There’s No Question That The Pandemic Has Changed Things, And Living As We Know It Will Never Be The Same. 

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People with home technology find that the constraints of staying home are easily more bearable with smart devices and apps. Homeowners are creating home offices so that they can work from home. Classrooms are being implemented into the house so that children can attend school at home. The smart home can deliver many features to make staying at home less monotonous.

One Of The Essential Features Of Home Technology Is Security. 

Video doorbells, smart locks, security cameras, motion sensors, alarms for smoke, carbon monoxide & intrusion, motorized shades/blinds, and automated gates and garage doors play an important role in keeping you and your family safe. 

Whole-House WiFi Keeps You Connected In And Around Your Home.

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As mentioned earlier, some homes now require a home office or classroom, and it essential that these rooms have access to WiFi to keep earning money and learning. However, those aren’t the only rooms that require WiFi. 

Much of home technology needs access to WiFi for entertainment, ordering groceries, controlling automation. For those expansive homes, WiFi expanders make it available everywhere on your property. You never have to worry about a dead signal spot. 

Stream videos in your home theater or have your fridge inventory and order groceries for you. Voice assistants like Alexa need access to the network. WiFi is becoming more of a necessity in any home, even the simplest of homes. It also keeps us connected socially.

Home Theaters And Media Rooms Entertain And Keep Us Informed. 

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There’s nothing like family time at the end of the day, and a home media room is just the ticket for some relaxation. A home theater gives an actual theater experience, and many homes deck theirs out to be state of the art theaters. Both are great for streaming movies, playing video games, and the occasional family zoom meeting with loved ones near and far. 

Have a presentation to give for clients? Do it right from home, interactively standing in front of the large screen. If you’re a teacher and you want to interact with the whole class, tile all of those young, eager faces upon your big screen. Host family karaoke night at home and stream it with family and friends. Just because we’re staying at home doesn’t mean that we can’t have fun. 

Home Automation Takes The Work Out Of Chores And Gives You More Free Time. 

Take the hard work out of everyday living and let home technology manage the home while freeing up your time. There are many products on the market that help us do this. Automated irrigation systems such as Rachio help us keep our lawns and foliage looking great by automating the sprinkler system. 

Irrigation systems can monitor the moisture in the ground and even regulate moisture for specific plant types. They conserve water by not watering when it isn’t needed and watering more when natural moisture is not enough. 

Monitor and regulate energy, shutting off those high power items like water heaters and unneeded heat and AC. Get realtime energy usage information on your phone or smart device. Smart thermostats such as ecobee are essential for regulating the home climate, adjusting temperatures by preprogramming to your comfortability needs. 

Don’t worry about the expense of hiring a caretaker for your pool and spa; with Jandy, you can automate cleaning and heating the pool or hot tub. Automatically test the water and add the correct amount of treatment to keep your pool or spa ready for use anytime. 

Smart appliances, laundry becomes somewhat automated; the fridge can keep tabs on what it needs to order and add to your grocery list on its built-in screen. It can even automatically order from many of your favorite places to shop, such as Amazon, Walmart, and Target

The Important Things To Remember Are That Your Home Is Your Refuge, And That Couldn’t Be More True, Now More Than Ever.

Smart home technology is even more helpful during times like these because many issues are solved remotely. No need for a technician to show up at your door. Professional services take extra precautions to ensure that you and your family are safe, limiting the time they need to spend in your home and other measures, including distancing and rescheduling for later. 

Still, having a home with technological advantages has made isolating at home easier, providing security, entertainment, and comfort. Please write to us and let us know if you have ideas to share about using home technology during our current situation. 

Dealing with Austin Service Providers for internet, phone, and television can be a real pain. It’s hard to know what company will serve your needs best while providing a fair cost. This article is intended to distill all of the moving parts associated with TV and network service providers and give you a straightforward guide of who does what best.

