Smart homes: entertaining guests and family during the holidays

December 12, 2018
Smart homes: entertaining guests and family during the holidays   For many, December is a time of year to gather together and be reminded of what’s most important: our friends and family. Truly effective smart home companies understand that technology should enable us to live the life we want, with greater ease, efficiency and comfort. When it comes to the holidays this means having a space that lends itself to entertaining, intelligently boosts comfort, and can be managed with the simple push of a button – leaving you to spend time with the people you’re celebrating with. Gather together to watch your favourite movies Intimate moments stay with us for years to come – such as watching our favourite holiday movies with your whole family gathered together. Home cinemas of today bring together several key components to make sure this experience is as good as, if not better and more personal, than what is available at commercial cinemas. Some of these features include audio and video calibration, acoustic treatment, sound isolation, room design, aircon and lighting design, and cinema furniture and interiors. Certain home cinema providers, including Real IT, are able to blend design and technology to create a room that is both technically sound and aesthetically pleasing. Whether you have a specific idea in mind or simply know what you like, certain home cinema designers will take the time to get to know you and your vision to create a room that takes watching movies at home to a whole new level. As many of the elements are customisable the room can be adapted and created for the specific home and requirements, including enhanced sound isolation for a cinema next to bedrooms, for example, or specially sized seats for a cinema with limited space. If a home theatre is not what you’re after, various smart home providers will offer audio and video options that deliver a high resolution movie watching experience to be integrated into your home. With a company such as Crestron, the install includes equipment and software and the final system can be easily controlled with a wireless mobile device. Create the perfect backdrop for your celebrations In addition to the video and audio system, with smart home providers such as Crestron, many key elements can be controlled from the touchscreen device, including lighting, temperature and energy management. When it comes to lighting, sensor lighting that turn off and on depending on movement can be integrated into your home. These lights can also be controlled using presets such as ‘dinner’ or ‘party’ to change the ambiance of a room with one button. Similarly, climate control in smart homes can be easily manually controlled or managed via an automatic setting, ensuring your room is as comfortable as it can be. Another useful feature for the holiday season is energy management, which intelligently tracks what power you’re using and can help save on your electricity bill during this especially busy time. With energy management, you can also power up

Energy automation: Levelling up smart homes of tomorrow

October 24, 2018
In recent years smart homes have evolved to provide comfort, entertainment, efficiency and ease of use to homeowners throughout New Zealand. However, new developments mean that smart homes are now integrating energy automation into systems already in place, enabling users to have a home that maximises energy use and reduces their carbon footprint. Why does clean energy matter? Clean energy, otherwise known as renewable energy, generally refers to energy sources or solutions that create less pollution, are more sustainable and are better for our natural environment. Examples of clean energy sources are hydroelectricity via turbines, geothermal heating or electricity, wind turbines, bioenergy from biological sources, solar energy, and marine energy from waves and tides. Solar power is currently most common way to incorporate renewable energy into your home. However, smart home integrators and providers are beginning to incorporate not only hardware elements but energy automation software into their offerings, advancing the possibilities of clean energy for people in New Zealand and beyond. Today, climate change is a high profile topic around the world, and finding smart solutions to generate clean energy in the home and save drawing as much power off the grid could have a ripple effect beyond the homeowner or family, to the wider community, utility companies and even the global environment. Smart homes and clean energy Tools and services designed to boost energy efficiency and sustainability in the home have existed for years, however in recent times these tools have begun to be integrated with smart homes to create a holistic system that significantly increases benefits and functionality. In smart homes of the future, solar and storage energy is incorporated to enhance how energy is used, and communication between devices provides key data points and the means to measure, control and manage energy. Smart software works to understand a home and the unique way it is used, bringing in elements such as load shedding, shaping energy use, using more or less energy on peak or off peak times, and coordinating regular power from the utility-managed electrical grid with alternative energy sources such as solar power. In addition, new energy-focused features can incorporate intelligent energy storage and usage with backup batteries and fail-safe options. When it comes to the home itself, a significant amount of energy is expended through home appliances, air conditioning and lighting. To combat this, smart homes can integrate automatic sensor lights and blinds, temperature sensors and the use of heating and cooling timers, and may even track the usage of each main appliance and give the homeowner the opportunity to schedule use times of these appliances, such as the dishwasher, on off peak times. Energy as part of a total system When integrated with existing intelligent systems, energy becomes another key feature to be accessed and controlled from the central touchscreen panel of a smart home. Homeowners have access to information about their energy consumption and can manage their energy usage as they would their lighting, music, security and other home elements. Crestron energy

What makes a secure smart home for New Zealanders?

