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Enclosures for home automation

“Alexa, isn’t it cool that the Amazon Echo and OKW’s award-winning SYNERGY enclosures look quite similar?” Pure coincidence – but it made us chuckle. And it proves that great minds think alike.

Amazon Echo and OKW’s SYNERGY were developed completely independently. Two groups of engineers thousands of miles apart decided that silver cylinders were the aesthetic pinnacle for smart home devices.

Our engineers went a few stages better by unveiling three other shapes for SYNERGY at launch (square, rectangular, oval) but we digress. Here are the important takeaways:

  • aesthetics and build quality are absolutely crucial to the success of any home automation system
  • ergonomics are important because even a voice-activated device will be handled at some point
  • all fixings should be concealed because it’s smarter and more secure
  • think beyond one unit – you may need a whole host of compatible enclosures for your solution.

Why Do Aesthetics Matter So Much?

As an expert designer you know the awesome potential that home automation has to offer. After all, you’re the one who’s helping to create this brave new world. But until only a few years ago the hi-tech automated home was still a pipe dream for the average Joe. Smart home technology was a luxury for those with deeper pockets. Average Joe could make do with getting up from the sofa and switching on the light himself.

Now smart home technology is much more affordable. Nearly a quarter of all US homes now have a smart speaker. Amazon Alexa, Google Home and the ubiquitous smart phone have become the gateways to the futuristic home automation dream.

Average Joe craves the James Bond coolness that smart home technology can bestow…transforming his humble abode into a techno-lair that exudes that diamond-collared-Persian-cat/“I’ve been expecting you…” vibe.

So the technology at the heart of this fantasy had better look stunning. Not just good, but utterly desirable. If you’re planning on taking the home automation world by storm, don’t skimp on anything – least of all the thing that everyone sees first: the enclosures.

That is why our two of our home automation enclosures – SYNERGY and SMART-TERMINAL – are both manufactured from high-grade extruded aluminium which is then blasted with glass beads to create a gorgeous lustre.
To paraphrase Bill Shankly, aesthetics are not just a matter of life and death for any home automation device…they’re more important than that.

But beautiful enclosures do not have to be aluminium. High grade plastics are also excellent – especially glossy ASA. See our full range of ASA and ABS electronics housings here.

Why Are Ergonomics So Important?

Given the burgeoning popularity of smart speakers, it is easy to associate home automation primarily with voice search. But smart home products can take on many forms: lighting with motion detectors…smart music systems…fully integrated home theatre…intelligent doorbells…smart home security with CCTV and access control. And all this will need to be programmed. Unless you’re using a smart phone, that means touchscreen panels or even buttons.

So all these intelligent devices must to do much more than simply look expensive…they must feel luxurious too.

EVOTEC designer enclosures feature soft contours so they sit comfortably in the hand, as well as on desks or table tops. And they can be wall mounted too.

Show Me The Technology…Not The Fixings

This comes back to aesthetics but there’s more to it than that. Yes, appearance is a critical reason for hiding away all the screws but there are other considerations too. Security also plays a part. Concealing the fixing screws helps to discourage tampering.

SYNERGY features a completely new pillar-based construction method so the screws are on the base of the enclosure. You won’t see them until you turn the enclosure upside down – and even then you still won’t see them because they’ll be hidden under non-slip rubber feet. And if you do take off the feet to get at them, you’ll discover the screws are of the anti-tamper Torx variety.

SMART-TERMINAL central control units conceal their fixing screws in deeply recessed side panels that also help to protect any connectors. These panels also make the unit comfortable to hold when you are operating the touchscreen in the top recess.

NET-BOX wall-mounted enclosures for control units go a stage further – hiding not just the fixing screws (there are none visible on the front) but also the connectors. Any interfaces are concealed beneath a clip-on front cover that can be removed quickly and easily for swift access.

Think Beyond One Unit…

People just starting out in home automation may think a smart speaker is all they need. But they will soon discover that this technology can be rather addictive…
Why stop at automating your internet experience and entertainments when you can control your lights, heating and security as well? This brings us back to the cool vibe again: all this automation technology has to work seamlessly to provide a holistic solution.

It must all fit together visually as well as functionally. You’ve won’t achieve that luxury look if everything appears thrown together in a piecemeal fashion. So all the enclosures that house your technology must talk to each other aesthetically as well as electronically.

That is why our new PROTEC square control enclosures were launched in three versions right from day one:

  • Version I with a deep recess for connectors, interfaces, switches and cables
  • Version II with a flush-fit snap-on cover to hide the recess
  • Version III with a deep cover that provides extra space and also doubles as a desk stand.

PROTEC will look at home on any horizontal or vertical surface – meaning that you can use them throughout the home.

It is also why SYNERGY was launched in the aforementioned four shapes…and why EVOTEC was designed to be so versatile…and why all our enclosures are designed to be discrete. They must enhance the electronics they house, not detract from them.

SYNERGY enclosures for home automation

Get Expert Advice On Enclosures

Contact OKW – the electronic enclosures specialist – for expert technical advice on the best housings for your PCBs and electronic components.

Contact our team and discover how easy it is to specify the perfect enclosures for your electronics.