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Articles tagged with: Voice Control

Why Design Smart Lighting Control into Your Next Project?

Four Reasons Why Smart Lighting Will Differentiate Your Residential Projects

As a designer, architect, or builder (and we know some of you do all of these), you intuitively understand the importance of lighting in a project. You cringe when you walk into a room with a single light and no cans, and when that one light needs to share its installation with a ceiling fan. You don’t want to see an art niche that missed an opportunity to be highlighted with the right spotlighting.

While you understand lighting, you might be on the fence about smart lighting control for your projects in Memorial and Houston. Texans are straightforward and might ask, “what's so smart about lighting?”

Smart lighting is all about bringing today’s intelligent technology to bear on the lowly light switch. And there are many advantages to smart lighting over banks of light switches. While smart lighting is not particularly difficult to retrofit into existing homes, it’s even easier to take advantage of all the features if it’s designed in from the start.

Read on to learn more about why smart lighting control is a smart feature to add to your projects.

SEE ALSO: Build Home Automation into Your Next Home

A Smart Home Is an Integrated Home

Make Sure Your Projects Are Ready for Tomorrow’s Smart Technology

We’ve written before about smart devices and home automation. As you know, there are many choices in smart technology available in the market. Many of your clients might think that home automation is about a collection of smart devices that can be cobbled together to make a smart home.

We want to present a different, more comprehensive view of smart home technology and automation. It is not about offering apps on a smartphone to control a light or a camera, nor is about another form of remote control away from home. Smart technology, ultimately, is about total home integration. What do we mean by that?

Traditionally, home systems and functions do not work with or talk with each other. Heating and cooling is its own subsystem. Electrical outlets and lighting are another. Water and plumbing are another, and the typical irrigation system does not tie into anything either. Consider pool and spa equipment as well. While those systems may not change much in terms of what they do, what is radically changing is how they are controlled, how they can report and inform on what they are doing, and how they can be made to work in tandem with other functions.

As designers and builders, you want to plan residences for your clients that are ready for this new integrated future. That means planning for the infrastructure that will support smart technologies. In most cases, we can't accurately anticipate what technology will be available 5-10 years down the road, but we can plan for the foundation that makes it easy to integrate new technology.

So how do you plan for the new future of total home integration in your Memorial, TX projects? Keep reading to learn more.

What To Listen to On a Whole House Audio System

We Spotlight the Top Music Streaming Services

Sometimes we don’t think about it, but the way we listen to music has changed markedly over the past 20 years. Gone — or almost gone — are stacks of physical media like CDs. Yet some people are still buying vinyl records, or are enjoying their collections from the past 40 years. While vinyl is still alive and well because of that tangible music experience it delivers, the predominant way to listen is now music streaming.

The digital transformation for music began with the CD in the 1980s. CDs brought higher dynamic range for audio in a format that lasts much longer than vinyl records and doesn’t degrade over time. From the CD the next step was in audio compression (codecs like MP3) that enabled the Apple slogan for the iconic iPod of 30,000 songs in your pocket. It was only a matter of time before cloud technology, fast data transmission, and a smartphone in every pocket would give way to streaming 40 or 50 million songs from the cloud — for a small monthly fee.  No more ”owning” music like a record or CD, you have access to almost any recorded music anywhere via streaming.

Of course, most of us are familiar with music streaming services like Pandora, Spotify, Apple Music, and others. Are they all the same? They offer similar functionality overall and have access to (mostly) the same music, but some differences could steer you to use one over the other. The good news is that if you are considering investing in whole house audio for your Houston, TX home, all of these are available through various systems. It all comes down to your preferences.

Ready to learn more about your streaming choices? Just keep reading.

The Crestron Difference

Why Crestron Is The Leader in High-End Home Automation

You might say that home automation technology is almost mainstream these days. Google, Apple, and Amazon are making devices and home control platforms that enable control of smart home devices like thermostats, lights, AV equipment. But home automation technology is older than you might think, and some companies have been at it for a long time.

Crestron is the company that practically invented home automation. Starting in 1971 by building a variety of automated machines, it began focusing on electronics control in the late 1980s with one of the first wireless remotes for commercial systems. The company’s long history and focus on automation have made it a staple of control systems from corporate boardrooms to the largest homes.

As the premier Crestron authorized dealer in Houston and operator of a Crestron showroom, Refined Systems has the experience and expertise to automate virtually any aspect of your Houston residence. Read on to learn more about what makes Crestron stand out from other home automation systems.

Customized Home Automation

Why Crestron is the Ultimate Smart Home System

If you’re looking into adding smart features to your current home or perhaps building or renovating a new one, there are a few home automation systems to consider. 

You might wonder what the differences are between these systems.  There is one overarching reason why we at Refined Systems recommend Crestron – it is supremely flexible.  Crestron’s approach to home automation is to deliver the best customer experience, and that means one that is as personalized as possible to the customer’s requirements. 

Intrigued as to what that means?  Read on for a couple of examples of what’s possible with a Crestron-powered smart home system in Houston. 

Smart Home Control vs. Automation: What’s the Difference?

Understand the Options for Upgrading Your Home Technology

Smart home control” and “smart home automation” are terms that are often used interchangeably, but are they the same thing? Short answer: no. Although both technologies are part of the same overall smart home system, they are very different ways of achieving a desired result. Below, we break down the definitions of these terms and what sets them apart from each other. If you’ve been considering adding smart technology to your Houston, Texas home, then keep reading.