Top 5 Gadgets for Starting Out In Home Automation

home automation, smart home, connected devices, connected homeAs Smart Home installation engineers we meet people at every stage of their Home Automation journey. From those just starting out to those who are fully cognisant with the tech but need help with the labour it takes safely and securely fit the Smart devices they want in their homes.

Many people still don’t grasp what a connected home has to offer. They see the devices fitted with Smart technology as simply gadgets, knick-knacks which you put around your house for entertainment’s sake, but have no real practical use. It’s only when we explain the many different applications these devices can be put to, the way they can be controlled and control one another that the potential benefits become clear.

The ideal place to begin is to explain what practical tools a Smart Home can be started off with. Once the concept and application have been grasped the possibilities explode! Everyone’s needs and wants are different, so the fact that Smart Home Technology can be so adaptive and expandable is just what the doctor ordered!

So, if you’re one of those people who’s heard about Home Automation, who likes labour saving, energy efficient tools, but you’re not sure what the Smart Home has to offer you, read on.

Video Doorbell

Intercoms are nothing new. From old buildings converted to flats to businesses in office blocks we’ve all buzzed and struggled to hear the voice coming from the panel on the door frame. But today’s Smart access control is very different. Now there’s no need to go to the handset on the wall to let people in, you can admit anyone you want from wherever you are instead. Not only can you speak to people on the doorstep, you can see them, but they can’t see you. That means that if you’re in the bath, in the garden, on the sofa, even away from home, you can see who’s calling and either let them in or ask them to come back another time. Read more

What Smart Home Technology Should You Be Fitting In Your New Home?

installation, fibre, broadband, home technologyOne way out of the current housing crisis, the most obvious one some would say, is simply to increase the housing stock with affordable new homes so that people on median incomes can afford to put down roots and set up a home of their own. There are currently many brownfield sites both inside and skirting towns and cities throughout the UK which would benefit enormously from the stimulus of having housing available to people who are currently spending up to half their income on rent. But what does this have to do with Smart Home Technology Solutions?

While this housing stock will need to be build with cost savings in mind, it will also need to have technology which will adapt as future needs change. No builder today would forego wiring or pipework on the understanding that “if anybody wants running water or electricity they can put it in themselves!” And equally builders, architects and specifiers need to start thinking about media in the same terms.

Buildings Of The Future Need To Be Future-proof

Britain has a commitment to providing superfast broadband to anyone who wants it by 2020, but it’s of limited value if it stops at the front gate and the home isn’t prepared for accepting everything that it affords.

So what should the Home Of The Future have built in to be ready for this Superfast internet revolution?
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Is Smart Home Tech Still A Mystery? Here’s Your Brief Introduction

alexa, echo, echo dotAre you new to the Smart Home trend? Is all “Automated This” and “Synchronised That” a complete mystery to you? Then read on and find out what Smart Home Automation is, and what it can do to help you live a life of ease and leisure!

I was thinking “perhaps it’s just me, I work writing about Smart Home Technology, so I go looking for more information about it than most, do other people even think about it?” but then you see adverts on TV and even the Prime Minister speaks to the United Nations about it, speaking from the point of view of someone who’s watched one too many dystopian science fiction movies featuring the nightmare world of limbless chickens and mind reading beds.

It’s only natural for people to fear change, and if you watch those scary movies today you’re likely to see ads for Smart Tech during the breaks, so perhaps there is a reason why the conflation is made, so why not look at what the Smart Home is all about and how to stop worrying and learn to love it! Read more

Kitting Out Your First Smart Home? Start With The Basics

We’ve all been there. We’re browsing online, popped into a shop or visited an exhibition stand at the mall only to be pulled in by a great looking ad or snappy sales patter, then coming away with a bit of tat masquerading as tech that never gets used.

You get it home, open the packaging, set it up and find that it’s nothing like as good as you thought it would be, it’s cheaply made, poorly performing and probably makes a funny smell if you leave it switched on too long. But you’re ashamed of yourself for being tricked, so, instead of sending it back and asking for your money back it just falls into redundancy or gets put in the cupboard under the sink/stairs/attic or garage in the hopes that you’ll either find a use for it or give it to the jumble next time they come looking for collections.

The problem is that the more technology which is available to go into our homes, the more rubbish there is blocking our view of the good, helpful gadgets and tools which would help make life that much easier. And different people have different needs. We’re sold on ‘lifechanging appliances’ but unless we actively want to change the way we live our lives, a bit of tech we can pick up for a few pounds at the supermarket isn’t going to make a huge difference to our lifestyle. Read more

Is Your Smart Home Really Smart Without Sensors To Tell It What’s Going On?

If you’re a recent convert to Smart Home automation you may be starting to think “well this isn’t all that smart at all, is it? I still have to tell Alexa everything I’m doing before she’ll help me with anything!” and you’d be right. But only because you’ve got Alexa’s ears set up, without sensors’ she’s got no eyes.

A truly Smart home system relies on sensors to be able to work efficiently. Sensors feed data back to the Home Hub enabling it to make decisions and obey commands which would have been set up in order to make the Smart Home system integrated and intelligent.

