Making a ‘smart’ investment: how to choose a home automation system that’s worth the money

Lucinda Wood
1st February 2018 in Know How

You may be currently deciding if home automation is a worthwhile investment of your money. If so, there are a few key considerations to take into account. In this blog, we’ll be looking at the questions you need to ask in order to decide if home automation is the right choice for your home.  

What do I want home automation to do for me?

Before you set your heart (and budget) on a solution, you need to decide what you really want from your home automation system. Do you want to increase security? What about making your home more energy efficient? How about saving time by having everyday tasks taken care of for you, or helping an elderly relative live independently? Maybe it’s all of these things. Before you start looking at products or solutions, take note of the reasons why you’re considering home automation, and work from there.

If you’re seeking inspiration or would like to know more about the possibilities of home automation, why not book onto one of our info sessions? You can enjoy a live demonstration of how a complete smart home works and discuss the features that might best suit your home.

What are the options?

Not all smart home systems are alike, so it pays to do your research before committing. Traditionally, ‘home automation’ systems have included professionally installed systems and high-end home cinemas, whilst ‘smart home’ products tend to be standalone items that you’d buy off-the-shelf at an electrical retailer. However, there are now options for achieving the power and reliability of a high-end system, without the high price tag.

The key to choosing a system best suited to your budget is to look at the features you’ll be getting for your money. If you just want the lights to go on and off when you enter and leave a room, you’ll likely find a more basic offering does the job just fine. However, there are pitfalls to choosing the cheapest option, which we’ll look at in a moment.

What will happen in five years’ time?

If you’re going to be spending money on home automation, it’s important to think about the value you’ll get from it in the long run.

Remember that many ‘gadget’ type products will likely be replaced or updated with newer versions every couple of years, and their accompanying software alongside them. This could cause problems with compatibility if you’re hoping to add products to the system over time, or if you’re using products from several different manufacturers.  

Ask yourself:

  • Will this solution still function in 5 years’ time?
  • Can I add to this system in future?
  • What happens if the manufacturer ceases trading? (Anyone remember Revolv?)

(If you’re keen to find out about how these questions apply to Loxone, check out the ‘FAQ’ section on our smart home page).

How can I get more from less?

You may be tempted to go down the route of opting for the cheapest sensors to keep the budget nice and trim. After all, three cheap motion sensors from Amazon are surely better value than one from the manufacturer? Not always. There’s a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, you may find that you don’t need three motion sensors at all. With a system like Loxone, you can use the same motion sensor in each room for your security, lighting, audio and even heating.

The second is that you may find it more difficult (and therefore, more expensive) to try to integrate third-party sensors into a system that’s designed for use with its proprietary products. If you’re purchasing proprietary products, you’re guaranteed that they will be compatible and the process of updating them will likely be much more straightforward.

Oh, and one more thing. Some motion sensors, especially those made more cheaply, have audible ‘clicks’ when triggered, which can be annoying.

Are there additional benefits?

You can’t put a price on happiness, so they say. What you can do, though, is to invest in a system that will help make life at home that little bit easier.

A good night’s sleep

Even if you’ve taken out a small mortgage on a fancy mattress, sleepless nights are inevitable. Whether you’re naturally a light sleeper, you’re at the mercy of a restless partner, or you’re getting up to see to the baby, there’s little that’s more jarring than the glare of a bright light on a dark winter’s night.

That’s where a feature like ‘Night Mode’ really comes into its own. If you get out of bed during the night, lights will come on at a lower brightness to guide your path without blinding you. Once you’re back in bed, they switch off automatically without you needing to press a single switch.

If you have younger children who need to sleep during the day, an integrated home automation system can be your best friend. If your child usually goes down to sleep between 12 and 3, for example, the usual ‘ding dong’ of the doorbell can be replaced by flashing lights in the kitchen or living room. That way you’ll know someone’s at the door, whilst your little one remains contentedly in the land of Nod.

Peace of mind

Peace of mind is something you really can’t buy, however, with a smart security system, you can alleviate some of the worry. Whether it’s making your house appear lived in whilst you’re on holiday, or simply being able to double check that all the windows are closed via the app, you’ll be able to get a better overview of what’s going on at home, with the added reassurance that you’ll be alerted instantly at the first sign of trouble.

It’s not just protection against break-ins that Loxone can offer – it’s also protection against dangers such as smoke and water leaks, and data privacy protection. To find out more about smart security, click here or browse our security blogs.

Choose features, not products

The true value of a smart home lies not in its products, but the features that those products can offer. That’s why, if you’re looking to have your system designed and installed, it’s key to agree with your installer which features you can expect from your new smart home, not just which products.

When it comes to determining if the system is worth the money – remember that the smart home you end up with should be greater than the sum of its parts. It’s important not just to look at the products and how much they cost, but to understand the intangible value you would be getting out of a system, too.

Who can I talk to about my project?

If you’re keen on finding out more about home automation, and how you can get the most value out of it for your budget, why not book a free consultation with our team? They’ll help explain how the system works, give you ideas for your own home, and guide you through how the installation process typically works.