The three basic elements of network service are internet, phone, and television. Each service provider has strengths and weaknesses in each category. We’ll break it down by provider later.

Depending on where you live, you may not have many options in choosing your provider. Before you get too deep into your research, check what’s available in your area.  

What do you do when the area you live in doesn’t even have internet service providers? You call Smarter Homes, that’s what.

Which Provider Won’t Raise My Rate?

None. Whether it’s Spectrum, AT&T, Google Fiber, or Grande, every company operates on 12-month introductory rates that increase after your first year. That rate increase is unavoidable. 

Rather than trying to juggle providers year in and year out to avoid rate increases, we suggest you pinpoint which provider will fit your needs service-by-service and accept the inevitable truth that your rate will increase after year one, no matter what. 

Own Your Own Equipment – Modems And Routers

Ubiquiti UniFi Managed Network setup by Smarter Homes of Austin
Ubiquiti UniFi Managed Network setup by Smarter Homes of Austin

The default of any service provider is to lease you low-quality equipment (a router and modem) and include a leasing fee in your monthly bill (sometimes hidden and fixed). However, there are Many Benefits to Not Leasing Your Equipment. If the modem is yours, you can get a standard modem that’s not one of these clunky all-in-ones. The modems themselves just take that incoming IP address and pass it along to a router that you also own, managing the network within your house yourself. 

Your router’s going be what determines the number of devices that can connect and how far WiFi travels. Purchasing your own, quality router ensures wifi will go further than with the very low-quality router-modem combo that would be provided. 

We’ll be frank – managed networks, or those where you provide your own equipment, are not a cheap solution. They are, however, more reliable, they save you money on leasing fees in the long run, and keep your devices more secure. They also allow you the capability to extend your WiFi throughout your estate. You pay more upfront because you’ll need an integrator or IT guy to install the equipment. They will then act as your technology monitor, detecting, troubleshooting and solving problems with your network as they arrive.

We always recommend a Ubiquiti managed network. We find the equipment extremely reliable and it works especially well with Grande, Spectrum and Google Fiber.

How Much Data (MBPS)  Does My House Need?

Many people wonder if raising their package to 1,000 mbps is the way to improve their connection speeds. The truth is, it’s usually overkill and unnecessary. Your data is pretty dependent on your infrastructure and whether or not your network is managed. With a strong system set up, that has a high-quality router, allowing numerous device connections and WiFi reaching your whole home, you won’t really notice the difference between say 400Mbps and 1000Mbps.

To find a realistic number for your family, start by making a list of activities by person in the home. What does your family use your data for? How many gamers live in the house? What gaming platforms are they using? Is it a lower bandwidth data platform like a Nintendo Switch, or is it a high demand gaming system like Xbox or PlayStation 4. Once you have all the numbers in order, use that information in a minimum recommendation quiz to calculate. Just keep in mind that anything over a 100 megabits per second speed is an almost unnoticeable difference. 

We found this article pretty helpful when it comes to breaking down the actual language of internet speeds and measurements. 

TV And Internet Provider Break Downs

TV Channel count and Internet pricing infographic for Austin TV service providers.
TV Channel count and Internet pricing infographic for Austin TV service providers.

(Click on Provider for Details and Breakdown)AT&T – Neighborhood Exclusivity, Data Throttling, and Good TVSpectrum – Flexible Equipment, No Data Throttling, Horrible TVGoogle Fiber – Game-Changing Speeds, Great Connections, Great HardwareGrande Communications – Boutique Offerings, Mesh Compatibility, App Linking Smart TV
IS GOOGLE FIBER AVAILABLE IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD?
IS SPECTRUM AVAILABLE IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD?
IS GRANDE AVAILABLE IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD?
IS AT&T UVERSE AVAILABLE IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD?

When your company does whole estate, floor to ceiling technology wiring, integration and automation, you simply can’t do it alone. Here at Smarter Homes, we partner with local leaders in innovation, style, and service. They provide the products, we automate them. Check out a few of our exciting partnerships below!