September 10, 2018
What makes a secure smart home for New Zealanders? When it comes to smart home systems, security features are a core component that can enhance a user’s experience, providing them peace of mind that their home is safe and secure at all times – both when they are onsite and when they are away from the property. Smart home security features generally consist of specific devices such as alarms and cameras, as well as integrated applications within the overall system. Smart home systems advance tried and tested methods Common home security measures, including locking doors and windows, installing sensor-controlled automatic lights and installing alarms have been around for decades. Today, alarm systems that detect intruders and contact authorities as soon as a breach occurs are still commonly used. However, smart home systems are proving to advance traditional security. These systems put more control in the hands of the homeowner by providing greater information on what’s happening inside of the home, as well as providing the ability to put both preventative and responsive measures in place. Securing your home: cameras, alarms and automation At Real IT we consider security to be a crucial element of any smart home system deployment. Our electrical services for smart home deployment includes security and access control, CCTV cameras and automatic gates – all of which significantly improve the overall security of the home and prevent any unwanted guests. More specifically, our experienced team will deploy integrated, smart security and alarm systems to secure the property from day one. In addition, CCTV cameras and automatic gates are deployed depending on the user’s home and requirements. For all CCTV systems, we supply, install and maintain all devices. We specialise in a variety of host surveillance equipment and security camera systems, as well as intercom and gate systems, so each system can be integrated with smart home controls and tailored to your specific needs. Securing your home: smart data and access control Once the smart home system is up and running homeowners can use flexible access control systems to select who has access to which door, track comings and goings, and provide one-time access codes. The integrated solutions provided by Real IT combines sensor data with audio and video footage, and also links to other smart subsystems including lighting, motorised shades and audio. This ensures users receive real time notifications about strange activity at their property, and can also monitor device use. Having remote access means owners can also maintain the home from afar – for instance, if they leave for a business trip or a holiday, they can turn lights or audio on and off to make it look like they are still home. Another key factor of our smart home systems is keyless entry. With this, users can create access control via tags, key fobs, remotes, keypads or even biometric access. This also logs who is entering and exiting the property, and gives the option to give specific codes to specific people or for a one

A New Wellness Standard, and what it means for Smart Homes in New Zealand.

August 17, 2018
As technology develops and the health and wellness movement converges, we are at a crucial turning point for smart homes. Heralding this next phase of smart homes are organisations such as Delos, which has recently released the WELL Building Standard – focused on advancing health of buildings around the world. Understanding the new wellness standard This new standard sets a threshold for what constitutes a healthy home for the people living in it, in the same way the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating systems standardises what constitutes a home that’s healthy for the environment. According to Delos, the average person lives 90% of their life indoors, and a significant amount of this is spent in our homes. This is a vastly different way of life for human beings and has only taken place very recently, and the certification is a bid to ensure our current environments are best serving us. The standard itself is the result of a multi-year long collaboration between experts from a range of disciplines, including building science and health science, and is backed by a diverse board of advisors. It breaks down a smart home into core elements and applies standards to each. So what makes a healthy smart home? This new standard goes beyond environmental impact to look at the factors of a home and how they impact human health. It looks at how the cardiovascular, respiratory and immune system, as well as cognitive function and sleep outcomes, are influenced by the four walls of our homes, and how key elements of lighting, temperature, air quality, water quality and sound can be controlled with an optimal blend of hardware and software to contribute to our wellbeing. Smart homes that meet The Wellness Standard blend physical components, such as water filtration devices and intuitive sound systems, with algorithms that learn how the home is used and understand how the key elements can be attuned to the occupants wellbeing. For instance, Delos’ DARWIN platform, described as the first home wellness intelligence network, creates a ‘wellness ecosystem’ that mitigates indoor environmental concerns and provides premium air and water quality, circadian lighting, and thermal and acoustic comfort. More specifically, the system detects unhealthy levels of air purity and ups filtration where necessary; uses algorithms and software to ensure lighting automatically adjusts throughout the day to match our natural body clock; and uses sound therapy research to inform the audio system. Darwin provides the intelligence system and blends with existing smart home hardware and devices. Where to next? The standard and the overall approach has been dubbed ‘science-based innovation’, and Delos spokespeople have announced that already thousands of projects in 37 countries around the world are now wellness certified, having incorporated wellness principles into their homes and buildings. The leaders and advisory board at Delos say they see a growing demand for smart homes to utilise IoT (Internet of Things) and automation technologies to not only bring in energy savings, but to meet the WELL Standard and