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How Much Does A Smart Home Cost?

January 18, 2018
One of the questions that always comes up when we meet with a potential smart home client is: How much does a fully integrated smart home cost, for everything? Although this is a very difficult question to answer because there are so many factors to consider, we will try our best to explain some general pricing and best practice guidelines here. An easy way to understand the way pricing works in smart home projects is to use the analogy of building a house. This is a convenient analogy because you are probably in the process of building your house right now so you will find it quite easy to relate to the procedure and the way pricing can change drastically depending on your ultimate goals. As you know, if you are building an architecturally designed 4-bedroom+ house the build price can start at around 3 million, but then quickly jump up to 5 million+ when you start upgrading permanent features such as designer kitchens, specialty roofing, flooring, and luxury tiles etc. On top of this initial jump, you can easily spend another $500k on finishings and fixtures such as feature chandeliers, high-end faucets, and general décor. These jumps in pricing based on preferences also apply to smart homes systems. When you look at a basic system, the start price is around 30-50k, but this can quickly jump up to $100-$200k+ when you start adding lighting control, motorized blinds and climate control to all the rooms. On top of that, you can easily spend an extra $50-250k + on a cinema. Consider your landscaping and joinery costs, these are similar costs to what you can expect to spend on a professionally designed smart home. When allocating budget in a smart home project we give the same advice to our clients that good architects, builders, and interior designers give theirs. Focus your budget on the more ‘permanent’ fixtures and aspects first because they are the most difficult and expensive to change later down the road. The last thing you want is to rip up that wooden floor in the kitchen because you always wanted polished concrete or to realize that you really needed underfloor heating in lounge. Likewise, if you think you need a bigger 4K TV or a better set of speakers all you have to do is buy new ones but when you get the permanent infrastructure wrong, i.e. The wiring, switcher or controller can’t support the highest current, resolution or speeds required; it can be costly to try upgrade that key component. Unaware of this, some people focus on finding the “cheapest” permanent infrastructure then try to layer expensive finished products such as 4K TV’s and high-end stereo equipment on top of it. This approach is penny wise but pound foolish, and sacrifices low-maintenance, quality, warranty, and aesthetics. Cheaper systems almost always compromise on quality components and wiring and will inevitably lead to regret. This is what differentiates the DIY, Common Cowboy and ‘Done by the Electrician’ installations from

What Stage Does Real IT Get Involved in My Project?

December 28, 2017
At what stage does Real IT get involved in your smart home project?

The Best Smart Home Scenes for 2017

December 7, 2017
For a moment, think about all the steps you take every night before you go to sleep. You lock the doors, turn off the lights, adjust the climate control and lower the window shades. In fact, you probably have many different routines of basic tasks that you go through every time you have friends over, leave for work, or go on vacation. These routine tasks in and of themselves are not difficult but can become tedious and take longer to accomplish if you are in a rush or live in a large house. When a smart home is set up correctly by a professional integrator, it can do in seconds, what may have taken you several minutes to do manually. All you need to do is touch one button. By touching one button you can activate a sequence of commands sometimes referred to as a scene. These scenes can impact the entire house or one particular room, they can serve a practical purpose or just do something cool that impresses your friends and family. Scenes are probably one of the most revered parts of a smart home system. You can save time and always be ready for any change in environment or mood. The ability to set scenes is not limited and offers the opportunity to tailor your smart home system around each family member’s habits, personal preferences, and daily routines. Professional Integrators will often suggest scenes to incorporate into your smart home system but that doesn’t mean you are stuck with them. With some systems like Crestron Pyng, you can build out your scenes easily without having to call up the smart home company that installed your system. We hope that this list from the book Home Automation: A Complete Guide to Buying, Owning and Enjoying a Home helps inspire the perfect scenes to add to your smart home. GOOD NIGHT: Turns off the lights, but leaves some dimly lit so you can see your way to the bathroom. Also, arms the security system closes the motorized window shades and sets back the thermostats to a comfortable sleeping temperature. GOOD MORNING: Gradually brightens the lights in the bedrooms and bathrooms, opens the shades and readjusts the thermostats. Can also turn on the kitchen lights, activate the coffee pot and turn on any and all TVs to the morning news. MIDNIGHT SNACK: Illuminates a pathway to the kitchen. The lights are kept at a low-intensity level—enough light to see your way down the hall, but still gentle on sleepy eyes. HOME: Readies the house for your return home by activating select lights—like the fixtures that lead from the garage to the kitchen. The security system disarms and your favorite Internet music station streams to the speakers in the main living areas (assuming you have an audio system that supports this function). Unique Home settings can be created for every member of the family. For example, Kids Home could send you a text when they open the door, then keep the

12 Questions to Ask Any Integrator To Save Time & Thousands of Dollars

December 7, 2017
Would you use an Architect or Builder that wasn’t certified or registered in New Zealand to design or build your house? Probably not. Then it’s about time the smart home industries secret got let out. “There is currently no overarching regulatory body setting standards or enforcing them in the smart home industry in New Zealand” There, we said it. Now, this is actually pretty alarming because a smart home is a considerable investment and with no regulatory body to be accountable to, companies have started promising customers the world and have ended up leaving them disillusioned and dissatisfied. Moral of the story, don’t be fooled by cheaper pricing and empty promises. If the person or company you are working with cannot answer these simple 12 questions it’s time to walk away and speak to a professional.   12 Questions to Ask Any Integrator To Save Time & Thousands of Dollars   1.Do you have CEDIA trained consultants and CEDIA certified installers? The Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association(CEDIA) is currently the only recognized certification for the smart home and home technology Industry. That is why first and foremost, we’d recommend asking the company you are planning to use for the design and installation of your home whether their consultants are CEDIA trained and their installers are CEDIA certified. 2. Will the wiring in my home be done according to the minimum specification for NZ homes? The company you use should ensure all wiring and cabling be both designed and installed according to the correct New Zealand standards outlined in the latest TCF specification document. This will ensure your home is wired for the future and the installer doesn’t cut any corners. If they don’t mention TCF, mention that you are looking elsewhere. Click here to view the updated minimum spec for NZ homes. 3. Are you certified by the Ministry of Justice to consult, design and install my security system? Any person or company installing security systems or offering security advice must be Ministry of Justice approved and the company must have a current Private Security Personal License. To do so without a license (while surprisingly common) is an offense under the law. 4. How much experience do you have with the level of smart home I am looking for? It is common for Electricians to give complex projects a go because of the high dollar value attached. Before you allow yourself to be their guinea-pig ask about how complex the jobs are that they have done in the past and only proceed if they allow you to speak to more than one previous client (with a house of similar size and spec to your own). Also, always ask to see the wiring documentation from those jobs, does it conform to the minimum specification for NZ homes? More often than not these systems and their wiring do not conform and have not been properly documented for future maintenance and serviceability. This should be a major red flag. 5. Will the


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