Scout Lighting ATX

Scout Lighting has next level designs. From indoor to out, their ceiling and wall fixtures are utterly breathtaking. Not only is this company local and female founded, they literally have thousands of choices to bring a little light to your life. Book a consultation with Scout and then let Smarter Homes automate every conversation piece you chose.

Granite Security

Yet another stellar, female owned local business we partner with is Granite Security. Granite has been proving superior service to their clients through home security systems, security cameras, fire alarms, and TV, phone, & data since they opened their doors. Enjoy their products with even more ease once we get you set up with personal device security monitoring and remote security system control.

DECO Window Fashions

DECO is our go-to recommendation for custom drapes, blinds, shutters, shades, and motorized window treatments. Their staff is extremely helpful and will custom fit any window for the product you need. Not to mention, their products are perfect for motorizations and automations.

You’ve seen the Smart Home TV programs and advertisements. You may have even visited your neighbor’s and had conversations about the new and improved technology in their smart home. We’re here to tell you that just because your home was built before the smart home revolution, doesn’t mean it can’t host all the latest and greatest in integration and automation. We have the solution for the upgrade of your dreams. We call it a retrofit.

At Smarter Homes of Austin, we have the capability to take older homes and transform them into smarter homes. With our retrofit, you can have all the features of a smart home – from invisible wiring to wifi – connected to a central brain that controls everything.

What are the Benefits of Having a Smart Home?

In your retrofitted smart home, you’ll be able to enjoy the experience of an exceptional home theater and zoned speakers throughout the home. You’ll control lighting from a smart device such as a smartphone or tablet. The possibilities for effortless dominion over your property extend to air conditioning/heating, home security, yard irrigation, pool and patio controls, automated shades, and more. The best part is that you have options when it comes to control: touch, voice-command, or remote.

How Can Smart Home Wiring Enhance My Home

To enhance your experience, add features such as hidden speakers, video doorbells, hot tubs, automatic garage doors, and much, much more. If you want something automated in your home, we’ll make it happen. After your retrofit is complete, we ensure that your installation is not only fully operational, but that you have all the information you need to use it properly. As far as the mess goes, it’ll be like we were never there.

Don’t forget about our maintenance plans. Sometimes things happen and we’re here to help. Avoid higher service rates by participating in a plan that best fits you in the long term.

For more information about refitting your home with smart features follow this link to our retrofit webpage.

To schedule your retrofit, please call (512) 775-6101 .

#smart home #retrofit #Smarter Homes Austin #Austin Texas

Meet Sarah Yoakley Smarter Homes of Austin Customer Relations and Marketing.

It is with great pleasure that we welcome a new member to our marketing team here at Smarter Homes of Austin. We are very excited to have Sarah Yoakley on board. She’s a marketing professional and will serve as our managing field agent, specializing in presenting our business and core values to interior design and real estate firms.

Sarah has already proven her valuable experience and come to the table prepared with a skill set unlike others her age. She has become an integral part of our marketing team whose expertise and knowledge are guaranteed to give a boast to our growth as a company. We were very impressed with her and look forward to many years of her working with us. Our directing marketing manager praises Sarah and says that she brings fresh new experience to the marketing team – from her more recent training in marketing to her knowledge of the latest marketing trends. She is a huge asset to Smarter Homes of Austin.

Sarah’s primary role will be to contact and meet interior designers and real estate firms to bring them up to date with what low voltage wiring and smart home technology trends are available to the home improvement and buying industry.

If you would like to reach out to Sarah to talk more about Smarter Homes capabilities and services, email her at sarah@smarterhomesaustin.com.


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Sarah Yoakley | Customer Relations & Marketing

Sarah has been working in customer service and content creation concurrently for nearly a decade. She holds two degrees from one of the top communication schools in the country, The University of Texas.

