How To Pull Off Ultimate Virtual Holidays

Use Home Technology To Keep Extended Family And Friends Safe.

Many U. S. states are experiencing a second or third wave of the pandemic. Families are foregoing their traditional holiday celebrations this year; however, you don’t have to do that. It’s easy to put together a virtual holiday and enjoy the company of others without risking anyone’s’ health. So go ahead and plan your feast, decorate, and use your virtual assistant to do your holiday shopping this year. Here’s a plan that is sure to work. 


Let’s start putting things together by planning the best way to celebrate virtually. It helps to have a virtual assistant such as Alexa, Siri, or Google. You’ll want to keep your family safe, so limiting shopping trips is essential. Order your fixings, decorations, gifts, and anything else you need through your virtual assistant, but do it earlier than usual. According to NBC News holiday shopping predictions, shopping trends have changed, and this holiday season will be the busiest on record.


 The virtual assistant makes online shopping easier without the risk of going into crowded stores. HEB stores in Texas offer an online app that you can use with your smart device or virtual assistant to shop for groceries. To make things more convenient, curbside pickup and delivery options are available after you’ve placed your online order. Get this, when ordering, they allot a certain amount of time that you can add to your order just in case you forget something. Walmart and Aldi’s offers similar if not the same services. 

Almost every store has options to order online, and of course, Amazon is going to make gifting more accessible than ever. Many believe that this will become the norm for the future, and last year, even before covid, U.S. online holiday sales surpassed in-store purchases for the first time in history. No doubt with the latest surge of Covid-19 will have an extreme effect on holiday online shopping this year. 

How Using Home Audio And Video Can Create A Festive Holiday. 


A huge part of holiday celebrations can include music and various other types of entertainment. Home technology has become a vital part of this culture, with homes implementing whole-home audio, media rooms, home theaters, virtual assistants, and many other entertainment types. 

Virtual assistants and whole-home audio play a massive role in creating the sounds you want for your holiday celebration. Alexa, Google, Siri, and other virtual assistants can help you pick and choose music requests from across the different genres and from many libraries. Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza, and secular can be added to a playlist so that anyone can hear their favorites in a variety of situations. 

Include zoned music to your home automation to play audio for the whole house or home sections such as the living room or patio. Having holiday music in the background with voice-controlled audio adds to the occasion of opening gifts, tree lightings, and even in-home caroling to stream out to family and friends. 

Music seems to come out of nowhere with recessed or hidden speakers and flood your home with the holiday spirit and cheer. Virtual assistants can play your music as well as high-end home automation speakers from companies like Sonos. In warmer climates, you may want to celebrate outside in your yard or on the patio. There are external options for audio there too.

There Is Safety In Streaming.

For most, the holidays are a time for family gatherings; however, the pandemic has put a damper on extended family visits, or has it? Programs and applications like Zoom, Google Meet, and Facebook’s Face Time/Live fill the gap left by people staying put protecting the extended family. The Amazon Echo Show is just one example of smart devices with a camera and lets families see and hear each other while celebrating. 

Set up a live stream from a computer, iPhone, or other smart devices to project to the large screen to get the sense of your loved ones being with you. They can do the same on their end. Set a place for your device at the feast table so everyone can enjoy the meal together. It’s the next best thing to them being there, and everyone is safe from travel risks. 

Share a holiday movie using the Disney + group sharing option. Many other programs enable screen sharing for other movie options. Movie sharing works excellent in an in-home movie theater setting. Grandma and Grandpa, along with other relatives, can join in board games by positioning a streaming device to where they can see the board on their end. All that’s needed is for someone to spin the wheel or throw the die to take their turn. There are tons of online games that allow group set-ups for family groups to play games like UNO and Monopoly together. 

Families can also stream live plays and music for each other. Streaming karaoke fun that everyone can join in live and abroad will be very popular this year. Having a simple get together so everyone can chat or one-on-one conversations also help fill a void from family and friends not being able to visit in person. All possible through home networks and whole-house WiFi. 

Lighting Adds Emphasis To Any Holiday Or Festive Celebration.

Low voltage lighting adds a whole new concept to decorating for a holiday or any celebration. LED lighting and automation bring a unique experience to the effects and ambiance of a home. The latest lighting technology is innovative, to say the least, featuring options to set lighting colors and levels from a simple push of a button or voice command. 

Home automation allows you to program lights to display when and how you want them to. These days, more homes create extravagant exterior holiday displays, choreographed to music, with some tied into the home automation system. The once-popular holiday activity of taking the family for a ride around town to see houses decorated with lights could see a revival this year because of the pandemic, which will hinder or cancel many holiday group events. 

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To show your holiday spirit from a distance, decorate a window or your entire home inside and out. You will find that many automated lighting systems are controlled by an iPhone or smart device, providing easy operation. Leave the wreath on the door lit but turn off or program the other exterior lights to shut off at a predetermined time. Special holiday lighting, especially during a pandemic, creates an uplifting spirit for everyone and is a great way to enjoy the holidays yourself.

Use Security To Ensure That Your Holiday Celebration Is Safe. 

Part of the virtual holiday set-up must include security. Alarms systems to protect the home from fire, carbon monoxide, robbery, or weather-related hazards are essential. The crisis that has developed from the pandemic creates multiple opportunities for bad things to happen. 

Integrating security features like smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, motion sensors, automated locks for doors and windows, security cameras, video doorbells, automatic gate/garage door openers, and security cameras are critical to keeping your holiday safe and fun. Home automation systems accommodate all of these security features and make them operable from your smart device or phone. 

The video doorbell is a very nice feature to have during the pandemic. You can see people outside of your home and communicate with them to inform them if you’re receiving guests, without them knowing whether you’re at home or not. You can also give special instructions to delivery drivers or ward off those would-be package thieves from anywhere you have an internet connection. Record from your device or set your video doorbell to record every incident. A complete home security system puts any homeowner’s mind at ease, especially during the holidays. 

2020 will go down in history books as a year that changed the world and show that we survived it largely in part from the technology we used in our homes. Companies like Smarter Homes of Austin ensure that our families continue to thrive by adding innovative, cutting edge technology to weather, even a pandemic. 

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*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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