March 3, 2024

Summer 2023 Home Automation Checklist

Summer is the best time to get outside and fire up the grill for family and friends, but it’s also the best time to get the latest in Home Automation available. Here are some of our best picks in home automation technology, whether it’s for your outdoor movie nights and pool parties, or those long warm summer days with the entire family at home.

Outdoor TV and lighting along with a surround system and warm heaters, what isn’t to love?

How Is Your Outdoor TV and Sound Setup?

It’s difficult to have a beautiful sunny weekend lunch get-together without a wonderful outdoor venue. Spruce up your patio area with an outdoor TV and some Sonance outdoor speakers. The Sonance Patio Series is a beautiful outdoor option that blends very discreetly into your outdoor garden and can bring complete surround sound to all of your guests enjoying their lemon water and Summery snacks. There are quite a few amazing outdoor TV options available that are fully waterproof and can utilize those outdoor Sonance speakers to their full potential. There are a growing number of outdoor TV options available, the largest of which currently running around 65". The Sunbrite Veranda TV is a great starter option for your outdoor TV. If you’re looking for the best available, the Samsung Terrace is a much more sophisticated option for those beautiful Atherton warm summer afternoons.

Outdoor speakers are a must for entertainment in the Summer

Have You Thought About A Video Doorbell or Smart Intercom System?

When you’re thinking of setting up those summer pool parties and events, you’ll need a sleek and sophisticated way to meet them at the front door. Smart Doorbells are in high demand, especially with all of those summer package deliveries in Hillsborough and Atherton neighborhoods. Thankfully many companies provide smart video doorbell options with easy installation. Since most doorbells are already wired, switching out to the smart options isn’t generally that difficult. Ring offers their Video Doorbell Pro option, which can come with multiple chimes that can be spread throughout your house (so you’ll never miss someone showing up even while vacuuming), and Nest offers their Hello video doorbell. Both have very similar functionality and can provide you with the safety of being able to two way talk with someone you’re not too sure about, until you get their intentions sorted away. The Ring Video Doorbell Pro has the best bang for its buck and provides the most up to date and useful features. Ring even features a Savant integration known as Ring X Savant, so make sure you make the most of your system and tie your entire home together. If you have a Savant system installed in your home, a 2N intercom is another great option for your front gate and your front door.

2N Intercoms allow for seamless smart home integration and video calls directly to your phone

Shop The Latest Remotes

It’s time to consolidate those remotes that you have sitting around your house. Thankfully you can easily combine all of your remotes into a single unit that has multiple functions. While brands such as Logitech offer universal remote abilities with their now discontinued Logitech Harmony Elite, we are a bit more partial to the URC remote lineup. URC offers quite a few models and base stations, so you’re always covered for whatever remote needs you may have.

For those of you with whole-home automation systems by Savant, the Savant Pro remote offers a very elegant whole home universal remote solution. Similar to the Logitech Harmony Elite in functionality, the remote comes with a touch screen interface along with the usual buttons to get you where you need to go when controlling every aspect of your smart home. Even better, the Savant remote links to Lutron smart shades such as the Sivoia QS roller shade line or Lutron Homeworks shades.

Time For a Bigger (and Better) TV?

Summer is the best time to upgrade your electronics with the kids being out of school and dinner parties or movie nights in full swing. The best way to start is to take a look around your home and consider where your current TV setups aren’t cutting it. With manufactures coming out with so many new competitive models, there is an upgrade option available for every setup in your home. Believe it or not, it’s now possible to get a somewhat affordable 100" TV and say goodbye to that frustrating projector setup in your Home Theater. If you’re not feeling quite as adventurous, you can still afford even an 85" TV for under $5,000. If style is the name of the game, there’s some lovely options available for your home. The Samsung picture frame ART TV is a great option that can double as a conversational art piece while not in use. The LG 77" OLED TV is another one of our favorites, coming in $3,500, and is well worth the premium price point.

Time to update your TV along with your family room experience

Keep Safe With the Best in Security Camera Technology

It’s never too early to invest in a great security system, complete with alarm and as many cameras as you need. Thankfully it seems as though every home automation company is diving into the security world. Ring has some great options that cover every type of setting, from indoor cameras to complex outdoor Ring Floodlight and Ring Spotlight cameras that can be both battery operated and wired to your home network. These come with apps that let you get motion detector alerts and see your home in real-time without any frustrating footage search methods. Even more so, you can view the footage on the Ring Cloud with a monthly subscription, making it easy to pull anything up on their app. You can get a bit more advanced with your camera system and install wired IC Realtime cameras with an associated NVR recorder to play back important footage. These cameras allow you to store and access much more data over a longer period of time than the Ring cameras.

Have You Upgraded Your Surround Sound System?

2022 has brought a surge in advances for surround sound systems from brands such as Sonos and Denon. There are quite a few new options that are both affordable and advanced for any room of your home. Sonos is one of our favorites, as you can wirelessly control all of your speakers. Sonos gives the ability to add speakers as you go, without any of the messy wiring associated with most surround sound systems. The Sonos Ray is the newest release for this year, which gives full Dolby Surround Sound abilities from a simple sound bar that can be mounted below your TV. If you’re feeling more adventurous though, you can install some Sonance in-ceiling VP66 speakers and tie them together with a Marantz SR7015 receiver, and a Denon AVR-3700H amplifier. No matter what solution you decide on, there are many options available for your home theater sound setup, or something smaller such as a family room TV and sound bar.

How Good Is Your Smart Hub?

The Smart Hub may not always seem like an important part of the smart home setup, but it is integral to the function of almost everything in your home. Since it usually can be programmed to voice activate nearly everything that has a Bluetooth connection in your home, the most advanced is always the best bet for your automation needs. Not only that, but smart hubs are now available everywhere these days. It’s very difficult to make the wrong choice when picking out your new smart hub. Whether you want to go simple with the Amazon Alexa, or get something different such as the Google Nest Mini — coming in at a low price while offering tons of home automation solutions. No matter which smart hub you get, you’ll get functionality across your entire home. There’s nothing more wonderful than using your Samsung SmartThings Hub to voice activate your TV, along with your Philips A19 smart light bulbs and much more. It’s best to do your research before purchasing one of these smart hubs as some of them offer functionality and some extra features that some of the others don’t. We’re a bit partial to the Amazon Alexa at Regent5, as it provides the best connections to the most devices across many platforms. Lighting, Wi-Fi, sound systems, TV control, and much more can be controlled solely from a voice activation on your Alexa.

What Else Are We Missing?

There’s quite a few options available when it comes to smart home upgrades in 2022. Smart shades are among one of the more popular items, along with beautiful Lutron Palladiom keypads that can accent your home. You can even now mount an iPad on your wall and control your home temperature and connect it to a smart home system such as Savant. When it comes to Savant integration, Ketra smart lighting is always a great idea to check out and implement to your smart home system for natural and beautiful lighting sources. Smaller gadgets and other additions to your home are available for those of you who don’t want to venture too far into the home automation world. Of course your mileage may vary depending on if you have a Los Altos Hills three story villa or just a cozy little cottage in Hillsborough or Atherton.