Smart Home, Connected Home with Tony Pratte


There seems to be an app for everything right now! 

Could you imagine downloading an app for your house? Or even a whole bunch of apps? Well, that is what you need to do if you have a smart home!

But how do you go about connecting everything in this time when technology is constantly moving and things keep on changing?  

I am Marla, the Green Home Coach! Today, I am happy to have my co-host and resident expert, Tony Pratte from The Sound Room, joining me to have an in-depth conversation about the latest technological developments for smart homes. 

In this episode, Tony and I talk about the intersection between home and tech, and we discuss the digital revolution that we are going through right now. Tony sheds some light on the technology you need for your smart home and explains how to connect and control everything to make your home easier to live in and more comfortable than ever before. We also offer some great tips for having a smarter and more connected home.

Things are moving fast

Technology is moving so fast right now we can barely keep up! Between the 1960s and the 1910s, technology did not change much. Now, the average homeowner seems to feel like a deer in headlights with all the technological changes happening!

A proprietary system

Our internet and cable provider also provides systems for security and home automation. So in my home, we have a proprietary app for security and our home automation system. Having a proprietary system means that the provider is the only one who can work on it.

Adding a system

If you already have a proprietary system and would like to add another DIY system, you will need to have a separate system for that. You will also have to have different apps for each system.

Thermostats and HVAC warranties

I have to use the thermostat supplied by my service provider, even though I liked the one I had before, better. If I have a problem with the thermostat and bring in an outside party to change it, it would result in the warranty on my HVAC system being voided immediately.

Key entry points 

There are key entry points for smart homes. The HVAC system is one key entry point, and security is another. 

Environmental control

Environmental control takes care of your home infrastructure. That includes your security, HVAC system, and door lock.  


The entertainment side controls the audio and video in your home. It can also control the home security side.

Security cameras 

Both the environmental controls and the entertainment controls can control security cameras.


The environmental side might handle some small light audio, but it will not cope with video. 

A digital revolution

We are now experiencing a digital revolution known as the Fourth Revolution. Although it is a technological and digital revolution, it is how our lives are evolving. It is no different from the Industrial Revolution in the late 1800s and early 1900s. 

Science fiction

Our current technology is like science fiction. Tony points out that science fiction is rooted in what is to come in terms of technology. 

Affordable technology

Technology is expensive initially. But as it advances, people find ways to make it more accessible and affordable.

Smart homes

Smart homes have individual components that can be controlled remotely by a third-party device, like an app on a smart device or with voice control. The idea behind smart homes is to make our lives more convenient and comfortable and save time and energy.

Connected homes

In a connected home, everything is connected to the internet. All the items in the home are also connected via the same app or third-party device. A connected home absorbs and transmits data by working through the internet. 


In a connected home, the appliances transmit data to the manufacturers to inform them when parts start to fail. That makes home maintenance easier and allows the appliances to last longer.

Setting scenes

In connected homes, you can set scenes. For example, if you set up a “good morning” scene and turn it on by pushing a single button, the shades will go up, the door will unlock, the security system will disarm, the coffee pot will start making coffee, and music and the TV will switch on. 

Systems and apps

You can have several systems within a single app. You can also have a few single items, like voice-controlled Delta Faucets, that do not reside inside that app but can be tied into the overall system and controlled with a third-party voice-controlled trigger.

Crossing systems

Alexa and Google are the primary platforms for voice control. At The Sound Room , they also have more basic environmental systems that will operate well with Alexa and Google. The Sound Room provides a more custom DIY initial install experience and support.

A growing awareness

There is a growing awareness of the possible impact of having wifi-based electronics in our homes or on our bodies. 

Crowded homes

The term crowded home was coined because people’s homes are so crowded with technology right now. 


In the future, every electric item in our homes will be on wifi, so we will need the proper home infrastructure to support those devices.

A hard-wired data jack 

Having a hard-wired data jack on your smart TV will ensure that you have a continuous stream of the internet going to the TV, regardless of the number of people using the wifi in your home.


The lighting in smart homes can be controlled remotely by a third-party device. Most lighting controls involve replacing the switches, not the light-bulbs. Lighting is more complicated, especially when it comes to dimmers and LED light-bulbs.   


When remodeling a home, if you would like to have someone like Tony install a DIY home-control system, rather than having a professional system installed, the people living in the home need to be smart and experienced enough to manage and support their items and equipment. 


CEDIA is an association to help people find integrator companies, like The Sound Room, in their cities. They handle all the accreditations and certifications and put on an annual show for custom electronics installation companies.

Three tips

Three tips for having a smarter and more connected home:

  1. Put in the best wifi system that your budget and home can handle. (This is vital because it is the backbone of a smart home.)
  2. Get a video doorbell.
  3. Find one item that would improve your life, like smart light-bulbs, a Sonos music system, or a learning thermostat, install it, and test-drive it.