Preparing smart home installations for the future

Matt Nimmons, Managing Director of CEDIA® EMEA, provides self-builders with the latest advice on how to install smart home installations that can stand the test of time and what elements need to be considered when designing a wider home integration project.

Every smart home project is different as every self-builder has different priorities and needs. For example, whilst one person may want to install multi-room audio, another may want to create a comprehensive AV system that integrates automated blind control, projection screens, multi-room audio, and integrated smart lighting to create an all-encompassing smart home.

One of the most important factors to consider before starting any home integration project is to establish the level of technology you require for the property. The simplest way to do this is to look at a floor plan of the house and highlight the kind of technologies you’d like to install in each room. It is possible to start off with a basic level of technology and slowly raise the level of complexity as you get used to the technologies installed. The best way to prepare any smart home installation project for the future is to ensure you have a wiring infrastructure in place that can deliver all current and new technology efficiently and reliably.

Plan for Today, Don’t Forget About Tomorrow

Any smart home system needs to be expertly planned out beforehand. This will provide a clear idea of how rooms will work once furnished, so TVs and speakers can be positioned in the optimum locations and all power points and cables can be terminated, so as not to be seen when the equipment is finally installed.

A properly designed wired and wireless infrastructure has the potential to deliver reliable content and services throughout the home for many years, but it is essential to work with a technology integrator, as they understand the requirements and can provide a solution that fits with your scheme and your expectations.

Think Cabling From the Outset

The basis of any smart home project is the infrastructure, the cables. Not all properties require technology at an early stage, but it is crucial for the correct wiring to be in place so that it is ready for the future. A common phrase heard amongst the home technology industry is “the most expensive cable you have to install is the one that did not get installed in the first place”.

Cables cannot be easily retrofitted, nor can space for the essential boxes driving a system be easily found, once the property has already been decorated. A wired infrastructure can set up the home for future applications, whilst still preserving the décor of the home and adding value.

To achieve any degree of wireless technology implementation in the home, a certain level of cabling for power and communications for ‘wireless’ equipment will still be required.

How CEDIA Can Help
When working on a self-build project, it is important to build a relationship with a technology integrator from the get-go. CEDIA members are the best informed and trained in the latest technologies, design, project management and installation techniques. They understand that technology in the home is a significant investment. Working with a CEDIA member is the best insurance you have that the final system will meet your expectations.

CEDIA offers a free resource to help self-builders to understand the key steps that they need to take in the home technology installation process. The CEDIA Smart Home Infrastructure Recommended Guidelines can be downloaded via the CEDIA website www.cedia.org.

CEDIA also provides an online Finder Service on its website, which allows self-builders to locate their nearest technology integrator. Users can search CEDIA member companies by postcode, services, and certification.