Frustrated with Smart Technology and IoTs? You’re Doing it Wrong

Dennis Clemente
August 22, 2022

“The average person doesn’t have a chance with smart (technology).”

That was the headline of an article published by TechCrunch, the bastion of technology news and insights. It is common to hear this from smart technology enthusiasts. Reddit and Quora even have thriving  communities for people seeking answers to their most pressing questions about smart technology and automation like the writer Owen Williams who certainly found his experience with smart technology integration to be a challenge for one person to do, especially if one is not a technician.

Smart technology integrators at Premium Digital Control & Automation have years, if not decades of experience and certifications plus the training and awards under their belt.  They have certifications in audio-visual installations, smart lighting systems, motorized window treatments, structured cabling, to name a few essentials in this sector. 

To know the difference between between the enthusiasts or hobbyists compared to the technicians is to know their starting points.

The difference: the starting point

Here’s what Williams said in his piece: “For most people, the best route is likely via a smart speaker like the Google Home, Amazon Alexa or Apple’s HomePod, all of which will allow you to control those devices with your voice as well as a single app on your phone.” 

For a technician, a voice assistant is not enough to cut it. He may suggest several devices or apps with a voice assistant but he would not recommend starting with a smart speaker.

If you are serious enough to prepare your space for a scalable automation system, say a  multi-zone audio system, all around your house, the ideal starting point is to have a wired structured cabling system done.

A good technician would ask you, “Why not start right?!” Why think only of a smart speaker, Eero router, soundbar, or smart bulb when you can begin with the future in mind, the future being having your space ready for full automation – if you’re not ready to do that just yet. Having proper wiring in place can make all the difference.

Smart technology preparedness

Why no one talks about smart technology preparedness is because every news story out there is gadget-focused; it’s assumed that it’s a far more convenient talking point than the baffling array of structured cables one will need to make every device in one’s home work seamlessly.

Being more gadget focused is also easier for enthusiasts to understand than the complexity of a connected home built from “a system of subsystems” or all those IoTs (internet of Things) and other smart technology products. It doesn’t help that consumer-oriented products are clearly better marketed than the more streamlined approach to smart technology.

Of course, there’s still the challenge of knowing versus doing things on your own. People will always prefer to do things themselves of course but again, if you’re thinking of the following subsystems below, how would you do it? How would you integrate them to work together and in most cases with these subsystems, seemingly in sync? 

  • Audio 
  • Video 
  • Smart Lighting
  • Motorized Window Treatments
  • Climate Control
  • Surveillance & CCTV
  • Water Damage Protection 
  • Network Security
  • Enhanced Wi-Fi
  • Structured Cabling

Ask the right questions 

That’s overwhelming enough to think of. But you don’t actually need to do all of them all at once. 

You can begin by asking the right questions and having that internal dialogue with yourself.  

How to know if you can do it on your own – and when you think you will need a technician eventually is something you must address first.

Here are some challenging questions for you to determine if you can really do it or if you will need a technician eventually. Because even if hobbyists or enthusiasts did venture into the world of industry-grade smart technology, they’ll find that there’s a lot to learn and they will ultimately need integrators for the following reasons:

  1. Logistics. How would you make your smart lighting work with your window treatments and all other integrations in your space? Do you have schematics or drawings to better plan your system? How would you actually automate a store, office or your backyard? Let’s also consider the fact that there’s a current supply chain issue. The time you spend waiting for your brands or products to come can be a major pain point.   

  1. Space planning. How much space can be allotted for the equipment? Where can they be installed? Even more crucial, how would all the equipment be cooled when they’re running? Even electrical requirements have to be considered. The concept of each smart space is specific and individual, according to a study by ScienceDirect.

  1. Structured cabling or wiring. Even before you think of logistics and space planning, have structured cabling in mind. It’s essentially the future of smart technology. Or shall we say, wired is going back in style? 

Different types of spaces will connect more devices to high-bandwidth cabling such as fiber and not overwork Wi-Fi networks with a wired system. 

And who doesn’t like strong Wi-Fi when most people in the post-pandemic world stay indoors most of the time?! Structured cabling is the most important organizational piece when it comes to scaling for the future of your smart space. 

  1. TVs. This is probably the easiest to figure out if you want to install one TV at home but you know, you won’t be satisfied with just a TV, you’ll need speakers and subwoofers and even automated window treatments; the list goes on. Besides, our TVs are not just standalone TVs anymore, they’re connected to the internet where you can also automate or use your remote control or voice to watch every part of your home – from your entrance door all the way to your backyard. How would you set it up?

What’s an even bigger challenge? If you operate a commercial establishment like a restaurant/bar and you need to install several TVs everywhere all at once, you need to think about not just the installation but how to control it from a mobile device. 

