Category: Smart Home

What Makes a Smart Home Smart 2021

Smart homes have come a long way since the first smart home device, the ECHO IV, was built by engineer James Sutherland in 1966. Though it was never sold it commercially, this system was a marvel at the time: it could create shopping lists, adjust his thermostat, turn appliances on and off, and even manage all the digital clocks in the house. Today our smart homes can do all of that and much, much more.

What is a Smart Home?

A smart home is more than just the software and hardware that make it up; it’s an idea—the idea of home automation, convenience, comfort, greener living, security, sustainability, and total control over your environment.

More technically, however, a smart home is any domicile where appliances and various devices are connected via a mobile or a networked device. Being connected through the internet allows an owner to control appliances, thermostats, lights, cameras, and other security systems through a physical medium such as a tablet or smartphone or via voice commands.

What Can a Smart Home Do For Me?

Smart home trends are all about convenience, allowing you to automate various tasks that you may not have time for in your busy life. Have you ever forgotten to water the lawn? A smart home can have your lawn sprinklers set to activate whenever you want. Do you have children in your house that forget to turn off the lights when they leave a room? You can set your lights to automatically shut themselves off when the sensors in the room detect it’s empty. Have you ever wished you could save on your energy bill by adjusting the thermostat higher and lower when you aren’t home? You can integrate your HVAC system, allowing your smart home to adjust the temperature throughout the day to save energy.

But enough about all the practical things a smart home can do; what’s the point of having all this tech if you can’t have a little fun with it? Through smart home systems like Josh.ai, you can integrate your entire home theater system to create the perfect viewing environment. In the case of your home theatre system, imagine this: you sit down in your plush theater seat and tell your smart system to “play a movie.” Suddenly your movie projector screen rolls down; your sound system powers up and automatically adjust to your preferred volume, and the lighting slowly dims and turns off as the movie begins. If you need to get up during the movie to use the bathroom or get a snack, you can tell your system “intermission,” it will pause your movie and activate soft, recessed in-wall lighting.  Finally, when the credits roll, you can tell your smart system to “shut down the theater” and let it power down all of your equipment, and turn the lights back on.

What Is It Like Living In a Smart Home?

But what would your day look like if you lived in a smart home? It’s one thing to talk about all the conveniences like they were list, but it’s another thing to imagine the seamless experience it could provide.

You wake up early on a chilly November morning. Your blinds slowly open to let the sunlight in as you wake up, and your system plays a gentle tune to set your mood. You notice that it’s colder than you thought it would be, so tell your house to raise the temperature by a couple of degrees. You enjoy the comfort of your covers for a few minutes while your bedroom heats up.

You stretch and get out of bed, heading to the bathroom. Upon entering the room, the lights turn on at 75% intensity because you don’t like them to be too bright this early in the morning. You say, “tell me the weather,” and your house tells you the temperature outside, as well the expected highs and lows for the day. You leave the bathroom, and the lights turn off behind you. You enter the kitchen and whiff the fragrant aroma of freshly brewed coffee; your coffee automatically brews a fresh pot in the morning about minutes before you wake up because you hate having to wait, especially on cold mornings.

You grab your tablet and decide to sit down and watch the news on your tv. You use your smart home app to turn on the tv, browse for content, and then adjust the volume as you relax in your recliner with your morning joe. As you watch, your show is paused as you get a notification that someone is at your front door. You bring up the doorbell app on your tablet just in time to see the UPS driver getting pack into his van, a new package sitting on your doorstep.

After your relaxing morning, you decide to take care of some errands. You ask your smart home, “what’s on my grocery list?” and it reads it out loud to you. You realize you don’t need one of the items on the list because you bought it earlier in the week. You ask your home to delete it, which it does. When you leave, your house automatically locks up and goes into a “power save” mode, turning off all the lights and either raising or lowering the thermostat based on your preferences.

Later that night, you have some friends over for company. You decide you’re going to entertain them in your outdoor living room. Even outside, your smart home gives you comfort and complete control. You tell your house to “entertain guests” while you’re outside, and it automatically turns on the hanging string lights, lights the fire pit, and plays music from your outdoor speakers.

