This is a day and age where technology, quite frankly, is becoming increasingly hard to avoid. There are gizmos and gadgets everywhere. Many people don’t blink an eye when it comes to adding to their collection either – GPS in the car, Bluetooth headsets for cell phones and iPods or MP3 players for making a music library portable. At this point, smartphones are consolidating nearly all of those capabilities. We are a society on the go and want to have access to information, entertainment and convenience in our lifestyles at all times.
Your home is the most personal representation of yourself, your family and how you want to live. It is your space and you should enjoy every bit of it. For anyone building a new home or renovating an existing one, it’s a good idea to get wired to personalize your home for your technological tastes. Of course, there are the basics, such as telephone, cable or satellite TV and a computer network, but there is quite a bit more, such as planning TV locations, a home theater or surround sound system, multi-room/outdoor music systems, as well as automation and control of lighting, thermostats, shades, etc.
Sadly, many people are not taking advantage of home technology integration. Not because they don’t want it, but because they simply
don’t know what it can do for them or the options that are available. As a result, proper pre-wiring for these various types of technology is often overlooked by many architects and contractors, mainly due to the fact that staying on top of the latest options and requirements is a full-time job itself. This is where the architect or contractor has the opportunity to introduce the homeowner to an audio/video/home automation integrator (A/V integrator). Not only is this an important step for the homeowner, but important for the architect or contractor too. If someone is going through the expense of having a beautiful home built or renovated to reflect their personal tastes, why should the technology which compliments those tastes be left out? Everyone benefits by presenting the homeowner with their options. It shows a higher level of dedication, attention to detail and excellent service being provided to the homeowner.
If there is an interior designer or decorator involved, they should meet with the A/V integrator before any wires are run and the walls are closed. The integrator may not know the designer’s plans and vice versa. When working together during the planning and building process, everything comes together much more smoothly and will be more visually appealing, without compromising functionality.
A good A/V integrator will fill several key needs. They will be able to offer a variety of solutions to suit the homeowner’s interests, ensure the desired level of performance and preferences, understand best practices for installation, and most importantly – see that the homeowner is pleased. Good integrators understand the subtle quirks of audio and video signals and are more likely to get the best performance from a system, as well as making sure everything works well together. Behind the scenes, there’s a lot going on and A/V integrators deal with these various nuances on a daily basis. It is a highly specialized area, which changes very often. That’s why there is an entire trade dedicated to it.
Doing a proper pre-wire for a home doesn’t mean the homeowner needs to put in that amazing new multi-room music or home automation system today, but it’s good to have the option to install it later. This eliminates the need to retrofit wires after the walls are closed. When the wire is there and ready to go, several things are made possible:
– Flexibility will exist to install various makes and models of audio, video, control and home automation systems. Good planning leaves room for many different types of systems and budgets.
– Choosing a system becomes easier for the homeowner. This benefits everyone involved, the contractor, the integrator and the homeowner.
– The homeowner will be glad that they, their architect or their contractor had the foresight to bring in a professional to do the pre-wire. Happy clients tend to offer referrals, which may lead to more business.
Many A/V integrators will tell of the countless times homeowners have said “I wish I had met you while I was having my house built” or “I wish we had thought of this during out last renovation.” Keep in mind that retrofitting wire inside closed walls is always possible, but often a bit more expensive.
Just like a Boy Scout, it’s always best to be prepared. You’ll never have to say “I wish we had done that” or have any regrets later. A little extra preparation now can go a very long way later.