There are a wide range of sensors which will serve various different purposes, from fire and smoke detectors to thermostats and motion sensors which will tell your hub not only when you enter a room, but when an intruder breaks into your home. Making use of these sensors as part of the everyday home hub utility will vastly improve the intelligence of the system since you won’t have to tell it directly what you want to happen, and make you safer since you will be able to rely on your home hub to react to changes such as movement, smoke, fire, or gas and water leaks. Read more

If You Think Your Job Is Rubbish, Look What We Do!

Briant Communicationsfibre optic, repair, maintenance, industrial, don’t only provide data cabling and fibre optic cables for household users. We were recently called out to attend a large industrial site, UBB in Essex. Unfortunately it wasn’t a bakery or biscuit factory, no, just our luck it was a 6 acre waste treatment and recycling plant.

As part of the waste treatment process it is left to maturate for several weeks, meaning that the smell inside swimming pool sized tanks was, predictable. Unfortunately the grot which is left in food containers when they’re thrown into the average household recycling attracts a variety of wildlife, who grow big and plump off of all the scraps which are available. The creatures which cause the biggest problem for us when it comes to fibre optic data communication is rats. They make their homes in the undisturbed, secure spaces where cables and fibre optics are housed and channelled, gnawing trunking and sheaths. And it’s this activity which gives us our biggest headache as the damage to fibre optic cabling is a great deal harder to fix than simply reconnecting two ends of wire, as it would be with metal cable. Read more

What To Really Look Out For When Buying A New Home

Modern white kitchen with white marble counter top and pendant lighting.You’ll want to move home for many reasons. It’s one of the biggest, and most stressful decisions you’ll ever make, so it’s important that you get it right before jumping in. There are many reasons to buy a house. You want something bigger, or something smaller, something with fewer stairs, or buying a new home now you can finally afford to move out of rental properties and start paying money into a bricks and mortar investment into your own future.

Location When Buying A New Home

As the old adage goes: the three most important factors to look at are location, location, location. And that hasn’t become any less true as the years have passed. You might find a beautiful property which has everything you want, but it’s located under an airport’s flight path. Or downwind from a waste processing plant. If you’re a heavy sleeper, hard of hearing or have a terrible sense of smell then these may not be deal breakers, but for young families and people with particularly sensitive noses, they’d be absolute no-no’s! So what are the pros and cons of location? Read more

We Know Alexa, But What About Google Assistant?

Everyone seems to be talking about Alexa when it comes to Smart Home Assistants as hers is the name that everyone seems to call when asking for help around the house or for answering questions. Perhaps this is because Alexa is more closely associated with home assistance while those of us who remember are more likely to associate saying “OK Google” with voice activated phone searches. If you Google “does anyone still use Siri?” (the iPhone’s progenitor to voice activated assistants) you’ll find that the novelty wore off almost instantly and by 2016 approximately 2% of iPhone users still asked her to do her tricks.

So while Alexa is on everyone’s lips Google is still producing a range of Smart Home Automation devices which are geared toward efficiency and security. You’ll probably have seen in the news recently that Nest devices won’t work with Google’s Home System from this summer onwards. That is an over-reaction, all Nest home security and environmental controls will still work perfectly, however, you will have to connect your Nest goods via the Google Home app rather than the Nest app which it ships with. You certainly won’t be left high and dry if you’re a Nest customer.

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New To Smart Home Technology? Which Devices Should You Buy First?

Moving is reckoned to be one of the most stressful life events, finding the place you want to buy, finding the money, liaising with lawyers, vendors, estate agents, banks and lenders, packing up all your worldly possessions and shipping them, only to unpack them, hoping that none of them have been too badly damaged or lost along the way. You’d have to be mad to do it! And yet millions of us do, every year.

Once you’re in your new home, unpacked and things have calmed down you might want to think about how you can use Smart Home Technology to make your house more efficient, with added convenience all round. There are a plethora of different Smart devices available on the market today, many are handy, many are the Automated version of the toasted sandwich maker: a fun invention which does its one job well, but is soon relegated to the proverbial cupboard under the sink.

That’s why it’s wise to look at what you’re investing in and look coldly at the features and benefits each device offers, and assess whether it’s something you really need, of if it’s simply a fun gadget with no real purpose. Read more

Your Smart Lights Can Do More Around The Home Than You Know

3 Ornamental lights in a row hanging from a light coloured ceilingAttaching smart lights to your home network is a quick and convenient way to get energy efficient lights which adapt to your needs into your home. They’re great for enhancing a mood, easily dimmable and can be used in conjunction with your home security to come on at times which make it look as if someone’s home even when you’re out. But being Smart, they must be able to do more than that, right?

Right!

If you’re syncing your lighting to your home security it makes sense to add a motion sensor to your lights too. Inside or outside, the motion detector will turn the lights on wherever you want, so if you’re coming home on a wet & drear night you can have the porch light turned on to save fumbling, or sensors which turn on CCTV cameras can turn on bedroom lights, alerting you to potential intruders and sending the message to those lurking on your property that you’re aware they’re there. These little touches make it look like you’re home and awake even when the property is unoccupied. Read more