i+D - November/December 2019 - 48

As residential design
becomes fully wired,
the technology itself is
increasingly invisible

Living by
Design
Smart
Homes

By
Brian J. Barth

One might be surprised to learn that the
world's preeminent smart home professional
association-Custom Electronics Design and
Installation Association, now known as CEDIA-
was established 30 years ago, long before
smartphones and smart-everything. Back in
the age of Nintendo and Sony's Discman, home
tech was focused primarily on entertainment
systems, like home theaters and speaker systems
embedded in walls and ceilings so individuals
could listen to music in every room of the house.
A crowd of 500 gathered for the first CEDIA Expo.
It was a time when hiring a home technology
professional was limited to the wealthy.

But, one of the biggest changes of all, says
Giles Sutton, senior vice president, industry
engagement at CEDIA, is the price point of the
technology. "Thirty years ago, it was extremely
expensive to put in these types of systems
because we didn't have the internet. We didn't
have iPads and iPhone apps. The cost has dropped
significantly because all the components talk to
each other." Even 15 years ago, according to
Sutton, trying to integrate the controls for multiple
systems was a technical and, thus, expensive
challenge. "Increasingly, middle-class families
can afford these systems, and research shows
that homeowners are expecting that there will be
technology in their homes,"he explains. "They're
asking for it, and my experience has been that
designers are often not equipped to answer the
[technology] questions they're being asked."
Interior designers, however, are accustomed
to working with a range of consultants,
subcontractors, and suppliers-everyone from
lighting experts and furniture manufacturers to
sustainability experts and feng shui gurus. Sutton
suggests adding another trade to the office

Integrated
& Sophist
With Control4's OS 3 home
automation, one touch dims the
lights, locks the doors, and more.
(Image: Control4)

48

Today, CEDIA boasts a membership of
30,000 professionals worldwide, as well as more
than 3,700 member companies, and the list of
home technology options includes audio-visual
components, security systems, lighting controls,
appliances, heating and cooling, pool and spa,
irrigation systems, and more. No longer operated
with old-fashioned wall-mounted switches,
keypads, knobs, and dials that clutter up the
space, these features are controlled by sleek
touchscreens and phone apps. Increasingly, voice
control, integrated with personal assistants like
Amazon's Alexa, is an option. Wireless technology
has helped eliminate the spider web of wires
that characterized home tech systems until fairly
recently. And, rather than a patchwork quilt of
software and devices, home automation systems
are integrated in a sophisticated, single-interface
operating system.
i+D - November/December 2019

database: a local technology integrator. These
professionals are not installers of one type or
brand of home technology; rather, they are the
liaison between a design team and any technology
manufacturers and installers that may be needed
for a given job. The role of the technology integrator
is to translate the client's needs and desires into
a practical plan that aligns with a designer's vision
and serve as a project manager who oversees
installation contractors (see www.cedia.net to
find a technology integrator in your area).
The good news, says Sutton, is that designers
don't have to become conversant in computer
programming and electrical engineering; they
can leave that to the experts. But, the more
designers become familiar with the different types
of home technology and the ways they can be
configured, the more a technology integrator will
be able to help them create a plan for a system


http://www.cedia.net

i+D - November/December 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of i+D - November/December 2019

Contents
i+D - November/December 2019 - Cover1
i+D - November/December 2019 - Cover2
i+D - November/December 2019 - 3
i+D - November/December 2019 - 4
i+D - November/December 2019 - 5
i+D - November/December 2019 - 6
i+D - November/December 2019 - 7
i+D - November/December 2019 - 8
i+D - November/December 2019 - 9
i+D - November/December 2019 - Contents
i+D - November/December 2019 - 11
i+D - November/December 2019 - 12
i+D - November/December 2019 - 13
i+D - November/December 2019 - 14
i+D - November/December 2019 - 15
i+D - November/December 2019 - 16
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i+D - November/December 2019 - Cover3
i+D - November/December 2019 - Cover4
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