Are you a designer or builder? Do you have homeowners asking for a “smart” home or “connected” home? If you answered yes to both questions, you need to ensure you’re not making any of these common smart home mistakes!
Luckily, the AIS experts have put together a list of the 15 most common smart home mistakes made when designing and building smart homes. Not only that, but we’ve outlined how working with AV professionals can help take the burden off your shoulders and guarantee a successful outcome for all parties involved.
15 Smart Home Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)
While the concept of a “smart home” has been around for decades, the term has only become widely used in recent years. A smart home is a dwelling equipped with technology that allows the home’s systems (lighting, climate control, security, etc.) to be controlled remotely or even automated.
As the demand for smart homes has increased, so has the number of designers and builders incorporating smart technology into their projects. However, designers and builders can’t be expected to learn everything there is to know about smart homes overnight. And, as with any new technology, there are bound to be some growing pains and of course smart home mistakes.
This is where low voltage experts come in! Low voltage professionals have the experience and expertise in home technology installation to help you successfully design and build a smart home without any of the headaches. So, before getting started on your next smart home project, here are some of the most common smart home mistakes that builders and designers make:
1. Not Defining the Scope of the Project
One of the biggest smart home mistakes that designers and builders make when working on a smart home project is not clearly defining the scope of the project from the outset. This can lead to problems, such as budget overruns, schedule delays, and dissatisfied clients.
To avoid this mistake, it’s crucial to sit down with the client at the beginning of the project and discuss their specific needs and wants, such as:
- What type of smart technology do they want to incorporate into their home?
- What is their budget for the project?
- What is their timeline for completion?
This is the perfect time to also introduce the idea of working with low voltage professionals who design and install smart home systems, automated lighting, and audio/video, exclusively. By collaborating with a professional home automation company early on, you can ensure that the project stays on track and within budget.
With a smart home design and installation team on your side, you can expect them to handle everything from the initial consultation to the design and eventual installation of the smart technology. With a solid understanding of the client’s needs and desires, technicians can begin to plan and implement a system that meets the client’s criteria. This will free up your time from researching the latest technology so that you can focus on other aspects of the project.
Ultimately, once everybody involved clearly understands the client’s goals, you can develop a plan to make them a reality.
2. Missing Out on Initial Expert Collaboration
As we just mentioned, another one of the most common smart home mistakes that builders and designers make is not collaborating with low voltage professionals early enough. This can lead to several problems down the road, such as:
- Incorrect product selection: Without expertise in the latest smart home technology, it’s easy to select products that are not compatible with each other or that are not the best fit for the project. This can result in wasted time and money as you try to fix the problem.
- Inefficient installations: Another issue that can arise from a lack of collaboration is inefficient installations. For example, if you’re trying to install a TV on your own, you might not know how to properly route the cables through the walls. This can lead to unsightly cords and wires, which can detract from the overall aesthetics of the home.
Fortunately, these problems can be easily avoided by working with low voltage professionals from the start. These pros have a wealth of knowledge about different types of smart technology and how it all works together. They can help you select the right equipment and automation platforms for your project and ensure that they are installed correctly.
With their help you can expect help with:
- Product selection: Low voltage experts can help you select the right products for your project based on your budget and the specific needs of your client.
- System design: Once you’ve selected the products, low voltage techs can help you design a system that will work seamlessly together.
- Installation: Finally, once the system is designed, low voltage professionals can handle the installation process from start to finish. This includes running cables through walls, setting up wireless networks, and programming the system.
With all of these tasks handled by an expert, you can focus on other aspects of the project, such as the interior design and architectural plans.
3. Not Understanding the Smart Home Ecosystem
There are a lot of different devices and systems that can be used in a smart home. And while you may be familiar with some of these devices and systems, you may not be familiar with how they all work together. This can lead to problems such as choosing the wrong type of smart device for the project or not being able to integrate the different devices and systems properly.
Before starting the project, take the time to understand the smart home ecosystem, including what can be wired and what must be wireless. This means becoming familiar with the different types of devices and systems that are available and how they all work together. This will give you a general understanding of how a smart home works, that way, you know what you’re talking about when you’re meeting with clients and professional automation system installers.
