Not a member yet? Register now and get started.

lock and key

Sign in to your account.

Account Login

Forgot your password?

Technologies for custom installations

Mar 2010 Smart Homes | Comments Off on Technologies for custom installations
Technologies for custom installations

The growth of wired and wireless technologies means that the industry faces a great deal of choice when it comes to smart homes and networking solutions. Electrical contractors can take advantage of their high specification features, flexibility and convenience to add value to projects and offer custom installations, as Andrew Pemberton explains.

With advances in technology, homes are now filled with gadgets that offer luxury, convenience and high specification features. Automation systems have become much more widely available and affordable. For many homeowners, life now evolves around the television with integrated solutions that network telephones, data and entertainment – all piped to every available outlet in the house.

Installing these types of systems has been made simpler and it is now an option for electrical contractors to offer homeowners custom solutions that suit their individual needs, based on the way they interact and relax within their home.

For all-in-one residential networking, the best place to start with a bespoke installation is the television. A central unit can connect the incoming telephone, TV and data cables with all signals continuously transmitted to all outlets throughout the house. Simply connect radios, TV sets, telephones, fax machines and computers, using the correct lead, and the homeowner has a future-proof system that will deliver real flexibility.  There are no trailing cables around the house and the homeowner can continue to access the services, even if the layout or the use of the room changes.


Taking the installation one step further, contractors can then specify the ultimate in home technology – the use of a multimedia interface that combines multiple outlets into a neat one-panel solution. Today’s products – such as a flatplate media interface – allow the latest gadgets to be played through TVs, projectors and audio systems, while providing a consistent look to switches and sockets for a neat finish.

The streamline solution groups together outlets that naturally compliment each other so that equipment, such as camcorders, DVD players, laptops and games consoles, plus satellite distribution, can run through a TV. The outlets are installed on a media plate providing an alternative to individual sockets, while preventing damage to expensive equipment.

The flexible device allows contractors to configure the outlets on the panel to suit the homeowner’s individual requirements. With technology constantly evolving, it also offers an adaptable solution through its ‘plug-and-play’ feature, meaning that individual units can be quickly replaced, effortlessly upgrading the panel to accommodate new technologies and ensuring that components will always work seamlessly together.

Add lighting control

With the home’s audio and visual applications networked, lighting control can then be used to add impact and sophistication. The homeowner benefits from a programmable, mood enhancing lighting system, which can be used to create the right ambience – whether they’re relaxing in the bath listening to music or spending a cosy night in watching films.

Wireless lighting is suitable for most installations and is controlled via a device that is either wall mounted or remote.  The system works by sending wireless signals from controllers to wired receiver units. These units, in-turn, control any light fittings they are connected to. The controllers are battery operated, communicating with the receivers via radio waves, therefore they can be placed virtually anywhere and moved elsewhere at any time. As well as offering convenience, security and comfort, intelligent lighting systems can help minimise energy usage. The most efficient lighting schemes are those that provide only the light needed, in the right place, at the time required, which is a simple reality with smart home technology.

The integration of smart technologies in the home is now an affordable possibility and with so much choice on the market, electrical contractors can recommend a solution for all homeowners. From home networking systems to wireless lighting, installers can offer customers a bespoke installation that will enhance the way they interact with their surroundings and provide consistent aesthetics with switches and sockets throughout the house.