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Smart about the smart home

Online since 3.11.2015 • Filed under Advertorial • From Issue 16 page(s) 86-87
Smart about the smart home

An international home electronics installers’ association writes about its professional development services for industry in South Africa and abroad.

A recent article by Forbes revealed that over the next five years the growth curve of connected home devices is on track to beat that of smartphones and tablets. For this reason it is more important now than ever before for design professionals to understand smart home technology – the benefits, the functions and the aesthetics to provide the service that is now fully expected by customers. Accordingly, more potential buyers, property developers and interior designers are partnering with installation professionals to help them prepare and embrace the smart home.

Collaboration between designer and installer

A collaborative relationship between the design professional and the experts who install home technology is essential at the start of any project, with the planning stage determining the smooth-running of the overall development. This is the time when it is possible to add the required cables and make sure they are in the correct place, enabling a wire-free look on completion. Specialising in the integration of electronic technology into the home, CEDIA partners with interior designers and architects to maximise the lifestyle, function, aesthetic and efficiency benefits of the integrated home. As the people best informed and trained in the latest technologies, design, project management and installation techniques, CEDIA members are the best insurance that designers may have that the final systems will meet customers’ expectations.

Putting first things first

Having a reliable and stable infrastructure is the most important part of any smart home to ensure that cabling, black boxes, speakers, screens and control panels are effectively concealed or integrated into the design scheme. Once this has been determined, expert planning and a real understanding of requirements is needed as cables cannot be easily retrofitted once the property has been decorated. It is also important to understand the rise of wireless technology for smart homes. Most homes already have the technology – the smart phone, the smart TV, and even smart thermostats – they just haven’t been connected. CEDIA believes that devices – particularly for energy efficiency, security,  and comfort (heating and cooling, and entertainment) – will become increasingly commonplace.

Wi-fi rules

It’s true that wireless technology is an important asset in any designer’s toolkit. This is also true for CEDIA professionals. Multiple wireless access points may be installed into larger properties, located in rooms that require fast reliable broadband or other services. This is reasonably complex to set up but provides a more reliable solution. With building materials such as ‘Celotex’ and foil-backed plasterboard, RF signals need more attention than people may think. A properly designed wired and wireless infrastructure has the potential of delivering reliable content and services for many years. CEDIA has released free SMART HOME RECOMMENDED WIRING GUIDELINES and a video guide to smart home wiring to help inform interior designers about the cabling infrastructure.

Continuing professional development

CEDIA launched its RIBA and BIID-accredited Designing Integrated Future Ready Homes CPD in 2006 and has since worked with its members to present the session to 700 design professionals each year. This course helps interior designers appreciate the benefits of home automation, systems integration and structured wiring. The course aims to provide an understanding of the residential home technology market, explore the processes involved, and the advantages of working with a CEDIA member at the start of a project. By the end of the session, attendees understand how to ensure that homes are usefully connected internally and externally to electronic and data services for the foreseeable future, provide an understanding of the basic techniques and the terminology of custom installation, and understand what’s possible in home electronic design to ensure that the designer knows who to ask when they need help in a particular area.

Getting to know the terminology

In a bid to bridge the gap between the CEDIA membership and the professional design community, the association has produced a collection of literature that is freely available to design professionals. CEDIA also understands that where technology is involved there are usually endless abbreviations and technical terms. To simplify understanding, CEDIA created A DESIGNERS GUIDE TO COMMON TECH WORDS AND PHRASES. Another free resource for interior designers and architects is the HOME TECHNOLOGY CLIENT QUESTIONNAIRE. This document provides greater clarity and definition to clients’ home technology briefs, and highlights the right questions to ask clients at consultation stage. The questionnaire is split into three categories – audio, video and other items – to provide a guideline for determining the type of technology required and the level of complexity involved. This ensures an easier planning process for the design professional when looking at the aesthetics of a scheme, and how technology might fit within that design. It is also a useful document to discuss with a CEDIA member when they are briefed to deliver the home technology solution for a project.


CEDIA is the leading global authority in the $14-billion home technology industry. It represents 3 500 member companies worldwide and serves more than 22 000 industry professionals that manufacture, design, and integrate goods and services for the connected home. View CEDIA’s informative video on YouTube at CEDIA offers a finder service on its website that allows interior designers to locate their nearest home technology professional. Users can search CEDIA member com

Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association


Issue 16

Issue 16

November 2015

This article was featured on page 86-87 of
To Build Magazine Issue 16.

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