By Jamie Doe, LCE Home Automation

A generation ago a dimmer switch was the height of sophistication. Then came phone apps to turn the heating on and off remotely. 

Now you should expect lighting, heating, security systems, audio-visual entertainment and even motorised blinds and curtains to work together automatically, combining to create the perfect energy-efficient, secure and fabulous home.

Imagine if your home was smart enough to welcome you with the perfect temperature when you arrive back, to have closed the curtains at dusk and to have just the right lighting ambience. Wouldn’t it be good to be able to press one switch to change to another perfect lighting scene and music playlist to match your mood and the occasion? 

Jamie DoeMeanwhile, the kids could enjoy their own favourite entertainment in their rooms. Running late? Then you could use remote control to turn security lighting and alarms on in a smart home.

The only thing limiting what you can do today, it seems, is your imagination. But what about tomorrow? Smart technology may have become a lot more   affordable, but it is still a long-term investment. No-one wants to have to rip out and replace expensive equipment as fashions and their family’s needs   change.

What you choose today might be fine for, say, your growing family, but won’t fit the bill when you are a little older and need to plan for living independently   for as long as possible.

Or perhaps you prefer to stagger your investment and add intelligence to your home one area at a time, safe in the knowledge that all the areas will work together seamlessly as your project progresses.

"Future-proofing was a key consideration for me when I set up LCE  Home Automation. I wanted to make sure our customers got flexible  solutions that would last and give them real value – and that led to us becoming one of the region’s first KNX integrators"

What is KNX?

In a nutshell, KNX is an open communications protocol, a common language that all the control devices in a smart building use to talk to each other. A KNX integrator is free to pick and choose different devices from different manufacturers and mix and match them to create exactly the system you need.

The worldwide KNX Association’s certification scheme is your guarantee that they will all work together in perfect harmony and that nothing will ever be out of date. If you needed to make changes years, or even decades, down the road, it will still be a case of plug and play, not rip and replace. 

If you paint yourself into a corner with a closed, proprietary system, there’s no such guarantee. That’s why I have absolutely no doubt that the KNX approach is best for most of my customers.

LCE houseKNX in action in Hampshire

One of our latest projects was a family house where we automated the lighting, heating and skylights as part of a major refurbishment project. Originally, the owners had planned to use smart technology to automate the lighting scheme they had chosen, but it was only when LCE became involved that they   realised the potential and economies of integrating control of the heating system and a new feature skylight at the same time.

The result is a design-led, professionally-automated and efficient family home that accommodates the owners’ unique lifestyle requirements for their family holiday home, while delivering value and efficiency.

Of course, much of the clever stuff in a smart home goes on behind the scenes and all you see are the wall-mounted control panels – and they certainly don’t disappoint. 

A smart home is an economical and energy-efficient home and, if you choose wisely, your investment will be a future-proof one that will change and develop  as your lifestyle does. Equally important, it’s going to be the home you and your family will love living in.