Outdoor tech for your home

The weather is warming up and many of us are trying to figure out our summer plans. Since we’re spending more time at home these days, this often turns to what we can do to improve our leisure at home. There’s tons of great outdoor tech to help you enjoy your home this summer (and fall, and winter…) Here are some of our favourites.

Automated outdoor shades

Automated shades are a great addition inside our homes, and adding them outdoors has many benefits as well. They can expand your outdoor living space by not only providing privacy and light filtering like indoor shades; automated outdoor shades are also a convenient way to help make a space more comfortable and extend outdoor enjoyment into cooler evenings or shoulder seasons. Companies such as Screen Innovations make great outdoor shades that provide these benefits and are made to endure the elements.  

Outdoor music 

There are lots of options for outdoor music – from in-ceiling speakers in eave overhangs, to wall mounted speakers, to landscape specific speakers. All are great options that can be used to match your home’s specific situations. We’re also looking forward to trying out  Sonos’s new Roam speaker (available this spring). Sonos’s Move speaker is also made for outdoors, but we think the Roam will be more in that sweet spot of being more portable and affordable. 

Outdoor WiFi

We never stop talking about the importance of good WiFi, as its a critical piece of any good home tech system. You need WiFi for most everything from streaming your music and video, working, and even controlling your smart outdoor lights and water features. A home’s exterior walls often block WiFi signals. If you want excellent WiFi coverage in your outdoor spaces, then you need outdoor specific WiFi equipment. Vendors like Access Networks make products that will make sure that the WiFi goodness will continue outside.

Outdoor TVs

We’ve covered outdoor TVs in the past, and the highlights are that they are not only made to survive the outdoor elements, they are also brighter to help offset outdoor natural lighting. There are also options for outdoor AV sound systems to augment your AV experience. There’s even full projection systems if you need a really, really big outdoor screen!

Whatever your outdoor tech jam is, make sure that you’re well covered with your home technology.  Let us know if you need help to get to your outdoor nirvana.

 

Top five simple home technology upgrades

We often get asked about what smart home technology upgrades are possible without major or costly renovations. Thankfully there is much that home owners and renters can do that doesn’t involve costly or messy construction work. Here is an overview of simple-to-implement home tech that our clients are most interested in.

Smart TVs

Many of our clients last upgraded their TVs when the original flat TVs dropped in price and these TVs are getting to the point that they need to be replaced. The timing works out as the next generation TVs, 4K TVs, are great value. They also come with smart features for watching streaming services like Netflix or showing pictures from your smartphone. While our clients are updating their TVs, they want the wiring and remotes cleaned up and simplified. We help them update and organize their digital audio/video worlds by determining which smart TV features work for them and provide programmed universal remotes to make it all easy to use.

Wireless and streaming music

Our clients are often curious about wireless speakers or have gotten the wireless speaker bug and want help expanding on it. Wireless speakers like Sonos and Bluesound, and streaming music services like Spotify and Deezer have revolutionized the way we listen to music. These great sounding speakers require a Wi-Fi network and power. You can also use them to augment that new 4K TV for updated sound for TV shows and movies.

Smart lighting

There is a lot of interest in updating light switches to smart dimmers and switches. Companies like Lutron and Leviton have very functional dimmers and switches at reasonable prices. They are also inter-compatible with other home technology upgrades such as wireless speakers and thermostats. While most devices replace your current light switches, there are also plug models that allow you to smarten up lights like floor lamps without any re-wiring required. From then on, you can control your rights from your smart phone or on smart timers when you’re away. These are not only convenient for everyone with features like lights that come on when you near your home, but may also be and asset for seniors and disabled people to simplify lighting control for them.

Automated shading

Automated shading is also growing in popularity. There are reliable battery powered options, so you don’t have to have your windows wired for power. People want these shades for privacy, light blocking and energy savings. Sometimes clients want convenient shades that open and close timed with sunrise and sunset. Maybe its to keep a bedroom dark when enjoying a sleep in. Sometimes it helps block out the afternoon sun before it heats their home like an oven. Whatever the reason, they can have great looking shades that are smart and easy to use. Plus, you will never have to worry about operating them in difficult to reach places like high windows.

Better Wi-Fi

It seems that everything in our lives these days requires Wi-Fi. When your building or renovating, you can make sure all the right wires get put into your walls to help create the perfect Wi-Fi system. For older homes or condos, you sometimes have to look for another way. As mentioned in the past, mesh Wi-Fi products provide a decent Wi-Fi system to use in these tricky situations.

There are many simple home technology upgrades available for those who want to smarten up their homes but are not building a new home or doing an involved home renovation. We’re always happy to help them, and its rewarding when we get to see their faces light up like kids on Christmas morning when they first use their new upgrades.