If you ask anyone to name their top favorite things about East Dallas, the neighborhood’s abundance of local businesses and restaurants is sure to be at the top of their list.
This week we had to privilege to sit down with our friend and fellow East Dallas resident Matt Stafford, owner and founder of Free My Music in Lakewood. Matt has a background in architecture and a deep love of music and we asked him to share some of the most popular current trends in home tech.
Voice, Voice, Voice — Alexa, Google and Apple Siri (HomeKit) are continuing to gain in popularity, with 98% of respondents saying they have positive experiences with voice. Moving beyond the standard “Google, what’s the weather?” and “Hey Alexa, Play Beyonce”, by incorporating additional smart home hardware, users can issue spoken commands to their lights, shades, temperature and complete entertainment systems. The recent addition of “Routines” in the Alexa puts true, multi-disciplinary automation in the hands of the end-user, and has been a very exciting development in the Smart Home world. What customers choose to do with this technology is really only limited by their imagination…and ultimately their budget!
Securing the Perimeter — Smart Doorbells from Ring and Nest, along with locks from Yale, August, Kwikset and Schlage give homeowners a sense of security and control for their front (and back/side/garage) doors. 2-way communication, alerts, theft deterrence and video recording are all benefits of these systems. If users require more security around their homes, they can integrate cameras from the same brand as their doorbell (ie. Nest/Ring) so they have a comprehensive security solution in one easy app. Installing inside smart cameras is fairly straightforward, but exterior cameras often require a professional to install/configure…and good wi-fi (see #4 below) is always a must.
Lighting the Way — In addition to music, smart lighting is becoming easier (and cheaper) to implement than ever before and can give users scene control, sunrise/sunset automation, voice activation and geo-fencing so they never come home to a dark home. Lutron has been the predominant innovator in this space for 20+ years and they have a product line that ranges from the affordable (Caseta), to the highly functional (RA2/Select) to the complex and full-featured (HomeWorks). Also, recent start-up company Brilliant just won awards at CES 2019 and offers a unique, affordable and elegant solution that’s worthy of consideration. Users agree that the sense of security, comfort and entertainment value that automated lighting offers is well worth the investment.
Wi-Fi of Champions — As our laptops, tablets, phones, TVs and smart devices consume more and more data and 4K video proliferates, a good solid data network and wi-fi has never been more important. For the best performance, homeowners will definitely want to move beyond the wi-fi built-in to their ATT/Spectrum routers. There are a myriad of consumer-friendly wi-fi solutions out there (eero, Google, Linksys, etc.) that offer multiple wi-fi “access points” for 2.4 and 5G networks and are fairly easy to set up. Features to look for in selecting an upgraded wi-fi solution: a high grade router, robust security capabilities, ability to hardwire access points w/Cat5/6, amount of simultaneous users supported and # of antennas (2x2 vs. 3x3). Those with slightly higher budgets (and less free time) can opt for a professionally-installed commercial-grade wi-fi solution by brands such as Luxul, Araknis and Ubiquity, which offer the ultimate in performance and reliability.
Let the Music Play — Last but certainly not least, at the end of the day most homeowners just want to kick-back and enjoy high-quality music with their friends and family. On the hardware side bluetooth speakers are certainly an option but users looking for a more robust “whole house” solution upgrade to wireless systems such as Sonos that offer connectivity to multiple users in multiple rooms. On the music content side, full-featured subscription services such as Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal allow users to enjoy the proverbial “any song, anywhere, anytime”, and provide a ton more value that simply streaming from Pandora, YouTube or Sirius XM — plus considerably better bit rate/sound quality. Also, with Sonos users can integrate high-quality portable speakers with a home’s built-in architectural speakers for amazing sound everywhere — party on Wayne!
Want to learn more about how you can add some of the latest tech trends to your home? Visit with Matt and his Free My Music team so they can show you all of this technology at their store, located in heart of Lakewood Shopping Center.