Archive for 'home automation miami'

Home Automation Ideas

home-automation-miamiThere are normally so many options available when it comes to choosing a place to start developing home automation system in Miami. In most cases, it becomes challenging to come up with the best option. The following are some of the ideas to make things easier and less intimidating.
1. Products- The home automation  process should be done depending on the budget. In most cases, people start with products that are easy to install and relatively cheap once they are comfortable with the technology they can keep improving gradually. It is important to buy only products that can be used.

2. Compatibility– Not all the products in the market are compatible. It is necessary to ensure that the products bought are compatible. Automation is an evolving field therefore before purchasing them, there is a need for critical analysis of the products compatibility in the present and future. It is important to choose a product that can allow expansion instead of replacement.

3. Start simple-There are some basic products that must be bought for the process of automation to continue for instance lighting. The products can be assembled to form a system, or the other option is to buy a starter kit. The starter kits include light switches and remote control. It is important to start out with lighting products like switches and dimmers. Thereafter other improvements can be made.

4. Cost- it is important to develop an automation home system for your home that is affordable. This is will ensure that the cost of maintenance is affordable in case of breakdown.

5. Integrator– This is an individual that develop the system. When looking for integrators it is important to assess past completed jobs. This will ensure that an experienced personnel builds a quality home automation system.

In conclusion, coming up with a home automation system in Miami is not as complicated as most people think. These ideas can be helpful to get started.

 

Call Seagull Electronic today for a FREE in-home home theater installation quote (561) 624-0220.

 

 

Homeowners Can Use: Smart Irrigation Using Home Automation

Seagull0404When it comes to automated home electronics, residents who are on the fence and not yet committed to the technology tend to look for that “one thing” that tips the scales for them, where the notion of a smart home goes from an idle curiosity to something that provides a real, tangible and attractive benefit to something specific in their life.

For some people it’s energy savings; for others it’s as simple as being able to enjoy their music and video anywhere in the home. Still others are enamored with the security aspects of home automation. But if none of that floats your boat, there’s an emerging sector of the smart home market that might: smart irrigation.

There’s nowhere in the country where water is becoming more abundant and less expensive; to the contrary, most homeowners are struggling to balance higher water costs and more restrictive use regulations with their desire for a garden, or a section of lawn, or even the basics of landscaping. And while there’s nothing new about using timers to switch watering systems on and off — or even distinguishing between zones that receive different amounts of water at different times — the smart home twist is using sensors and the internet to inform your watering.

Imagine a suite of moisture sensors that can tell when the soil near your flowers is at optimum saturation, switching off the drip irrigation at precisely the right moment. Or imagine a weather station that collected data about projected and measured temperatures and humidity, and offered recommendations about watering for particular plants. Smart homes won’t just save energy inside — they’re poised to save water outside as well!

To speak with the experts in home electronics residents recommend most Seagull Electronics home automation company. Let us help you enjoy all the benefits of home automation in Miami!

Seagull0402There’s a feeling among some people people that the “smart home” home automation trend is some sort of revolution; but while the designs in home automation in Miami. Smart home enthusiasts are enjoying are often innovative, there’s really nothing revolutionary about using technology to get more out of your life — to save time and money.

In fact, most home automation products are clever but short steps beyond products that were already on the market — already saving people time and money, but taking it a bit further. One of the great examples of this today is the Nest thermostat. Sure, the ability to control a thermostat over the internet is a relatively new idea, and a thermostat that “learns” about how long it takes a home to heat up (or cool off) is a great way to make your home more energy efficient.

But the first programmable thermostats erupted onto the market decades before anyone was talking about “smart homes” — and they saved homeowners a ton of money in energy costs. Even so-called “learning” thermostats — that adjusted their timing to get the home already at temperature at the programmed time, rather than just turning on then — are hardly new.

Smart homes simply take what are mostly existing technologies and intertwine them in creative ways. There’s nothing groundbreaking about a motorized sun shade, nor an electric timer, nor light sensors; but combine them with an electronic “brain” that figures out when to drop the blinds to save the most on cooling costs, and you’ve started putting the “smart” pieces together.

For more information or to meet the experts in home automation smart homeowners recommend more to their friends and family than any other, contact us today for a consultation!

Click here for the list of home automation services Seagull Electronics offers in Miami.

