How long does smart home technology, like Lutron, stay current?
A question we’re often asked by potential new clients is ‘how long will the technology we’re proposing last or be current?’. We work in one of the fastest moving industries in terms of product development and clients want to know how long their investment will last.
High street level consumer products, such as TVs, tend to have a shorter life span, not in terms of their ability to operate but in terms of how current they are. Manufacturers are always trying to increase the resolution and brightness/darkness levels of TV screens and every year, without fail, a plethora of sparkly new TVs arrive promising to be a million times better than last years model thus sending the value of last years TV plummeting. Those of you that have only just moved from a Full HD/1080p TV screen to a UltraHD/4K TV screen, may or may not be pleased to know 8K TV screens have just arrived on the market!
As a custom installer we have access to manufacturers and systems that may not be readily available on the high street. Many of these manufacturers have designed their systems or continue to design their systems so they can be upgraded further down the line with relative ease. They understand that technology moves forward at a pace but that clients have invested large sums of money in the first instance and in order to keep brand loyalty, a future upgrade path should be easily available. When designing new product they tend to always consider what they designed before and how they can incorporate the old with the new.
A great example of a manufacturer with this ethos is Lutron. Recently a client, wanting to upgrade his Lutron Interactive lighting control, system approached us. Installed some 15+ years ago the system is now obsolete and since then, Lutron have released two new systems with the Lutron HomeWorks QS system now the current system.
Rather than completely reworking the infrastructure of their systems, Lutron kept the same basic principles of how the HomeWorks QS system components connect in relation to the older Interactive systems. This meant we could reuse some of the existing equipment, installed over 15 years ago, such as lighting panels and keypads and saved the client some budget. It also meant that no rewiring of the property was required as we could use the existing cabling setup.
So after three days onsite we upgraded half the Lutron components giving the client one completely new Lutron system! All of this whilst still keeping the Lutron integration working with the clients blinds, audio visual system and RTi control system.
Features of Lutron HomeWorks QS?
- You can take control of your lights and blinds or other equipment connected to the Lutron system using your smart phone or tablet
- You can make changes to the lighting program yourself, rather that waiting for an engineer to visit
- HomeWorks QS allows more accurate dimming control of LED bulbs
- Great interaction with third party manufacturers and systems such as blinds, temperature controls an audio-visual equipment
What measures can you take to future proof?
- Good cabling! One of the reasons this project ran so smoothly and was relatively cost effective was the initial cabling infrastructure designed and installed. If the cabling structure is designed in a way that allows flexibility in the future then this should cover any future changes to the system.
- Use professionals who understand the design, build, interaction and installation process. Talk to your custom installer about future proofing your installation.
- High street, consumer brands might be ok for some systems and save on the budget but tend to have a shorter life span and are not designed for longevity.
- Consider a maintenance contract. Most equipment installed has a connection to the internet which means it can update its software. One component updating its software can mean it becomes, usually temporarily, incompatible with another. On the flip side, not updating the software on equipment may mean the component isn’t running at its maximum capable performance or you may be missing out on new functionality. Our maintenance contracts have proactive visits included, during which we administer software updates and make sure your system is running optimally.
For more information call 0207 720 7877 orGet in Touch