Smart Living FAQs | About Smart Living and its Usability

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We believe Smart Living improves the every day lives of our clients by creating solutions to the day to day niggles we all go through. Here we will discuss the philosophy behind Smart Living, the costs involved and how user friendly the entire solution is designed to be.

If you have any questions about Smart Living and want to find out more, please get in touch at or call 01738 566 566.

What is Smart Living?

How much does Smart Living cost?

Defining an exact cost of Smart Living can depend on a number of variables and therefore the cost varies from person to person depending on what elements they are looking for.

There are many factors that can affect the price such as the number of rooms, what systems you want to include, quality of components, where and when the project will take place, and so much more.

The simplest answer we can give would be to say that the level of investment for one of our systems can vary from £5000 to £50,000.

One example would be a 4-bedroom house with Smart Lighting, Smart Audio, Surround Sound in the lounge, some Smart Security around the perimeter of the property, Smart Heating Controls and the all-important cabling would be around £25,000.

John Ross Smart Living will work with you to find the best possible solution for your budget so we can all live smarter together.

What is a Smart Home?

Smart Living is our philosophy of using technology to make life easier.

A Smart Living system offers the freedom to play music throughout the house or isolated in individual rooms all from your mobile phone. It’s the ability to turn your heating on as you leave the office – or turn it down when the teenagers have been left home alone! Forgot to turn the bathroom light off? No problem, simply switch it off from your mobile device. From increased security to a heightened sense of comfort in the home, Smart Living provides solutions to everyday chores and worries that need never cross your mind again.

We like to think about it as imagining your home having its own brain that is dedicated to thinking about your needs and what would give you the best experience everyday. The benefits are endless and often different for everyone – but you will certainly benefit, without a doubt!

Do I need to buy the whole Smart Living System at once or can I do it in stages?

It is possible to stage your Smart Living System but it is important to keep in mind that certain parts of the system are essential and therefore need to be installed in the early stages of the project.

For instance, once a design concept has been agreed, it is vital that the cabling must be installed at the outset of your project, regardless of the project type. If the correct cables are not installed early on, some of the Smart Living system may not be possible without mess, expense and redecoration.

It is understandable that your budget during the build may not stretch to cover all aspects of your dream Smart Living System. With this in mind, we are always happy to adopt a planned approach so that the things that your priority systems are installed first, and anything that is lower down in the list can be fitted once your budget allows.

Will my Smart Home require to be replaced after a few years due to technological changes?

The honest answer is yes – some of it may. 

Technology changes swiftly and is constantly moving forward so what is leading edge today may not be in 5 years time.  Software is continually being updated and our systems are capable of being upgraded in this way with a fairly long-life expectancy. Products do wear out over time so will need replaced due to age but may also need replaced due to software becoming too advanced for them. 

There are two types of upgrades/replacements that may need to be considered – a little like a car – the normal wear and tear on an item and the fact that the item may not have the capability of running the most up to date software.

A good installer should advise their clients that some form of update or replacement will need to be considered after 5 years and probably before 10 years is up.  They should also recommend some form of maintenance option to ensure that your system is kept updated as and when required but also to be proactive with regards to replacements etc.

How much does maintenance cost on a Smart Living System?

This is a very good question. 

As with most things the answer is that it will vary depending on the system size, complexity etc.  In our experience it is simply based on the size of the installation and the level of initial investment – so can be anywhere from £100 per year up to many hundreds.

There are different levels of service depending on the client and system, which can vary from remote only support to a regular 3 monthly call to site to check the system.

And on a last note – you don’t need to have maintenance in place, this is entirely up to the you, but like everything peace of mind is less stressful!

What are the main solutions that make up a Smart Home?

Core to a Smart Home is the structured cabling, which is the backbone of the system, and the connectivity, which covers incoming internet and the internal network including wifi.

The main solutions that make up a good Smart Living system could include:

Cabling – the backbone of the system – no system can work without this

Connectivity – extremely important because all communications between devices, you and the outside world are carried by this part of the system

Lighting – Smart Lighting is key to having a great Smart Home

Audio – music in one, some or all rooms – have it where you want and when you want

Entertainment – TVs, Home Cinema, Surround Sound systems etc

Comfort – Blinds, curtains, heating etc

Security – cameras, door or gate entry, door locks, garage doors etc

Will a Smart Home investment increase the value of my property?

Any investment in a property is an investment regardless of what it’s for. Some people may spend £3000 on a kitchen and others may spend £50000.  A Smart Living system will not age like other parts of your house – so the really expensive kitchen that you buy now will lose its sparkle in 10 years time – but the Smart Living system will still be doing its thing regardless.

So – the honest answer to the question of “Will a Smart Home system increase the value of my property” is probably, but there are too many other factors to give a definitive yes or no.  What a Smart Living System will do is increase the desirability of your property and raise it above others around you in the same marketplace.

Would a Smart Living system be beneficial to someone who has a physical disability?

Yes, absolutely it would.  And not just physical but mental disabilities too. Relatives and friends of dementia sufferers greatly benefit from being able to keep an eye on the person from afar without intruding on their life.  There are many parts of a Smart Home that would be beneficial to anyone with a disability such as music, Video Doorbells, automatic door locks, external security cameras and many more.

Check out for some more information on a Smart System that is dedicated to helping people with disabilities and their friends and relatives.

How cost effective is a Smart Living system with the current energy crisis?

This is an interesting question and one that is highly emotive due to the spiralling costs of energy.  Although there is a certain level of investment required for a Smart Living system, this can be offset by some of the energy saving that will be experienced.

