Smart homes: The wave of the future – Shreveport Times
The wave of the future has arrived Ã¢Â€Â”Ã‚Â in the form of smart homes.
The Jetsons’ world of a completely automated home, sensitive to the ownerÃ¢Â€Â™s arrival and capable of making personal preferences, is what several of Sound MindsÃ¢Â€Â™ clients have achieved in our area with home automation.
These high-tech homes donÃ¢Â€Â™t have to break the bank, according to David Bushnell, owner of Sound Minds.
Bushnell began exploring sound systems for automobiles as a young boy in his motherÃ¢Â€Â™s garage which evolved into building competitive automobile audio systems for large companies and specialty vehicles. Bushnell movedÃ‚Â to Shreveport in 1996 andÃ‚Â opened Sound Minds.
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Smart homes are all the rage with the technology, and Bushnell says the automation process can begin anywhere from $1,000-$5,000 for different projects.
Stepping into the Sound Minds studio, shades are lowered with the push of a button, lights are automated to flicker on and off with motion sensors, and stars shoot across the fiber optic theater ceiling.
Ã¢Â€ÂœImagine managing your life with the push of a button from your smart phone Ã¢Â€Â”Ã‚Â the house of the future is here,Ã¢Â€Â said Bushnell.Ã‚Â
Though a price tag can be intimidating, Bushnell mentionedÃ‚Â it doesnÃ¢Â€Â™t have to be since it can be built over time by adding to the system with the basic smart home system starting around $5,000. Ã‚Â But, when it comes to home automation, the sky is the limit with one of his projects running $1 millionÃ‚Â to fully automate a 32,000 square foot home.
Smart home technology allows for BushnellÃ¢Â€Â™s entire Sounds Minds Studio building on Texas Avenue in ShreveportÃ‚Â to be computer controlled Ã¢Â€Â”Ã‚Â HVAC, lighting, door locks, alarm systemÃ‚Â and security cameras.Ã‚Â Bushnell can even lower the shades in his office to help control his electrical bill by pushing a button.
For residential projects, the Sound Minds team can do anything including automating a shower to have the perfect temperature at the perfect time, or personalize music played to wake sleeping families at a certain time, with volume and song choice as an alarm clock.
Bushnell once had a high profile customer with an expensive piece of art needing protection from sun damage as it hung on the wall. Ã‚Â He installed a system of adjustableÃ‚Â shades to control the amount of light in the room soÃ‚Â the artwork would not be damaged.
Bushnell does not need keys to his home since it is automated andÃ‚Â the home can sense his arrival.Ã‚Â Clients with home automation can be tracked by a key fob or smart phone where lights will turn on upon arrival and set the home preferences.Ã‚Â
With each door having a key pad, the need for keys is eliminated by the use of aÃ‚Â code or smart phone to open locks. Or, by one touch of a button, all doors can lock, televisions turned off, lights shut off and HVAC put at a certain temperature to close down the house.
The smart homes use an equipment room or even a closet as the brains of the operation making use of small spaces. The brains of the operation are placed on a rack, taking up little room.
One big advantage to home automation, other than making life simpler for businesses or families, is energy bill savings. With motion sensors and climate control when people are around, this creates a more efficient system using less energy.
Bushnell said the most difficult part of a job is mapping routines as well as daily comings and goings so he and his team of 13 technicians can design the perfect system to make life simpler at the push of a button.
In the event of a power outage, the system will shut down only to be re-booted when the power is turned back on, and a manual override will allow homeowners to exit the home.
Priding themselves on excellent customer service and superb support, the Sound Minds team will do a home inspection, design plan with wants/needs and budget in mind, and roll up their sleeves to get to work.
Even without a time machine, I have seen the house of the future and it is definitely a smart home.
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