Even a home with 3 TVs will benefit from an app for controlling them eventually. If you would like to have some TVs initially hidden and then coming out from a hidden area, you’ll also need a technician to build it. Let’s not forget that when you have TVs, you need audio. If you have 7 rooms in your restaurant/bar, how would you control all of them instantly? Technicians can help you control all of them all at once through an app

  1. Music. It’s good to ask yourself the right questions and that also goes for your music system. If you have a big house, a store, office or restaurant/bar, think about how you would like to set up a multi-zone audio system all around the different rooms? Smart technology integrators can do all this for you, but asking the right questions go a long way in helping you build the system you want for your space. How would you build high-fidelity music with synchronized smart lighting in your yard? 

  1. Movie Theater in Your Own Place otherwise known as h—e theater. (This usually comes under a category that was safe and certainly clearer to mention here before but not anymore.) What if you wanted subwoofers under your lounge chairs like the subwoofers in this personal theater and speakers from your projector screen?

Yes, the subwoofers under the seats are pushing it, but in this case, it worked out for the owner. So the point is–think if you designed your own personal movie theater, how would you build it? How would you soundproof it?

  1. Wi-Fi / Internet. Again, asking yourself the important questions is even more critical as we all accumulate IoTs and constantly add software that eats up our data usage of the internet, especially as more people work remotely now. 

And what if you wanted Wi-Fi to be limited to certain spots of your space or the opposite way, all the way to your yard? And have you heard of Wi-Fi dead zones? 

They’ve become a pesky problem in the era of smart spaces and high-speed internet. Technicians can set up a mesh Wi-Fi system that can be connected to an Ethernet port. These can extend the range of your Wi-Fi signal.  

It’s crucial to know that Wi-Fi doesn’t just do work for your computer, it has a heavier workload to carry now. With more people using Wi-Fi in many different ways, it has become heavily congested like Miami’s traffic. How would you structure your space to maintain your Wi-Fi speed, whether it’s for your space, an office or your busy cafe? 

  1. Security. There are many wireless surveillance cameras out there, but since they operate on one frequency, the signal can get disrupted by your other smart devices. If you require wired cameras, how would you install them everywhere around your space, even high up your roof? If you have a big property, how much time will you need to spend to install all of them?

Yes, you can easily install door locks, but how would you integrate it with your camera and connect it with an app? Still easy? If you run a business, how would you install all of these and make them integrate with your audio-video system and smart lighting? 

  1. Lighting control.  Other than voice assistants, smart bulbs have been the easy gateway for consumers in their foray into smart technology. But smart bulbs are not the same as having a lighting control system all around your space. How would you configure them to work using one switch on a wall panel? 

How do you integrate them on an app? How would you automate them to turn on and off on its own? How would you integrate them with automated window treatments? If you’re not a low-voltage technician, how would you install the lighting around your space? 

  1. Climate control or HVAC. How would you keep consistent temperatures? It’s not easy to calculate how your heats up or cools down uniformly. Which means you’ll need to figure out how to work with thermostats and timers and how to connect your HVAC (heating, ventilation, air-conditioning) systems to electrical sources. Then consider how you can make them interact with your other systems? 


This Q&A exercise should help you determine if you can do things on your own, as there are a lot of moving parts in smart technology, and they require different types and levels of expertise. To make a long story short, the task of building a smart system is just too much for one person to do, even for a skilled DIYer. 

Yes, one could say they don’t really need an integrator for small projects. A smart bulb or an Eero router is easy to install, but it never ends there, as technicians from South Florida’s leading smart technology integrator, Premium Digital Control & Automation know only too well. 

The company receives many calls from DIYers who cannot finish their projects on their own. Some make the mistake of calling clerks and technicians from big box stores whose hands-on skill with smart technology is limited to home theaters. Even independent technicians call Premium’s technicians if they need help with their own client’s projects.

The bottom line: Any device with Wi-Fi accessibility is primed to be integrated with another device or systems. A few names that technicians rely on are Control4, Crestron Ketra, Lutron and Savant.  The trick is to know which products under these brands will fit your requirements and needs. There are also a hundred devices out there that are not all guaranteed to provide the customized solutions you need

This is why you need integrators. It’s not because you cannot learn how to build a system yourself, but you don’t want to be using up your time to learn all about subsystems -- controllers, sensors and actuators and how you can use them to connect and integrate with network-enabled smart devices. Worst yet, the difficulty and expense returning products when they aren't the right device for your DIY project.

Let’s put it this way. If what attracts you to smart technology is because you want to simplify your life – and that is the point of having your space automated – then you know the answer to that already. (Dennis Clemente)

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