Last Updated on January 18, 2016
At some time or another, we’ve all second-guessed ourselves with questions like, “Did I turn off the stove?” or “Did I remember to turn the outside light on?” after leaving the house. Futuristic wishes of how cool it would be to have the ability to do these things remotely is now a reality as homeowners are embracing the transformation of their homes into – smart homes. Think this sounds far-fetched? Think again. According to Berg Insight, CNN reported that sales of automation systems could grow to almost $9.5 billion in 2015, and CNN reports that number could reach almost $44 billion by 2017 (source: CNN).
What is a smart home?
So, what exactly is a smart home? The term relates to a residence that has appliances (such as lighting, heating and air conditioning, TVs, computers, audio and video entertainment systems, security and camera systems), all of which have the capability of communicating with each other – and you. They can be controlled remotely, not only from any room in your home, but also from any location in the world by smartphone or internet. As it’s nearly impossible these days not to see someone on their smartphone or tablet, these super portable mini-computers give us the capability to control multiple things in the home – from one device – with the touch of a button. Since most homes were not built with these products, it’s important to do your research if you are considering a home automation system. Learn what systems and features will work best for you and your family.
Currently, there are two networking protocols or systems to power smart home automation products: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and Zigbee or Z-Wave. These networks work independently, so homeowners need to choose the one that’s going to work best for their needs. Here is some additional information on each system which can help you decide which one to get.
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
- Wi-Fi: It’s a home network that uses a high bandwidth that’s power-sensitive (which means the devices require a dedicated power source or long-lasting battery). Up until now, Wi-Fi chips have been on the expensive side, leading tech companies to turn to other wireless technologies for their products.
- Bluetooth: For smart homes, Bluetooth products require a person to be in close physical proximity to the device. It uses frequency hopping and government-grade encryption to help against interception or unscrambling your interaction with the gear. It’s a secure network that has a higher data bandwidth than Zigbee and Z-Wave (discussed below), which means the products that are enabled can do more than flip a switch to turn on a light or report movement from your security system. Bluetooth LE (low energy) is the newest version which uses a small amount of power compared to Wi-Fi. Its developers say Bluetooth LE will be able to form “mesh networks,” ultimately putting it ahead of the competition with Zigbee and Z-Wave. Mesh networking is a term used for a device that has the ability to receive and send the same signal, thus extending the range of the network. These advancements and capabilities are making Bluetooth increasingly popular in smart homes. Even smartphone accessory developers are looking into it more closely for their products.
- Zigbee and Z-Wave: These two networks run on low-powered wireless networks, which means their products can run for years on a watch battery. Their control devices are driven mostly from a range and power consumption perspective that uses a mesh network, making them a great choice for reaching far-flung sensors in the smart home. Their low bandwidth makes them great choices for simple devices such as window and door motion sensors or smart lightbulbs that only require data connections to be turned on and off. The major downside to both Zigbee and Z-Wave is that their signals are not compatible with mainstream computing devices (like a smartphone, tablet or laptop), so devices like bulbs and sensors would need to communicate with a hub that is connected to your home network (e.g., Wi-Fi or an Ethernet cable plugged into an internet router). You would then be able to use the app to control the devices in your home. Zigbee and Z-Wave are networks that are independent from each other and although they are both basically similar in power and range, they are not compatible and have technical differences. Their low prices, however, make them attractive options for product manufacturers.
As the industry and technology continue to change, there is no cut-and-dry answer as to which of these four network standards is the best. Doing your own research as to which one is the best fit for your lifestyle and family is the best tactic to follow when you’re ready to join the smart house market.
Our goal at Granite Transformations is to keep up-to-date and informed on the latest home improvement innovation and technology. If you are considering a home renovation, visit us at granitetransformations.com.
Last Updated on January 11, 2016
TREND GROUP, WORLD’S LEADING FULL BODY GLASS MOSAIC PRODUCER, AND SISTER COMPANY GRANITE TRANSFORMATIONS IS SPONSORING THE 2016 COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP TAILGATE WITH THE DISPLAY OF LIFE-SIZE GOLD MOSAIC ELEPHANT FIGURE NAMED PAM IN SUPPORT OF ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE AT UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX STADIUM IN GLENDALE, AZ.
