should really consider investing in a better lighting system. With today’s smart home technology, you can design a lighting system that you can operate and program right for your smartphone. It’s one of the most affordable first steps in creating a smart home and office.

    ACOUSTIC SOLUTIONS

    In 2021, many of us discovered the joys of working from home. It all sounds like fun. You get to wear PJs all day and do what you want. But, working from home also means distractions that get in the way of your productivity. If you’re looking for a quieter workspace, investing in acoustic solutions like acoustic panels can greatly improve the peace and quiet in your work area. It’s hard to be productive when you are hearing outside noise or a TV set in the background. Sound masking panels help block out noise so you can work.

    While noise and distractions can interfere with your productivity, good music while you work may boost your productivity. A sound system for your workspace is a great way to make your home office more fun to work in. Your office is where you spend a large portion of your day. Why not make it a happy place to work?

  • How To Get Started With Home Automation

    With smart home technology growing in popularity, more people are starting to look into it. If you have been thinking about making your home a smart home, you may be overwhelmed with all the information. It’s actually really easy to start making your home a smart home. Before you jump all in and start planning a complete smart home system, consider starting with just one or two smart home products.

    HOW TO PLAN FOR SMART HOME AUTOMATION

    You may be wondering if you need to plan out your smart home or if you should purchase certain smart home devices first. There is really no right way to set up your smart home. You can start with one or two features you are most interested in and scale your smart home as you go. When it comes to smart home technology, literally almost every electronic device in your home can be automated from your television, lights, thermostat, sound system, to door locks and window blinds. Decide which areas of your home you are most interested in and start there.

    When you purchase your first smart home devices, find out whether or not they are standalone devices or can be integrated with other smart home technology. Control4 is a leader in smart home automation and integrates with tens of thousands of smart home products. You can start with one or two automation products. When you are ready, you can integrate all of your devices so they can be controlled by one touch screen or app.

    HOME AUTOMATION OPTIONS

    SMART LIGHTING SYSTEM

    A smart lighting system can be set up for indoor or outdoor lighting. Having automated lights allows you to adjust your lighting from your smartphone. You can program your lighting to turn on or off automatically. A lighting system that is automated is a great first step in a home automation plan. Not only are smart lights convenient, but they also add security and reduce your energy use.

    SMART DOOR LOCKS

    Automated door locks add security and convenience to any home and have a lot of benefits you may not have thought about. A standard key lock requires you to always have a key, or be home to unlock a door for someone. With an automated door lock, you will have a convenient way to lock or unlock your door from anywhere. They offer security as key locks make it easy for an intruder to break into or force entry into your home. A smart lock can be integrated with your home security system and is a great first choice for getting started with home automation.

    SMART THERMOSTAT

    A smart thermostat is an innovation in heating and cooling systems. Your entire HVAC system can be automated to control the climate in your home. Like a smart lighting system, an automated HVAC system can save you hundreds of dollars in energy use over the life of your home. Smart thermostats offer much more than a programmable thermostat. They can be programmed or adjust the temperature or humidity of your home automatically

    SMART SPEAKERS

    With smart speakers, you can automate your sound system indoors or outdoors. If you enjoy music, you are not limited to an indoor automated system. You can take all of your music anywhere inside or outside of your home, and have it completely automated. With a touch of a button, you can adjust the sound in your entire home.

    Automated Window Treatments and Blinds

    Everything in your home can be automated, including window treatments and blinds. Automated blinds add value, beauty, and energy efficiency to any home. They can be programmed to open or close when you’re away from home. This is an awesome feature for anyone who is creating a mockupancy program for home security, but it’s also a convenient feature. By pushing a button, you can control your automated blinds from anywhere inside or outside your home.

    WHICH HOME AUTOMATION PRODUCT SHOULD YOU START WITH

    If you are just getting started, automated door locks and lighting are the most affordable and easiest options to start with. While some of the other home automation features are cool and convenient, smart door locks and lighting give you the most value. Both are affordable options for home automation. They will improve your home value, your home security, as well as the energy efficiency in your home. They are easy to set up and are what most people start with when setting up a smart home. As you have the budget, you can add additional smart home technology.

    If you are interested in getting started with home automation, talk to an Intuitive AV professional. We can answer any of your questions and recommend the best products for your home.

  • Remotely View Your Security Cameras When You’re Away

    If you have a home security system, one of the best features is the security cameras and surveillance. With today’s smart home technology you can view your security cameras from your smartphone, even when you’re away from home. A home security system protects your home from intruders, but also allows you to check on your home when you’re not there.

    With so many options available how do you decide which home security system is best for you? Intuitive AV offers two of the best options in home security. Honeywell alarm systems and the Control4 system allow you to monitor your home from anywhere. With the touch of your finger, you can see what is going on with your home easily from your smartphone. Keep reading to learn more about each of the systems and which one is best for your home.

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    REVIEW YOUR HOME SECURITY CAMERA REMOTELY WITH A HONEYWELL ALARM SYSTEM

    Honeywell offers a variety of home security systems to meet your needs. Each system works with a home security starter kit that includes a camera base, two sensors that can be used on doors or windows, a remote-control key fob, and a mobile app. All of their systems come with video surveillance and can be monitored with their mobile app. Their security system sends you alerts when an event happens so that you have peace of mind when you’re away from home.

