HOW MUCH DOES HOME AUTOMATION COST?
One of the first questions potential home automation customers ask when they call our company is: How much does Home Automation cost? Although this is a very difficult question to answer, I will try to do my best here to explain general pricing guidelines.
The purchase of home automation is much like the purchase of new vehicle or even a home. There are lots of options available and price ranges can vary drastically. Especially once you add in all the optional upgrades. And just like vehicles once you choose a product the parts are not that interchangeable.
Before we go into the more physical aspects of what can make up a home automation system it is important to point out a home automation integrator’s primary role is to understand the needs of the client, the design aesthetic and intent of the architect, and to support the interior designer’s brief and vision in delivering a cohesive solution that does not distract from the overall end solution. This might mean working and liaising with multiple trades and suppliers to bring a solution together.
We break home automation systems down into two basic categories DIY home automation systems and professional home automation systems. In the last 3 years, we have seen a major interest in the home automation space from the DIY manufacturers and they are making a lot of noise lately with lots of new products coming to market. These manufacturers are Apple with Home Kit and more recently Google with Google Home, and don't forget Amazon with its Alexa platform. Although Amazon's Alexa is more of a voice style control point than a platform in its own right.
Now for some projects, a DIY style solution will be totally suitable, but most of the time once we have completed a thorough needs analysis we find the DIY solution does not meet the needs of the clients nor is it suitable for the size of the property. Now in saying that we have plenty of projects that this approach works well in and we will always provide the client with this option as a comparison. We call this our "DIY do it for me" option and in certain cases it just whats required.
You are going to use your home automation system every day for as long as you live in your home, and picking the right home automation with the right subsystems the first time is critical to ensure maximum enjoyment with a minimum of maintenance. Most of our customers elect to get the solution that will make them happiest in the long-run.
Most buyers when considering a home automation system tend to focus on the initial price with the goal of finding the cheapest home automation contractor and equipment available therefor sacrificing low-maintenance, quality, warranty and after-sales support, and aesthetics, which inevitably leads to regret - especially considering that unlike a vehicle a home automation system cannot be traded in if one is dissatisfied or disenchanted with the outcome.
Successful home automation is the result of bringing together lots of separate subsystems into one easy to use overall user interface, that meets the clients needs perfectly, and balances the other design elements in the project.
Below is a short list of the most common subsystems a home automation system has to be able to control:
The simplification of controlling and selecting your properties audio & video equipment as well as being able to hide it away out of site.
Remote access and the ability to control your security system (home alarm), vehicle gates and pedestrian gates, garage doors (is it open or closed) and video/audio intercoms and smart doorbells and door locks. Who rang the doorbell? Can I let them in when I am not home?
The ability to adjust your heating and cooling relative to outside conditions or just on demand. Control of blinds and shades, motorised windows and skylights, all working together, to control temperature.
Lighting control by removing multiple banks of ugly unnamed light switches with the ability to use scenes (lights grouped together), the use of motion or presence sensors in hallways and other transient areas so as not to waste energy on continuously lighting unused rooms or areas.
Getting the home network (internet) sorted and house wide WiFi coverage. Most home automation systems need a solid home network to operate on. As well as allowing access to streaming services like Netflix, Apple TV's and Spotify and other music services.
Now you may have picked up on the fact that a Home Automation Integrator’s solution can have an effect on and has to work with multiple trades and areas of work that in the past may have been handled by 8 or 9 separate trades or suppliers and you would be right.
Equipment Selection is Critical:
So one of the biggest challenges in completing a home automation project successfully is nailing down all the subsystem equipment that the home automation system is going to control. We need to be very clear on things like the make and the brand of the equipment, the quantity of the items we are going to control.
Also the most critical point with product selection is, does your brand or product you want to control or have chosen integrate well with others? Has it been done before? Or is my place going to be a guinea pig testing ground only to discover it won't work as intended?
Believe it or not, there are plenty of brands of products that will not work with a 3rd party control system or worse they used to work well and now don't due to updates and software changes. A very important question to ask your integrator is have you integrated or worked with this brand before? What are its limitations? An experienced home automation integrator will be able to point this out to you and have an honest chat. The more products we need to control generally the more expensive the solution will be in terms of hardware required and implementation time required to deliver a working solution.
The second biggest challenge in completing a successful home automation project is to make sure we set what we like to call accurate expectations of what the final project outcome will look like. How will it function? How or what are you the user going to need to do to interact with your system? And does this make sense from a practical point of view? Using your phone, for example, to start music in an ensuite bathroom is just a fiddle when a simple button press with a preload favorite radio station or playlist is far more practical for 90% of the time. We like to do this in plain English with what we call our project foundation document.
