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Date published: June 06 2016

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Technology is here to stay because it makes life easier, more enjoyable and saves time says Matthew Tillman

There’s no backlash against home technology. Not if the interest in clever solutions for the home continues at its current pace. After all, most homeowners want a property that works efficiently and most people like an easy option. But still you’ll hear folk proclaiming that the design industry has had enough of these high-tech features and that technology is getting too complicated. Neither of these assertions are true.

The amount of technology we are using is actually increasing. A smart phone seemed like a luxury in the not-too-distant past, but now it’s difficult to imagine doing everyday tasks without one. With the phenomenal rise in popularity of hand-held devices, it is not surprising that demand exists to use them to control our homes, just as we do other aspects of our lives.

If there’s a shift in mood towards home automation, then it’s that this sector of the tech world has changed its focus. AV specialists used to be obsessed with equipment, but amongst the top integration firms it’s no longer about equipment. How the equipment works is more important. You don’t have to buy the very best kit to have a fully-functioning smart home, but try to save nickels and dimes on installation and you’ll end up with a system that doesn’t work.

Home technology is thankfully much more customer-led than it used to be and customising and designing a system to suit the lifestyle of your client is what it’s all about. Even the most complicated of homes – with multiple electrical circuits and loads of programming to create pre-set lighting scenes for each room – can be made easy in the hands of a great integrator.

Technology has to be simple to use or it fails in its primary function and what should be a fabulous positive soon turns into the exact opposite. A backlash against technology is, therefore, only against tech that doesn’t work, not the tech itself. It’s the installation that’s at fault. 

A good integrator will take a complete survey of your needs. They’ll provide detailed records of their work as well as making sure that the installation is as future-proof as possible. As long-standing home technology specialists, we’ve been called to many a property to repair a bad or outdated installation and been utterly dismayed at the lack of drawings and the failure to make provision for upgrades.

At first glance, many home technology firms look impressive. They’ll dazzle you with an array of high performance speakers – and perhaps even be accredited in some way – but you really must (just as you would with an electrician or plumber) check out their credentials. What other architects and developers have they worked with? How satisfied are their existing
clients? Can they cope with the size and complexity of your project? 

Tech might have got a bad name in some corners, especially amongst designers with a strong sense of aesthetics, because a lot of it is black – and sometimes big – and this might be at odds with a beautifully decorated interior. For every client who wants to show off his speakers or place a 64” screen above a fireplace, many more clients like to be discreet with their tech. Neither comfort or style needs to be sacrificed in the bid to create an efficient, modern home and we go to a lot of trouble to create bespoke mechanisms that can be hidden in cabinetry or speakers that can be painted in to the plasterwork.

A glance at the property pages suggests this is so. There’s many a prestige home – even historic, listed properties – that are proudly featuring technology as a selling point. Very often some of the showier features – such as a fully-functioning home cinema or wine cellar with electric sommelier – may be tucked away in a basement, but the rest of the house will wear its
high-tech hat much more subtly.

Each room will have a small touchscreen panel where there are four or five pre-set lighting scenes to choose from. Pick up the iPad on a coffee table, select the room you’re in and the blinds can be moved to half-mast at the touch of a button, the music playlist accessed and the flame lit in the fireplace. If you’re about to go out, the whole house can be shut down in an
instant. It really can be that simple and that’s why technology is here to stay because it makes life easier, more enjoyable and saves time. It can even save energy – and that has to be good.

Author: Matthew Tillman

Company: Tillman Domotics

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