Frequently asked questions

 

General

Why do I need a smart home specialist for my home?

Smart home technology is a significant investment and plays a vital role in how you will enjoy and interact with your property. If you’re planning on putting smart technology into your new home or an existing residence, it makes sense to leave no stone unturned.

Bringing in a connected home expert will give you peace of mind on your project, advising you through each stage of a project from design to installation to aftercare. Choosing a professional installation will also ensure that your home is future-ready for upgrading to newer technology in the future.

 

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When should I get a smart home installer involved in my project?

The earlier you can get a connected home specialist involved in the design process, the easier it will be to incorporate smart technology into your home.

If the first fix or second fix have already been completed, then it is still possible to turn your property into an intelligent home, but it will have to retrofitted wirelessly rather than hard-wired into the building.

 

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Will my whole family be able to use a smart home?

Most home automation systems are designed to be used intuitively, but it is important to sit down with your smart home installer before construction to outline who will be using the home and how they are likely to need to use the home.

While putting in restrictions for children can be desirable (no one wants a five-year-old playing with the thermostat, after all), enough flexibility needs to be built in to allow the system to be tweaked over time as the individual needs of the occupiers change.

 

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Can a smart home be retrofitted?

Sometimes a smart home retrofit solution will the only viable option, while in other scenarios – particularly smaller properties – there is a strong argument that it is the most cost-effective option in terms of functionality over price.

A fully retrofitted solution might not be the best option if you’re after an all-singing, all-dancing smart home, although there are projects where this approach can provide a level of smart functionality that would otherwise be unachievable, or else prohibitively expensive.

 

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How future-proof will my smart home be?

It is impossible to predict exactly how the smart home will evolve in the long term, but our extensive experience and constant innovation mean that our regularly updated systems are always at the forefront of smart home technology at the point of installation.

We offer an annual health check as part of our support and maintenance packages, after which we will recommend any areas of the smart home that could be upgraded to bring it in line with current smart home trends.

We build a certain amount of redundancy into each of our smart home designs to provide the option for upcoming technology (such as higher-resolution entertainment systems or better quality security cameras) to be installed at a later date, as and when required.

 

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Do you work with designers, architects or developers?

We work extensively with design professionals and property developers on many of our smart home projects. As well offering our design and consultancy services on our projects, we have a number of smart home experts that can provide dedicated advice and support for design-focused enterprises wanting to incorporate smart home technology or virtual and augmented reality into their projects.

We also offer RIBA-, BIID- and CEDIA-accredited CPDs for companies in Greater London. 

 

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Technical

What smart home technology do you install?

We offer three smart home packages based around Entertainment (audio, video), Comfort (lighting, heating, shades) and Security (alarms, sensors, cameras and entry systems). These are available independently or as part of a fully integrated set-up, while we also offer a Bespoke service for projects where a more tailored approach is required.

 

As well as the above, we specialise in Home Cinema and Virtual Reality Room installations, either as stand-alone projects or as part of a larger smart home build.

SMART HOME    HOME CINEMA   VR ROOM

Does my home need a control system? 

The more systems you need to control, the more useful it becomes to be able to handle them through a single interface. Typically, a home control system will manage, command and regulate a whole host of systems including (but not limited to) lighting, video, audio, heating, window treatment, CCTV and other monitoring devices.

Unless you only have a couple of smart bulbs that you’re happy to control from the manufacturer’s app, a smart home with a unified control system is likely to be the best option for your home.

 

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What ways can I control my smart home?

There are several ways to control your home that bring together everything from lighting and audio-visual systems to HVAC and security devices. This can be through apps on phones or tablets, keypads, touchscreens, universal remotes and even voice control.

Our team of technology experts are more than happy to chat through your requirements and provide advice on the best solution for you and your household.

 

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Is there a benefit to choosing a wireless system over a wired alternative?

While wireless solutions can certainly be easier for many retrofit projects, a wired set-up is preferable for buildings with thick concrete walls, steel columns or thick glass, as these tend to struggle with the implementation of wireless in certain parts of the property.

