Home integration — which may also be referred to as home automation, residential technology systems, the connected home, or smart home technology — refers to the integration of multiple electronic systems and devices through a centrally controlled network. These systems and devices may include media rooms, home theaters, lighting control, multi-room audio, HVAC control, security, or appliances. Integrated systems are custom-designed to allow the homeowner the convenience and cost savings of controlling electronics through a central control system, or even remotely.
Another related term is "home networking." Many think of a home network as simply a network of connected gadgets, and while this is certainly part of the connected home, it's only the tip of the iceberg. More and more electronic devices are designed to connect to the home network, which results in added functionality and convenience. But this increased demand on your home network can also lead to problems with continuity of service if it's not properly designed and integrated. An integrator who is skilled in designing and implementing robust home networks will be able to alleviate potential network problems.
Many mass-market retailers provide do-it-yourself home integration and control kits or theater-in-a-box products. While consumers can often install these products, an integrator typically has a deep level of product knowledge that allows them to select the best components to suit a client's unique home design and usage patterns.
Integrators also have the skill to optimize room acoustics and seating and calibrate video settings. (The difference between an "out-of-the-box" system and one's that's properly calibrated can be amazing.) They can work with the homeowner to develop a plan — much like an architect develops blueprints — to ensure the best integrated home experience. Residential electronic systems designed by CEDIA member integrators are a sound investment in the value of your home.
CEDIA is the world's leading association of residential technology integrators and provides the industry's most comprehensive education to its membership. Members who participate and excel in CEDIA's educational programs can undergo rigorous testing to earn CEDIA Certification credentials. Consumers can rest assured that CEDIA Certified Professionals are the most highly respected and experienced in the industry.
CEDIA member companies subscribe to a strict code of professional conduct and ethics and participate in continuing education to stay informed on the latest technological innovations.
The beginning stage of the design/build process is the optimal time to think about wiring a home for connectivity and designing your space to account for your future home integration needs. Consumers should work with an architect, builder, or interior designer who sees the benefit in consulting a CEDIA member integrator.
A qualified integrator will be able to develop a system that is practical for today's homeowners but also ready to take advantage of new innovations as they come to market. CEDIA integrators stay current on emerging trends through continuing education as well as open lines of communication with leading manufacturers. Their up-to-date knowledge allows them to deliver technology that will not only merge seamlessly with the client's lifestyle but will also provide convenience, security, and entertainment for years to come.
Most consumers who seek out integrated home technology solutions view these systems as a way to save time and spend more quality time with their families, or add robust security to their home. Most customers invest in home electronic systems for the benefits, not for the sake of owning technology.
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