    Honeywell’s smart home starter kit is a DIY solution. It comes with video surveillance, video recording, motion detection, and everything you need to monitor your home. Once it’s installed, it connects with Amazon Alexa and can be integrated with your other smart home technology, Honeywell also works with other smart home devices like your automated HVAC system. You can control the security, and climate of your home easily with one device.

    In addition, Honeywell’s alarm systems offer additional features for added security and convenience. To add these features, you will need a professional installation. With their Lyric controller, you can manage all of your home’s smart home technology including lights, automatic door locks, thermostats, and other devices. If your system is disarmed, you can capture a picture of what’s going on inside of your home with their mobile app. Intuitive AV’s professional installers can answer any questions you have regarding installation, set up, and use of the Honeywell alarm system.

    CONTROL4 SYSTEM’S HOME SECURITY REMOTE VIEWING

    Control4 is a top provider of smart home technology and home automation. Control4’s smart home systems provide you with more than just home security, your entire home can be operated with a quick touch of the app from anywhere. The Control4 system uses advanced smart home technology to provide you with elevated features and the best smart home experience. Honeywell alarm systems can be used independently as a standalone home security system or integrated with the Control4 system.

    Advanced security features that come with the control 4 system include enhanced alerts, “mockupancy” programs, and the ability to check your home from anywhere in the world. With enhanced alerts, if your alarm is triggered, you can attract the attention of neighbors and police. Your home security lights will flash on and off repeatedly to attract attention. Any television in your home can be used automatically to view what’s going on through your security cameras.

    To create the illusion that you are home, you can use the Control4 to set up a “mockupancy” program. Lights, televisions, etc can be turned on automatically at different times. In addition, sensors within the home can alert you of temperature changes, moisture in your home, or issues with your furnace. Because Control4 integrates with all of your smart home technology, if an alarm is triggered, you can control your exterior or interior lights, televisions, or any of your automated devices.

    The Control4 system can be scaled to meet your needs and your budget. With Control4, you can automate and control almost every electronic device in your home from your television, to your outdoor lights, to your window treatments, doors, or thermostat. If you are interested in having the ultimate smart home experience, Control4 is the best solution.

    Give Intuitive AV a call. Our professional team of installers will be happy to answer any questions about Honeywell alarm systems, Control4, or any of our other smart home technology systems.

  • Automatic Door Locks: 5 Reasons You Should Make The Switch To Smart Door Locks

    In today’s world, more homeowners are investing in smart home technology. Automatic door locks give your home more security and other features that you can’t get with a traditional door lock. These days everything can be automated. Your lighting, shades, and HVAC system can be run through automation and smart technology. If you have started making your home a smart home, making the switch to smart door locks should be on the top of your list.

    Your front door is the number one way that you, your guests, or intruders can access your home. If your doors lock with a key lock, you may not have thought about all the ways someone can get into (or get locked out of) your home. Automatic door locks are more secure, more convenient, and can be integrated with other smart home security. There are a lot of great reasons to change your door lock to a smart lock.

    SMART LOCKS PROVIDE YOU WITH KEYLESS ENTRY TO YOUR HOME

    Have you ever lost your keys? Over a lifetime, the average person loses 3,000 possessions, and keys are the most frequently lost item. Keyless entry can spare you from this worry. No more searching your house looking for where you misplaced your keys. You won’t ever have to call a locksmith, or your spouse at work to come home and unlock the door for you. A smart lock will automatically lock behind you, so you never have to wonder did I remember to lock the door today? Having an automatic door lock gives you immediate access to your home at any time without a key.

    AUTOMATIC LOCKS PROVIDE EXTRA SECURITY

    One of the main reasons people choose automatic locks is because they are more secure than traditional door locks. A smart lock can be integrated with your home security system or be used as a standalone feature to add security to your home. Automatic door locks are difficult to hack or break into. Most intruders are not hackers, they are people looking for a house with easy entry. A standard door lock can be picked or broken through force. You don’t have to be that smart to do this. Anyone with a computer can Google how to pick a door lock. If you’ve ever gotten locked out of your house, you may have discovered how easily this can be done. A smart door lock makes your home much more difficult to break into and is a deterrent for burglars all on its own.

    DOOR LOCKING CAN BE AUTOMATICALLY SCHEDULED

    Some homeowners keep their doors locked at all times, but others only lock them at night or when they are away from the home. You can program an automatic door lock to lock and unlock at specific times, so you never have to remember if the door was locked.

    PROVIDE AND LIMIT ENTRY TO GUESTS

    Do you have someone who comes by the home to walk your dog? Have you ever given someone your key or had to leave your door unlocked so a guest could stop by for something while you weren’t home? With an automatic door lock, you never have to give someone your key or leave your home unlocked. Use integrated door locks to create a new user code and restrict access to specific days or times. You can do this from anywhere using your smartphone, even if you’re not home.

    SMART LOCKS ARE MORE DURABLE THAN TRADITIONAL KEY LOCKS

    Over time, when you insert your key into your door lock, the mechanism inside the door lock can get worn down. Have you ever had to wiggle your key to get your door to unlock? This won’t happen with a smart lock. Once installed, you simply enter a key code to open your door or use your smartphone to automatically lock or unlock your door. This eliminates the wear and tear that happens with traditional locks.

    If you are considering adding automatic door locks to your home, get in touch with Intuitive AV. One of our professional installers can answer any of your questions about smart locks or other smart home technology.