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Frequently Asked Questions about Smart Homes

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FAQ's

Why get a smart home?

Switch on all common area lights automatically when you arrive home, Schedule the outdoor lights to switch off at a certain time or at sunrise, PIR Motion Detector and/or Brightness Control of Lighting. Read more.

  1. Comfort and convenience - time saving, increase productivity.
  2. Increased Security & Safety.
  3. Save Energy.
  4. Real Time Information.
  5. Master Off all the Indoor Lights when you leave.
  6. Close all curtains/blinds automatically.
  7. Central on or off all the Air Condition and Heating.
  8. Switch on the Hot Water before coming home or on a schedule.
  9. Light Scenes and Moods with Dimming Scenarios.
  10. Start your music playlist upon arrival.
Does automation require planning and wiring?

A smart home centralized system requires planning and cabling that is different to conventional wiring. A decentralized automation system, that can be retrofit into existing builds, requires little-to-no planning. Find out what is needed.

What is a smart home?

A Home Automation System uses information from "inputs"(switches, sensors, time of day) to make decisions and automate "outputs"(lights, dimmers, shading, curtains, blinds, doors, gates, heating, cooling, hot water, fans, audio/video) actions based on a combination of schedules, triggers, and moods. Learn more.

Is home automation good for a business? Or just for houses?

Automation is perfect for businesses, more-so than homes. Firstly many employees may not turn off lights or climate when not in use or finished for the day. Second specific lights should be on at certain times or brightness controlled. The same goes for motorized roller blinds and air conditioning. Everything is on when it should be and off when it should not. No interaction is required by the personnel thereby increasing productivity. See some automation projects for business.

What is smart lighting?

Not just control from a smart phone! Smart lights come on when you arrive home, off when you leave. On a time schedule, off on a time delay, flash warning before auto-off, on when dark, dimm when no motion, full when activity, when the cabinet door is open, if this, if that, if this and that. Smart Lighting & Dimming.

Are smart home switches compatible and interchangeable with other switches?

When using standards, both for the automation system, and for the switches, the faceplates and frames can be interchanged to match your environment. Look at insert types and frame colour options.

What is a dimmer?

A dimmer is a (solid-state) device that is used to lower the intensity and brightness of a light. Unlike conventional rheostat dimmers (which would a large part of the power as heat and noise), when using a modern solid-state dimmer, the lower the brightness, the lower the energy consumption. Therefore this type of dim can be used to achieve power savings.

Can a smart phone or tablet control the automation?

Depending on the home automation standard used, and the hardware installed, it is quite normal to control the home with an ipod, a smart phone, or tablet. See what outputs can be controlled by iPhone.

I need another switch. Can a remote control switch be added without having wires or electrical back-box, without cutting channels or damaging the walls and floors?

A switch without wires and without batteries, that generates the energy it requires to send the signal from the user pressing it, can be installed anywhere, on any surface including glass. Find out How.

What is smart shading?

Shutters open automatically in the morning, close the motorized blinds automatically when the sun is shining in directly or every night after sunrise, or when you leave. Retract the jalousie automatically when windy. Control as well from smart phone and tablet. Read more about shading.

What are smart security cameras?

A smart security camera is one that makes use of open standards and can be integrated into the smart home automation system. This integration allows for sensor events to trigger recordings in the camera as well as vice versa, the camera to control the lights, doors, gates, and other smart outputs. Learn about CCTV IP Camera Integration

What is a smart security alarm?

An alarm system should be exactly that and should be stand alone. Integration with the smart home is possible but should be avoided as this can pose a security threat if not done correctly. Benefits of integration of the alarm system with the smart home allows for many safety features for example in the event of a burglar or panic alarm, flashing all the lights, opening the shutters, triggering all cameras. Read about it.

What is smart cooling and Air Condition control?

Switch off all the AC's when you leave with a single switch. Turn on the AC's before you go home to find the house nice and cool. Achieve energy savings with opening detectors and presence sensors. Particularly useful if the users are are children or employees that are not concerned with switching off when not there or when the windows and doors are open. Once automated they can also be placed on a smart schedule. Find out more.

What is smart heating for under floor systems or radiators?

With smart home heating it is possible to control the heating with master off when leaving, setback at night, time based scheduling, opening sensors combined with presence detection. Or to pre-heat before coming home. All controllable via touch screen displays, smart phones and tablets. Read about it.

When do I need to start planning/provisioning for a smart home?

The home automation design for a centralized system should be finished long before construction starts. This is because the cabling will require conduits and pipes buried into the concrete which needs to be done at a very early stage. To avoid mistakes, and recutting channels in finished floors and walls, the sooner planning is done the better. Alternatively, a decentralized automation system can be retrofit into your existing build with little-or-no planning. Read more.

What is distributed video?

With smart video you have a multi-room system and can stream video from multiple sources, such as web, Satellite, Ariel, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Google Chromecast, cable provider, hard drive, DVD/Blu-Ray, etc, to any TV in your space. Learn more.

What is multi-room, multi-source Audio Video?

Distributed Audio allows music to be played in the bedroom at one volume and news in the living room at a different volume. Once integrated with the smart home system, all music can be switched off automatically when you leave, or start your favourite playlist when you arrive home. Find out more.

What is Access Control?

For many buildings, rooms, and doors there is physical security, limiting entry to autorized individuals. Access control is the selective restriction of entry to a place or other resource, usually done with a keypad, RFID card or biometric reader. Access management is the process of assigning rights to specific individuals, pins codes, RFID cards and FOBs. Learn how.

What is Smart Door Entry Control?

This is the ability to control the opening of an electric strike latch, or motorized lock of a door, gate, swing gate, sliding gate, garage door via the smart home automation. Read about it.

What is Smart Ventilation?

