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New Home Technology

Today's homes are more connected than ever

March 14, 2013
The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

As Americans continue to find new ways to utilize technology at home for work and play, homeowners are placing more priority on their home's ability to support their tech-savvy lifestyle.

Whether you're building a new home, buying, or just renovating your current abode, here are some worthwhile considerations for creating a tech-friendly environment.

Home Networking

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When building or renovating a home, consider your computer network ahead of time. Knowing what types of Internet and television services are available in your area - or services that may be available soon - will allow you to incorporate your home networking needs into the construction process.

Install Ethernet wiring and coaxial cables before hanging the drywall to avoid unattractive cable bundles running along your floors; place corresponding wall jacks in designated areas for televisions and computers to reduce the amount of exposed wiring. If renovating, look for opportunities to install hidden network lines and routers.

When looking at existing homes, let your real estate agent know if this is an important feature to you.

A strong wireless signal throughout the house will increase the effectiveness of laptops, tablets and smartphones. Ask your builder to install inconspicuous Wi-Fi antennas in strategic locations. This will also give you the option of using a Wi-Fi enabled printer, allowing capable devices to print from anywhere in the home.

Wall Mounts

Flat screen televisions offer a great viewing experience in a sleek package. Create a low-profile presence by installing wall mounts.

In new homes, tell your builder where televisions will be mounted, in case adjustments or reinforcements need to be considered when placing wall studs. Also, plan ahead for surround-sound systems, which can be installed inside of walls.

For existing homes, use a stud-finder tool to locate wall studs. If the wall studs are not ideally located, do your homework before mounting directly to drywall. If you're not confident in this endeavor, get a professional to install the wall mounts for you. The price of installation will be far less than replacing a television that just crashed to the floor, taking a huge chunk of your wall with it.

Smart Home Security

Gone are the days of trusting someone to check your mail or housesit while you're vacationing in Cozumel. Consider wireless cameras that can record directly to your computer, or a remote server.

With the right setup, you can access security cameras from anywhere in the world, using the Internet or smartphone apps. Furthermore, homeowners today can utilize apps and/or Internet access to control their home's thermostat, lighting and other features to make the house appear occupied while they're lounging on a beach hundreds of miles away.

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