April 10, 2019 4 min read

Guest content by Mark Jeisman - Business Development Manager, Schneider Electric.

Did you know that more than 90% of the information generated on the internet (or cloud) was done so in the last 2 years?

Key drivers behind these staggering statistics is our insatiable appetite for new on-line entertainment services such as Netflix, You Tube, Catch up TV, Spotify and Apple Music, which now accounts for over 80% of all digital content on the internet.

All of this is before we even consider the next digital chapter called the internet of things (IoT), which is evolving right before our very eyes, ears and fingertips. It will vastly affect how our homes work, how we work and live, and will revolutionise many areas of business and industry. Many smart ‘connected’ technology devices will link together to offer a raft of benefits in safety, entertainment, communications, convenience, security, automation, health and energy efficiency. The applications are vast.

At the forefront of this is artificial intelligence, or AI, where digital technology influences decision making in almost human like processes and is shaping up to be one of the biggest and most significant technology developments of our time. You may already have a level of AI right at home without knowing it, and sometimes they are yelled at ‘Hey Alexa’ or ‘Hey Google’.

We are at the tip of the iceberg in a global digital transformation where connectivity in our lives will become a pivotal foundation of modern living in the 21st century.

With this in mind, why is smart wiring in our homes still so important? Isn’t it all awesome Wi-Fi these days?

Osborne Park business Intelligent Home installs smart home systems in thousands of Perth homes each year, and Director, Brenton Morris explains, “When Wi-Fi was new and became very popular, many new home builders thought it was designed to take the place of actual smart wiring. On the surface Wi-Fi appears cheaper and simpler, however now years down the track consumers are realising Wi-Fi alone struggles to keep up with the demands of the evolving new home technologies, West Australia residential design and family usage trends”

This evolution includes fast NBN internet arriving to many of our homes, ultra-definition smart TVs, and music systems like Sonos hit the market along with on-line content services. Social media is now an addictive hub of news, photos, and video for billions across the globe and a new generation of gamers are also playing in real time using cutting edge immersive graphics and sound. Combine the explosion of CCTV and other smart connected systems and your home network has a battle on its hands connecting these very hungry technologies not only to the internet, but to each other.

Mr Morris adds “It’s not uncommon for the kids to stream different catch up TV shows on their Ipad’s, Dad is live streaming the AFL on his smartphone out in the garage and Mum is watching a Netflix drama in the family room. This is big data and when things don’t go smoothly, we all know the sense of frustration when the ill-fated buffering signal comes up or things move very slowly.”

In time he says this is only going to get worse as we add more and faster, better quality devices.

Backing this steep take up curve is Australian research firm Telsyte. As recently reported in The West Australian, Telsyte has forecast that the average amount of smart internet connected devices in our homes will increase from 17 in 2018 to 37 by 2022.

The solution to dealing with this according to Intelligent Home and other smart home integration professionals is to ensure both a high-quality Wi-Fi and a smart wiring system are specified.

A smart wiring system using Category 6 data cabling with a central hub not only supports enormous bandwidth, speed and stability for many connected devices in the home, but also has a multitude of other flexible uses such as HD video, audio and low voltage power transmission (POE).  It’s for this reason that high demand locations such as living and family rooms, home theatres, study areas, intercom stations, electrical boards and solar battery invertors are now being hardwired with data cabling to deal with lots of big and very new types of information that requires a solid connection.

To compliment this, a robust Wi-Fi network is recommended to provide optimum wireless coverage, cybersecurity and stability for mobile and small personal Wi-Fi devices.

It amazes me that we invest often hundreds or thousands of dollars on our favourite technology at home, yet rarely invest more than $100 on a home modem Wi-fi router that links it together and the world.

In a lot of cases these simply aren’t good enough for the modern West Australian home, and many specialists are now installing at slightly higher cost, commercial grade Wi-Fi systems to provide better wireless coverage, cybersecurity and stability across the home. These also help combat aspects such as interference which is becoming an increasing problem, and physical barriers like WA’s prominent brick and metal home construction methods which inhibits Wi-Fi range.

The massive uptake in smart home and personal connected devices will drive the need for your home networking infrastructure to be ready for now and the future.

Article originally published in The West Australian ‘New Homes’ January 12, 2019.

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