The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things

If you’ve read about home automation at all, you’ve probably heard the term, “Internet of Things”. In fact, this phrase is becoming more and more widely used when discussing anything internet-related.

It’s truly mind-boggling to consider where the internet began. The progression of computers and communication was a slow one, beginning in the late 50’s. However, the development that prompts this conversation today occurred in 1991. A computer scientist named Tim Berners-Lee changed the face of computers, the internet, and all things involved when he introduced the World Wide Web. Before this, the internet was just a way to send a file from one computer to the next. The World Wide Web turned it into a widely accessible platform full of information from whoever added to it. Almost thirty years later, this remains as the basis of the internet. Additionally, various tools have been put in place to increase ease of use such as scrollbars, clickable links, search engines, etc. Now, today, it seems there isn’t anything the internet can’t do. Again, when you consider where this all started, the progress we’ve made is truly incredible.

The goal of the world wide web up until this point, to put it simply, has been to connect people in as many ways possible. Social networking sites, location services, and many other tools continue to revolutionize the level of communication we are constantly in with the rest of the world. The internet of things is the idea that now, instead of connecting people, we’re connecting…you guessed it, things. We are exploring and implementing ways to connect everything you can imagine to the internet. Most of it is being done through phone apps, as that is the way we are used to connecting at this point. So when you hear, “the internet of things” it is essentially the connection between you, your phone, and your possessions.

Can you think of anything that you would like to be able to control from your phone and/or computer? What is your most prized possession? Chances are it’s something of high dollar value, and it probably lives for the most part, in your home. One of the biggest benefits of home automation is the added security. Alarm systems, cameras, and the ability to control locks, doors, and lights from your phone are just a few examples of how home automation makes your home safer. So in the conversation surrounding the internet of things, home automation is not only an extension of that but also a way to protect everything within it.

The internet of things is expanding every day, from things as simple as kitchen appliances all the way up to your car, any device connected to the internet can be controlled from a remote location. The idea is to streamline as many of these items with one remote controlling them all, therefore simplifying multiple processes. These developments are affecting almost every industry, with predictions to get up to twenty-four billion devices within the internet of things by 2020.

Now, the question is, what items can you bring into the internet of things?

Home Automation – An Investment Worth Protecting

Home Automation – An Investment Worth Protecting

Technology’s role in the average individual’s life is increasing every day. When you stop and think how much of our daily routine depends on our computers, phones, or the internet, it can be overwhelming. From a convenience standpoint, however, this streamlining is incredible. Ease of use, access, and storage makes for quicker processes on almost every front.

Home automation is a front that is on the rise. Some homeowners start small with automated shades or thermostats, others hand over all manual processes in their home to a company like ours. It is a luxury that one quickly grows accustomed to and it is becoming the norm. With all this power shifting into the hands of our technology systems, the question arises: What can we do to protect it?

Perhaps you haven’t considered the possible threats to your in-home technology. Chances are you’ve already experienced multiple surges in your home – and not just during a lightning storm. In fact, the majority of surges are caused by the homeowner themselves, and might even go unnoticed over the years. Slowly, these surges chip away at the electronic’s lifespan and performance.

To put it into simple terms, a whole-house surge protection device will serve as a kind of security system for your electricity use. It ensures that any electricity your home doesn’t need won’t be allowed in. In addition to this, it will protect the devices in your home from any surges happening internally.

Before upgrading the technology in your home, consider how you plan to protect it. Think of a whole-house SPD as insurance for your home automation needs. At Symbio, we realize that this is a valuable investment and we want to make sure you get the most out of it. Let our team help you decide how to best upgrade your home’s technology and automation…call us at 713-780-4601.

Lights On, Lights Off

Lights On, Lights Off

By now, you know that home automation is all the rage. More and more homes are realizing the potential and implementing it wherever they can. Pretty soon, it will be rarer to walk into a non-automatic home than a smart home. In the meantime, let’s explore what home automation can simplify for you.

One of the first functions built into home-automation was lighting. It’s no surprise that this feature is appealing to the public. In fact, this idea of “automatic lighting” originated over 20 years ago with the “Clapper”. You might remember the ads…the clapper plugged into your existing outlet and in turn could power up to two devices that were then controlled by sound, ie. a clap.

In today’s society, we crave convenience. We’re doing away with mindless tasks to make room for the big ideas. The idea of home automation is simply that…why would I spend my time flipping the same switch at the same time every day if technology could do it for me?

Now that our lights are automatic, we’re realizing even more potential benefits built into the existing system. If my lights are controlled by a computer, what else can it serve as a signal for? Some homeowners are utilizing multi-colored and even blinking lights for different alerts like email, weather updates, etc. What could automatic lighting simplify in your lifestyle?

Why You Should Automate Your Home

Why You Should Automate Your Home

Smart devices have been invading homes for quite a few years now, slowly trickling into home appliances. If you were to count up the devices in your home, you might not have realized how many smart devices you really have!

If you’re looking into home automation, it may seem excessive to have light bulbs that you can control from your phone, or to have a voice-controlled audio system. However, think about how dependent we all are on our smartphones nowadays. It’s hard to picture a time where we didn’t rely on our cell phones to get directions or order items online. According to the Pew Research Center 2016 survey, roughly 3 quarters of Americans (that’s 77%) own smartphones! Those numbers are only progressing from there.

Not only will you impress your guests with smart controlled, color-changing and dimming lights, you’ll be saving money. Timing-based automated technologies, such as lighting control, can be optimized on a schedule. For instance, lights can be set to turn on when and where you need them. There are other automation options that can be controlled from your phone, such as controlling the temperature of your home when you’re away. With automated technologies, you’re not only in charge of the comfort and style of your home, you are in control of energy and electric costs.

For more information on how we can help automate your home, give us a call at 713-780-4601.

Enhance Your Indoor Lighting

Enhance Your Indoor Lighting

Nothing creates a more perfect atmosphere and feel in your home than lighting. It’s amazing what placing lights in the right spot will do! Creating the perfect mood for your home depends on a few factors:

Let the natural light shine- Natural sunshine will make any room feel and look welcoming. Keep windows uncovered and curtains peeled back to let in the lighting that the sun provides. This will also help cut down on electrical costs.

Use three layers of light- The first layer is ambient lighting. This includes light from chandeliers, recessed lighting, or even lamps. The second layer is task lighting, which includes LED strip lighting underneath kitchen cabinets or bulbs above the sink that will only be used when you need a little extra light for any tasks. Lastly is accent lighting, which will create a mood in your home. This includes spotlights on a painting, tracking lights, etc.

Automate your lights- Swapping out a simple switch with a dimmer can instantly improve your home lighting. Create a more elegant dining space with dimmed lights during dinner. Or turn the lights on bright when you need more illumination. Companies, such as Lutron, specialize in dimmers and light controls.

Pick the right bulbs- A mesh of different color temperatures can distract from the overall mood of your home. Tip: light packaging typically will tell you the color temperature in Kelvin (such as 2700K). This will help you match the color you are going for in your home. Make sure to consider the color scheme in your home. A very cool temperature with dark wood and warm colors may make your home feel too stark, whereas a middle tone (between warm and cool) will make your home feel more inviting.

Use mirrors- Mirrors can be used to trick the eye using light. With a lamp on the other side of the room, place a large mirror on the wall to create the illusion of a larger space/another room. This especially makes a lighter scheme room feel bigger.