 

Home Theater Lighting: Goals and Best Practices

SEAGULL0902One of the most neglected areas of home theater planning is lighting, and it’s obvious why: you watch movies with the lights off, right? What’s the big deal with light control, and why should it matter?

Home theater lighting isn’t just about turning the lights off when it’s time for the movie to start. There are numerous ways careful consideration of lighting can enhance your home theater experience — and home automation can play an important role in keeping everything coordinated so the process is as seamless as it is elegant and functional.

First of all, a fully dark room is dangerous; people need to move around from time to time, whether it’s just to go to the bathroom or because they need to get up and leave for other reasons. One of the goals of a good home theater lighting system should be to enable your guests to get around the room without falling on their faces; that means placing low light sources in such a way that they illuminate the floor where it’s necessary, but don’t cast glare or light onto your screen or display, ruining the movie for everyone.

One of the more common complaints among movie watchers, and this goes for the home theater enthusiast as well, is eye fatigue. Many studies have found that providing a subtle source of constant light behind your screen or display, known as a bias light, can significantly reduce eye fatigue — and it won’t make the images projected any less impressive.

Finally, remember that no one wants to watch a movie in a dull, gray box. Think about how accent lighting can reveal the best qualities of a room — architecturally-interesting corners, or works of art on display — and how that can translate into a more pleasant home theater experience.

Smart Home Tip: Lights Flashing

SEAGULL0901Successful home automation is more than just being able to install the latest devices and controllers; over the years we’ve realized there’s no substitute for experience when it comes to great ideas on how to turn your house into a truly smart home. They key to smart house success is being able to integrate the components that are available in new innovative ways, and realizing that the goal is simple making your experience living there easier.

One of the better ideas we came across was a simple one that integrated a fridge door sensor with the existing lighting system. There’s no shortage of reasons a fridge door might be left ajar — kids of nearly every age manage to do it, as do adults. Sometimes the larger doors don’t shut because something inside shifted enough to block the door, and it might not be noticed until a lot of food has spoiled.

A great smart house “trick” is to set your house controller system to start flashing the kitchen lights on and off if the door has been left open for, say, five minutes or longer — or, if the temperature in the fridge or freezer starts to climb for whatever reason, start a sequence of increasing numbers of lights throughout the house to start flashing, alerting you to the problem in a relatively straightforward way.

The flashing light idea is a great one for those of us who don’t live with our home automation controllers at our sides every moment of the day. It can be used for any number of situations where something requires our attention — data from a garage door sensor, for example, can be used to start flashing lights if the door’s been left open after dark. Or think about integrating flashing lights with your doorbell or smoke detectors — especially if you like to watch movies or listen to music at higher volumes!

video_surveillanceSo you’ve made the decision to update your home security system to go beyond the simple “is my door locked?” and “are my windows closed” sensor array systems. It’s a great move, and a popular one; as the technology for video surveillance becomes more impressive and the price of the equipment continues to drop, it’s practically a no-brainer.

But there are a few important considerations you need to take into account. First and foremost is coverage; deciding where to place your video surveillance cameras is the biggest decision any home security designer will make, and it’s a complicated question. Do you want to simply cover areas where you suspect you’ll get the most benefit, such as around doors and gates, or do you want comprehensive coverage that encompasses more of your property, such as the driveway? Do you want exclusively exterior cameras, or do you want them inside your home or business as well?

The effort to answer those questions is further complicated by having to choose what sort of video surveillance system you wish to deploy — and, as we’ve discussed in other such decisions, what you want that system to accomplish. If it’s important for you to simply keep track of workers coming and going, you’re going to want a different video surveillance system than if you want to be certain to be able to capture the details of a criminal’s face in the hopes of future prosecution. If you simply want to track movement, you’re going to need different video surveillance tools than if your goal is to cover every inch of a property — and potentially take action before a break-in or vandalism occurs.

The most important step you can take is to work with experts in home security and video surveillance to design a system that meets your needs and budget; contact us today for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Home Security in a Smart Home: Data = Peace of Mind

smart-home-integrationIn the era of home automation and the advent of “smart home” technology, homeowners no longer have to leave responsibility for the security of their home in the hands of strangers — or rely upon a mere sign or sticker to deter criminals. One of the biggest reasons home automation systems are so popular is how well they integrate with home security systems — and how those systems can evolve and expand, allowing introduction of the latest technologies as they develop without having to necessarily start from scratch with an all-new home automation plan.