As you can see, your smart home system can be designed to be just as unique as you are. Let our knowledgeable staff here at SCS Home Entertainment listen and help guide you every step of the way to help you create the smart home of your dreams. Come by our showroom or contact us to help us bring the future of home convenience and comfort to you and your family.

Building the Smart Home of Your Dreams from the Ground Up

The future of home innovation is here! Like something out of a science fiction film, the ability to integrate a house by voice command and other digital features that control endless assets of a building, the future is now for many homeowners out there.

The most natural way to set up a smart home system is to start during construction. However, by natively integrating your smart home devices like Josh.ai, you can create custom spaces tailored to your needs and comfort as soon as you move in.

System Wiring

Perhaps the most crucial component to consider of all high-tech home features is planning the type of systems you wish to integrate into your building, and in turn, the network or hardwiring setup for them to function correctly. Having a robust and reliable network setup is crucial to ensuring your systems are operational 24/7. Assessing which smart home features are most important will help you choose how best to wiring your new home. From smart home portal systems that to energy-efficient light switches, outlets, panels, and more, an early plan for your home network is the key to an effective smart home system that offers flexibility for future installations. Be sure to assess your current and future automation needs, preferred monitoring methods, and installation preferences as you consider your options.

Smart Thermostats Simplify Heating and Cooling

Smart thermostats are incredibly easy to use and customizable for a homeowner’s preferences and go beyond simple temperature regulation. These systems can monitor your electricity usage to save you money, reduce your carbon footprint, and keep different zones of your home heated or cooled to your ideal temperature.

Smart vents are another addition that can easily integrate with your thermostat. These unique vents can detect changes in temperature throughout the home, automatically regulating those specific areas to the programmed temperature.

Smart ceiling fans use motion detectors to cool rooms as individuals enter or leave and regulate a preset temperature space. For the best results, integrate these fans with a smart lighting system to customize your space.

Smart Lighting for Ambience and Energy Saving

Both interior and exterior lighting can be programmed into your smart home system’s management capabilities. Automated smart lights can be voice-activated, timed, or triggered by motion sensor, recognizing activity (or lack thereof) in a certain part of the home.

Integrated lighting provides homeowners with endless energy-saving solutions, as well as security measures, whether a resident is sound asleep or away on vacation. In addition, lighting systems can be programmed to periodically turn on or off, offering the illusion that the owner is home, even when they’re miles away.

Protect Your Investment with Smart Security

Automated home security systems allow for an added sense of protection when a homeowner turns in for the night and grants easy accessibility for admitting an approved person into a residence when the homeowner is away. From something as simple as accessing a front door, garage, or windows, to video doorbells, security cameras, and motion sensors detecting even the slightest movements in a house or just outside, these exceptional features can grant homeowners a sense of comfort and reliability when they are away from home sweet home.

Emergency and disaster detection is another crucial feature when it comes to automated safety systems. Devices can sense everything from fires, uncommon moisture and dampness or flooding to dangers less detectable, such as risks of carbon monoxide poisoning or gas leaks, all of which are vital facets of safety and peace of mind.

Home Theater and Entertainment

Whether you’re a music aficionado, dream about having your very own backyard drive-in, or long to be the go-to host for parties, assessing your entertainment needs is an exciting part of planning your smart home build. With endless options from speakers, screens, and more, there’ll be no question who hosts game night from here on out. Home speaker systems can be integrated throughout the interior and exterior, allowing for great tunes no matter where you find yourself and your guests. With the ability to have a home theater setup nearly wherever you’d like, your toughest decisions will be which movie to watch and who’s on snack-making duty.

Your unique needs and interests are an essential part of your path to smart homeownership, allowing for an ultimate experience of comfort, security, and fun. Come visit our showroom or contact us at SCS Home Entertainment, and we will be delighted to help you explore options to make your new home a dream come true.

Smart Homes Without the Privacy Risk: Meet Josh.ai

There’s a huge hurdle to jump for a lot of us when it comes to adding some smart automation to our homes: we like our privacy! Google and Amazon have both decked out their smart home offerings in recent years, with assistant speakers, smart thermostats, and control hubs that make everyday life tasks effortless.

