Never before in our lifetime has technology played a more important role in our homes than right now. A well-designed plan for technology in the home is not for show, it is a genuine part of our everyday lives. As we design homes for our clients, understanding how people live every day is the most important step in developing a plan for technology.
A good team that includes the interior and architectural designer, builder and an electrical and technology system provider lays the foundation for the most efficient, integrated and problem-free plan. Every homeowner has personal preferences for how much technology they want designed into their everyday lives. From lighting, cameras, shading and audio visual to networking and electrical controls, the plan starts with understanding individual priorities and lifestyle.
A solid foundation
Frustration starts when a home’s infrastructure is too weak to support how the homeowner uses technology on a daily basis.
“For the modern home, the foundation and most important aspects are the wiring infrastructure and professional-grade networking,” explained Rich Conklin of ResCom Electrical & Integration. “The average Wi-Fi from your internet provider only supports eight to 10 devices before services degrade. Professional-grade networking is scalable for 30 to hundreds of devices, eliminates dead spots in the home and has a higher level of security.
“Our lives are currently internet access driven and will only get more so in the future. Working from home, video chat, streaming services and home controls use data, so having the highest bandwidth and most robust network hardware are crucial.”
A Michigan tradition
Cottages, cabins and lake homes are a longstanding Michigan tradition. For generations, families have gathered to enjoy nature and outdoor sports at second homes. Family time and gathering with friends is an important value in our beautiful state and technology is even more important for these getaway retreats. Some of us can remember a time when second homes were so removed from everyday life, they did not even have a landline! Now, work, school and play are highly accessible wherever we go.
“The most important thing to consider for technology at a vacation home, without a doubt, is simplicity. The setup must be intuitive and easy for guests to use,” said Drew Terwee, client specialist at Scott Christopher Homes. “The homeowner’s preferences for technology integration is the biggest variable in every project. In the past, trendy built-in and ever-changing technology caused a lot of frustration for users. Now, we advocate for wireless and flexible setups that multiple people can use regardless of their comfort level with tech.”
Hidden in plain sight
The beauty of a home includes thoughtful layout and personalization. Technology is meant to complement and not detract from the interior design and architectural layout. Working with a designer to visually hide all components, video sources, audio visual gear, etc. into furniture, built-ins or closets helps cut down on clutter.
Paying attention to the dimensions of new components and locations when laying out furniture and storage is important in making sure everything fits as desired. Technology in the home is part of everyday life and most people want to have it hidden
“Apps on a smartphone or tablet eliminate the need for unsightly in-wall controls and keypads,” Conklin said.
At the heart of tech in the home is connection with our family, friends and work. Listening to a podcast, dancing in the kitchen to our favorite music or watching a thrilling movie brings us closer together. The power in technology is simply how we use it to share our lives, and enjoy all life has to offer.