Enhance your lifestyle with today’s home automation options!

photo: Marcus Millo
Gus Cuerto believes that a streamlined home automation system can benefit any homeowner.
Gus Cuerto believes that a streamlined home automation system can benefit any homeowner.

The Jetsons may have lived in Orbit City in the year 2062, but some of the smart home technology they enjoyed has hit the scene nearly 40 years ahead of schedule. From robot vacuums and video phones to talking refrigerators and virtual voice assistants, a wide array of smart tech is now available to make our lives easier than ever. And the options within the home automation market continue to expand every day. If you are ready to transform your own home into a bona fide smart one, consider these tips and ideas from Gus Cueto, president of Advanced Premises Systems in Buckhead.

How has home automation evolved in recent years?

The use of home automation equipment has gotten much easier. In the past, it was a chore to get devices to talk to one another, but manufacturers are now able to bring everything together into one app or a control panel thanks to APIs (application programming interface). For instance, we use a home automation system called that allows you to tightly integrate your lighting controls, music and video services, security and more and use your voice to control it. Everything has just become much more seamless.

What do I need to do prepare my house for a home automation system?

Everything in your home automation system will run off of the network in your house, so you have to have a good networking backbone. Also, while much of what we can do today is wireless, every project we do has a rack of equipment somewhere in the house—usually the basement. You need to plan out where you will put that rack.

What kinds of smart tech components can I bring into my home?

Lighting has become a very popular element. Ten years ago, a light bulb was a light bulb. Today, really precise light bulbs can produce 18 million different colors, so you can create the best white light possible. And you can control them. Of course, audio and security cameras are also in nearly every project we do. The system typically can be tied into whatever elements you are currently using, such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home. Social areas, such as the kitchen, are a good place to start, especially if you want to control costs.

How should I approach the budget of my home automation project?

It’s very hard to say since there are so many components and different manufacturers out there. The Home Technology Association has a budget calculator that can help. You answer several simple questions about what you want to do in your home, and it will give you a price range to consider. It’s a great tool.

I’m ready for home automation. Where do I start?

Find a good installer. Groups like the Custom Electronics Design and Installation Association and the HTA can point you to professional, quality dealers and installers who want to work with you in the right way and not just try to sell you certain products. My philosophy is always to find the simplest solution to provide the benefits you’re looking for. The least amount of gear that’s simple to use is best. That’s because the fewer links you have in the chain, the more reliable your system will be.


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