With the economy still in a state of flux, a business’ survival depends more than ever on the ability to operate efficiently.
To achieve that, many companies are equipping their facilities with home automation system to ensure their operations, from heating and air regulation to lighting control, run more cost-effectively.
Hy Haddad, owner of HDH Intelligent Technologies, a firm that specializes in the installation of home automation systems, said businesses are increasingly seeing the benefits of keeping their operations automated.
"[These systems] take what may be a complicated and cumbersome task and make it simple," Haddad told BusinessNewsDaily, "allowing the owner more time to focus on things that really matter, like his bottom line."
With so many dealers offering a wide variety of home automation products and services, Haddad said that business owners should ensure the provider offers several features, including:
- Heating, Ventilation and Air Condition Controls: One of the larger utility costs for businesses comes from heating and cooling their facilities. Haddad said business owners should look for a home automation provider that can fully regulate the business’ heating and air needs, without the need to constantly fiddle with a thermostat. The top systems can automatically determine which rooms need more cool or hot air, which cuts costs by avoiding wasted heat or air conditioning in rooms that aren't being used, Haddad said. "The system has an occupancy sensor that can call for more air when needed," he said. "It is much smarter than a programmable thermostat."
- Lighting: Businesses trying to cut utility costs should ensure their home automation provider can control all aspects of their company's lighting. In addition to deciding when to turn lights on and off, many automation systems can also raise and lower shades when needed. "That can really conserve energy," Haddad said.
- Video: A big feature for restaurants and bars is video-automation capabilities. Previously, such businesses needed a different remote control and receiver for each television, which could cause confusion and wasted time for employees trying to change the channels on each TV to accommodate different customers. Haddad said businesses should find a provider that can set up the system so all TVs can be controlled from one remote and can access any of a variety of input sources, including cable, satellite dishes and DVD players.
"You can now route the [different sources] to different TVs without the need for expensive equipment," Haddad said. "If you have 50 TVs in a restaurant, you could have 50 different sources."
- Audio: Businesses that play music to entertain their customers should look for a home automation provider that can wire facilities for their audio needs. This should include allowing for different types of music to be played simultaneously in multiple areas of the store or restaurant, but all controlled from one location, Haddad said.
- Security: Many businesses will want to integrate their security systems with their automation capabilities. Haddad said the key is finding a security system that can be hooked up to an Ethernet port so it can be connected with the rest of the automation system via the Internet. Integrating the two systems lets a business owner employ a number of additional security features, including getting alert notifications when a system is triggered, locking doors via a smartphone, and watching video from security cameras located anywhere there is an Internet connection.
Features like that, Haddad said, make life much more convenient for business owners.
"You don't want to have to drive back to a facility to make sure a door is locked," Haddad said.