For many properties, a hybrid system is often the most effective solution. A wired backbone, built on Crestron or a similar platform, can operate as a bus network whereby a central cable links several access points with base stations for wireless devices. This ensures good, consistent signal strength throughout the home and greater flexibility in how the technology sits within the design and aesthetics of the building.

 

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Will my existing system work with the smart solutions Andrew Lucas provides?

While we will make every effort to ensure that any existing technology that you wish to retain is able to work with the systems we implement, this is not always possible and may come at extra cost.

Occasionally it might make more sense to replace your existing smart home with completely new technology, in order to offer extra functionality and increased flexibility.

 

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Financial

How much does a whole-house smart home system cost?

Much like properties themselves, smart homes come in all shapes and sizes and, accordingly, start from as little as a few thousand and can rise significantly higher than this, depending on the intended scope of the project. 

Our upcoming online custom quotation tool will be able to give you a rough idea of costs when it launches in early 2017; in the meantime, please get in touch and our team will prepare a specialised quote based on your specific property.

 

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What are the best solutions for a homeowner on a budget?

A smart home doesn't have to cost the world these days; there are several ways that a fit-for-purpose smart home can be achieved on a reasonably budget. Our Security, Entertainment and Comfort packages are designed to make it possible to create a smart home that suits you without costing the earth.

While many homeowners are tempted to save money by electing for a DIY approach, this isn’t always the best route for creating a secure, future-ready smart home. It might be better to spend a little more initially and order an affordable home installation from a smart home specialist, as this will result in a robust, reliable smart home that will last longer and save you money on upgrades and repairs in the long term.

 

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Will integrating smart home technology increase my property’s value?

We have worked on a number of projects where the technology we have installed has increased the value of the property – in one case, our client estimates that our work ‘added well in excess of a million pounds to the value of the property, representing ‘a 400% return’ on the money our client spent on our services.

 

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Will a smart security package lower the cost of my insurance?

Insurance requirements differ according to the provider, but will usually vary depending on the area in which you live and the value of the contents in your property. When there is a requirement for an alarm system as part of an insurance package, a professionally monitored alarm system is often a requirement, along with dual path signalling so that there are multiple ways for an occupant to call for help, if needed.

 

Many smart home security systems fall short of the acceptable standards required by insurers; this is why all of our smart security packages are rated to Grade 2 or Grade 3, which means they have been strenuously tested and proven fit for residential installation. Where required, active monitoring and police response can be added to meet insurance requirements.

 

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Security

Could my smart home be hacked?

The simple answer is yes, a smart home can be hacked; but only if it is not implemented correctly and in a secure manner that uses established security protocols to proactively guards against malicious attempts to access both individual devices and the IT network the system relies on. 

With the numerous accounts in the press of smart homes being hacked over the last year, it is understandable that some customers might have security concerns about their proposed smart home. We exclusively use systems that have an excellent track records in terms of security, and pair them with a robust IT infrastructure to ensure that your smart home is as secure as it can possibly be from a digital attack, regardless of whether or not you choose a smart security package.

 

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What warranties does Andrew Lucas offer?

As well as the manufacturer warranty on the products we supply, we offer our own five-year workmanship warranty, as well as a support warranty to guarantee that clients are not billed if we are unable to resolve a problem when we come out to fix it.

 

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How secure will my smart home be?

In terms of physical security, your smart home can prove an effective deterrent for attackers, depending on the package chosen. With tamper-proof sensors and outdoor cameras, potential intruders can be stopped before they enter the property, while inside vibration monitors, window and door sensors and cameras alert you instantly if someone is snooping around somewhere they shouldn’t be.

 

With the panic room option, a totally secure space can be created in your home so that, in the event of a break-in, you and your family have a safe space to retreat to. This comes with blast-proof doors and independent back-up systems so that the emergency services can always be notified, no matter what the situation is.

 

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