2014, the Year of the Smart Home—Is Your Home Smart Enough?

By: Michael Manouel Jr., Social Media

2014 So Far Is Turning Out To Be The Year of the Automated Smart Home. How Smart is Your House?

Time Magazine July 7th-14th Issue

Time Magazine’s July 7th – 14th issue features a 39-page spread on home automation titled “The Smarter Home,” bringing the connected home to the masses. This year, Apple is now developing a new home automation platform for its iOS called Homekit, which enables control over a wide array of home automation options using a simple Siri voice command. Also in 2014, tech giant Google acquired Nest, makers of the learning thermostat, who are now in turn buying Dropcam, a multi-million dollar cloud-based smart home security camera start-up.

We’ve spoken about home automation and some of its aspects here at the Honestly Speaking blog a couple of times. But the main point is that the smart house is not only coming— it’s here, and it’s here to stay. The only question now is that of being an early adopter, or of jumping on the bandwagon when it’s a bit too late.

Prewiring Makes For An Intelligent Home

If you know that you want to have some or all of the parts of your house automated or integrated, but you don’t quite know yet which brands to choose or what devices to buy, merely by prewiring your home, you make the first step toward a future intelligent home which will enable you to get set up now and choose all the customized details that best fit your house later.

Prewiring (a Now Smart) Home in Dallas, TX
Prewiring (a Now Smart) Home in Dallas, TX

Getting your house prewired by professional installers means that your home has a wired base from which you can build the perfect whole home automation system, with lighting control, smart thermostats, CCTV security, whole home audio, and much more. It also means that any ugly wires will be neatly stowed away inside your walls or attic. Or, after prewiring your home, you can start small with a standalone automation item, like motorized window shades and then slowly add on or swap out more devices as your lifestyle needs vary and grow.

Don’t get left in the dust: Get in on this cutting edge technology now, with all these new developments, the smart home of your dreams is more affordable than ever.


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Photo credit: Time Magazine’s Tumblr, NestHonest Install


Honest Install Customer Spotlight: Scott Birnbaum

By: Michael Manouel Jr., Social Media

Scott Birnbaum, Alumnus of The University of Texas at Dallas and Valued Honest Install Customer, Makes The News

Scott Birnbaum, of Recycled Textiles Co.
Scott Birnbaum, of Recycled Textiles Co.

In a recent UTD profile entitled “Finding Value in the Trash of Others Fuels Alumnus’ Business”, Mr. Birnbaum’s recycling company, Reclaimed Textiles Co., is true to the article’s headline by salvaging unsold clothing donated to charities into a usable product that doesn’t get stuck in landfills or thrown away carelessly.

Reclaimed Textiles Co. facility
Reclaimed Textiles Co.

Called “Royal Rags,” the end product is a box of that same old clothing meticulously inspected, sorted, and cut into rags which are then sold to anyone needing to clean up a mess, but usually to companies in the painting, janitorial, and oil & gas industries.

Reclaimed Textiles box press production
Reclaimed Textiles Box Press Production

The Dallas-based manufacturing company recycles some four million pounds of “trash” any given month. Any collectible items that may have fallen through the cracks are packaged and sold on eBay in their 150,000 square foot facility. And in turn, through his company, Mr. Birnbaum is able to contribute back to charities and non-profit organizations throughout the nation.

Reclaimed Textiles Distribution Center finished goods
Reclaimed Textiles Distribution Center For Finished Goods

We are proud to call Mr. Birnbaum one of our clients. Honest Install has very much the same philosophy on green-recycling. We also have a program to divert old, unwanted electronics, which may be harmful to the environment if not disposed of properly, from landfills and garbage dumps. We would like to wish Mr. Birnbaum the very best in all his future endeavors!


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Photo credit: www.reclaimedtextiles.com


Motorized Shades Mania: Staying and Looking Cool

By: Michael Manouel, Jr., Social Media 

Some Smart Shades

As everyday objects become “smarter,” they become more connected (to the internet) and also, therefore, more connected to each other. Devices which once had been thought of as only manually-operated and stand-alone can now be effortlessly automated, meaning that controlling your home’s energy consumption, lighting, temperature, locks, and we can’t forget—motorized window shades—can all be managed in tandem with a click or a swipe of your finger.

Motorized Shades by Lutron: An Easy, Affordable One-Touch Solution
Motorized Shades by Lutron: An Easy, Affordable One-Touch Solution

Home automation is a burgeoning new industry, and we at Honest Install of D/FW are getting in on the ground floor of this affordable home technology. Motorized shades for windows not only save money on your electric bill, but also provide a level of convenience that only comes with a one-touch solution like with an app/tablet/universal remote control (URC) or native control system. Installed and programmed by an Honest technician, they can return your investment in just a short while. By also adding a few occupancy sensors, you could also save greatly on energy consumption, and set it so that when you walk into a room, your shades automatically rise (or descend if you had them in, say, a media room).

Motorized Media Room Shades by Lutron
Motorized Media Room Shades by Lutron

Motorized Shades: Money-Savers?