#SarahYoakley, #SmarterHomesOfAustin, #SmartHomesAustinTexas

When you’re in the home technology industry, so much of your business is dependent on partnerships: with builders and contractors, security specialists, equipment vendors, and more. However, few have the personal experience of working closely with the client and discussing their goals and dreams for the space.

Interior Designers have an extremely unique relationship with the customer. Whether it’s a business or home, designers get involved very early in the process and talk one-on-one with owners about how they want their property to look and feel. That’s a role that requires trust, insight, and creativity.

Those qualities are what we respect so much in designers and they’re precisely why we see them as an incredible resource for professional partnership.

For the interior designers of Austin looking for a one-stop shop, turn key Smart Home integration company for your clients, Smarter Homes is the business for you. And for every sales referral you bring our way, we’ll return 1% of that price tag back to you.

So keep us in mind when you have a client looking for convenience, top-of-the-line technology, and wonderful customer service from top to bottom. We’ll be sure to keep you in mind for design and reward your referral.

To form a partnership today, contact our Customer Relations Specialist and Interior Design Networker, Sarah Yoakley, at Sarah@smarterhomesaustin.com

512-775-6101

https://smarterhomesaustin.com/

What do you do when your smart home, all of the sudden, isn’t as smart as it could be? The first thing you do is call us for help right? You can contact us 24/7/365 for any issue that your having with your smart system. Many times issues are simple to solve, such as powering down or unplugging a device, but that doesn’t always solve the problem. Get this, you can call us for help even if we didn’t install your smart home system. We’re the smart home installers that get it right every time.


Smarter Homes of Austin’s Andrew Mason

Smarter Homes of Austin’s Andrew Mason

How do we get it right every time you ask? Let’s introduce you to our professional that makes our helpdesk, maintenance, and repair top notch. Enter, Andrew Mason our Maintenance Manager. Andrew hails from Australia and has been with us here at Smarter Homes for five years. He has a super advanced knowledge of AV, low voltage wiring, and computing systems. He is an essential part of our staff and has helped shape our response and repair efforts to what they are today.

Now, here’s how you are going to save money on costly repairs and services. Participate in one of the two low cost maintenance plans for special money saving terms and conditions.


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Our maintenance plans are designed to give us fast information if something goes awry, and often the issue is discovered and resolved before our clients realize there was a hiccup. We’re notified right away if something isn’t right and we get right on it. A maintenance plan gives you some peace of mind and without it, you could be paying several times the amount for upkeep services and repairs.

For more information please call us at (512) 775-6101 and let’s see what we can do for you.

#HelpDeskAndRepair, #AndrewMason, #SmarterHomesAustin


Budgeting Isn’t Just Planning What You Intend to Spend on a Project, It’s Also an Inventory of Everything That You’ll Need to Complete Your Plan.

At Smarter Homes of Austin, we’ve created a budgeting and pricing tool to help you develop a better plan for your smart home.

Our new budget planning system will do more than estimate your smart home project. It’s simple to use. First, choose the components you’d like installed. Then, send us a diagram of your home and we’ll map the best solution for your installation. It’s that easy. We’ll meet with you at your home to complete a thorough walk-through and submit our quote.

Budget Calculator

When embarking on a new home build or remodel project, the fuzziest budget item for most homeowners is typically for the home’s technology systems. The Home Technology Association has created the first and only Home Technology Budget Calculator that will give you a high-level overview of what you should budget for the following technology systems:

Create your Budget

Budget Tips

The budgeting tool will by necessity give a fairly wide range of installation budgets due to the many different product offerings available and differing labor costs throughout the country. Use this as a starting point for discussions with HTA Certified dealers in your area. Also, use this tool as a check-and-balance when reviewing proposals from technology integrators you are considering.
Click here when you are ready to start your budget plan now.

If you want to see the smart home features in action, we offer a one time free tour of our smart home model. Call 512-775-6101 to arrange your tour.