Smart Lighting systems can save energy by reducing the amount of time lights are on, and by reducing the level to which they are turned on. When you switch a light on in a conventional home, via a simple on/off switch, the light is either fully on or fully off.  When the same light is switched on by a Smart Lighting system it will never be fully on but will be operating at a lower level depending on the scene selected and even if turned on fully will typically only be on at 75%. 

;So even in its simplest form a Smart Lighting system, installed by an experienced Smart Living Company, will save you around 25% of the energy used by a conventional system.

Smart Living heating systems are another good source of energy savings as they will be working in the background, via the system, to optimise your home heating use and therefore your utility costs.  They do this in various ways, but the simplest form is when they detect that no one is home so will set back the heating and then bring it back up when you arrive home – or even before.

In addition, the combination of various Smart Home functions working together can fully optimise your energy usage. For example, if it is very sunny outside then the system may raise the blinds and open the curtains, switch off the heating, and allow the sun to warm the room.

Do you have a show room or test products that I can view the technology before potentially buying?

We have something better!  We have a fully functional Smart Home in Rural Angus which is available to rent as a holiday home or for a short visit to see how Smart Living actually works.

The house is fully equipped with:-

Smart Lighting – in every room

Smart Audio – we have music in almost every room as well as the patio and Hot Tub areas outside

Smart Security including CCTV, Smart Door Locks and Video Doorbell

Smart Home Cinema room with 8ft screen, High Definition Projector and 5.1 Surround Sound

Smart Curtains and Blind integration

Smart Heating

And we even have a pop-up TV.

And all the above is managed by Control4 technology – seamlessly, reliably and very simple to operate.  In fact we have now had over 30 different guest groups staying at the property in the last year and feedback has been incredibly positive with no issues and specifically very positive comments about the ease of use of the Smart Home technology installed.

Smart Living Usability

I’m not very technical – is Smart Living difficult to use?

Here are a few common beliefs about Smart Technology: –

  1. It’s hard to use
  2. It’s complicated
  3. I need a different app for every system
  4. I’m not technical enough to be able to work the various apps
  5. I need to use an app, my phone and a tablet to control everything
  6. Nothing is controlled by normal switches
  7. I will have lots of remote controls
  8. There will be lots of boxes around my house
  9. There will be lots of untidy cables
  10. I’ll have to update the system all the time

We at John Ross Smart Living are proud to say that for our systems, none of this is true!

We create Smart Living Systems that are easy to use. Their whole purpose is to make your life easier and give you more time to enjoy things.  We guarantee that with a John Ross Smart Living System, you will be able to operate every aspect with ease. Our clients can confirm this!

Our Smart Living System is all controllable under one app! We believe there is no need to learn multiple apps for your various appliances. We have one host base that controls all aspects of your expertly designed system.

We design our systems with the user in mind. We ensure our systems and app are user friendly even for the biggest technophobes! Remember you are the homeowner, we don’t expect you to also be the engineer!

With a good Smart Living installation, all the components will be located in a central “comms” cupboard or area and housed in a cabinet or rack.  There will be no ugly boxes dotted around the house. All the cables will be neatly installed out of sight and terminate back at the comms cupboard for ease of access and connection to the rack or cabinet. 

N.B you should ensure that your cable installer labels all the cables and produces a cable schedule showing every cable with type, point of origin, point of termination and use for easy reference.

A good Smart Living system will have updates applied by the Smart Living Installer as and when available for the first year at least.  After that we strongly recommend entering into a maintenance plan with the installation company for them to update and maintain the system for your own ease and peace of mind.

Is there one system that controls all of my Smart Living Solutions or will I need to learn to use more than one app?

John Ross Smart Living Systems are controllable under ONE app.

However, for simplicity and ease of use we still include some manual operatives. For example, some light switches will still remain in places where they make sense, and these can also be utilised to control your Smart Blinds or Smart Curtains. Your entire television system will be controllable via one remote control.

In the Home Cinema Room you will have a nice touchscreen remote control that will work the Projector, Screen, Lights and Blinds all automatically, so a single button press can switch everything on and start your favourite movie playing.  Walk into the en-suite in the early evening and the lights will be at the perfect level and your favourite music tracks will play softly in the background.  So don’t be worried if your mobile battery has died – that doesn’t mean you have no control of your home!

Control4 Smart Home Cost

How much does Control4 cost and is Control4 worth it?

There are many variables that may impact the cost of your Control4 system. It is therefore important to work with your John Ross Smart Living designer and technician to give you the best price for the solution you are looking for.

Control4 is a global leading Smart Living system manufacturer and integrator. As with all things, there are other options to consider that deliver similar experiences and demand varying levels of investment. 

Currently Control4 are the leaders in the Smart Living industry for a few reasons but mainly due to their large range of self-developed products and their continual development of the system to ensure that it integrates with a vast range of third-party products. 

So if you already have some Smart Living gadgets or tech in your house, there is a good chance that these will integrate with Control4 and therefore become part of the overall system rather than separate products that all require their own app and have no link to any other gadgets in your house.

There are many factors that affect the price of a Control4 system, such as the number of rooms, what systems you want to include, quality of components, where and when the project takes place and more.

The simplest answer we can give to the original question would be to say that the level of investment for a Control4 system can be as little as £1,500 up to many tens of thousands. One example would be a 4-bedroom house with Smart Lighting, Smart Audio, Surround Sound in the lounge, some Smart Security around the perimeter of the property, Smart Heating Controls and the all-important cabling would be around £25,000.

We do endorse Control4 as a leading Smart Living provider due to the variety in their range, quality of goods and their ever developing knowledge and research base.

Why do we recommend Control4 over other solutions?

We use Control4 over other Smart Living manufacturers and integrators because we consider them to be the best solution for our clients at this time – but if this changes then we will let you know!

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