Custom Controls
enquires@customcontrols.co.uk
[contact-form-7 id="156" title="Contact Form"]

Smart Home vs Home Automation vs Connected Home

Home Automation, Smart Homes and Connected Homes – Explained

Smart Home vs Home Automation vs Connected Home – With the rise of the Internet of Things more and more people are realising the benefits of an intelligent home. New products from the likes of Google and Apple allow home owners to even control their home by voice commands – adding a wow factor and convenience via technology that would of been thought of as very futuristic even a few years ago. Solutions for a fully smart home vary from easily installed systems suitable for technologically minded home owners through to fully bespoke professionally installed and maintained systems – we specialise in the latter systems. 

But what do the various terms mean?

Connected Homes

This is the simplest approach of the three terms and most homes have an element of the technology installed. A connected home simply refers to the infrastructure installed in the home – a simple network to allow solid connectivity of Smart TVs and a good wifi network is a great example of a connected home but the infrastructure can extend to allow media servers, home theater PCs and simple media solutions.

Smart Home

A Smart Home in London

A Smart Home in London

A Smart Home builds on the infrastructure installed in a connected home – media distribution allows any room of the house to enjoy the clients music collection and distributes centralised video sources to any TV of the home. This Multi-Room Audio Video system can be further enhanced by lighting control – allowing mood lighting in either key rooms or throughout the whole house. Automatic actions such as bringing lighting on at dusk or switching audio video off when the alarm is set ensure the house is smart enough to add convenience to your home.

Home Automation

Home Automation builds on the Smart Home principles – whole house audio video and mood lighting systems are enhanced by heating and air conditioning integration – anything electrical in the home can be integrated to add convenience or save energy – often both at once. Automating heating controls within the home can ensure rooms are only heated or cooled when you need them, saving huge amounts of energy. Homes with renewable energies can become truly eco friendly by managing the whole house power consumption – using the home automation system to use energy in the most efficient way possible – for example heating hot water when energy is at its highest or distributing warm air from south facing rooms with solar gain to north facing cooler rooms. Proactively running the home in this way ensures complete client comfort whilst ensuring the lowest possible energy use.

Summary

With the rise of home installed and connected devices it is great to see home owners waking up to and taking the first steps with Smart Homes and Home Automation. The future is convenient. energy efficient and full of easy to access content. Our professionally installed systems are reliable, scalable, efficient and flexible and we often produce designs for home owners looking to install a connected home during a refit or renovation. Once a Connected Home is installed then adding in elements of Smart Home and Home Automation technology is easy with modular elements being added in as required to create the perfect system for a client.

Home Automation

Crestron Installers

Whole House AV

Introducing the Autonomic MMS Music Server

A Hugely Flexible Digital Music Solution from Autonomic.

The Autonomic MMS Music Server frequently serves as the cornerstone to our whole house audio systems. The MMS is a hugely flexible digital music server – allowing a world of music to be enjoyed anywhere in the home when partnered with our Crestron or Savant Home Entertainment solutions. Easy access to high quality music is essential to delivering a successful system with the following services being supported (services available may depend on geographical location):

Streaming Services

Music Services available on the Autonomic MMS

For our international clients the MMS allows us to easily access “home” radio stations – for instance one recent Australian client who is living in Primrose Hill has access to Sydney radio stations, in addition to his Spotify playlists and iTunes collection. iTunes music collections are sync’ed from client computers direct to the storage on the MMS allowing access for anyone in the home and removing the need for a client device to be on at the time. For larger music collections the storage of the MMS can be upgraded by adding in USB hard drives or streaming from network attached storage – allowing a limitless music collection. 

The Autonomic MMS-1e

The Autonomic MMS-1e

Easy streaming of the above services is further enhanced by allowing multiple streams of music – so different family members can enjoy different music around the home. With our Crestron installations we tend to use user profiles so individual radio stations and playlists follow clients around the home, making the system quick and efficient to use. The MMS comes in a variety of sizes from a one output MMS-1e to a five output MMS-5A which allows five streams. For larger properties we can install multiple units – five MMS1e units can allow five individuals to listen independently to different music in the home – it’s like having your own music server in every room of the home. 

With all our whole house audio systems a client can easily join rooms together for impromptu parties with rooms being added to existing music streams easily and efficiently. This is a hugely flexible solution which is only available via a professionally installed system.

MultiRoom AV

Home Automation

Home Cinema

Lutron LED Lamps

Lutron Homeworks QS, Quantum and Grafik Eye Compatible LEDs

Lutron lighting control systems excel at energy efficient mood lighting and automated lighting controls – however specifying compatible Lutron LED lamps has always been far from straightforward. Cheaper LED lamps can change colour through the dimming cycle – transforming from stark white to a deep orange, depending on the amount the lamp is dimmed. Some fittings even flicker when at the lower end of the dimming range. For this reason Creston lighting controls have been our preferred solution – sourcing the lighting dimmers and LED fittings from the same manufacturer ensures no issues and a happy customer. We are therefore very pleased that Lutron have announced the release of their own LED fittings, we get the same benefits of a single supplier including outstanding levels of support as every product in the lighting system is supplied by Lutron.

