The Network. Otherwise known (at SONA HQ) as one of the most commonly under-specified aspects of many of the jobs we've witnessed. We'll cut to the chase, here's what you need to know.
Building a Luxury Home: What You Need to Know About Your Network
November 6, 2018
Everything home technology companies install these days is connected – from TVs, Apple TV, to Sky boxes, mobile phones and tablets, printers, security cameras, heating controls in your swimming pool, lighting, audio systems….the list is endless.
All of these components rely on the network.
For many households, the network can otherwise be referred to as the home hub – the free home hub box that your internet provider like BT, Sky etc sends you when you subscribe to their service.
When it comes to your large-scale, luxury home, this nifty little gadget is fine for managing your home network. On paper, that is. In reality, it’s a very different story.
Your FREE Gift
How much do you value a ‘FREE gift’? My assumption is not very much. However this is essentially what your free home hub is. It’s been designed to do a job for the cheapest price possible for the mass market.
This is not something that has been specified for a large-scale luxury home that you are about to build.
Most luxury residential projects that SONA work on are not ‘mass market’. In fact, they are more comparable in terms of the technology in a small hotel rather than your average family household, for which the free home hub was originally designed. This is not to say the home hub isn’t great!!! It is! It’s really great for the average family household and the mass market.
However, if you’re currently building a luxury residence, it is likely to include media room, leisure suite, swimming pool, perhaps a home cinema and significantly more technology than most average homes simply due to the sheer scale.
Using a standard free home hub as your network for the integrated home technology in a large luxury residence is simply inadequate. However, we see it time and time again, installed on jobs (that we get called in to look at after installation when the system doesn’t do what it’s supposed to!).
Using a free home hub in a large scale home like trying to climb up Everest in flip flops. You may well get to the top, but the experience won’t have been pleasant, and you’ve probably lost some toes along the way.
Equipment Specified for Purpose, not Price
The bottom line is, a significantly higher quality network is required to support the sort of technology we’re talking about when it comes to luxury houses. There’s usually a high number of devices and users, and greater demand for information between them. Your standard home hub simply won’t cut the mustard. If your home technology company insists that a free home hub will suffice, ask them to back this up with reasoning and explanation before you sign off.
Consider Post Installation Support
You are living in your multi-million pound house with your standard home hub supporting your home automation. You have a problem with a certain piece of technology one evening. You’re having a party and your guests keep dropping off the WiFi.
You pick up the phone to your installer. They aren’t sure what to do, and how to get around this, so they suggest you try calling your standard internet service provider.
After spending 30 minutes on the phone on hold to BT or Sky, you finally getting through to someone from customer service. You quickly realise that they have absolutely no idea how to assist you. They are simply not equipped to troubleshoot systems that are on the same scale as yours. What now? There’s very little action you can take.
If you alternatively go with a higher spec network recommended by an experienced home automation specialist, then they will be able to troubleshoot over the phone right away, and worst case, should have in place the facility to send out an engineer to fix the problem. That is of course if you use a reputable home automation company who provide aftercare and support for clients – unfortunately this isn’t commonplace in our industry so always ask before committing to a home AV company.
Good Enough is Never Enough
We see time and time again this approach to home technology. The network is simply one example. The attitude towards luxury integrated systems that simply ‘work’ but really don’t enhance life at home at all.
For SONA the essence of luxury home automation isn’t just functional. It makes life at home special. It makes you feel reassured. Ensures you can remain connected when you need to, and switch off in total privacy when you want to escape.
However above all, the system must be robust and reliable. Not simply ‘just work’. It needs to be dependable otherwise it will come to cause its’ owner much stress time after time. The complete opposite of what technology should do – making life harder not smarter!
If there’s one piece of advice that decades of experience has taught us when it comes to home technology; it’s that if a company is too lazy or inexperienced to under-specify the network that supports the whole system, they certainly won’t be capable of giving you the system you desire.
Who knew a little network could cause so much trouble?!
Whilst we carry out most of our projects in the North West region of the UK, we are always happy to provide answers to any homeowner who has a question about home technology no matter where you may live! Feel free to get in touch anytime on firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about the network specified in your luxury home.