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5 ways to upgrade your home with technology – The Seattle Times


While home automation has been around for a while, it’s really only just getting started.

Most smart gadgets can be smoothly integrated into an existing home — after all, you don’t need to rewire your whole house for voice-activated light bulbs. However, the more tech you add, the more your infrastructure needs may change. Consider these projects to plan for a smart future.

Plan for hidden hubs

Even as wireless options expand, recharging them still requires wired outlets, and those can look messy. Adding hidden hubs, likely a job for an electrician and a carpenter, cleans thing up. A professional can give you tips on how to manage the virtual octopus of power cords. You can use specially rigged drawers, alcoves nestled into walls, or even mini-closets to collect plug-in points. These hubs can also take up less space than just plugging power strips in wherever you can find an outlet.

Don’t skimp on the Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi access needs to stretch to every room in a home, with a stable connection that can be counted on. That means your router and internet service are critical systems. If several people live in your home, you’ve probably already noticed how the network slows down when everyone is logged in and streaming data. Because of this, it’s a good idea to invest in a high-quality router and a generous data plan. For a large house, consider additional routers to boost the signal. It will pay off in convenience.

Ward off vampires

Garlic and silver bullets won’t get rid of the creatures sucking up your home’s lifeblood and cranking up the power bills, but a little preventative action might. Many appliances and devices draw small amounts of energy when they’re plugged in and turned off. Unplug what you can and use wall strips on what you don’t want to unplug on a regular basis. All of these tiny energy sucks are small, but they can add up to hundreds of dollars per year.

Turn tech into art

In the era of the iPad and flat-screen TVs, many electronics are works of art in and of themselves, but that doesn’t mean you want them in your sightline at all times. While you’re installing tech, ask your pro about ways to hide it when it’s not being used. For example, you can hide your TV and/or speakers behind a piece of art or inside a piece of furniture. Or a carpenter can construct a closet-style storage system that hides electronics but still provides easy access for items such as printers and the Wi-Fi router.

Stay secure

Security systems have become a common part of a smart home setup. Whether it’s locks that can be controlled by an app on your phone or cameras that stream live video upon motion activation, a home security professional can help you decide what you most need for safety and convenience. And while you’re at it, review your internet security measures. With this much wired at once, you don’t want hackers getting access to your system.



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