The main benefits of the new LED fixtures are:

  • A single company supplying all elements of the lighting system – fantastic support and full compatibility.
  • Brilliant quality of lighting – fittings are matched so all fittings in a ceiling look identical, more natural lighting than cheaper LEDs.
  • Perfect dimming – step free and flicker free dimming – allows precise control of lighting levels.
  • 10 Year Warranty! Break free of the constant replacing cycle imposed by cheap lamps failing.

The range of lights currently includes LED downlights in addition to LED linear lighting. Get in touch to see how they can benefit your project.

Lutron LED Lamps

Lutron LED Lamps

Lutron

Crestron Lighting

Mood Lighting

What are the benefits of a Smart Home System?

8 Ways Smart Home Technology can benefit Home Owners.

Smart Home Systems are becoming more and more common, with a huge number of devices becoming “Smart Home Enabled”. A huge number of manufacturers are making enabled devices, our systems take this approach to another level. What are the benefits for the home owner?

1 – Convenience – Smart Home systems can automate functions around the home, automatically turning on lights when dusk falls or providing precise control of your home heating – even remotely via a mobile phone or tablet. They can ensure your home is always as you like it from the correct temperature to the correct lighting levels.

2 – Save Energy – Heating control systems save huge amounts of energy. Only heating your home when you are present can have a huge impact on energy bills especially when rooms are only heated as you need them – after all most people only spend limited amounts of time in bedrooms so why heat them in the day?

3 – Show your home off at it’s best – Lighting is crucial in the home – badly lit spaces will never look good. A lighting control system instantly recalls preset lighting scenes allowing home owners to configure their lighting perfectly every time. Digital dimmers save energy by dimming lamps and intelligent switching means lighting is only on when required.

4 – Increase security – Burglars target empty houses, they don’t like attention. Lighting controls can replay your usual pattern of activity to simulate occupancy – taking the “light on a timer” approach to new levels!

One of our Smart Home's in London

One of our Smart Home’s in London

5 – Increase Safety – Smart smoke detectors know the difference between burning toast and a burning sofa and can give you an appropriate warning. Linking them together around the home allows intelligent alerts rather than the traditional siren – “Fire in the kitchen” is much more useful in the middle of the night. Integrating these systems in to a smart home system can then bring on lights to highlight exit routes.

6 – Access Control – Handing keys out to contractors and staff involves huge levels of trust. With a smart home you can allow access to key individuals one time or at preset times. You can even be alerted and view the visitor on your phone before allowing access. Delivery drivers and couriers can be screened at your gates before being allowed access to the grounds to leave items in your safe place.

7 – Energy Management – Smart Meters are becoming more common with clients analysing their usage to see which elements of their life are using the most energy on a day to day basis. A smart home system enables you to see at a glance where energy is being used – which lights are on, which rooms have high heating set points etc. We even centralise audio video sources to ensure power hungry devices are only on when you need them and not wasting vast amounts of energy in stand by.

8  – Audio Video – Although there are many benefits to smart home’s audio video integration is one of the best – enjoy any media source in any room of the house. With our systems it is easy to enjoy the radio in the mornings whilst showering, stream Spotify playlists whilst cooking, even catch up on recorded TV whilst relaxing in the bath!

Smart home technology should be reliable and seamless – integrating and enhancing your day to day life without drama. Utilising the above technologies can not only save huge amounts of energy but really increase convenience too – changing the way you enjoy your home whilst ensuring the perfect environment to live your life.

Smart Homes

Energy Controls

Multi-Room AV

Crestron Sonos Integration

Crestron to get native control of Sonos devices

It’s great to hear that Sonos and Crestron have collaborated to allow seamless control of any Sonos device from a Crestron system. We have been integrating the two brands for some time – on iPad’s we launch the Sonos app from within Crestron, minimising app switching as much as possible, and integrating Sonos on to Crestron touch panels by using a Sire gateway. This new collaboration between Crestron and Sonos will mean we no longer have to use third party gateways or switch apps on the iPad.

The Sonos ecosystem is a great way to enjoy music around the home – allowing clients to easily access iTunes, internet radio and spotify via an easy to use interface. By partnering with Crestron, and using Crestron audio distribution, we can take that to another level. Sonnex, the high end audio distribution solution from Crestron, is hugely powerful and flexible – audio channels can be ganged together, rooms fully calibrated and sub-woofers added in to audio zones in addition to being hugely scalable. Our Dubai project contains a full 72 zones of audio – all of which can enjoy a number of audio sources, including Sonos. The clients basketball court is a great example of the flexibility of the Sonnex system – we installed four high end outdoor speakers on his floodlights and then enhanced this by adding four sub-woofers – one in each corner of the court. The client simply selects a custom Spotify playlist from his iPhone, adjusts the volume and begins his game. At the same time as a game being played other areas of the garden can enjoy different audio streams – allowing the family to relax by the pool with a London radio station whilst he enjoys his BBall playlist!

The flexibility of a Sonos system coupled with the power of a Crestron system is a perfect match and provides a world class audio visual experience.

Multi-Room AV

Home Entertainment

Cinema Rooms

Custom Controls