The evolution of “Home Automation” as we see it  in  South West Florida. 


The evolution of “Home Automation” as we
see it 
South West Florida. 
March 1, 2017
For two decades the industry has discussed the automated
home and what percentage of homes built would have some level of
automation.  Our first experience in automation
was in the late 1980’s with lighting controls and sound system controls.  At this stage the automated lighting controls
were low voltage which required the homeowner to make decisions early in the
process.   They were also very expensive
and had some reliability issues.  As time
passed, radio controlled switches became more available, they were
significantly less expensive price and more problem free than the low voltage
systems, and these switches could be installed at any stage, although with proper
planning in the early stages, you could hide banks of switches for a cleaner
look.   By the 2000’s these systems were
able to tie into a clock system for landscape lighting controls and also could
control interior outlets, however, full home automation where one controller
controlled many functions still revolved around the Crestron type device. 
Now, years later, almost all new homes have some degree of
home automation and additional automation can normally be easily added through
web based platforms or apps on cell phones. 
The automation in today’s homes break into 2 primary systems whose
functions are becoming closer and closer. 
The high end automation is normally controlled by a program designed
specifically for the house like Crestron or Savant.  Since these systems are specially programed
for each house they can provide a higher degree of customization than some of
the platform systems like Control4 and others. 
However, since the programming of these systems requires more work and
greater programming skills the cost is also more.  Many people are willing to work from the
platform system like Control4.  These
systems can control lights, heating and cooling, cameras, security, pools,
sound, TV’s and other items like the more expensive custom systems.  However, since they work from an established
platform, they lack the ability to be completely customized.  While the Crestron and Savant systems do not
require a yearly platform fee the Control4 and other systems like this will
required a yearly or monthly fee based on what is being controlled. 
In addition to the home automation systems many individual
home systems offer their own automated controls through the internet.  These will operate off of individual apps
instead of 1 control panel.  However, in
most cases there is no fee for the service. 
Thermostats can be controlled remotely, pool control systems can have a
wireless module added for a reasonable fee, garage door openers, appliances,
security, smart locks, irrigation systems, and many other devices can be
controlled through these apps.  In many
cases the system will access weather reports to allow the system to plan
ahead.  Examples are HVAC systems that
start heating or cooling based on expected weather fronts to be ahead of the
event, irrigation systems that stop a water cycle when rain is expected and
various others.   At the top level of
automation, the system will sense your location by your cell phone and open or
shut garage doors, turn on or off lights and security, and open or lock doors
as you approach. 
Most of this automation depends on a wireless internet and
cell phones.  While many items can be
added after the fact, by thinking ahead some additional costs can be
prevented.  To make these system work
best, most houses need some sort of enhancement to the wireless system.  The more robust the wireless signal is the
quicker and better the systems will work. 
There are many system upgrades that can be designed.  Some requiring wiring and others without.
There are many professionals in the automation industry and
if you are considering building and want the latest ideas it is best to talk to
them early in the process.  Some things
like motorized blinds require wiring that maybe difficult to do at a later
Written By,

Stephen Kaufman, CEO of DIVCO Custom Homes