Some energy companies have begun to implement higher “peak-hour” charges for the times of day that electricity is most used on average, or in other words, attach larger fees to your bill in response to the highest average energy demand. So now more than ever, remote-controlled window shades can help offset some of these costs by “blacking out” all the windows to save on your air-conditioning bill during the hot North Texas summer.

Q Motion and Lutron are two top-shelf, affordable motorized blinds and home automation brands which our techs have extensive training on, and allow you to program or pre-set just about any automation option you could imagine. Every day the world is becoming more and more connected and integrated into digital technology; we see it in our workplaces, we see it in the street, and now we’re seeing it in our homes. So go green, install a pair of motorized shades in your Dallas, TX home today.

Honest Install Programming Expert Unboxing a Q Motion Motorized Window Shade Demo
Honest Install Programming Expert Unboxing a Q Motion Motorized Window Shade Demo

If you have any questions or would like to hear more from the Dallas/Fort Worth smart home experts at Honest Install, please call 972-470-3528 or visit our website at HonestInstall.com for more information.


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Photo credit: Lutron, Q Motion, Honest Install


Home Automation 101: Everything You Need To Know In 700 Words

By: Michael Manouel, Jr., Social Media

Home·Au·to·ma·tion — noun

Pertaining to the field of “domotics”—(a portmanteau of the Latin word “domus” for home and “informatics,” the study of computing technologies)

1.     The many objects in a house connected by a central control, e.g. an iPhone, iPad, android device, or touch screen remote.

This remote controls mostly everything electronic in the top floor of this customer's home.
The One Remote Solution: Automate Your Media, Shades, Lighting, Temperature, And More – Residence in Dallas, TX

Define Your Home For Yourself

While this is just one definition, some see it as the ultimate intersection of bleeding-edge technology and in-home integration. Others see it as comfort, safety, and ease in one swipe of a screen. And others still see it at as the breezy convenience of having an automatically-dimmed light lead your way to the bathroom in the middle of the night, or a heated bathroom scheduled five minutes before you wake up.

Home Automation by Honest Install
Control Your Entire Home With An iPad –Residence in Dallas, TX

The smart home—once the domain of the rich and famous—has now, by the efforts of companies like Nest, Honeywell, SONOS, Lutron, Q-Motion, & RTi, been made a populist reality. “Smart” is the latest buzzword in the technology industry, but the smart home is anything but pure hype. Whole home automation includes almost all aspects of a house, including:

  • Lighting control
  • Energy efficient climate control solutions
  • Fire protection
  • Motorized shades
  • Whole home audio
  • Security (CCTV cameras, alarms and smart locks)
  • HVAC
  • Complete mobile access to your home

These stand-alone automated devices have all become relatively affordable and need only be tied to one master device in the palm of your hand. This is where programming and automation come into play, as when properly engineered and installed by Dallas/Fort Worth professionals, your home could even send you an immediate message or email about events you might need to know about when you’re at work or away, such as water leaks or about an intruder—or even a photo of who might be sneaking home with your son or daughter after school! A connected home will even allow you to send back an email to turn on a washing machine when you’re miles away from your home. Or with full voice automation, you could unlock your front door using just a simple command. Remember, home automation not only saves money, but is also easier on the environment—a green home is an automated home.

Home Automation, Key To Cost-Cutting Green Sustainability

Do you have a vacation home or a second residence that you don’t live in year-round? Home automation can not only save you cash on the maintenance and utilities of your property, but also gives you the ability to remotely set the lights to random pattern turn on-and-off at designated times of the night so it looks like someone is home, so as to ward off potential break-ins. With whole home automation, you have an edge when you’re able to view every room of your vacation house from your laptop or phone hundreds of miles away.

Honest Install -- Media Room/Whole-Home Audio -- Frisco, TX
Media Room/Whole-Home Audio – Residence in Frisco, TX

So we know the electronic house is no whim or fancy of futurists either, as we all now have at least some pieces of the home automation puzzle in our living rooms, our media rooms, our bedrooms. Add these few pieces of a smart home you may have to the fact that, now, everyday the systems to control them are becoming less costly–so much so–that home automation installation is not as expensive as you might think. But installing a home automation system means finding way for all these disparate electrical devices to ‘talk’ to each other.

No Universal Automation Language; Set It To Speak What You’re Most Familiar With

To ‘play nice’ together, these home devices all need to speak a single language, such as a radio frequency (RF) or something as simple as your home Wi-fi network. Once connected to the internet or RF and programmed by a specialist, each and every light, TV, surround sound speaker, motorized shade, smoke detector, indoor temperature system, outdoor lighting, security feature & smart lock, and even so-called “domestic robot” in your Dallas, TX home can be easily manipulated, even remotely at a distance, by an app or a touch-screen interface. This is a brief description of home automation at its most basic, but there are endless possibilities for custom configuration and tailored programming. The smart home is not the way of the future; it is the present tense of home technology.


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Photo credit: Honest Install