Smart homes are increasingly sought after by high-value homeowners. This means the ability to design or renovate a house to accommodate smart technology is increasingly valuable to the designers of those homes. It provides a competitive edge and opens businesses up to a rapidly growing market, as discussed in our previous blog on the business case for smart home design.
The complete guide
The case for incorporating smart home design into architecture and interior design practice is compelling as covered in our previous blog on the subject. When you’ve decided to do it though, the next question is how.
To answer this question, we’ve created a free guide on the subject for architects, interior designers and home design professionals.
Quicker tips for busy people – Excerpt
1. Aim to meet these 4 desires above all else
Seamless integration means that all systems must work together to provide outcomes while minimising user effort.
Elevated experience requires more options for improving the quality of life and experience in the home. This means shrewdly specified tech, rather than just more tech.
Superior technology - from designer lighting to home cinemas, a wider and better choice is available to premium purchasers. It is important to research and specify these technologies carefully.
Bespoke design – As in all areas of premium home design, high-value smart homes are more often designed around the user’s personal desires or expected desires. This requires more in-depth briefing and discussion of requirements.
2. Discuss client needs carefully. Questions below.
This will be a familiar challenge for high-value home design professionals. High-spending clients expect more personalisation for their money. This starts with a well-planned discussion, which can be personal for a defined user, or general for a commercial client. Here are some recommended questions to help start the conversation.
- What do you find difficult at home that automation could make easier?
- What changes will improve your lifestyle the most?
- What do you need in your home and where?
- How many items and how much will this cost?
- Basic specifications and fittings (e.g. number of monitors, speakers, controls, lights)
- How many Wi-Fi points should the home have?
- Provisions for Future Upgrades.
3. Know the client benefits of smart homes
Smart homes have a range of benefits, but there are four very specific, tangible advantages to focus on when discussing smart options with clients.
- Quality of life improvement – This is a big one. Smart homes can improve the lives of their owners enormously by automating tasks and providing new experiences.
- New and better experiences – Speaking of new experiences, this is a big benefit in itself, whether we’re talking about enjoying a cinema in one’s home or entertaining with smart lights and sound.
- Independence for senior and limited mobility owners - The difference in quality of life can be even greater for older people and those with limited mobility whose homes can be designed to enable them as much as possible.
- Reduced energy consumption - Smart homes consume 30-40% less energy than their non-smart equivalents on average. This has huge implications for sustainability, the environment, and future expenses.
4. Plan to create experiences by integrating systems.
Integration is the key to a lot of the great experiences of a smart home. That could mean throwing a dinner party with the perfect ambience at the click of a switch thanks to lighting, heating, music and more, or simply saving time by closing the blinds, turning off the lights and the alarm and starting up the heating before bed.
This is done by integrating smart systems to work together at the push of a button or the tick of a sensor to create the desired combined effect automatically. It can be a complex and multifaceted process and one of the areas a systems integrator like Baker Stone Systems can help with. Training is also available to bring this knowledge into your company.
5. Good news – there are few restrictions and requirements.
There are very few restrictions on design for a smart home, and just a few simple requirements. This is because smart home layouts are highly flexible, especially at a premium level. The only specific, regular requirements are that all services are brought into the property at one point and (often, but not always) that a central processing hub is specified near that point.
Furthermore, the electrics aren’t as unique as one might imagine and most specialists or contractors can install them after just a couple of hours of training.
6. The right wiring is essential
While general design is flexible, getting the right wiring infrastructure in place is key. The most expensive mistake you can make is not putting the right infrastructure in at the beginning of a project.
Despite what some providers claim, wireless only doesn’t work, but an unreliable web connection can be accounted for. The house doesn’t shut down when it disconnects!
7. Know when to ask for professional assistance from a smart home integrator
Involving a smart home integrator in your project adds value, reduces friction and helps things move quickly. Integrators like Baker Stone will work with you to prepare a brief, develop the project, specify tech and integrate smart systems into the design with minimal disruption.
Deciding early to include smart systems integration in a home design project makes execution cheaper, more effective and less time-consuming. Here are some signs that a project may benefit from such expertise:
- Many linked electrical systems that would benefit from integration.
- Elderly clients and those with limited mobility can benefit hugely from smart home automation.
- Many actions are triggered by timers, events or a combination (e.g. heating timers and thermostats).
- The client wants …
- Modern multimedia and/or multi-room entertainment
- Responsive heating, ventilation and air conditioning
- Cutting-edge security and access control (Smart doorbells, gates etc.)
- Networking, and extensively linked devices
- Easy control of advanced systems by touchpad or voice
Download the full guide here
If you found those tips valuable and you want a more complete guide to incorporating smart systems into your design practice, download our pdf from the link below.
If you have a domestic design, construction or refit project that requires, or might benefit from, smart systems, talk it through with us in a professional partnership meeting.