Residential integration

Learn to evaluate your home automation project

Each person is unique, their personality and the relationship with technology will create a special bond with home automation. The designer must be able to read the level of technological relationship of the person.

Juan Tamayo *

At some point in our lives we have dreamed of having the house of the supersonic, a really smart house, with just a voice command appear "Robotina", video calls, even flying cars (that's a lot), but let's be honest , How much of this is possible? How true is it that it can be done? If you have the budget, how should you design a smart home? If I am a user, how do I evaluate the project that my contractor developed if it is the one I need?

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These are questions that should be asked when starting a project of this type, but unfortunately they are not done and therefore the vast majority of projects fail, generating a frustration with technology and an inertia towards new projects of this type, including in projects. more simple.

As a street poet says, everything starts at the beginning. If the project starts badly, it will end badly. Start a project is not to quote the best teams, is not to develop with the best technologies, is not to have the best speech. Basically start a project for the home is to know the group of users who will operate and their needs, so you can design everything tailored.

Not all homes require complex systems of digital signal processing, or that everything is operated from a cell phone, I think the most uncomfortable. When you call a contractor to develop your smart home, be sure to make a checklist of the objectives and complete needs, so when the project is completed you can evaluate and verify if the company met or did not fulfill the promise.

The selected contractor must have experience in home-type projects. On many occasions contractors who develop corporate projects are called to intervene in homes. The big difference between the two is that in the corporate, one as a designer already has the design rules pre-established by international parameters, but in the vast majority of home installation companies, these rules do not apply, because the main objective is install a system that meets the expectations of the end user.

Each person is unique, their personality and the relationship with technology will create a special bond with the automation of the home, the designer must be able to read the level of technological relationship of the person, in order to design based on this level.

For example, a person after the 50 years has a level of learning less than a child and tends to operate systems that are similar to some that has operated. For this type of people you can design graphical interfaces similar to that of ATMs, their level of learning is much simpler than if you design a complex screen with small buttons that this type of user will not understand but a child of little age will easily.

Once the system has been designed and in the process of being put into operation, the contractor will generally want to deliver as quickly as possible, and insist that the client receives it in order to invoice and close the project. My recommendation is when you negotiate with the contractor, place a clause in which after delivering the project has a period of no more than 30 days to evaluate the system, once this period is completed, the remaining part of the project is paid (it may be an 10%). So you can have a technical visit where you can indicate change recommendations so you can better enjoy your automation system.

Once the project is finished, you should also have a process of 90 approximately days for programming guarantees, this means that as a user you can count on 3 more months to test and request the necessary changes, thus seeking the complete comfort of the system.

As a designer and being the person who evaluates the homes of friends and family, who do not pay for my services, my recommendations to evaluate the automated systems of the home are:
- Make sure that the audio and video electronic equipment works with the original remote controls and that they are located in a place where it is easy to find and operate them.
- These controls are delivered by the manufacturer so that their operation is complete, it is not logical to discard or throw them away, even check them constantly to make sure that their battery works, or that they are not sulfating.
- Make sure that the lighting controls have the possibility of being operated manually, either by means of automatic switches or push buttons. There is nothing more uncomfortable than reaching the home and its interface is without a battery and can not turn on the lights.

For controls and graphical interfaces I have several recommendations:
• That all the buttons of the original remote control are not present, only the necessary ones must be present.
• The GUI (graphic user interface, of English) must have buttons with shortcuts such as function calls and fast shutdowns
• The GUI must have direct control of volume level and mute of the system
• The colors of the GUI should be friendly, gray, blue, black are recommended. Avoid white backgrounds as they consume more battery, because they generate more light
• The spaces must be separated in the GUI. For example, if there are different rooms, each one must have its screens of independent operation.
• The GUI must be only graphical interfaces, all the processing must be developed in the controllers, this is to avoid that if the interface is not the room is not inoperative.

As you can see, at no time was technology discussed or described, since our job as designers is to be able to develop projects tailored to our needs, and not sell equipment. This article was not written to criticize companies or installers, it is developed to general a collective conscience of good installation practices in home projects.

* Juan Tamayo is Audio-Technica Applications Engineer for Latin America (www.audio-technica.com) and has worked in the world of audiovisual systems for over 10 years working as designer, interventor, installer, consultant and educator. If you have questions or comments, you can write to jtamayo@atus.com
 

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