10 Tips for installing home automation

Do you want to installing home automation in the home, but don't know where to start? Here are 10 tips for installing home automation systems at home without dying in the attempt

The trick is to have some good adviceto help you get started and to clarify some ideas if you want to have a home automation system.

Do you want to know what I have learnt after more than 20 years installing home automation in my own and my clients' homes?

I believe I have learnt enough and have enough judgement and authority to give you some advice that I consider vital when it comes to home automation.

Everyone has an idea I'm going to try to develop these tips in a way that will be useful for as many people as possible, regardless of whether they are going to be doing a small home automation installation with a couple of elements or that your objective is to have the world's smartest smart home worldwide.

Usable and user-friendly home domotics

We could say that these 10 tips for installing home automation at home boil down to the golden rule of home automation and, if this rule is not observed, nothing else makes sense.

Home automation should not be a hindrance to that the dwelling functions normally as would be expected in a house without any home automation features.

You have to ask yourself, if my great-great-grandmother came to live in this house, would be able to cope with the correct with most of the normal things in the house?

It is necessary to think that what is "normal"is also evolving. 50 years ago it was not normal for a television to have a remote control.And nobody stops knowing how to use a TV because it doesn't have buttons.

Automating everything is all well and good, but everything must function as if there were no intelligent elements at all.. If you're going to turn a light on or off, you should be able to do it from the traditional wall switch, and it should look as normal as possible and be in the place where you'd look for it.

Fail-safe smart home

It is important to think about that all the basic things in the house continue to function if there is a problem.

Problems happen and things break downIt is only a matter of time before something breaks down. It is important that, when that time comes, the house continues to function like any other house.

There is nothing worse than spending three days in the dark or not being able to turn on the heating or air conditioning because the controller has broken down and needs to be repaired.

Domotics without installation

Or with easy and minimal installation. Don't hassle with something you may have to replace. in less time than you expect.

Home automation technologies, standards and protocols change rapidly. Home automation manufacturers come and go, appear and disappear. It is a volatile market and, although it has been around for a long time, it is not a market of large manufacturers and turnover figures, so it is not a market of large manufacturers and turnover figures. things are not forever. Keep this in mind when undertaking construction work or making large investments.

I, like many other people, have done a number of large and medium sized jobs on the houses I've been through over the years and others I've worked on or sold projects for and, I must say, I've always worried about putting in a lot of extra cables than I needed at the time and leaving a lot of empty pipes for the future. Has it been worth it? No, indeed. They may have solved a problem for me at times, but the reality is that I have spent far more time and money being proactive than the return I got from it.

A few years ago, if you wanted to have a reliable solution, you had to install wired home automation, with installation. Home automation has changed a lot and now you have a lot of different solutions. wireless systems that work great and which have a reliability almost as high as that of a wired system.

Standards and protocols

We get a bit technical here, but it is necessary to go through this.

There are many home automation solutions on the market, and we have to decide which one to install. This will depend a lot on what we want to do. If we just want to turn on a light with a remote control, we don't need to complicate our lives. Practically anything will do the job.

If we want to install a complete home automation system, we have to think a little further ahead.

  • What home automation systems exist?
  • What home automation technologies exist?
  • What domotic protocols exist?

This is not the place to develop these three questions, but you will have no problem finding the answers.

Think about today at 90% and tomorrow at 10%.

Everything is moving forward. It's all well and good to think about what you'd like to be doing in your smart home in five years' time, but you know what? The technology today probably won't be the same as it will be in five years' time.

Don't complicate your lifethink of the things that really you are going to install within a reasonable period of time (one or two years) and focus on it.

It's good to think ahead a bit, but don't make a decision about what you're going to do today by thinking about something you're not going to do today. perhaps years from now.

Which home automation manufacturers to use?

I would say: none.

My advice is that focus not on manufacturers but on technologies that many manufacturers have. They are usually systems cheaper and, if one of the manufacturers closes down or disappears, you will not be left with a home automation system with no future.

Start with the easy stuff

Here I don't mean that you start with the simplest or most limited system, but that once you have a more or less clear idea of what you want to do, divide it into phases or stages and start with the simplest ones.

Keep in mind that you will probably get the 80% of what you want to achieve with the 20% of budget and effort.

Moreover, if it is your first home automation installation, it will allow you to learn and have clearer ideas.

The vast majority of people considering home automation, they are not very clear about what they want.

Compatibility between home automation manufacturers (Intercompatibility)

Compatibility between home automation manufacturers is becoming increasingly common for two reasons:

  • There are more and more protocols used in home automation and technologies shared between several manufacturers.
  • Increasingly, there are systems that allow different technologies to talk to each other (such as MQTT).

There are two groups of technologies so that different manufacturers can be compatible:

  • Open source technologies, which can be used by any manufacturer (X10, ZigBee, KNX).
  • Licensed technologies, where the manufacturer pays a licence fee to the owner to be able to use it in their products (e.g. Z-Wave).

If you intend to grow your home automation installation, make sure you choose elements that can work together. In my case, for example, and after years with several systems that were sometimes very difficult to get to work together, everything I install has to support, in one way or another, the MQTT protocol. That way I make sure that do not create "islands".

It's not just about components of a system working together, like a knob and a switch, think also about that complete systems work together, For example, think about the advantages of integrating your home alarm with the rest of the system.

Think: if the irrigation system is integrated with a weather station, you can make it so that sprinkler irrigation is not activated if it is very windy (it would water where it should not) or that it does not irrigate if it has rained (this rainfall data can also be obtained from the internet and is another form of integration).

If the alarm is integrated, you can make it, if the fire alarm is triggered, the home automation system is responsible for switching on the lights at the exit and raising the blinds. to facilitate evacuation. You can even give a few messages to help with that nervous moment through your smart speakers.

Negative point for touch screens

Although everyone has their own opinion, I could not leave this subject untouched in an article with advice on how to install home automation, based on my experience.

Touch screens attract a lot of attention, but, in my opinion, are very impractical. Over the years I spent a lot of money on touchscreens, the reality is that they were never very practical and the use I made of them was minimal.

  • It is difficult to design screens for good usability
  • If it is portable you have to be looking for where it is
  • If it is fixed you have to get up to her
  • For people with vision problemsor at a certain age, it becomes a problem.
  • A home automation system is a living system and, if it makes frequent changes, as is the case with me, having to design or modify The touch screen interface can be a challenge for the exhausting work

For business or building control (which is building automation, not home automation) touchscreens can be very interesting, but that's another story.

Today tablets have all but displaced touch screens in home automation applications. Much more practical and inexpensive.

A plus point for voice control

Voice control has come a long way and works really well.

Manufacturers such as Google with its Google Assistant o Amazon with Alexa you have made great contributions to voice-activated home control. Apple has also SiriIn fact, it was the first, but today I can say that it has fallen a little behind.

Voice control is very convenient for certain things, such as turning lights and appliances on and off. For other things, such as voice control of multimedia equipment, it is still a bit green, but things are improving.

In my case, I have six Google Home devices in my house, in the main places, and the truth is that they give me a lot of useful and interesting functionalities in controlling the house by voice. I can do normal things like turn things on and off, raise or lower awnings, and so on, but I also use it to set and remove the alarm by voice, to adjust the thermostats, to ask for room temperatures, for the system to send messages by voice to the six rooms individually or together, and so on.

Summary of tips for installing home automation at home

This has been a quick overview of some of the things that, in my opinion, should be taken into account when considering installing home automation.

I will go into more detail on each of these aspects in other articles. If you are interested in the subject, be sure to subscribe to the newsletter to find out about new publications.

Infographic home automation tips

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