Once the equipment specification is nailed down we can then address how or what the control point or user interface is going to be. Take turning on a light in a bathroom, for example, a control point or user interface could be a combination of a light switch and a sensor and voice or just a sensor on its own. For watching TV it might be single remote control or a phone or tablet or touch screen or combo of all three. These control points and how many there are, and how accessible they are, is critical in how easy to use the system is going to be. It's not much use if your phone or tablet is flat or lost (down the side of the couch) and the music is blaring and your work phone is ringing with an important work-related phone call and you can't turn down the music.
As you can see, there are many variables to discuss and agree on and many product options available. When you receive a proposal from our company, we will have thoroughly discussed each option with you to educate you on the options and benefits available and what is right for you and your situation. You will also have had the experience of being able to interact with the various user interfaces we offer by visiting our experience center.
Why Property Scale Matters:
How property scale and the amount of equipment required affects the cost? When someone inquires how much our home automation solutions cost, the scale of the property, the equipment required and the extent of the installation is also a key factor. As some of the products we use in smaller projects or properties don't allow us to scale these same products in larger homes. We also have some solutions that have been designed specifically for smaller projects that don't require all the options under the sun.
EXAMPLES & COSTS
1. DESIGN ONLY
We work for some clients on a design only basis either because they need to submit the work to main contractors to be incorporated into their package or because the supply and installation of the equipment needs to be costed out for implementation by others. The average price is between $1000 - $3,000, depending on the complexity of the project and amount of equipment requiring control.
Multiple iterations of cable drawings showing all relevant low voltage cables such as network, audio visual, speaker, heating control and lighting control cables
Layout plan drawings completed on a per-subsystem basis
initial calculations of conduit sizings for the cable bundles at the point of ingress to any equipment cabinet location
a detailed Bill of Materials comprising a full system architecture to deliver the functionalities listed in the Project Foundation Document
Sizings for the equipment cabinets needed to house the components (e.g. main patch & comms racks, lighting control panels, etc)
Layout Plan Drawing SubSystems Combined.
New Build Single Room System
The great thing about our home automation solutions is you can start small with a single room or a few rooms and grow the system.
The average price is between $3000 - $7500 inc GST (excluding the cost of TV's as this can have a major or minor effect on the pricing depending on the size of the TV and the specific TV model) this example includes equipment supply, installation, and support for the following items. In most cases, we can also use some of your existing equipment
creating a stylish surround sound area within a multipurpose room
5 in ceiling speakers and subwoofer (white in colour so it blends in)
wall mounting the tv and hiding all the cables
Apple TV, My Sky, and Bluray player integration
single system remote control & recharge cradle to simplify the user experience
phone and table control of the system.
upgraded home network and WiFi equipment
streaming music from Spotify, TuneIn & iHeart Radio (plus many others available)
lighting control of 3 circuits of lights within the room
TURN-KEY RENOVATION OF A TOWN-HOUSE (less than 200sqm)
Renovation projects can have a slightly higher installation cost depending on how much of the buildings walls and ceilings are being opened up. Renovation projects also require careful testing and managing of any existing cabling, especially if it's suitable for reuse. A majority of the time repositioning of the existing incoming telco connections and any aerial/satellite connections is also required. This work needs to be completed with care so delicate fiber connections are not damaged. Price Range $15,000 -$35000 inc GST
The owners of an Auckland town-house want to ensure they wire for the expansion of smart home devices in the next decade while also ensuring they have high-quality WiFi, fast wired internet to their video streaming media devices and excellent audio-visuals for the entertainment of their family and friends. This example was for a house undergoing a minor renovation and this example includes
a dedicated home theatre room, in wall and in ceiling speakers, subwoofer, AV Receiver, quality projector & ceiling bracket, cabling, motorised projector screen. (this room was not being renovated)
two areas of music with internet streaming access (Spotify, TuneIn, iHeart Radio) including speakers and amplifiers
single remote control solution for the media room with ipad/iphone control system as a backup as well as being the main interface for controlling the two music areas source selection and volumes.
distributed video in HD to two TV locations plus much more.
up-graded home network cabling and equipment including router, WiFi access points on two levels of the house.
This is a turn-key solution which starts with listening to the clients' brief, translating this into easy-to-use technology systems, project managing and installing all of the cabling infrastructure with their building teams and then commissioning the whole system with the 'FFD' period to ensure they are 100% happy with the results.
