#4 How important is it good planning in the process of implementation of the smart home projects?

Mar 12, 2020





If you are thinking about the implementation of the smart home project, I advised you to read this blog. I have ten years of experience with smart homes projects. Mostly, I did the projects based on the following systems and solutions:

  1. Vimar By-me
  2. HIQ
  3. KNX

So, with a lot of references and successful projects, I will allow myself to consult you and hope that you will benefit from my pieces of advice.

Please, remember the role of the investor and the knowledge in the field of the smart home of the designer it is vital to have a successful smart home project!

To help you to have a successful smart home project, I advised you to follow my simple steps.


Make it simple to get extraordinary results.

Let me explain to you the roles in the process.

The investor is the person who wants a new smart home.

The designer is the employee of the electrical designer company in charge of preparing an electrical drawing for the power supply of the home, electrical installations, and smart home solution.

The producer is the company in charge of smart home equipment production.

The (certified) distributor is the company with the certificate to sell equipment and to advise in the designing phase. At the same time, it can also have the employee in charge of installation the smart home project after successfully finished training.

The (certified) installer is the company in charge of installing smart home projects after successfully finished training.

The simple but critical steps are:

  1. The investor knows and has defined project requirements.
  2. The investor has chosen the (electrical) designer with good knowledge of the smart home solutions.
  3. The designer should review the investor’s requirements and have proposed different options.
  4. The investor has selected the producer (brand) of the smart home equipment.
  5. The designer prepares the project, drawing, and consults with the certified distributor or installer of the chosen smart home equipment producer (brand).
  6. The investor has defined drawings and bill of quantities for a smart home.
  7. The drawings include precise electrical installations of power supply and smart home installations.
  8. The investors have chosen:
    1. One electrical company in charge of electrical installations and integration of smart home.
    2. Separates companies, one in charge of electrical installations and the other in charge of smart home integration.

As simple as that. Just a few steps that need to be followed, and it will inevitably result in successfully finished projects. There is no need to have complications and extended smart home implementation. I mean, not caused by the delay of smart home solution.


GIGO effect

SmartWay is the installer of Vimar By-me system, HIQ and KNX system. We are not certified distributors in Croatia, but we can sell the smart home equipment that we bought from certified distributors.

In my opinion, engineers who prepare the drawings integrating those projects should be obligated to consult with certified installers, like we are, and they should not deliver the drawings to the investor without the approval of the company like us.

Otherwise, we can describe this as a simple GIGO process. Garbage IN, garbage OUT. I am maybe a little too harsh, but it is the truth!

I will share with you some of our experience from the sites that we have experienced it. I categorized them in two groups.

First is the situation that we had to face the problems that resulted in the lack of communication between investor – designer – certified distributor – electrical installer.

The second group is all about the producer of the smart home system and their development phase.


Issues with electrical installations company

We had a few projects when we were asked to come in the final phase of the integration of a smart home project. Let me tell you in short, the worst-case scenario for us!

The most significant advantage is that we are also an electrical company and that we don’t just offer smart home integration.

On the project near Samobor we had to do a reinstallation of all electrical installations and equipment. The equipment that was already there was from different production periods, some even from the first production of the company Vimar (more than five years old)!

On one of the smart home projects in Zagreb, we had to do some big changes in electrical installations, since the electrical installation company did not follow drawings and since they had experience in alarm systems, they connected all smart home installations in loop topology. Furthermore, thermostats for the bathrooms were on the hallways, electric boards totally unorganized and full of cables so that there were also a lot of system disturbances, bus cable that was used was not specified in the drawings, etc. It is better that I don’t share the pictures with you!

In the next project on island Brač, we experienced a totally over-dimensioned system. Anyone with the knowledge of the used systems knows the underlying architecture and constraints of the system. Each room had its own FM radio module, even though one was enough for the whole system. Each room had its individual two IR receivers. Even it is clear that one room can have one and that you cannot have more channels than that you have on the IR remote control. On the other side, all outdoor lights were on the smart home system, but not also the indoor system what is in the whole budget, just a small percentage.

These are just three examples that I have shared with you!

Additionally, it is especially funny that the first and third mentioned projects are the projects from the same certified distributor.

It is like a pattern! How sad! I am sometimes really disappointed how some investors want something different, they are willing to pay for this, and then they face situations like that!

But anyway, I know that the universe handles this, and everyone will get one day what they give! Like a boomerang!

So, in conclusion, you can see on the examples that I have presented how challenging one smart home project can be if the previously submitted steps are not followed.


Issues with the producer of the equipment

As I have already mentioned, we have finished the training for the smart home systems of some producers. It is sometimes challenging for us to be updated with all the latest equipment when now and then they produce some new equipment. Then we also face problems with updating the system with new software versions while integrating new devices. One small problem while integrating the system can result in a malfunction of the whole system. Sometimes we even need to contact the technical support to tell us how to enter the device since the system is different than the ordinary one.

We had also experience with finding the problems in mobile applications since the application did not work correctly on our customer smartphone. We contacted the developer to fix the bugs.

In general, there is still a lot of challenges with the producers and their equipment.


Is it worth to be the installer of smart home projects?

All in all, we invest a lot of energy, time, and patience to put the system into the work.

And then, in the end, we face the discussion if our service is worth this much. Why are we charging it so? Or, why while updating the system our offer is so much?

Or other sets of questions that I am wondering. What kind of knowledge do I need to have to integrate the system? What to do with that sufficient knowledge after the project?

It is just like the example of the story of Picasso that we shared on our social media. Because we had to do a lot of learning, a lot of situations that we faced on previous projects, etc. to have guts to provide those services.

Sometimes, I am still surprised when we have a new project on how enthusiastic we are and how easily we forget those things that we were facing on some projects.

So, in the end – Is it worth?

I think it can be compared to having kids. It is challenging, but it the end, the joy that you receive from them is worth it!

It is not worth it if you look from the money side. If you look at from the site that you have mastered it, and you have a satisfied customer, then it is worth it!


Petra Mesarić, PhD

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