A good example is Bathroom and Shower fans can be automated with humidity sensors to remove the steam after a shower with the fan. Or the house ventilation can be triggered on demand (with smart phone or switch or tablet), or on a schedule to refresh the air in the house. Especially if the outside temperature is better than the inside temperature for example summer nights or spring days. More about ventilation.

What is Smart Hot Water?

The ability to control your hot water via the smart home automation, timer schedule, the switches, the touch screen controllers, but more convenient by smart phone and tablet. Both from within the house and away remotely. Learn more about Hot Water Control.

What is an IP PBX?

A PBX is essentially a central phone system. It stands for Private Branch Exchange and is used for connecting internal phones with themselves (free calls), as well as connecting to the outside world using one or more of the following: Analog Phone Line (PSTN), SIP Trunks, VoIP providers, or ISDN. The PBX can be on-site on your own machine, or in the cloud as a service. Read more about Phone Systems.

What is an IP Phone?

An IP Phone uses voice over IP technologies (VoIP) for making telephone calls over the IP network instead of using the traditional analog PSTN line. Thus internal calls are free as well as calls from one physical location to another. When using Phones that are SIP enabled, then these can be integrated with the door entry system, the IP cameras, the smart home automation system as intercom units, using the touch screen control displays. Find out more about IP Phones.

What is SIP?

The Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) standard is a signalling protocol used for initiating, maintaining, and terminating real-time sessions that include voice, video and messaging applications. It is used for voice and video calls in IP telephone systems. The SIP protocol was derived from the combination of HTTP and SMTP. Learn about Standards.

What is KNX?

KNX is an Open Standard Automation protocol of which devices from many manufacturers can work together to control lighting, blinds and shutters, HVAC, security systems, energy management, audio/video and many more. Read about KNX.

What is EnOcean?

EnOcean is a smart home automation protocol that uses extremely low energy and short signals that are sent from switches and sensors that can "harvest" the energy they require from the environment or user. Therefore no wires and no batteries are required to place switches and sensors anywhere inside or outside the building. More about EnOcean.

What is Bluetooth?

Bluetooth is a wireless communications standard that can connect one-to-one or one-to-many and many-to-many. Even though bluetooth is short ranged, it is extremely immune to interference and it can form a mesh that can connect hundreds of devices and thereby the extending range beyond limits. All modern smart phones, tablets, and laptops have bluetooth already built in, so no more equipment or servers are required to control the smart home via bluetooth. Learn about it.

What is SNMP monitoring?

SNMP stands for Simple Network Management Protocol. It is used for getting relevant and desired data and information about devices on IP networks. SNMP Traps and alert alarms can be configured based on this information and at what level they should trigger. Read more about this service.

What is System Integration?

System Integration is the Engineering process of taking multiple, independent, unrelated systems, and combining them into inter-operate and be controlled via a common single interface. Find out about system integration.

Why do I need System Drawings?

Systems Drawings are required to give to your Electrical Contractor so that they know what cabling to provision, from and where to the cables needs to be installed, what size of back box, as well as height and position. Furthermore the systems integrator installer will need the drawings and systems that were agreed on. Learn more.

Why do I need a Consultant Engineer?

Whether you are installing a new system, or just provisioning for it, Detailed Drawings are required in order to give to your Electrical Contractor such that the correct conduits and pipes are placed during the construction phase. The specifications for the cable and what wire goes where and connects to which systems needs to be planned and defined. The dimensions of the electrical back box, the depth, the height, how many. Which system should be used. The required specifications. What will be controlled. The wireless positioning planning. The budget. Read about it.

What is a Systems Project Manager?

A Systems Engineer Project Manager for Smart Automation Building is appointed to design the specific requirements of the Customer, make systems drawings, submit to the Electrical Engineers and give the instructions to the Electrical Contractors. Inspect that the required provisions and works are carried out at the required stages (eg prior to pouring of concrete, prior to finishing the walls, etc). Find out more.

Why do you want Home Automation?

This needs to be carefully thought and planned. The better you know what and why you want the smart automation for, the better it can be tailored to your needs. Read more.

What is an alarm?

A security alarm system detects intrusion and unauthorized entry into a home or building. Find out more.

What is an Decentralized IP Camera?

Unlike conventional analog CCTV with DVR and digital video security systems of IP camera and NVR, with the decentralized concept a high-speed computer, and a Solid State Micro SD card is built into every camera for either primary or failover recording. Decreasing components and running costs and eliminating the single point of failure.. Learn about Decentralized.

What is an NVR?

A network video recorder is a specialized computer that includes a software program that processes and records video from IP Cameras onto a disk drive. Similarly with the older, DVR, the NVR presents a single point of failure to the security camera system. Without the NVR the entire system can not detect events, can not record video, and can generate alarms. With Decentralized systems the NVR is built into each and every camera, therefore is the most reliable IP camera system, with the least amount of maintenance.. Find out how to avoid NVRs.

What is centralized audio/video?

Distributed Audio and Video is a way to unite all your video and audio sources, and make them available to play on any speaker or TV in the house, while keeping all the equipment clutter away from the TV's and organized into a centralized location. Read more.

What is a TCP/IP network?

A network is defined as two or more computer systems linked together via digital telecommunications for sharing resources between computing devices. Data transmission is done over physical cables, or wireless, such as Wi-Fi. Learn about networks.

What is WiFi?

Wi-Fi is a protocol and is part of the IEEE 802.11 specification family of standards, which are commonly used for wireless devices to access the local area network using radio waves instead of wires. Find out more.

Where can I get updates about smart homes?

You can read our smart home blog or you can sign up for our newsletter email using the link at the footer of this page. Go to blog.

How do I get a price for smart systems?

You can get a free quotation estimate from us by using the Pricing Request Form. Find out more.