TURN-KEY RENOVATION OF A LARGE HOUSE (500sqm plus)
In this example, a large house is being fully renovated and the owners wanting to ensure that they can live in it as efficiently as possible while also recognising that they will not be opening up the floors and walls for at least another 20 years. Price range $85,000 - $125,000 inc GST.
They decided to implement:
a full design service to document all aspects of structured cabling layout, rack positioning, lighting panel sizing etc This can be used to support the system against in later years.
structured cabling to provide a fast ethernet backbone for their wifi, home offices and all connected hardware (both at the point of completion and ready for future devices)
multiple wireless access points located on all 3 levels of the house to ensure full house WiFi coverage including the extensive pool and tennis court areas.
full security system 46 zones and access control of two vehicle gates, pedestrian gate and garage doors, With audio video intercom.
multiple CCTV cameras and dedicated recording device for 24/7 camera monitoring of the property and grounds.
dedicated touchscreens in 3 areas of the property for communication between floors as well as gate intercom communication.
dedicated movie room, with full surround sound system
multi-room audio in 16 areas of the property, with access to all the popular music streaming services, Spotify, Deezer etc
they wanted multiple high definition Sky TV boxes and other sources available on the in-built TVs in the core viewing rooms and bedrooms. A total of 5 TV's all together. These are all controlled via a simple-to-use single remote from Control4.
the client then took the support package with its integrated remote monitoring equipment, power maintenance for the main house systems and network management allowing us to give them proactive remote support for years after the installation.
TURN-KEY NEW BUILD OF A TOWNHOUSE (250 sqm plus)
In this example, a new stylish townhouse is being built and the owners want to ensure that they could enjoy some music in key areas of the property as well as enjoy their TV viewing experience. Simplification of the audio video systems was very important as well as ensuring all the visible technology looked modern. Price Range $35,000 - $45,000 inc GST.
They decided to implement:
a full design service to document all aspects of structured cabling layout, rack positioning, and sizing etc. This can be used to support the system against in later years.
structured cabling to provide a fast ethernet backbone for their WiFi, home offices and all connected hardware (both at the point of completion and ready for future devices)
multiple wireless access points located on all levels of the house to ensure full house WiFi coverage including the outdoor areas.
full security system integrated with remote access and garage door control.
music streaming system for two rooms as well as surround sound system for the occasional movie night.
a dedicated touchscreen was installed so an always charged always on always their
they wanted high definition Sky and other sources available on the in-built TVs in the core viewing rooms and bedrooms. This is controlled via a simple-to-use single remote from Control4.
They then took the support package with its integrated remote monitoring equipment, power maintenance for the main house systems and network management allowing us to give them proactive remote support for years after the installation.
Large Heritage Home - Major Technology Update
This homeowner purchased this house after a major renovation had been completed a few years earlier by the previous owner. The property had some existing wiring installed during the renovation and lots of non-inter-connected equipment across multi floors. The new owners wanted state of the art audio video intercoms at both of the gates (vehicle and pedestrian) with the ability to control both of the gates from anywhere in the world and receive visitor notifications on their phones, as well as full security system integration with remote arm / disarm capabilities, smart door locks with keyed and keyless entry, simplified and unified control of audio video systems in multiple areas of the house, lighting control in key areas to create ambience for entertaining as well as simplification of the multiple banks of light switches dotted around the property. Price Range $25,000 - $45,000 inc GST
They decided to implement;
two stylish audio video intercoms connected to a dedicated touchscreen in the kitchen as well as phone notification of visitors and remote gate control for the pedestrian gate and the vehicle gate.
we combined the garage door remote and vehicle gate remote with the alarm remote to simplify access and reduce excessive key ring bulk of having to have 3 separate remotes just to enter or exit the property.
garage door control from their phones and the central touchscreen as well as giving them the ability to tell if the garage door is open or closed from any-were in the world. (garage is hard to see from inside the house)
smart door lock installed with keyed and keyless entry with notifications to the owner's phones of who is coming and going
full security system integration with remote arm/disarm capability as well as activation notification.
an equipment rack was installed in the utility room to tidy up the mess of existing wiring and provide structure to the centralised equipment sources as well as power conditioning and a UPS to control power surges and brownouts.
simplified control of the properties many TV's and audio zones via the touch screen and remote controls and phones and tablets
smart WiFi and network hardware was installed to ensure end to end WiFi coverage,
lighting control in key areas to simplify and condense the banks of lights switches in the kitchen, living, lounge and outdoor areas.
This was an extensive upgrade and we were able to utilise the existing wiring within the house as well as some of the existing TV's and other hardware.