Available through Integrated Media Systems, the Savant Pro App works with the August Smart Lock system.

On the Horizon

The latest intelligence from four smart-home technology pros

Tom Wells, Integrated Media Systems
What’s the future of voice control and which systems are most secure? 
When it comes to home automation, voice control has been a bit of a mixed blessing. While we are eager to offer simplified control to our clients, we are very cognizant of the fact that Cloud-based solutions that monitor household conversations 24/7 are a serious privacy threat. Savant’s new Pro Remote X2 is a great solution for voice control as it is totally offline until you press a specific button on the remote. We have our eyes on a solution coming later this year that will replace Cloud service with an option that is 100-percent secure.

Name a new smart-home innovation that you think is a game-changer.
One of my personal favorites has been the August Smart Lock system. Unlike other products that require you to install a large and sometimes unattractive electronic lock on your beautiful front door, the August deadbolt is specially designed to allow you to retain existing hardware and install a new actuator knob on the inside of your door. The deadbolt is battery-powered and connects to your phone and home-control system.

Stacey McKinney, Electronic Home Environments
How can a lighting-control system improve health, sleep and well-being? 
Lighting technology can help you and your family live a healthier and more natural lifestyle at home. Our bodies and minds respond to light. Bright daylight, known as cool light, makes us more alert and productive. Night-time light, referred to as warm light—like the colors of a setting sun—tends to relax us. Adjusting your lighting throughout the day can lift your energy level during the afternoon and help you relax in the evening for a better night’s sleep.

Now that families are working, playing and streaming at home,
how can they maximize connectivity?
With all family members at home using the Internet for work, school and entertainment, it may be time to consider bumping up your data package with your ISP. If you already have a generous bandwidth subscription and are still encountering stuttering and buffering issues on your network, you might think about upgrading the physical network infrastructure in your home on both the wired and wireless sides. With more sophisticated network hardware, you can prioritize who gets the shared bandwidth coming into the home.

Christian A. Vives, A.B.E. Networks
How does 8K TV compare to 4K and is the upgrade worth it?
The most distinctive difference between the two can be seen on displays 65 inches and larger. Upgrading now may be a bit premature as 8K content is still not widely produced—though the picture quality will be stunning regardless of content. 8K TVs are still in the early-adoption phase; the price point for these TVs ranges from three to six times their 4K counterparts. As with all technology, there will be a pricing slope that will see 8K TVs closer to the current mean cost some time in the next three years.

How should consumers evaluate outdoor televisions?
The most important consideration is the location where the TV will be installed: in shade, direct sunlight or fully exposed to the weather. Most manufacturers have different lines geared towards each. Anti-glare and IP ratings are also important; the higher the IP rating, the less vulnerable a TV is to the elements. Outdoor TVs designed to be completely exposed also include features like heating and cooling, as well as humidity control. Finally, supplemental audio is often necessary as most outdoor TVs are lacking in that category.

Andrew Davis, Gramophone
What factors help consumers select the right outdoor speakers?
We suggest looking at the space and its intended use. We often start with a simple question: How do you want your sound to look? Is there a landscape where we can conceal speakers, or would you prefer something mounted on a structure or building? Speakers come in many forms including surface-mounted, installed in planters, or ground-based on stakes. Some look like stones or are designed
to be buried.

How will next-generation Wi-Fi 6 improve our lives?

Wi-Fi 6 was designed to resolve issues that arise when too many people or devices connect to a network, causing speeds to drop and the network to become sluggish or kick off users. Wi-Fi 6 will enable new cell phones and devices to communicate rapidly at fast speeds on capable networks. But to enjoy this technology, you need a properly designed and engineered networking platform. The network solutions we are rolling out today are ready to go with Wi-Fi 6.