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I’m smart… I’ll make my home smart too

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A study conducted by Coldwell Banker and CNET in August of last year found that 28% of homes in the US have smart home devices… And that number is only going to grow in our opinion. But what is a smart home device really… and how smart are these devices? Are we talking Skynet from Terminator or more like Jarvis from Ironman?  We are still years away from artificial intelligence of that magnitude so no need to worry about T2 showing up at your door!

Today’s smart home devices come in all shapes and sizes from the Nest thermostat to the Amazon Echo, to complete home automation systems from companies like Vantage Controls or Elan.  On one end of the spectrum we have products like Nest that are truly great at what they do, which is manage and automate your air conditioning system. They also have a great app with an easy to use interface that makes interacting with the system a pleasant experience.  You even have the ability to control your air conditioning from anywhere in the world that you have internet access.  But it stands alone in your home and doesn’t really communicate with any other smart devices unless you add a middle man like the Echo or a full automation system.

The Amazon Echo allows you to ask it questions and “communicate” with it a la Jarvis in the Ironman movies.  Sure you can have the Echo turn on lights and even adjust your air conditioning by asking it to, but there are several limitations.  First, and most importantly of which, is that this is a do-it-yourself product and you are now the technician assigned to keeping up with software updates and figuring out how to make all the smart devices “talk” to each other.  Secondly, you are limited to using only approved products that the Echo can communicate with.  Will that list of products grow with time? Sure, but it is likely that the list will just accumulate more and more do-it-yourself products.  What does this mean for you? More software updates and technical understanding of how it all works together.  This may work for the more techie consumer, but it is likely not the route most people want to take.

This is where complete home automation systems come in.  Sure they will cost more upfront and you won’t be able to program them yourself, but it will be a reliable and professionally installed system.  Do you want to build your own car from parts you ordered over the internet from different vendors, or do you just want to go to the dealer of choice and buy a fully functioning car? Expanding on the car analogy... When you have car trouble you typically take the car in to the dealership or your trusted mechanic, but who do you call when your Echo isn’t turning on the light you asked it to? Amazon? The lighting company? Your wifi router manufacturer? You see where I’m going with this?  With a professionally designed and installed home automation system you have one phone number to call when something doesn’t seem to work just right… and trust me that will happen no matter how “perfect” your installation was.

When you’re ready to make your home smart… Call First Priority Audio! We’re here to help you.

Isn't there an app for that?

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Have you ever experienced first hand a fully automated home? You know... where you walk into a house, press one button by the door, and magically the lights turn on, the music system starts playing your favorite station, and your alarm is disarmed? A true smart home allows you to integrate multiple parts of the home into one system, so you have one point of control for everything in your home.  From shades and lights to audio and video, and everything else in between an automated home can bring it all together.  The beauty of an automated home is made in the background... in the programming! Your home integrator really earns his keep making sure all the systems communicate with each other, allowing you to create the perfect scene in your home with the touch of a button.

If you've ever looked into a home automation system though, you know they can get pretty expensive. The questions we get most often as home integrators is... "Do I really need that?" That answer, unfortunately, isn't an easy yes or no.  It all depends.  Do you really need all your home systems to communicate with each other?

Let's face it... We live in an app based world and we all have dozens upon dozens of apps on our phones and tablets.  Some of these apps we use on a daily basis and some we don't even remember why we downloaded in the first place.  But when it comes to controlling our homes, we may not need an automation system to connect everything together.  Some of us are perfectly happy having one app to turn on our music, another app to control our lights, and another to check on the home alarm or security cameras.  Sure it's really cool to press one button on your keypad and have the lights to your TV room turn on for you to light the way, and have the TV turn to your favorite channel before you even hit the couch... but that simple enough task brings with it more electronic components and programming time that you are ultimately paying for. Don't get us wrong... We'd love to sell you a true home automation system! But it's not for everyone.

Some of the better companies out there like SonosNest, and Vantage Controls offer amazing apps to control their products.  You should certainly leverage their research and development teams and use the apps they are testing and improving on every day.  Think about it... These companies only have to focus on improving their product, and not on communicating with every other product on the market. This allows them to funnel a lot more of their resources into user experience... giving you a stellar app to use every day.  Sure you can't turn on your lights from your music app, but do you really need to? If you are comfortable with the concept of one app for each system in your home... and you know where the home button is on your phone... I think app based control is for you!