However, as you go along, there are sure to be questions that arise. And that’s where the smart home professionals come in. They can help answer any questions you have about the smart home ecosystem and how it all works together.
Common questions they can help with include:
- What are the different types of devices and systems that are available?
- How do these devices and systems work together?
- What are the benefits of each type of device or system?
- What are the best products on the market?
- How much do these products cost?
With smart home help, you don’t have to worry about making mistakes because you didn’t know the answer to a tech question. They can help guide you through the process and ensure that you’re making the best decisions for your automation project.
4. Not Incorporating Smart Home Tech into the Design Early Enough
Not incorporating smart technology into the design early enough can lead to problems such as having to make last-minute changes to the design or rushing to complete the project.
To avoid making this mistake, it’s essential to incorporate smart technology into the design from the beginning. This means working with the client as well as a low voltage professional to determine what types of devices and systems they need and where they should be placed.
With home automation help, you can ensure that the products you select will work well together and that they’ll be properly installed in the home. This way, you can avoid making last-minute changes to the design or rushing to complete the project.
Smart home experts will help with:
- Researching products: They can help you research and select the right products for your project. From home theater systems to security cameras, they’ll know what products are available and how they can be integrated into the home.
- Understanding compatibility: Not all products are compatible with each other. Low voltage smart home experts can help you understand which products will work well together and which ones won’t. This way, you can avoid any potential problems down the road.
- Ensuring the home is ready for installation: This includes making sure that the home has the right wiring and that there is space for the devices and systems.
- Incorporating hidden design: Many smart home products need to be hidden away, such as in-wall speakers, recessed lighting, and architectural finishes. Automation design experts can help you incorporate these products into the design so that they’re hidden but still accessible.
Essentially, incorporating smart technology into the design early on will save you time and money in the long run. It will also allow you to create a smarter and more efficient home for your clients.
5. Purchasing the Wrong Smart Home Products
A common mistake when working on smart home projects is buying the wrong type of smart home device. This can lead to problems such as the smart home product not working correctly or not being compatible with the home’s existing systems.
To avoid making this mistake, it’s important to work with tech experts. They can help you select the right products for your project and ensure that they’re compatible with the home’s existing systems.
This includes all types of devices such as:
- Home security systems — cameras, doorbells, alarms, etc.
- Home entertainment systems — TVs, soundbars, streaming devices, etc.
- Home automation systems — thermostats, lighting, window treatments, etc.
Smart home contractors will help with:
- Product selection: They can help you select the right products for your project. From home theater systems to smart home automation, they’ll know what products are available and how they can be integrated into the home.
- Systems integration: Not all products are compatible with each other. Professional automation experts can help you understand which products will work well together and which ones won’t.
- Testing products: They can test the products in the home to ensure that they’re working correctly and that they’re compatible with the home’s existing systems.
Purchasing the wrong type of smart home product can be a costly mistake. By working with an professional smart home automation team, you can avoid this from the beginning.
6. Not Checking for Interoperability
Another mistake is not checking for interoperability. Inoperability is when two devices or systems can’t work together. This can be a major problem when trying to create a cohesive smart home.
For example, you may want to add a new security camera to your home automation system. However, if the camera isn’t compatible with the system, then it won’t work correctly.
To avoid this, it’s important to work with an expert who can help you select products that are compatible with each other. They can also help you understand how the products will work together and how they can be integrated into the home. They’ll also be able to identify potential problems and offer solutions to avoid them.
7. Ignoring Energy Efficiency Opportunities
In a growing eco-friendly world, many clients are looking for ways to make their homes more energy-efficient. However, some designers and builders make the mistake of ignoring this opportunity when working on smart home projects. This can lead to the client being disappointed with the final product if they expect their home to be more energy-efficient. It also means increased energy costs and a negative environmental impact.
Not to worry, working with a professional home automation company means finding the right products and solutions for your project. For example, they can help you select energy-efficient lighting, appliances, and windows such as:
- Smart thermostats. A smart thermostat helps conserve energy by automatically adjusting the home’s temperature based on the time of day and the occupants’ schedules.
- Smart lights. A smart lighting system can be controlled remotely and turn off automatically when it is not needed, saving energy.
