Control4 Smart Home Professionals have a passion for technology and beautiful home esthetics, as you’d quickly find out after just a few minutes talking to Andrew Woods. Andrew has been in the technology industry for a long time, and his talent and knowledge for home automation spans beyond his technical knowledge; he understands the importance of both how a home looks as well as how it functions.
We asked this Control4 Certified Dealer & Programmer about his passion for technology, how he approaches the customer experience side of home automation, and his latest project – a District II Budapest villa.
What got you interested in becoming a home automation expert?
I was an electrician and a DJ in the UK before moving to Canada from England. I’ve always been an audio person. I’ve always loved music, and it fascinated me that you could reproduce the sounds of a live concert on a sound system. I’ve constantly had extreme sound systems, and I was always trying to think of what I could do next to make it better. Since my first business in Canada was in access control and security, networking and home automation were a natural progression for me. I have been working with Control4 since the beginning (over a decade ago). When I found out they were bringing the technology to Hungary, I wanted to be on the forefront and have the opportunity to live and work in this beautiful city of Budapest.
What are the benefits of working with a smart home professional for design professionals?
Designers like working with me because they know I’m not going to complicate their client’s lives, I’m not going to put technology in places that will take away from the beauty of the home, and I can offer solutions to the designer to compliment their work. The true character of any company comes not when they are trying to sell a product, but when they are trying to solve a problem. How fast I respond, how fast I fix it, and how competently I fix it are what’s most important. And I believe that you can’t just be good at that—you have to be great at it. Designers can trust that I want their customer to be happy and I will always put my best foot forward for both new and existing customers.
How do you approach a project to make sure the client is satisfied with the results?
I listen a lot in the initial meeting, I do an interview, and I always ask people what technologies they’ve had in the past, what they like/disliked about those systems, and what technologies they have heard about that they would like to have in their home. I never want to create a system that they won’t be happy with, and I’ve learned through experience that customers don’t want complicated systems. So I listen and then think about what solutions would solve their problems and what they are looking for. For example, some of my clients are older, and they want something that is simple and easy to use. The Control4 system is very intuitive for most people.
What advice do you have for your homeowners or for designers/architects integrating technology into their designs?
What I see designers and homeowners struggle with the most is that they equate smart devices with a smart home. These piecemeal, DIY devices are not very reliable nor are they often integratable. That can cause frustration because they are not able to perform all the functions that a homeowner may want. Start thinking about technology as an integrated solution rather than just a device. For example, if someone just gets a smart doorbell or gate bell, you can’t have it connect with anything. All it can do is ring to your smartphone. However, if it is properly integrated into a smart home platform like Control4 and hardwired by a professional, then it’s not stressed with bandwidth and can ring on the audio system and video can pop up on the TVs and the touch screens as well as your phone. The homeowner can also respond to it via video or even open the gate/ door all from one interface or app. People want a quality experience in all aspects of their lives and that includes technology. Think of technology as a quality-enhancing solution for the home experience, and you’ll really start impressing clients.
What Control4 project are you currently working on here in Budapest?
I’ve spent the last year designing the smart tech and AV for a new-build villa in the Buda Hills. Working with the architects and other designers, the aim was to build a modern villa and create the optimum smart home for easy living, both inside and out. Not only did I create the design for the tech, but I am also doing the installation and programming on-site. We start tomorrow, so stay tuned for future updates and follow along with the build!