ith the Internet of Things here to stay many home owners are joining the smart home revolution. We see a lot of newly renovated home incorporating home automation and wanted to share a few products which we think truly enhance the smart home experience.
Control4 EA Series Controllers
These new controllers can serve as a very powerful brain to your automation system. These controllers are designed to connect and integrate with a wide variety of devices, ranging from Audio/Video, cameras, thermostats, window shadings and much more. They even offer high-resolution audio outputs as a standard on whichever model you choose. With the ability to start with only a few devices attached, and scale to being able to power hundreds of devices with a single controller, the EA controllers are the perfect entry piece to automating your residence.
Control4 6 Button Keypad
We know the trend is to fit a touch screen panel or dock an ipad in certain parts of your residence to have an easy visual interface to communicate with your automation system. But the Control4 6 Button Keypad gives you a sleek looking non-graphical interface to completely control your automation system as well. Up to 6 buttons can be attached to each keypad with each button having the ability for a single tap, double tap or triple tap. That means you get up to 18 different commands which can be programmed to each keypad. The 6 button keypad also comes in both wired and wireless options. Just incase you do not have the option to run any new wiring, the wireless keypads just require power and they wirelessly communicate with your automation system.
The Apple TV is the ultimate media player which integrates with almost anything. With a large variety of apps available on the Apple TV you get the option to watch everything from Netflix to Famliy Photos all directly on your television or projector. With the Airplay feature you can easily stream audio from your phone or any computer or NAS connected on the same home network. Connect multiple apple tv’s into different rooms and you have a cost effective multi-zone audio solution. One of our favorite features is mirroring. You can mirror anything from your Apple Phone, Ipad or Laptop directly onto your Television or Projector through the Apple TV. This makes giving presentations completely wire free and available at the swipe of your screen. The new 4th generations Apple TV’s even provide built-in storage for gaming as well as Siri from the Apple TV remote. Just tell Siri to play a certain movie or start at the thirty seven minute mark where you left off on your favorite tv show the night before and she does the rest.
Matterlink Multi-X Gateway
The Matterlink Multi-X device is a very unique addition to your automation system because it can allow a wireless IR or RF signal to be sent to multiple devices within range. By installing even one of these in a central location, you can take control of RF fans, RF or IR motors in blinds or motorized screens, and even Audio/Video Devices and Air Conditioners. No need to buy individual IR repeaters, now a single Multi-X gateway can broadcast your Infared or Radio Frequency signal to up to 200 devices if required.
Foscam IP Camera
Security is something which can never be overlooked when considering home automation. The Foscam IP Camera brings security at an extremely affordable price. These amazing cameras offer a wide range of features such as pan, tilt, zoom and even full 1080p hd resolution in some models. They have both wired and wireless options as well as POE incase you don’t want to leave a power source near the camera installation location. The Foscam cameras can be configured to patrol an area by automatically rotating from left to right or up to down scanning back and forth. Furthermore, you can set up actions based on motion detection, such as an email alert or your camera patrol cycle to start as soon as motion is detected. Far cheaper than other quality brands and the ability to easily integrate with your automation system make these a must have.
Yale Touchscreen Deadbolt
Wouldn’t it be nice to know exactly who is entering your house and when? Or even better, setting restrictions to who can enter your home and during what hours? The Yale Touchscreen Deadbolt allows you to do all this and more. With this smart lock you can easily assign user codes to the lock, which will need to be typed in for anyone to open the door. These user codes can also be assigned timings. For example, if you want a staff member to only be able to enter the house from 10 am to 2 pm, on Monday to Saturday, this can easily set on the lock. And if your Yale Touchscreen Deadbolt is connected to your automation system, you can actually receive email or text alerts when that user has unlocked the door. Cameras are a great way to record who enters, but an even easier way to restrict access based on schedules and receive alerts when someone enters is by installing the Yale Touchscreen Deadbolt.
Home Automation has reached a stage now where commands from your smart phone or touch screen interface are not enough to generate the “wow” factor. Automation is evolving and the next stage to create a customized automation experience will definitely involve voice activated home automation. Enter…Amazon Echo. This cylindrical box may seem ordinary, but it can perform many extraordinary tasks, especially when integrated with your automation system. Imagine no longer having to reach for your phone or remote to dim the lights. You don’t even have to get up, just say “Alexa, Activate Movie Watching Lighting Scene”. The Echo can be programmed to respond to most functionality in your home automation gateway and it knows to listen for keywords. Once those keywords are heard, it relays the instruction to your automation system to do the needful.
The Synology NAS opens the door to many cost effective solutions for multi-zone audio, video distribution, media storage and security. By adding Apple TV’s to multiple rooms and setting up a central NAS Server, you get the ability to keep music stored on your NAS and airplay it to any room with an Apple TV. This works out much better than keeping the music on your phone because you don’t waste storage on your phone and the NAS gives you the option to airplay to multiple apple tv’s, whereas your phone only allows you to airplay to one. If you apple TV is hooked up to your local amp in that room or your television you get an easy and cost effective multi-zone audio solution. Similarly your entire video library can be stored digitally on your NAS. Whether it be your favorite movies or home videos, you can play any stored content on the NAS to an Apple TV in any room. Distribute your video to any room in the house and you also have the ability to play different content to multiple apple tv’s at once. No more expensive media servers or distributed storage solutions, everything stays on your NAS and can be sent through the network to any room with an Apple TV. The Synology NAS also has another great feature called Surveillance Station. Store recorded content from all your IP Cameras on your NAS box in Surveillance Station and also view those cameras on your mobile phone using the DS Cam app. If you combine the Synology NAS with the Foscam IP Cameras, you can actually pan, tilt and zoom your cameras in real time using the DS Cam app on your mobile phone.
Doorbird WiFi Doorbell
The Doorbird Doorbell is a WiFi Video Door Station which allows you to speak with visitors and open your door via smartphone, from anywhere in the world. It can be integrated with a Yale Touchscreen Deadbolt or other smart lock so that you can even issue a command to unlock or lock the door directly from your phone. That means no more missing deliveries, you will be informed as soon as the postman rings the bell. The Doorbird also features a integrated 180 degree high-end infared motion sensor, which if programmed to do so, can set off an alarm or alert you instantly without the visitor even ringing the door bell.
Philips Hue are intelligent light bulbs which can be controlled with your automation system. They can do much more than turn on and off or dim. Hue can be easily adjusted to set the perfect mood of a room with a colorful twist. Use the Hue app on your smart phone to change the bulbs color and set colorful and entertaining lighting scenes throughout your home.