Home automation trends

Mixing traditional and innovative designs to achieve functionality
Monday, September 8, 2014
by Wes Morris

Never before has home automation, audio or video been more exciting. Surprisingly, it is the mix of traditional and innovative designs with state-of-the-art technology that is making the way for clients to have more of what they want. Here are the top seven trends that accomplish this functionality and design.

Nostalgic Quality

Nostalgia is ruling the day with increasing demand for the vintage feel of record players and tower/bookshelf speakers that still retain the quality of today’s technology. These vinyl moments are being tastefully incorporated into the home allowing homeowners the benefit and depth of vinyl audio, while maintaining a very chic and attractive statement in rooms.

Invisible Solutions

When the nostalgic design of visible audio solutions are not the right fit, innovative solutions such as invisible speakers and subwoofers, offer homeowners a full range of sound without compromising the aesthetic purpose of the room. The invisible speaker technology has improved to the point that amazing audio performance can be achieved even when installed behind dry-wall, wallpaper and some thin wood veneers.

Accessible Content

Accessing entertainment in the form of music, movies and internet content is one of the fastest changing landscapes in the home automation industry. Going and almost gone are physical mediums of content, such as CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs.

To accomplish effective streaming of music, movie and internet content, the home network, both in wired and wireless forms, requires a high level of design and technology. The benefit to this fast changing environment is that entertainment content is much more accessible – almost on any device whether TV’s, computers or mobile devices.

Video Quality

While entertainment content is being accessed more frequently over home networks, video quality is changing yet again. Not too long ago, High Definition content began replacing standard definition video. But now, a new change is on its way in the form of 4K Ultra HD video.

The results are stunning and the opportunity to incorporate thinner than ever TV’s into walls, ceilings or floors makes watching TV with family and friends an exciting and immersive experience. Also, because of the hardware’s lower profile, when TV’s are off, hiding them behind artwork or lowering them into countertops allow the homeowner to preserve the room’s aesthetic design.

Lighting Control

Lighting control immediately eliminates unsightly wall acne of large banks of six, seven, sometimes eight light switches or dimmers. Imagine one Decora-sized keypad on a wall allowing one button control to turn an entire room to a relaxing evening lighting scene, or when crawling into bed, pushing one button to turn the entire home’s lights off while leaving a low lit hallway light for easy access to a washroom or the kitchen for a late night snack.

These types of solutions dramatically change the look and feel of a home and make the lighting in the home fit the homeowner’s lifestyle. Lighting control is easily incorporated into a new construction or renovation application.

Motorized Shades

Motorized shades also have become more readily available, especially for renovation situations by way of battery powered roller or cellular shades. Easy to install with many fabric colours and style options, motorized shades in their wired or wireless formats provide protection of artwork, furniture and flooring as well as the added benefits of privacy and energy savings.

Mobile Device Integration

A recent exciting addition to the home automation and integration family is the ease in which iPhones, iPads, laptop computers or Android devices can control all of the items listed above both in the home and when outside the home. These mobile devices can show the homes floorplans for easy reference of control and reduce the need for wall mounted panels throughout the home.

Home automation continues to push boundaries to ensure that homeowners have easy to use and reliable solutions in their homes while also making design more of a focal point.

Wes Morris is the sales and marketing manager for Graytek, a premier home automation and integration firm based in the Vancouver. He has eight years of industry experience helping clients, interior designers, architects and builders achieve the design goals of custom home projects. www.graytek.ca