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    How to Choose a Smarthome Integrator

    North America represents the most advanced, largest market for smarthome, or home automation, technology. According to a CNBC report, 80 million smarthome devices were delivered worldwide in 2016, a 64 percent increase from 2015. Experts predict that number will be at least 130 million smarthome devices delivered in 2017.[1] So, what does that mean? Well, if you’re a contractor, it means your customers and potential customers are asking you about their smarthome options. If you’re a homebuyer or homeowner, it’s an issue you care about: it can make your home more enjoyable and easy to manage, and it can also increase the value of your home.

    Either way, one thing is for sure: you have a lot of questions—or you will. You need a smarthome integrator you can trust.

    What is a smarthome integrator?

    The smarthome integrator is a specialist in designing the technology of your home to meet your specific needs and desires. Smarthome technology is about making your life easier, not harder. Like any investment, smarthome technology does require maintenance, so having a trusted integrator who can design and install your system (or your customer’s systems) well and provide rapid-response maintenance is crucial. Here’s what to look for in that integrator.

    What should I look for?

    Local and lasting. You want a smarthome integrator who will be around during planning, on-site during the build and available and accountable after and throughout the life of the home. That means you need to look for an integrator who has strong local ties and local offices, but also you want a partner with staying power. An integrator who isn’t in business in a couple of years isn’t going to do you much good and for contractors, a flighty integrator can give you a black eye with customers.

    Involved. True smarthome systems require infrastructure that needs to be included in the design of a home, so you need a smarthome integrator who is willing to be involved with the architect and the contractor from the get-go. (Homeowners, you also need a contractor and an architect who are willing to include the integrator). This integrator needs to spend face-time with the homebuyer to ensure that the system is actually going to meet your needs. Home technology is very specific and personal. It needs to suit your lifestyle and create benefits and conveniences. And speaking of convenience, there is nothing convenient about having to take down drywall because a miscommunication about when and where technology needs to be installed. That’s why your integrator needs to be involved not just in the beginning but throughout the build.

    Available and responsive. A lot of people are scared of smarthome technology because they assume it will come with a lot of headaches. Everyone loves their computer until it stops working, and then no one knows how to fix it. That’s why you need a good integrator. Technology isn’t going away, and it can make your life a lot easier, your tasks more convenient, your days and nights, work and leisure more enjoyable. But that doesn’t mean it will never need attention. Your home automation integrator should

    • Have a 24/7 service setup that allows you to get any fix you need, when you need it.
    • Use a system that monitors your network, alerting your integrator of any issues that arise. For example, a good integrator will know your wireless is out, most of the time, before you do.
    • Be able to make some fixes, like rebooting your wireless, remotely, so simple fixes can happen without having to wait for someone to drive to your home.

    Smarthome technology is quickly becoming the standard, not just some perk that a homebuilder can throw in as part of the bells and whistles. If you’re a homeowner, a good integrator will only make your life easier and your technology more enjoyable and effective. If you’re an architect or contractor, finding a home integrator partner you trust is crucial. In our next post, we’ll talk a little more about how to make the most of that partnership. In the meantime, if you have any questions, give us a call or send an email our way.