THE VIEW FROM 35,000 FEET
How pre-planning the technology infrastructure saves time and money down
the road as new technologies are adapted and integrated into living spaces.
BY ERIC SCHWARTZ
FOR SOME YEARS WE’VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT INVITING A TECHNOLOGY DESIGNER in early on the initial meetings for major remodels and new construction projects. It is so important to understand that designing and implementing a whole-house wiring and cabling infrastructure plan not only provides a gateway to the latest home technologies, but saves money in the long-run, as homeowners are able to take advantage of newer and more advanced technologies once they have the basic wiring in place.
For example, suppose homeowners wish to implement motorized window treatments or intelligent lighting into their space. I’m sure every architect, builder and interior designer can appreciate how simple it would be if the basic wiring was sitting there in the ceiling and behind the walls. Conversely, you can also appreciate what a nightmare it is when the wire doesn’t exist! Having to expose walls and ceilings in order to wire an existing space is cost-prohibitive in most cases and a time-consuming mess otherwise. So investing early in the process can and will pay dividends down the road as homeowners look to improve the beauty and livability of their spaces over time. The bottom line is that the design-build community continues to move towards an automated design aesthetic which means you need to coordinate and plan accordingly.
And let’s not forget that basic wiring and cabling infrastructure is critical for hi-speed home entertainment. A properly networked Internet platform — wired for home entertainment and computers, wireless for mobile devices — is the gift that keeps on giving. So much of our lives are invested in exploring the net and with work-from-home scenarios completely embedded in our culture, hi-speed access has become a necessity for millions and millions of the population. And home entertainment — from hi-res video displays to the metaverse — continues to rely on hi-speed access. Without it, you’re dead in the water.
Acoustics, intelligent lighting, automated window treatments, clean air, climate control and wired/wireless hi-speed Internet are combining to create inviting indoor spaces.
Another huge development in the world of home wellness and healthy environments centers around clean air strategies. At the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, I saw tons of clean air products — it has become the cornerstone of the wellness movement. And there were just as many Internet of Things (IoT) sensor devices on display as well, because we’ll all want the app so we can validate our home’s wellness statistics, right? So planning and designing your wiring infrastructure for future sensor devices has now become a common objective for the most modern performance homes.
Another key component of the modern performance home that also adds to the wellness theme is whole-house audio and video. When properly designed and executed, the wiring infrastructure is inexpensive as an upfront cost, but pays enormous dividends down the road.
In the most basic scenario, you can start with a few sources for your audio and video needs — an audio streamer and a Kaleidescape movie server — and distribute your music and videos around the house. The beauty is when you create a seamless musical and visual experience as you move from room to room, indoors to outdoors. And, of course, entertaining becomes magical as your guests get to enjoy immersive experiences as they explore and move throughout the spaces you’ve created.
From your back yard to the garage to the basement and in every space of your performance home, planning and design of your basic infrastructure is as important as your resilient and sustainable design initiatives. Down the road, proper pre-planning can provide unlimited access to the latest home technologies — today and tomorrow — which will make upgrades simple and cost-effective.
From your back yard to the garage to the basement and in every space of your performance home, planning and design of your basic infrastructure is as important as your resilient and sustainable design initiatives.
With the advent of tele-medicine and wearables, more and more healthcare will begin in one’s own home. The nascent technological innovations we’re seeing under development will only expand as every other technology expands — a lot will have to do with consumer acceptance and cost-effectiveness strategies.
Needless to say, but as the technology expands, so does the reliance on the infrastructure within the modern smart home. This is yet another example of why bringing in a technology designer at the outset of a project makes long-term success
much more likely.
living in place
Along a parallel track is living in place and how mobility will be impacted by future technologies. Again, having proper infrastructure planned and deployed makes it that much more likely your future living in place tech will be able to be incorporated into the overall smart home control mechanisms you choose to deploy.
We’ll keep emphasizing the importance of bringing in qualified technology experts into the design and planning stages of major remodels and new builds. Consumers are excited about technology in general, and as the innovations and disruptions continue to evolve let’s make sure we’re delivering the very latest in infrastructure management. From healthy environments to net zero energy strategies, a properly wired and configured home raises the bar when addressing every technology in today’s performance home, as well as what the future has in store.