Unfortunately, these inexpensive systems have a couple of major caveats. First, they’re owned by huge corporations that profit extensively off the information they glean from user actions. Second, their systems still struggle with basic usability, like natural language processing, making the smart home experience feel more like a chore than an upgrade.

What is Josh.ai?

Josh.ai is a professionally installed smart home system meant to integrate with systems across your residence. It works well with an extensive body of smart home products, smart TVs, and control systems for your garage, yard, and outdoors. The system is designed to be intuitive, natural to use, and operate with the utmost respect for your privacy.

Josh Micro

This room microphone was designed to fit into any space. It features the intelligence of Josh.ai with a capacitive touch dial for volume control. One Josh micro can power an entire home, with its powerful array able to easily hear your voice even from long distances.

Josh Nano

The Josh Nano is the newest device in the series. This tiny microphone sits nearly flush with the wall and features an unintrusive design that will easily meld with any space. The Josh Nano is designed to be placed in each room throughout the home, giving you a seamless smart home experience from the kitchen to your home theatre.

Josh Core

Josh core is the brains of the system. The team at Josh.ai custom-designed this processing unit to locally control all aspects of the smart home without the need to access an information cloud. It is scalable, powerful, and built to protect your sensitive information.

Privacy & Security

In the comfort of your own home, the last thing you want to worry about is your data being compromised. Josh is designed to create a luxurious smart home experience while simultaneously preventing leaks of your private information.

In fact, data processing for your spoken requests to Josh is all done locally—they’re never sent over the internet or to a cloud. If a topic you’re talking about requires even further discretion, the Josh nano even features a privacy switch, which will altogether disable the microphone when activated.

Natural Voice Control

The voice commands in Josh aren’t clunky like other smart home systems. Most smart speakers only respond to highly specific requests, with many questions ending in confusion. Once you say the wake-up phrase to Josh, which is a straightforward “OK Josh,” “OK Home,” or “Hey Micro,” your smart commands can be strung together in natural language.

In fact, the technology in Josh is so advanced and well-tested that even English speakers with a heavy accent have no problem issuing commands.

AI-Powered Improvement

Many smart home systems, and Josh is undoubtedly included in this, offer simple ways to automate your home through scenes or routines. However, where Josh diverges is its ability to learn your preferences and utilize contextual awareness.

As you interact with Josh, the system will learn your preferences for all sorts of things like music, light levels, or how high you prefer your shades drawn at certain times of the day. This information helps Josh more readily answer your requests without requiring a detailed level of specificity.

Josh can understand a complex level of context clues, including types of devices that can be controlled, what room they are in, and aspects of the environment like if it is hot, dark, raining, or if there is music playing.

This context comes into play in several ways. First, Josh can provide suggestions based on your learned preferences and environmental data in the mobile app. For example, the app may suggest you lower the shades in sunny rooms if it is particularly hot outside.

Second, if you a command like, “Josh, dim the lights to 50%” but determine it is too dark, you can later say, “Josh, brighten the room” or “Josh, turn them up,” and the system will understand based on the room you are in and your previous command that you mean the lights.

Intuitive Mobile App

The mobile app for Josh.ai is beautiful, user-friendly, and highly functional. Within the app, you can define scenes, manage devices within any room in your house, and even check on your home while you’re away.

Another great feature is the ability to assign user roles. If you have a house guest, for example, you can set their permissions to certain rooms and devices with ease and easily disable this access once they’re gone.

If you own multiple properties, the Josh app can even manage devices at your other homes and allow you to switch between them easily. This lets you check in on your devices and security systems in different locations easily, even if you’re far away.

Why should I want a smart home?

A smart home setup is more than being able to issue voice commands to turn on the lights. When you integrate a system like Josh.ai into your home, it becomes the brains of your home. Smart home systems can effortlessly create comfortable spaces for you to relax or entertain, manage your utility use while you’re away, and help keep your home both monitored and secure.

Your smart home system should be as unique as your home and well-integrated for a natural experience. If you’re interested in designing a custom automation solution for your home that seamlessly integrates with your home theatre, home security, and other IoT (internet of things) capable devices, let us know! The staff at SCS Home Entertainment are ready to help you design the perfect setup utilizing Josh.ai. Visit our showroom or contact us to get started.