On any given day, the speakers in your living room, kitchen, patio and other areas are busy playing beautiful music. If you’ve had a whole-house music system installed, you can cue the tunes with a quick tap of a button on your smartphone or tablet, and hear your favorite songs throughout your entire home. While music delivery will always be a speaker’s core capability, they can serve many other useful purposes. All it takes is a few extra pieces of hardware and programming of software, and your home’s loudspeakers can perform duties above and beyond audio entertainment.
1. Make your empty house sound occupied. It’s a common practice among custom electronics professionals to program the lights and motorized shading to adjust randomly to give your vacant house the appearance of someone living there. Add audio to the effect by having the stereo system turn on for 30 minutes or so at random intervals during the day. It works best if you live in a neighborhood of tightly cloistered homes.
2. Wake you up in the morning. Instead of waking to blaring alarm every morning, the speakers in your bedroom (and your kids’ bedrooms) can start your day with whatever music you like, and bring up the volume gradually (or blare it if you’re a heavy sleeper). You’ll be able to “hit the snooze” by touching a button on a remote control, keypad or your iPad.
3. Remind you of important events. Every home automation system includes some type of electronic scheduling feature. It’s mainly used to signal the lights, motorized draperies, and thermostats when it’s time to adjust, like for bedtime. But you can also use the scheduler to remind you of important and not so important events, like trash day, your anniversary or the dog’s vet appointment.
4. Alert you to visitors. Depending on how loudly you like to listen to your music, you may not be able to hear the doorbell ring. Rigged up by a CE pro, the speakers can automatically mute and broadcast the ring of the doorbell.
5. Keep an eye on the kids. In the same fashion that the speakers broadcast the sound of the doorbell, they can also alert you to other things happening around the house. Especially helpful for parents of young children, the speakers can play a prerecorded announcement that a child has left his/her bedroom, opening the patio door, or walked into the sauna, for example.