There are a number of compelling reasons to go with smart home technology whether you are building from the ground up or in need of a retrofit.
I don’t know about you, but I’m constantly reminding my son to turn off the lights when he leaves a room. And I distinctly remember my father singing the same chorus to me when I was growing up. And then there’s the battle my husband and I have over the thermostat. I like the house warmer in the morning and I crank up the heat to help get me going. The problem is that I often forget to turn it down when I leave the house. But with today’s technology, these sorts of battles (and charges) are unnecessary. Automation and modern building techniques give homeowners new levels of control, comfort, and security.
Convenience is a strong motivator for many homeowners deciding to incorporate smart home technology. There are products that offer users remote access to systems including music and multimedia devices, heating and cooling systems, intercoms, elevators, garage doors, and more. In Sun Valley,
Soundwave’s CEO Luke Macdonald says, “A smart home will give you the control and flexibility to customize your home to fit your personal needs with the idea to have an intuitive way to add convenience and simplicity to your daily routine with a simple touch of a finger. Your home becomes a personalized extension of you.”
Macdonald has owned and operated Soundwave, a home electronics company for nearly 20 years, and it started with an interest in electronics and an eagerness to start a business in the Sun Valley community. “Technology has changed dramatically from the smartest thing in the home being a ‘Clapper’ to turn on or off the lights,” he says. “We went from selling the hottest portable Walkman to extremely small, portable electronic devices that can store millions of songs. Sources are now unlimited from the Internet, and everyone has access to it all the time.”
Macdonald says that clients come to Soundwave looking for a way to simplify their lives and enhance their lifestyle, for sure, but they also want a sense of security—a way to know that their systems are managed. He explains, “Did you leave the heat on the right setting? You can check now. See who is at the door, let them in, and lock up after they’ve finished. Did you close the garage door? Close it from an app on a plane flying back to the East Coast. Did you leave the lights on? Did you remember to stop your sprinklers if you are gone for a while? Did you turn off your driveway heater? View your snowmelt from your remote cameras. You can turn them all off remotely.” And that’s peace of mind for busy homeowners.
Jess Goitiandia of Audio Innovations and TJ’s Electric in Hailey has an innovative audio visual company which designs, integrates, and simplifies a truly custom system to keep homeowners comfortable, entertained, and secure. Audio Innovations and TJ’s Electric was established in 1992 and has been filling the valley’s audio and visual needs since. Goitiandia says, “Audio Innovations and TJ’s Electric meets the changing needs of the discerning client.”
According to Goitiandia, convenience is only one reason to smarten up. Efficiency and resale values also play into the equation. Because smart homes are more efficient, homeowners save money over time. The initial expense that goes into the technology—a factor that deters some—has less impact when you consider the monthly savings that the technology produces. As for resale value, more and more owners are looking for fully integrated homes and won’t settle for anything less. Audio Innovations and TJ’s Electric’s mission is to create and design systems from conception to completion that are intuitive, functional, and powerful yet simplistic in operation that allow their clients to feel at ease with changing technology. “We have the forethought to think about the future as well as take into consideration current technology,” Goitiandia says. “From the initial contact to completion, customer service is the cornerstone of our business. Our relationship with clients extends past the initial project. Our goal is ease of operation, functionality, and customer service for every client when we’re commissioned for a project.”
Macdonald says that it’s all about the partnership between homeowner and technology advisor when integrating tech into a home. He recommends finding a technology partner who will listen to they way you use technology and the way you hope
technology can enhance your life. The team at Soundwave stays up on all the latest technology and can help guide clients in selecting the best products for their needs. Macdonald says, “As most users push the limits of control, they want the remote capability to check and change anything (temperature, lighting, etc.) in their home. The more convenient it is to see and make changes, the more often a homeowner will find a moment to check that their home is running the way they want it to in their absence. There are more and more requests for cameras. Not only for security but also for peace of mind.”
The pros at Soundwave and Audio Innovations and TJs Electric are keeping their eyes on developments in artificial intelligence and systems that will be able to perform daily tasks for the user with less physical interaction. And for clients looking for a sense of security? Soundwave recommends smart cameras—surveillance cameras that can sense objects such as a person or a vehicle and will automatically zoom in and follow those objects. As the object moves around, the camera can hand off to another camera to maintain seamless coverage. An email or text alert can also be sent to the homeowner or property manager to alert them to the movement. In resort areas where many residences are second homes, this sort of technology is very useful. Macdonald says, “Because there are so many changes happening so quickly in this world, we stress the need to future-proof the infrastructure in a customer’s new home,” tells Macdonald. “No one will know exactly what will be coming, so we plan and wire for future contingencies with Cat6 and Fiber Optics.”
As for must-have smart-home tech devices or systems? Macdonald says, “Remote access of IP cameras giving you a real- time view of any part of you home and simple music streaming in your home from any source available on the Internet as well as remote access to their entire HVAC and water systems are all must-haves.” Goitiandia says he recommends a system to “manage audio, video, and lighting elements with control panels you won’t want to hide. New interiors invite comfort and relaxation and the right audio and visual systems will give you an experience like no other because the components work with your interior design and complement your decor and lifestyle.”
Smart home tech has come a long way in the past few years and a smarter home is a better home.