If you're ready to explore app based home control further... First Priority Audio is here to help.

What is Home Automation?

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Home automation is quickly becoming a buzz word in marketing for technology products.  Everything from thermostats, to lights, to alarm systems, and even appliances are now being controlled via our smartphones or our computers.  You’ve probably even seen major alarm and cable service providers pushing home automation systems lately.  Can you turn on a light in your home while you’re at the office? Sure.  How about setting your alarm from the airport when you realize you left the house in a rush and never turned it on?  Of course.  But a properly designed system can do so much more…

So what is home automation?  It is the integration of all the systems in your home into one smart design that works for you instead of giving you more things to do or worry about.  Instead of being able to turn your lights on and off while you’re away from home, how about a lighting system that knows when you are home, because it can communicate with your alarm system and knows when it is armed in away mode for instance.  A smart home would also know what time of day it is and even be able to measure how much natural light is in a room, allowing it to dim and adjust lighting in a room based on all these factors without you having to touch a single button or open an app.  You may have seen some smart locks being sold in stores.  Can you imagine your home knowing who has arrived, and based on the time of day you’ve arrived, setting the lighting mood you prefer, turning your audio system or TV on to your favorite station and arming your alarm in the “stay” mode for you automatically?  This is true home automation.  You may be conjuring up images of the Jetsons and Rosie, their robot maid, cleaning up and cooking for the family, and thinking this is just a cartoon.  Technology has finally caught up to our imagination and allowed some of these things to become reality… Although we’re still waiting for our flying cars.

With so many systems already installed and operating within our homes such as, lighting, HVAC, Audio, Video, Security, etc… doesn’t it make sense to get the most out of what you already have in your home.  We actually want the left hand to know what the right hand is doing in this case.  We can leverage so much information from one system in your home to make other systems feel like they know exactly what you want them to do without you having to tell them.  With so much technology at our disposal, it shouldn’t feel like we have more things to do or check up on, but that’s exactly what it seems to be doing.  A well planned home automation system can make your life easier and less clumsy to get the most out of the investments you’ve already made to your home.  Call First Priority Audio today to let us get the most out of technology for you and your family.

The First Control4 Certified Showroom in Broward County

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Opening of the 1st Control4 Certified Showroom in Ft. Lauderdale

First Priority Audio was proud to be chosen as the first Control4 Certified Showroom in Broward County. Being the first home technology company to bring this level of experience to residents of Ft. Lauderdale is an exciting opportunity. Having a dedicated space where clients and future clients can experience smart home before they buy is a game changer. There are only a couple hundred certified showrooms in the entire world. These dealers have been hand-picked by Control4 as the very best at what they do.

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How Integrators Help Builders Create Better Smart Homes

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Work with an experienced smart home team for a faster, cheaper, better-looking result

If you’re a home builder, interior designer or other professional in a related industry, you’ve undoubtedly seen the rise in popularity of home automation systems. Demand for these devices is climbing rapidly; if you aren’t putting smart systems in your homes, whether it’s new construction or a remodel, you’re missing out on a significant revenue source.

But designing and building a smart home requires time, money and expertise you may not have. There are also dozens of other challenges you face on any major construction or renovation project. The best way to create a smart home with minimal headaches is to bring in an integrator as a partner. Today’s blog will lay out all the advantages builders, designers and others can gain by working with an integrator on smart home automation projects in the Fort Lauderdale, FL, region. 

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Why Control4 Is a Superior Choice for Smart Home Automation

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With Control4, everything in your home works more smoothly and effectively

Did you know that First Priority Audio Video has Broward County’s first Control4 Certified Showroom? Not only is our showroom a great place to see the power of home automation in action, but the certification also demonstrates our affinity for and knowledge of Control4’s systems. We firmly believe smart home automation from Control4 can improve your life; that’s why today’s blog focuses on everything Control4 has to offer Florida residents in the Fort Lauderdale region.

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