South Florida-based Trend Group, the world’s leading producers of full body glass mosaic, gold mosaic and Venetian enamel, and sister company Granite Transformations is pleased to announce that it will sponsor the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship Tailgate at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ today (Monday, January 11). In support of the Alabama Crimson Tide whose mascot, “Big Al,” is an elephant, Trend Group will display a magnificent, one-of-a-kind life-size gold mosaic elephant figure (named Pam) valued at $150K north of the Great Lawn to the left of “Flag Grove.” The stunning figure took 12 mosaic artists more than a year to create, weighs 2,710 lbs. and measures 7 ft. wide, 16 ft. high and 27 ft. long.
Founded in 2000, Trend Group is recognized as one of the world’s leading producers of full body glass mosaic, gold mosaic and Venetian enamel. The company has demonstrated a unique ability to synthesize the essential principles of Italian tradition with the dynamic creativity of today’s most celebrated designers, architects and artists while maintaining a commitment to environmental concerns and cultural vibrancy. Trend Group boasts production and assembly facilities spanning across four continents and operations in more than 50 countries, and is currently distributing more than one million square meters of glass mosaic tile and 800,000 square meters of agglomerate surfaces per year. Trend Group’s The Americas headquarters are located at 10306 USA Today Way in Miramar, FL. For more information, please call 863-655-0164 or visit www.trend-group.com.
Sister company Granite Transformations is a global full-service home and business remodeling franchise, offering an impressive selection of luxurious and affordable alternatives to traditional countertops, mosaic tile backsplashes, cabinets, floors, and more through a revolutionary resurfacing process that is ideal for kitchens and bathrooms. The company’s unique resurfacing process involves fitting countertops directly over existing ones, so there’s no messy demolition and installation can be completed much faster – in as little as one day in many cases. For more information, please visit www.granitetransformations.com.
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter
Last Updated on January 22, 2020
Now that it’s the New Year, it’s likely you have spent a bit more time in your kitchen over the past few months than usual. As you reflect on the past year and how you can make next year even better, now is a great time to think about how well you functioned in your kitchen and what changes you could make to get more out of it – for you, and your family.
As kitchens remain “the heart of the home,” families continue to spend a good deal of time there. So, for this year – why not make a kitchen remodel one of your New Year’s resolutions? Whether you’re ready for a total renovation or just a few cosmetic tweaks to give your kitchen a fresh new look, making your kitchen more functional for you and your family can lead to a happier and healthier home.
Here are just a few reasons why a “kitchen renovation resolution” can have lasting and meaningful benefits to you, your family and your home:
- You will be more likely to cook at home, yielding a positive return on your investment: Homeowners with a kitchen they enjoy being in are more likely to cook meals at home, thus saving money on dining out and ordering take-out. It’s the perfect way to see an ongoing return on your investment.
- Kitchens pay for themselves. Although they may be one of the costliest rooms to renovate, new home buyers often look at kitchens first. A kitchen can sell a home. Just make sure that aesthetics and functionality are the driving force behind your renovation, and don’t go overboard. A little can go a long way.
- Entertainment value: People don’t want to leave the kitchen during a party. Making it that much bigger can enable you to host parties, holidays and gatherings much more easily – without the stress of having to rearrange everything to make sure you have enough space for the number of people you are expecting.
- Open concept kitchens create more opportunities for family time: Most kitchens today are renovated to create an open concept living/dining space. This makes it easier for families to be together throughout meal preparation, serving, eating and cleaning up, allowing involvement from all family members during the process. Even if schedules don’t always allow for sitting down together for dinner each night, an island or breakfast bar can become a central meeting area for eating, catching up, hanging out with friends or doing homework, creating more time for open communication. Who would have thought that the way your family interacts on a daily basis can be completely improved by a new kitchen?
- Encourage a healthier diet: Cooking at home often leads to healthier eating habits, since we can control the ingredients that go into our meals. Adding a small TV or built-in iPad stand in the kitchen will enable cooks to follow their favorite cooking shows or find and follow their favorite healthy recipes online. Adding an island in the kitchen adds counter space to allow for more room for meal preparation. Even adding a built-in chopping area to a countertop can make all the difference when prepping for dinner.
- Tax returns: If you need an extra budget boost to support your renovation, your tax returns can provide the added help you need.
- It doesn’t have to be a huge project: The beauty of renovating your kitchen with Granite Transformations is that it’s much easier and faster than a full-scale renovation. Installation requires no demolition and creates less mess. There are many gorgeous quartz, granite and recycled glass countertop colors to choose from, and refacing your cabinets (as opposed to replacing them) can be much more cost-effective. You can view the broad range of cabinet colors and styles here.
Visit us at granitetransformations.com to schedule a free in-home design consultation, receive a free quote, and to learn more about our products and services.
Happy New Year and Happy Remodeling!