Having a smart TV or a smart Blu-ray player is all well and good, but what if you could build yourself a smart house? Push, from the electrical geniuses at Schneider Electric, wants to take control of all of your fittings, fixtures and home appliances -- everything from your home theatre to your lighting and air conditioning -- and let you administer them all from your tablet or smartphone.
What Does It Do?
Push is a home automation system. It'll control your lights, your air conditioning, your home entertainment, home security and even your pool pump and garden irrigation if you have it installed. It's a serious, full-on home automation system that hooks into as many electrical and electronic components of your home as it can, too; the extent of its integration is really only limited by the capacity of your imagination (and your mortgage).
Everything on Push runs through an app for smartphone or tablet. The app's interface is entirely customisable and can be tailored to your needs or wants, and will reflect the features you're actually using the system for -- no blanked-out buttons here. Using Push within your home, it makes sense to have a dedicated tablet like an iPad or Samsung Galaxy Tab S, and whether you're an iOS or Android house there's a suitable setup.
To use Push, all you have to do is tap away on that tablet or phone. Your house can be divided into zones, and different zones can be controlled independently; that means lighting and music and other features can be used across the entire house or by individual users in different areas. It takes some getting used to, though -- you'll need to remember not to walk to the switch to turn on your living room's lights.
How Can You Get It?
By its nature, the Push system requires a licensed electrician to install the central control box, as well as run any additional networking or electrical cable. The extent to which you can use the home automation of Push depends on a few things like the existing wiring within your house, as well as the actual fittings -- your lighting needs to be compatible with dimming, for example, which excludes some fluorescents.
It makes sense that a brand new house or serious renovation can be more easily set up with Push, but the system can be adapted to suit your existing house or apartment just the same. Since the majority of Push's fixtures control uses existing electrical wiring within your house, not too many drastic changes are required. Similarly, many home entertainment devices these days have Wi-Fi support, Push's IP automation system can handle that.
If you're going to buy a Push system, it makes sense to buy home entertainment equipment A great Wi-Fi router is also a smart purchase, too -- something completely overpowered and top of the line like the Netgear Nighthawk X6, Linksys WRT-1900AC or D-Link Viper is a good idea. Similarly, the Push system can integrate with your Spotify or other streaming media accounts.
Is It Any Good?
Yes. It really is. Part of the beauty of Push is the fact that someone else -- a licensed electrician and installer that knows what they're doing and has done it plenty of times before -- sets it up for you. There's no chance of you getting something wrong along the way and not being able to use a crucial element of your home automation system in the future. That peace of mind will pay dividends in the future. You'll pay for the privilege, of course, since a Push installation will cost you at least a few thousand dollars.
It's upgradeable, too. Because you can keep in touch with your installer, a Push system can evolve with your home as you add new home entertainment equipment, install air conditioning within your house, or change to a smart lighting system like LIFX. Part of the problem I have with the idea of a home automation system is that it's stuck with what you originally installed, and Push looks to solve that potential issue.
The behind-the-scenes is meant to be nearly seamless, too, and that helps -- nine out of 10 times a new Samsung TV will work with Push just like your old Samsung, and because Push is connected to the 'net your installer can make minor changes if required and upload them remotely. If there's any serious work that needs to be done to the setup, you'll have to arrange a call-out with your installer, though, and that'll probably involve an additional cost.