Source: inex online
Today’s clients are keen to maximise the opportunities presented by new smart homes technology but often with as little on show as possible, minimising ‘wall clutter’ and other impacts on interior design. They also seek a flexible, user-friendly approach to control provided by the latest intuitive software, using touch-screen controllers and occupiers’ smartphones.
Home automation can enable every light in and around the house to be dimmed or switched on and off with touch-screens and smartphones, as well as discreet local wall panels replacing conventional light switches. Pre-set scenes are also available to create specific lighting moods, which should be considered alongside the overall interior design scheme. Additionally, all the lights in a house can be turned off with a single button or lighting can be set to holiday mode, creating the impression that the house is occupied.
Multi-room audio and video systems can now include a music player for each family member to enjoy his or her own diverse music collection and streaming service. Discreet ceiling speakers in various rooms and external speakers in the garden can be organised into audio zones, each providing music and sound selected from the central AV system. Similarly, video content from multiple, centralised sources – such as Sky, Virgin TiVo and Apple TV boxes, Blu-ray discs and movie servers – can be distributed to TVs located anywhere in the house.
Although dedicated cinema rooms are still called for, very often a single room has to work both as an everyday living space and also a high-specification 3D home cinema. Here, at the touch of a button, a projector can descend from the ceiling, a screen gently lowers in front of the TV, the lights dim and motorised blinds close, creating the ultimate home cinema experience with stunning picture quality and jaw-dropping surround sound.
In such situations, Cyberhomes has designed cabinetry housing the screen and front speakers. Here, a tilting mechanism enables speaker adjustment to suit the precise distance to the seats once furniture positions have been finalised, optimising acoustic performance. Speakers can also be hidden behind removable, ‘acoustically-transparent’ fabric panels to suit interior designs. Working closely with interior designers and architects is therefore key to combining the best performance and design.
Smart technology allows discreet CCTV cameras and door or gate entry systems to display on any of the touch-screen control panels throughout the house or on smartphones, including when away from home. Owners can also check and adjust heating, lighting and other functions when they are away.
Intruder alarm systems can also be integrated with home automation, allowing additional actions to be triggered automatically.
Initially involving smart homes specialists optimises integration of the system with the overall building design. The AV racks should be built and tested and all the wiring looms created in a controlled environment, minimising connections and other work on a building site.
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