They can also help you find ways to reduce energy consumption in the home through automation and controls such as:
- Programmable thermostats. By programming the thermostat, you can ensure that the home’s temperature is only adjusted when necessary, saving energy.
- Automated lighting controls. Automated lighting controls can turn off lights when they’re not needed, such as when the sun is up or when there’s no one home.
By working with an low voltage contractors, you can find the right products and solutions to make your project more energy-efficient. This will not only save you money but also help the environment.
8. Not Incorporating Whole-Home Control
One of the most common smart home mistakes is not incorporating whole-home control. This can lead to problems such as the client being unable to use all of the features of their smart home or the system being difficult to control. However, this is not to be confused with full smart home automation.
Whole-home control is important because it allows the client to easily usetheir smart home’s features. It also makes it easier to control the different devices and systems in the home, whether they’re located in different rooms or on different floors.
Integration experts can help you achieve whole-home control by:
- Creating a custom system. They can create a custom system that is tailored to your client’s specific needs and requirements. This ensures that the system is easy to use and provides the client with the features they need.
- Installing a central controller. A central controller allows the client to control all of the devices and systems in their home from one location. This can be done through a mobile app, touch panel, or remote control.
- Adding and setting up home automation. Home automation experts can add and set up home automation features such as lighting control, security, and climate control. This allows the client to control these features from one location and makes it easier to use the smart home.
While the automation team handles system setup and configuration, the builders need to ensure that the physical infrastructure is able to support it. This means running cables and installing outlets, as well as integrating whole-house audio, video, and network systems. By working together, the builder and integrator can create a smart home that is easy to use and provides the client with all the features they need.
9. Failing to Plan for Futureproofing
Failing to plan for futureproofing is another mistake often made. This can lead to the client having to replace their smart home devices or systems sooner than they would like. Unfortunately, it can also mean that the system becomes outdated and no longer meets the needs of the client.
To ensure you’re project is future-proof, you must consider the long-term needs of your client. This includes their future plans for the home, such as adding new rooms or expanding the existing ones. It also means considering how the system will need to be updated as new products are released, and technology advances.
While these terms and technology may seem overwhelming, a pro smart home team can help you understand and plan for futureproofing by:
- Assessing the client’s needs. They can assess the client’s current and future needs to ensure that the system is able to meet them.
- Recommending products. They can recommend products that are designed for long-term use and can be easily updated as new products are released.
- Configuring the system. They can configure the system to allow for easy updates and ensure that it is able to meet the changing needs of the client.
Planning for futureproofing helps avoid having to replace the smart home system or devices too soon.
10. Overlooking the Importance of Aesthetics
While functionality is important, many clients also want their smart home to look good. Unfortunately, some designers and builders make the mistake of overlooking this when working on smart home projects. This could make the client unhappy with the final product if they were expecting a more aesthetically pleasing design.
Happily, audio and visual installation professionals have the skills and experience needed to create an aesthetically pleasing smart home design. This includes:
- Knowing the latest trends. They stay up-to-date on the latest trends in smart home design to ensure that the client’s home is stylish and modern.
- Working with the client’s existing décor. They can work with the client’s existing décor to create a smart home that compliments it.
- Using hidden technology. They can use hidden technology to create a clean and sleek design that is free of cords and clutter.
With these aspects handled, interior designers and builders can focus on other aspects of the project, such as finishes and furnishings.
11. Failing to Test and Commission the System Properly
One of the most critical steps in any smart home project is testing and commissioning the system. However, if you’re not familiar with this process, it’s easy to make these type of smart home mistakes. These could range from failing to test all of the components to not properly commissioning the system.
Therefore, it’s critical to work with a low voltage professional who can ensure that the system is tested and commissioned properly. This includes:
- Testing all of the components. They will test all of the components to ensure that they are working correctly and are compatible with each other.
- Commissioning the system. They will commission the system to ensure that it meets the client’s needs and can operate as intended.
- Creating documentation. They will create documentation that outlines the testing and commissioning process. This can be used as a reference for future projects.
By working with a professional smart home company, you can be confident that the system is tested and commissioned properly.
