When it gets too bright in the atrium at Tony Adams’ west Rapid City home, he pulls out his iPad and draws the shades without ever leaving his seat.
It’s one of the many conveniences available at his fingertips with a “smart” device in a home that is getting smarter as technology advances.
“Smart homes can consist of a lot of things,” said Jim White, owner of Sound Pro in Rapid City. “In today’s world, we can control audio/video systems, lighting systems, shades, thermostats, everything interior and exterior.”
Adams also has a distributed sound system, allowing him to access music from five different devices like his iPod, radio tuner or CD player using a keypad mounted to walls in most rooms of his house. A wireless system called Sonos can be used with his existing system to allow him to control the music through a smart device.
It’s not quite the stuff from the futuristic cartoon “The Jetsons” but things have definitely changed.
“Ten years ago when I built my house, I didn’t have a solution for the atrium. It was just in the last two years it became available. So I am able to have a different feel, a different look and there’s a ‘wow’ factor,” said Adams.
“When we think of people’s homes nowadays, they’ve become a real networked environment,” said White. “So a lot of these devices will sit on the same network in your home and have the ability to interface via the wireless network.”
But that could mean some extra work.
“It is requiring people to put more concentration on their network system in their house. We are starting to see people having to beef up their actual network in their house, and that’s something that a lot of people are not aware of.”
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And wireless is not always the best way to go.
“We still believe that more often than not, if we can establish wires for almost anything whether it be speakers or control for distribution systems around the house, it’s always best to do it on structured wiring if you can,” said White.
But you can plan ahead even if the future of technology is ever changing.
“Certainly in the build process, when people are building a home, that’s the best time because you can really put in a fair amount of wiring relatively inexpensively for future use,” said White.
Other smart devices for the home include coffee makers, refrigerators, televisions and security systems, to name just a few.
And it’s becoming more affordable to live smarter, according to White.
“Prices certainly are a lot less expensive than they were,” he said. “We continue to see prices come down."
“All the technology, depending on how you use it, makes life easier, more intuitive and more fun,” said Adams. “If you love technology and you like convenience, it’s a natural segue way.”