In a smart home, home security isn’t just a series of sensors that can tell when a window opens — although that’s part of it. Home automation experts design home security systems to collect large amounts of data from multiple sensors throughout your home, as well as from outside it on pathways and driveways, bringing all that information back to a main control center which can report, analyze and even act upon information it receives if you aren’t there to make decisions.

Knowing your home is secure when you’re away gives great peace of mind; being able to check every window and door, every lock and bolt, even knowing whether you left the refrigerator door open — that’s the possibility offered by home security systems integrated with home automation. Smart home technology means you can automate lights to come on and off throughout your home in a random and varying pattern that gives the impression someone’s home — deterring burglars before they even try a doorknob. And if they do, home automation systems are ready with integrated cameras that can capture images even in complete darkness — and record them, or transmit video to your smart phone halfway across the world.

For more information about home automation, home security and “smart home” systems, contact us today!

Shade Control: A Critical Component to Home Automation

We’ve had a lot of experience over the years installing and maintaining home automation systems. And while lighting control has been a fundamental component to every home system practically since the concept was invented, we’ve noticed more and more customers taking advantage of the possibilities that present themselves when your home automation system incorporates shade control into the whole-house package.

546_NewYork_1.jpgWhat an automated lighting control system is during the night time, a comprehensive shade control system can be during daylight hours. For most people, the control they have over lighting in their home takes place mostly at night, when lights can be adjusted for particular moods or settings. And home automation systems, pardon the pun, truly shine in this regard; lighting control systems can raise and dim lights throughout the house in response to direct control from a homeowner, or as part of a scheduled program that can be adjusted to fit your routine.

But during the day, the same sorts of convenience and benefit can be derived simply by bringing whole-house control to the blinds and drapes, and adjusting how much sunlight is cast across different rooms at different times of day. Shade control can effectively control mood and ambiance in a home, using the available light to its fullest potential — and blocking it off when it’s too much for the particular application, such as when you want to watch television or a movie during the day.

Perhaps most interestingly, shade control can be utilized to take advantage of passive solar gain, and incorporated into a home automation system as part of the environmental controls. When the timing is right, the heating system can be augmented by letting natural light spill into an area, improving the efficiency of the system dramatically by using a free, renewable natural resource: the sun!

Streaming Home Theater: Welcome to the Future

The days of running to the corner rental store for a DVD or Blu-Ray are quickly fading; indeed, the days of simple walking across the room to choose from among a stack of discs may soon be fully behind us as well. That’s because the future of watching movies at home has arrived, and film buffs have discovered they no longer have to limit themselves to the selections they’ve found for themselves, or even what their local stores have to offer.

Content on-demand means home theaters can now stream high-definition video and audio selections into the home over the internet instantly, choosing from a nearly limitless number of titles offered by dozens of providers. Films and television episodes are available the moment they’re released, and can be viewed in whatever order and timeframe you choose; instead of conforming to the studio or network’s broadcast schedule “must see TV” now waits for you, not the other way around.

This brave new world offers a lot of benefits, but it’s important to ensure your existing system — or the home theater we’re helping you design — is ready for it. This means that in addition to using the highest quality and best-suited audio and visual equipment for your space and budget — e.g. high-definition displays and screens as well as exceptionally lifelike speakers  — you must be certain to have a sufficiently robust internet connect to support the high data rate inherent in streaming high-definition audio and video content . It’s also critical to make sure you’re incorporating a streaming device that can successfully decode that data and produce the best sound and picture possible — and are using cables that are rated for the high-bandwidth workload they’ll be under whenever you’re watching streaming movies or television.

Streaming content from the internet isn’t limited merely to films and TV; a variety of exceptional services have popped up to offer audio selections as well, at a level of quality suited to everything from casual music in the kitchen to audio sampling in the world’s finest listening rooms. Contact us today to discover how to expand your horizons streaming home theater and audio!

Seagull Electronics sells the right electronics. We don’t sell the stuff you’ll find in boxes at your local shopping mall. We design custom systems using some of the world’s best electronic components. Serving Tequesta, Juno Beach, Jupiter, Jupiter Island, Palm Beach Gardens, North Palm Beach, Singer Island, West Palm Beach, Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and North Miami.

kalomirakisOne of the most well-known names in luxury home theater design is Theo Kalomirakis. He’s an influential leader in this industry.  His designs take a home theater beyond being merely a room with a big screen and lots of speakers, into a place with its own personality with lighting control and home automation.  The homeowners will have a total sensory experience from the moment they cross the threshold of their home theater room.