#BudgetingSmartHome, #PlanningSmartHome, #SmarterHomesOfAustin,


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Word of Mouth

Can you think of the last time you saw something and you just had to tell your friends about it? Do you remember having a great experience at a restaurant and later on tweeting about it? These could be products of word of mouth marketing (WOMM). It is an organic way of spreading information. It uses components of viral marketing. Unlike viral marketing, it spreads through more natural channels.

The majority of our best projects come from word of mouth or on-site referrals. When you do good work, it shows, and at Smarter Homes of Austin, we do our best to live up to that standard every day. It is no wonder Austin area builder’s touch base with our scheduling department every day.

For you, the contractors, we realize how important it is for you to deliver an outstanding built home with the most modern features available.

We have the same philosophy about serving home-buyers and owners looking for that extra special touch. As a construction boss or site manager, partnerships with trusted subcontractors and integrators are imperative to satisfying every customer. Let us help you make that process even easier. Send the project plans that you have to Colter, our design specialist, and he’ll work with you as a step by step guide for upgrading your build into a smart home build.

So, do you really know what word-of-mouth marketing is?

Word of mouth marketing or (WOMM) is an action taken by a company that ends up motivating people to talk about their products, services, or brand spontaneously. It’s also an action taken by the mouth (or person) that recommends your product, since he or she is putting their credibility on the line.

Meaning, it’s a free form of advertisement or promotion (just one reason it’s so stinkin’ important and why we love it!). It’s shared by customers. And it can be triggered by an event the customer experiences. This event is something beyond what’s expected (can be bad publicity too), this is why improving customer service and relationship marketing is so important.

Word of mouth is a free form of advertisement or promotion (just one reason it’s so stinkin’ important and why we love it). It’s shared by customers.  As mentioned by Entrepreneur, It’s triggered by an event the customer experiences. This event is something beyond what’s expected (can be bad publicity too).

If you want all the dirt on WOM marketing, you need to check out WOMMA.com. They have a ton of information on the topic and some pretty interesting word of mouth promotion techniques to learn all about. After seeing it for yourself, you may be quite impressed by the effectiveness of wom marketing. If you’re not, here are some word of mouth statistics to help convince you.


Colter Mackenzie

Colter Mackenzie

Colter Mackenzie in our design center: 512-949-9299 (cell)

colter@smarterhomesaustin.com

People do business with companies everyday without meeting the owners.

Sometimes you may never meet the owner of a company that you buy from. The same can’t be said about Smarter Homes of Austin. Before I go into detail let me expand on what I think seeing an owner at a business does for me, and what it should do for you.

First of all, one of the most important reasons that an owner has a business is to make money and provide employment for workers, right? So it’s easy to conceive that owners that are on site are really into their customers needs and making sure that they are fully satisfied. A customer pretty much sees that when an owner is on site things happen and they get the sense that their particular job is being well taken care of by the top knowledge base of the company. That’s a sense of comfort when you spending money on high end home improvements.

Next, owners that show up on site and give a hand to workers are highly respected by their staff, building a camaraderie between employer and employee. Owners have the most knowledge about the goods and services that they produce by their company, therefore company employees are more apt ask for help or advices if needed. The owner can also see if things are being carried out the way they’ve designed them to operate and make necessary corrections or give instructions on a better way to perform tasks or present products.

Over the years, there are a few things that I have learned about company owners. The thing that keeps coming to mind is that owners aren’t in the businesses to solely make a profit. Their are other factors of why someone goes into business. To many owners, things like adding jobs to the workforce, interacting with people, and having something to do are just as important. However, not every owner thinks like that. Smarter Homes of Austin is one of the fortunate companies that has an owner that sees everything about what their company does as important. Enter Peter Sandford.

