1.0 Introduction to Smart Home Technology
The 21st Century is firmly here, and so is the fully automated smart home. A smart home encompasses a wide use of technologies, concepts and ideas of intelligent living. Welcome to our complete guide to the smart home. We hope to set out to explore what makes a home ‘smart, automated and intelligent’, what to look for in a smart home installer and how to plan and budget for such a project.
1.1What is a fully automated smart home?
We often hear phrases such as Smart Home, Home Automation, Intelligent House, Domotics, Residential Automation and Internet of Things. Actually, Smart Home, Home Automation, Domotics, Intelligent House and Residential Automation have the same meaning, while this technology is one of the several applications of the broad phrase IoT (internet of things), and is often called Home IoT. In reality, Smart home technology is building automation for a house that involves three interrelated distinct levels, Monitoring, Control and Automation.
The action where the user can view the status of the smart home system or its components locally or remotely. For instance, are the lights on? Is the door locked? What is the room temperature? Is there any failure or error to the home automation system or in any of its components?
The action where the user can control locally or remotely different components of the system or the system's state. e.g. Turn the heating or cooling on or off. Dim the lights to a desired level. Turn window blinds up or down. Arm the security system.
The mechanism that allows the system to change the system's state automatically in response to an internal or external event without any user intervention. For instance, the heating system turns on automatically when the outdoor temperature falls below a certain value. The lights switch off when the motion sensor does not detect any human activity in the house.
A smart home is a property which can include several integrated systems such as lighting, heating, shades, audio, visual, air conditioning and security. These systems are supported by a robust network capability, with ease of control (local or remote) allowing its user to secure and manage their home.
At Intellicasa we specialise in bespoke advanced automation solutions, making it easier for occupants to activate lights when they enter or leave a room, or turning down the thermostat when nobody is home. Energy-saving and simplicity being a key driver for most home owners.
Many smart homes also feature dedicated homes cinemas with many forward-thinking occupants now including brand new spaces such as virtual reality rooms for their entertainment pleasure. Some of these examples are shown on our portfolio pages
1.2 What smart home features can I add to my home?
Smart home security systems can provide live feeds, instant notifications and the ability to grant access to visitors when you are not at home.
An automated and intelligent security system can also warn you about environmental threats such as indoor air quality, fire, or flooding.
Intelligent smart home automation
At Intellicasa, we are able to offer bespoke multi-room functionality that allows you to remotely activate lights across the house, so you no longer need to worry about leaving upstairs or hallways lights on and wasting energy consumption. All of this can be achieved by using our dedicated control panels, or a dedicated app, or simply by the touch of a button or the sound of your voice.
Dedicated Home Cinema & Entertainment rooms
We offer state of the art solutions ranging from 4K screens with premium surround sound and hi-fi systems, integrating the latest AV technology into your home.
Home cinemas or even virtual reality rooms are becoming the “room of choice” for the discerning technological enthusiast. Dedicated cinema rooms are known to add considerable uplift to any property value.
By being able to add multi-room capabilities for TV and music, you are now able to use a single source to distribute content to several rooms.
2.0 Controlling your smart home
Smart home control can be achieved in several ways, each offering their own unique benefits and abilities to manage the intelligent system more intuitively.
Our premium systems allow you to access and control all of your smart home technology from a single intuitive point, enabling control over the whole house. This can be either based as a table top unit, or more commonly affixed to a wall in a communal space such as a hallway or kitchen.
Our keypads can be completely customised with engraved buttons informing you of its function. They can be easily configured to control lights, shades, sound and custom scenes, such as “TV mode”.
Handheld Touch Screen Remote
The Handheld Touch Screen Remote is an elegant, customizable wireless controller designed for use in home theaters, bedrooms, hotel rooms, boardrooms, and many other applications. Features built-in intercom, video display, and voice control capabilities.
A smart home app can travel on your phone, allowing you to control your house whilst on the go, enabling you to stay up-to-date with what’s going on inside of your property.
Using a voice control platform such as Amazon Alexa, or Hey Google, can help you control your devices seamlessly using voice command. This allows you to control your lights, shades, heating, audio visual, all through seamless integration with your smart home system.
3.0 Why do you need a smart home installer for your property?
As an award-winning company, and home of intelligent smart home automation systems, we use the very best in state-of-the-art technology for our installations. For our bespoke systems we offer a full 5-year warranty on the hardware and offer on-going corrective and reactive maintenance packages for total peace of mind.