12. Forgetting About Cybersecurity
As smart homes become increasingly popular, so does the number of cyberattacks. Unfortunately, many designers and builders overlook the importance of cybersecurity when working on these projects. This can leave the client’s home vulnerable to attack and their personal data at risk. Avoid this home security mistake at all costs!
As a critical part of your home building team, home automation specialists can help ensure that the system is secure by:
- Installing security features. They can install security features, such as firewalls and intrusion detection systems.
- Configuring the system properly. They can configure the system properly to protect it from cyberattacks.
- Creating documentation. They will create documentation that outlines the steps taken to secure the system. This can be used as a reference for future projects.
- Setting up user accounts. They can set up user accounts and permissions to control who has access to the system.
Home security, both digitally and physically, is a top priority for everyone these days. Working with a professional smart home team, you can be confident that the system is secure and that the client’s data is protected.
13. Not Providing Training
Another mistake that is often made when working on smart home projects is not providing training. Once the system is installed, training the client on how to use it is important. Otherwise, they may not be able to take full advantage of its features.
With tech professionals on your team, you can be sure that the client will receive the training they need. This includes:
- Show them how to use the system. They will show the client how to use the system and all of its features.
- Creating a user guide. They will create a user guide that the client can reference when they have questions.
- Scheduling follow-up appointments. They will schedule follow-up appointments to ensure that the client is comfortable using the system.
Technology isn’t perfect, and there will always be the occasional issue. But by providing training to the client, you can help them feel more comfortable using the system and reduce the number of issues that arise. Likewise, low voltage automation specialists are always available to answer any questions that the client may have, and you don’t have the answer to.
14. Not Focusing on the User Experience
The user experience is one of the most important aspects of any smart home project. After all, what’s the point of investing in a smart home if the client can’t use it properly?
Unfortunately, some designers and builders don’t know how to design for the user experience. This can be due to a lack of experience with certain technologies or a lack of understanding of how people interact with technology. As a result, it’s critical to work with home automation experts who can help ensure that the system is designed for the client’s needs.
When it comes to the user experience, home automation experts will:
- Conduct user research. They will conduct user research to understand the client’s needs.
- Design for specific users. They will design the system for specific users, such as those with disabilities.
- Employ user-centered design principles. They will use user-centered design principles to ensure that the system is easy to use.
15. Hiring an Integrator that isn’t HTA Certified
Though there are many qualified home technology integrators out there, not all of them are HTA Certified. HTA Certification is important because it ensures that an integrator has the knowledge and skills necessary to install and configure a home automation system.
HTA (Home Technology Association) is the only certification program for home technology integrators. This means that they are held to a higher standard when it comes to their work. When you work with an HTA Certified integrator, you can be confident that they will:
- Understand the latest technologies. They will have a deep understanding of the latest technologies and how they can be used in the home.
- Configure systems correctly. They will know how to configure systems correctly so that they work as intended.
- Install systems properly. They will install systems properly so that they are safe and reliable.
When you’re hiring an integrator, be sure to ask if they are HTA Certified. You may want to consider working with someone else if they’re not. With a team like AIS that is HTA Certified, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you’re working with experts who won’t need to learn on the job.
As you can see, there are many potential smart home mistakes that designers and builders can make when it comes to home automation. But it doesn’t have to be this way! AIS home integration experts are here to answer any questions you have and help you avoid making these mistakes. We never want other home engineers to feel like they have to be experts in everything home technology — that’s our job. With our help, your next home automation project will be a success!
Work with a Trusted and Experienced Smart Home Integrator
As a home building professional, you know that home automation and smart home technology have become a crucial must-have in our tech-driven world. And while you may be familiar with the basics of home automation, you may not have the time or knowledge to design and install a comprehensive system on your own or understand smart home mistakes to avoid.
This is where AIS comes in. We are experts in home automation and smart home technology. We understand the latest trends and technologies, and we know how to install and configure systems so that they work correctly and meet the needs of our clients.
When you work with us, you can be confident that your home automation system will be designed and installed correctly. We will take care of everything, from user research to system configuration to installation. And because we are HTA Certified, you can be confident that we have the knowledge and skills necessary to get the job done right. Partner with a trusted and experienced smart home integrator on your next Utah smart home design or build project. Get in touch with us today!
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