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Home automation made Easy

Nov 2017 Energy Efficiency, Heating, Lighting, Smart Homes | Comments Off on Home automation made Easy
Home automation made Easy

Consumer familiarity with, and demand for, flexible home automation systems is something electrical contractors should capitalise on, says Matt Price, building automation technical engineer at Hager

With smartphones and connected devices now commonplace among the population, consumers are both familiar and comfortable with the benefits technology can deliver to their daily lives.

Such familiarity has led to an upsurge in consumer interest in home automation solutions that are easy to understand and can be controlled without difficulty and conveniently.

Whether it’s operating lighting levels for set scenarios, energy saving monitoring, controlling of heat flow against pre-set temperatures or operating blinds to optimise lighting levels, customers now expect to have more control at the touch of button within their homes.

And, while home automation solutions have developed, they have also become more cost effective, so benefits are no longer just for multi-million pound properties, but are now within reach of average households.

Satisfying this groundswell of interest and desire for home automation falls to electrical contractors. However, if they are unwilling or feel ill-prepared to seize the market opportunity presented to them, then they could be left behind.

Contractor knowledge and confidence in dealing with such requests can often be limited, but market drivers strongly indicate that this consumer demand trend will not be reversed in the foreseeable future.

Hager has sought to assist the electrical contracting sector through the development and introduction of Hager’s Easy programming tool for home automation projects. And the company believes it is the answer that many electrical contractors working on residential and small commercial installations have been waiting for.

Straightforward programming

The Easy programming tool is, as the name suggests, entirely straightforward to use.

All contractors require to get started is an Easy configuration tool and a tablet or PC with the Easy application. Contractors can then create simple, yet effective, building automation control solutions in real time, because the tool is based on fast installation and the minimal time spent on programming.

Easy allows for expansion further down the line, and Easy installations can be extended using ‘Quicklink’ wireless solutions (also from Hager), or imported fully into the ETS software for more complex designs.

The TJA665 Easy configuration server is a key building block. It is connected to the KNX system and acts as an intelligent partner during the configuration process. It functions as the programming interface to the KNX installation, and configuration can be performed using the EasyLink app running on a tablet, PC or smartphone.

A significant benefit of the Easy programming tool is its ability to be used on different projects. When work is complete on site, it can be easily stored away and taken to for use on the next installation.

The Easy actuators are equipped with all the functions that residential homeowners need, including switching or dimming lights, controlling blinds or windows, creating light scenes, or adapting to wind and weather conditions and creating ‘comfort’ scenarios.

Take advantage of home automation

The growth in awareness of home automation technologies is presenting contractors with the potential to upsell and increase business. Installs of this sort can be financially rewarding, offering larger profit margins – even on a small number of projects per year.

For contractors who feel they would benefit from further training in the area of home automation solutions, Hager intends to run a series of courses during 2018 to help them fill in knowledge gaps, and arm them with the information required to provide a persuasive argument to interested consumers.

This follows Hager’s successful ‘Kick off with KNX’ event, a series of sessions and workshops to give guests the opportunity to find out more about home automation technology, the benefits to adding this to their business portfolio and getting hands-on experience with the technology.

Hager is also at the forefront of the future development of home automation technology by being part of the KNX Board. Our presence on this board means we can help work on the technology that customers will demand in the years to come and create a solution which is both beneficial to the installer and delivers beyond the requirements of the end user.

The huge growth Hager has witnessed in home automation solutions over the past 12 months is testimony to the traction the technology has gained with the population at large.

Consumers are attracted by the concept of buildings that ‘look after themselves’ through automated technology and electrical contractors can be the gateway to a new world of flexible and easy-to-use controls within the home. Such controls can deliver cost saving and lifestyle benefits.

With Hager’s uncomplicated Easy programming tool, contractors inexperienced in this field need no longer be wary of offering home automation solutions, and can help make the purchase of an intelligent building management system a worthwhile choice for property owners everywhere.

Photo: Patrick Bradley