Our specialist trained engineers ensure our equipment is maintained regularly, with remote monitoring allowing us to diagnose issues before attending on site, minimising any disruption to the occupant’s life and privacy.
A good quality smart home installer will be able to advise you on which products have a proven track record of stability, support and most importantly performance. These systems may not be as simple to install as the off-the-shelf Amazon or Google solutions, but they do bring a number of assurances that contribute to improving your experience, lifestyle and usability, with the ability to up-scale and expand the system to your requirements. This includes regular software updates, new devices, improved functionality and occasional hardware upgrades, which all contribute to the longevity and long-term performance of your system and its installation.
Our strength in installation and qualified engineers is demonstrated by our long-standing track record. We are proud to be recipients of the Hounslow Chamber of Commerce, and West London Chamber Award for Best Tech Business 2019/20. Also please be sure to check out our 40+ 5-star reviews on Google for the numerous installations that we’ve carried out over the years!
4.0 What Does it Cost?
4.1 DIY / Off-The-Shelf
With advances in technology, the market is adorned with several off-the-shelf solutions that can be installed by homeowners. These include Amazon Alexa, Phillips Hue through to Google Assistant and Nest, etc. These systems are typically stand-alone and can only operate one component at a time, and fully dependant on wi-fi connectivity to provide communication. They are prone to failure and do not necessarily have auto-software updates. Correcting issues associated with such technology requires the occupants time, and some basic technological understanding in order to fully diagnose and correct any issues.
Moreover, DIY refers to basic control and monitoring and sometimes to basic automation since advanced automation means that all systems interact with each other to achieve maximum comfort and luxury, whilst the user interacts with all systems from a single interface. This is not the case with DIY products that are pre-configured applications and not customized fully to your needs. Usually, DIY / Off-The-Shelf systems cost less than £5k.
4.2 Professional & Bespoke Installation
For high-end properties with unique requirements and challenges, choosing a smart home automation installer with extensive experience in providing credible solutions remains key. At Intellicasa we provide decades of know-how, from fully trained and qualified engineers to craft unique and bespoke solutions to meet the needs of the user. We ensure that any installation remains sensitive to both the architecture, construction and interior design, in line with the user’s needs. Fully customized systems to the client’s needs that ensure the maximum comfort and level of sophistication. A truly smart automated home.
Although the cost of a professional/bespoke installation varies significantly due to customer’s requirements it can start from £15k for basic automation and scale up to more than £100k for professional installation and even reach more than £200k for highly bespoke sophisticated installations.
5.0 Stages of a Smart Home Project
5.1 Free Consultation
Our smart home automation experts work with you to discuss the exact requirements of you and what you want from your home.
On agreeing the scope of your requirements, and establishing the basic framework for the smart automated home, our design team work with our technical specialists to turn your ideas into reality, ensuring a fully integrated system with built-in intelligence is ready for the next stage.
Following the initial discussion and design stage, Intellicasa provides a comprehensive breakdown of costs. This includes hardware, software, integration and installation. Based on this discussion we are able to tweak the initial design at this stage to accommodate any changes.
5.4 Agreement in principle
At this stage, we provide you with a kit list of hardware, along with proposed timelines for installation based on the scope agreed. Once this is in place and you are satisfied with the scope of works, we are ready to sign off on the final design and produce visuals.
5.5 Visualisation and Final Design
Once you are happy with the design and the quote, we are ready to proceed to the final design and can provide visuals of the actual hardware so that you can visualise how these would look in your own home.
5.6 Project Management
In most cases the property will be wired, cables prepared and network points/locations agreed so that they can be tested and ready for installation. The equipment is prepared and partially set up off-site at our electrical stations in our Kensington office and Chiswick Business Park offices.
5.7 Installation & Integration
We work with you and your building team (if applicable) to arrange suitable times for the site to be ‘installation ready’ so that equipment can be installed ‘dust-free’ and securely in its new home.
5.8 Commissioning & Sign Off
The installed systems are programmed by our specialist programmers/engineers to ensure they are working as required. Our dedicated relationship manager and installations specialists take you through a tutorial on how to operate your new intelligent smart home.
5.9 Aftercare & On-going Maintenance
Intellicasa offers on-going support and maintenance contracts to ensure your systems remain up to date and are able to quickly fix any critical issues.