Kalomirakis-designed home theaters have won recognition from Electronic House Home of the Year Awards. Kalomirakis recently gave a presentation at Crestron’s Design Showroom in New York City.  He talked about common mistakes people make when building a home theater, the importance of home automation and how he approaches his designs with lighting control.

Q: Are there any frequent mistakes that people make when planning or building their home theaters?

A: It’s become like a little cottage industry for me, talking about the mistakes people make that started by mistakes I made. You don’t learn unless you make mistakes.

Mistake number 1: You get into a home where a designer is involved, and they have put the home theater seats on cement. This is not good for sound. If you don’t have carpeting on the floor the bass doesn’t hit you in the heart. It’s just like having a violin having its cavity filled with cement.

Mistake number 2, Risers: People think that if you separate the seats in your home theater by one step you’re going to see over other people’s heads. But it doesn’t work that way. If you have a screen that’s all the way to the floor, you’re going to have to do a lot more than one step. You’re going to have to do sightline risers, and this is something Home Theater Designers usually don’t know when designing a home theater room.

Mistake number 3: People think that if you put acoustical treatments on the wall, it seals the home theater from the rest of the house.  You have to be prepared to do both room isolation and room acoustics as they are two totally different things. These are the technical mistakes that I see people do. I’ve seen a lot of architectural mistakes, as well as made them myself in the past.  Hopefully I don’t make them anymore.

Q: What are some of the different enhancements that you can bring to a home theater that clients may not have thought of themselves?

A: I want to understand the design that goes into the rest of the house so that the home theater is not an ugly stepchild of the rest of the house. I believe that the home theater should follow the design direction of the home, but bring it to a new level without making it totally isolated.  I wouldn’t put an art deco home theater in the middle of a classical house.

What I think I bring to my clients is to educate them to actually justify the cost. I try to prevent them from making mistakes. I want them to be able to live in a home theater room that is heightening the experience without being so aesthetically different from what they have in the rest of the house.

You have to interview them. You have to learn what they like. Some people may not like the red curtain that seems to hang in every home theater room.  They may want something more neutral. You have to listen to them and be an interpreter of their dreams. I’m trying to tune into what they want and direct them into realizing their dreams without imposing myself on what they want to do.

Q: What can home automation bring to the experience of a home theater?

A: Everything. Without home automation you get a bunch of electronics that don’t communicate with each other.  There is nothing more frustrating for a client than having to hit ten remote controls to turn the lights down, open the curtain, or start the system. Home Automation is probably the most vital aspect for enjoying your home theater.

In my mind the most unique thing you can do is through lighting control. You can set up the levels of the home theater room so it’s lit up architecturally, not generically. In the home theater, lighting has to create drama. Home Automation allows you to create presets in the lighting control that gives the client the ability to see a variety of things.  Such as the slight illumination of the speaker grills when you watch a movie, or not seeing them at all, or having the step lights shown.

Q: At what point in the consultation does home automation customization enter the conversation with a client?

A: At the end of the project.  It’s very important that you separate all the lighting control sources in circuits. Step lights on one circuit, column lights on another, and curtain lights on yet another. So you can play with different levels, bringing certain lights up and down to the client’s desire. I don’t do that by myself. Each client will have different aesthetic preferences, so I sit down with them and ask them what levels they like their lights at and then have the Lighting Control Integrator hit the lighting control button and show them.

Q: Have you noticed any trends or shifts in what people are asking for lately?

A: There is more and more focus on multipurpose home theater rooms and less on dedicated home theaters because people are misinformed. Younger people, especially in the 20s and 30s, are used to experiencing media on tablets and iPhones. So for them a dedicated home theater room is not as important.  I see a trend toward not having a home theater in the center of the house. In my opinion you have to have both. You have to be able to watch your movies on a tablet while on a trip, but you don’t want to watch a movie on a tablet at home. And you don’t want to watch an epic movie on just a 50 or 60-inch TV. You want to be engrossed in the experience with home automation and lighting control in your home theater room.

Q: Do you have any advice for a reader who is interested in having a home theater installed but doesn’t know where to start?

A: Talk to their Home Theater and Home Automation designer. Designers are getting more perceptive about home theaters. Have someone take you by the hand and guide you through the process, show you what’s available with regards to lighting control and home automation for your home theater room.

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