Getting Started with Home Automation

To some people with disabilities, home automation is a brave new world with endless opportunities for independence and control over their environment. For others, it’s overwhelming with the vast amount of products to choose from, and everything that comes with it – how to use it, install it, integrate them.

Personally, I’m a bit from both columns. I firmly believe it is the way of the future, and while I do have some home automation or environmental control units (ECU’s) myself, it’s knowing where to start that’s confusing. So today we break it down into 5 steps it takes to start your journey into the world of home automation:

  1. First up, consider what are your main needs and priorities when it comes to home automation. Try and list in order of priority. Things like: safely entering/exiting property, turning lights on, controlling TV/music, temperature control.
  2. Think about the assistive technology (AT) you currently use and the systems you currently use to carry out tasks. For instance, you may only use Apple/Mac operating systems and may want any new automation to sync with what’s existing. That being said, there are ways to get different systems to ‘talk’ to each other but thinking about compatibility first may help create a ‘path of least resistance’.
  3. Talk to others in a similar situation or with a similar disability about what they use and how they’ve problem-solved how to integrate their system. There are some great online or social media peer support groups to discuss such as Chatterbox Assistive Technology Chat. Remembering that everyone’s situation is different so you may want to speak to someone who can individually assess you at home.
  4. The next step is to have a comprehensive assessment by a therapist who knows their stuff about AT. Ideally have someone come out to your house and look at the influencing environmental factors to create a home automation plan. Trust me, it will save a whole lot of confusion and money in the long run! You can make an appointment through the Independent Living Centre to book a personalized assessment.
  5. For the person who wants to go it alone and give it a try without investing too much – I’d recommend starting off with a low cost investment like an automated light globe that could be synced with a mobile device app. Some examples are a Phillips Hue or LIFX. If it is something you like using, then perhaps revisit previous points to get your own personalized home automation plan.

Good luck with taking your steps into the world of Home Automation. Any questions, feel free to discuss with the AT Chat team on atchat@ilc.com.au or join AT Chat on Facebook here. 

Below are some more resources that you may find helpful:

2 Responses

  1. Mary-Anne says:

    I have some home automation and was greatly assisted by the input and advice I received from Lauren at ILC. She visited my place several times and answered endless questions. I have now been using the home automation for about 18 months which has given me a good idea of what I am comfortable with and if given more money how I would expand the system and what I would not bother with. I think it is important to carefully consider what you really need, what is doable in an existing home (unless you have unlimited funds) and what you think you will use the most.

    • Gail Stacey says:

      Hi Mary-Anne, thank you for your comment and pleased to hear your contact with us and Lauren was so helpful. Re-reading your comment has encouraged me to reply to you as we had our first ‘live’ AT Chat ‘Tech Tuesday’ on Facebook today. You can find information about AT Chat here:https://ilc.com.au/at_chat/ . If you are a Facebook user you may like to check them out here https://www.facebook.com/atchatwithus/ including joining their closed group ‘Chatterbox – Assistive Technology Chat where members seek and share their knowledge around AT.

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