D. Harrison


Peter Sandford - Owner and Founder of Smarter Homes of Austin

Peter Sandford – Owner and Founder of Smarter Homes of Austin

Peter Sandford is the owner and founder of Smarter Homes of Austin and he goes beyond everything good we talked about regarding owners. Peter is all about having more time for family, more income for family, and sharing those same values with customers and the staff that work for him. He is often heard saying, “If Smarter Homes does well, we all do well,” meaning customers and staff. Peter also realizes that not only is Smarter Homes of Austin an investment to support his family, but it is his way of bolstering the local economy and building the community that he lives in. He sees value in an area and promotes the nirvanah of good healthy living.

To read more about Peter, owner of Smarter Homes of Austin go to the about us page and read about our owner

While you’re on the website, take a look at what the Smarter Home that Peter has built, has to offer. What business owner publicizes their personal phone number? Peter does because he wants to answer any questions that you may have about automating your home. You can also schedule tour of the Smarter Homes of Austin-model home with your tour guide/owner Peter Sandford.

Call Pete & Schedule A Smart Home Demo!
(512) 785-0032

 

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Austin’s Certified Luxury Home Automation, Home Theater, Audio Video & Wi-Fi Experts

CREATE YOUR SMART HOME BUDGET

*The calculated home technology budget range you will receive will includes parts, labor & accessories (Tax not included)
(a round number is OK)
Numerous structures on the property: Dock, Casita, Guest House, Barn, Gate etc. Check all that apply.
Prewire installation calculations assume you would like your home fully wired for ALL home automation technologies shown throughout the budget calculator, including 'future-ready' wiring. Prewire pricing can vary substantially based on what features you would like in your home. The wiring budget is for low-voltage wiring, not for electrical.
Prewire pricing will vary based on exactly what features you would like in your home. Read this article about the importance of wiring/cabling in today's "wireless" world. Your local Smarter Homes integrator is the best resource for exact prewire pricing. Wiring budget is for low-voltage wiring only, not electrical.
Keep in mind that our modern lifestyle and our home's automation technology systems are extremely reliant on a quality network and Wi-Fi system. Most homes are moving towards enterprise-grade hardware and away from the types of network products you could buy in an office supply store or a consumer computer store. We recommend that all homeowners consider the network and Wi-Fi system to be the most important system and installation within the home.
Higher-quality sound or higher-grade architectural finished speakers can range from $5,000.00 to $10,000.00 PER ROOM
Basic background music system pricing ranges from $1,500.00 to $5,000.00 per room including all equipment, labor, and programming.
Range includes video sources such as AppleTV, a Blu-ray player, satellite receiver, and remotely-locating them for best aesthetics. A basic soundbar is included for better audio.
This is called “video distribution” and reduces the amount of audio/video equipment located at each TV location/room.
A surround sound system creates an immersive sound experience, much like a dedicated home theater room, though in a dual-purpose room such as a Family Room, Master Bedroom, etc. If you would like more than one surround system location, click on the "Add Another Surround System" button below
Typically, homeowners want to see the following areas: front of house, front door, driveway / gate, sides of house, and pool. If you are more concerned about security, you may want to add cameras for the perimeter of your property. Good-quality cameras see about 75 feet of distance on average. The high range of the budget estimate includes higher resolution cameras, better night vision, and longer surveillance recording time.
The installation of a lighting control system reduces wall clutter, allows preset lighting scenes at the push of a button, increases security through programming automation, and adds convenience.
Motorized shades add beauty, convenience, address privacy concerns, and can be used to save energy. If desired, provide your best guess on how many windows/shades you want to motorize. The higher-end of the budget range includes higher-end fabrics, large windows, and dual-roller shades (both sheer and privacy shades on one window).
For example, a house music app, an app to operate your TV, an app for lighting automation, an app for locks, an app for cameras, an app to open close garage doors & gates, etc. Or do you want to control the entire house through a single unified app that controls all the automation systems within the home?
Make your home feel larger by balancing the light between indoor and outdoor areas.
Smarter Homes Austin
Austin’s Certified Luxury Home Automation, Home Theater, Audio Video & Wi-Fi Experts

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