I’m excited as anyone about the smart home revolution, armed with my iPhone, WiFi and a dizzying barrage of connected devices. Intelligent home living has become a reality with such velocity that it’s hard to know where to start.
There’s a growing number of popular retailers now selling packaged home automation solutions, such as Lowes Iris and Staples Connect. These services will be the primary entrant for millions of US consumers interested in home automation, often doubling as distributors for the growing number of gadgets designed for your connected home. While some of these gadgets like the Nest thermostat are known for their savvy aesthetic, the majority of these mainstream products won’t always fit with a homeowner’s personal style.
Even beyond the physical appearance of a smart home’s hardware, it’s residential placement matters as well. Mainstream solutions hitting the DIY scene are often plug-n-play, so custom integration for things like hidden wires, wall panels and designer finishes will be lost.
The search for the best-designed products and services in the smart home market has produced a short list of high-end brands that may be of interest. Legrand is among the most compelling, thanks to its subsidiaries like Adorne that team with international designers for a range of quality finishes for something as seemingly innocuous as a light switch panel.
5 luxury smart home providers
Point of differentiation: International installers. This gives VIA an expertise in home networking and removes the subcontractor from the equation. The business model extends home automation and theater Services from there. With over 20 years in the business, VIA is predicted to become the first nationwide, high-end home tech installation company.
Point of differentiation: Mobile integration for smartphone and tablet controls. Control4 has been around since 2003, and supports a handful of popular smart home devices hitting the mainstream. The luxury service provider also publishes a free smart home magazine, largely featuring client homes from around the world.
Legrand (umbrella co. for several home automation brands)
Point of differentiation: Conglomerate of several brands that offer the gamut of smart home solutions. Based in France, Legrand has been around since the early 1960s. Leveraging contributions from its many brands, Legrand also partners with a range of suppliers and designers to offer aesthetic choices that will appeal to homeowners.
Point of differentiation: home automation backend. Crestron is a well-known vendor used by countless installers to build a complete smart home or office. With options for home theater, window treatment control, temperature control and smart lighting, Crestron is broadening its services to the residential market.
Vantage Controls (part of Legrand’s group)
Point of differentiation: Smart home solutions with a modern outlook. Combining design and luxury, Vantage Controls comes with smartphone and tablet integration, powerful hubs to connect a myriad of devices, and a sleek user interface tying it all together.