Archive for 'home automation hobe sound'

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!

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.

SmartHomeIf you’re looking for a way to connect the technologies in your Smart home, our Home Automation package is your answer. This package features all the products in the Home Security and Energy Management packages plus a lot more Home Automation.
  • Go!Control Touch-screen Panel with Remote Internet and Smart Phone Access
  • Window and Door Sensors
  • Glass Break and Motion Detectors
  • Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms
  • Smart Thermostat and Energy-Efficient Bulbs
  • Small Appliance and Lighting Controls
  • Video Surveillance
  • Automatic Door Locks

Lock your doors, turn off lights, adjust your thermostat, arm your Smart Home system, and much, much more. No matter where you are in the world, you can manage your entire Home Automation system through any of your devices such as your smartphone, computer, or tablet.

From premier security to heating and cooling your Smart Home, to access control and video surveillance, our Home Automation package meets all your needs in your Smart Home while helping you prepare for a smarter future.  For more information on Smart Phone Home Automation and many other services, contact us today!

 

blind controlIn recent decades, homes have been built more and more with energy efficiency in mind – windows are tighter, doors close more completely; indeed the climate within a house is rarely exchanged with that beyond its walls, with most HVAC systems finding peak efficiency in keeping their system closed-off throughout the day’s heating and cooling process.

These systems are quite efficient; however there are drawbacks to excessively conditioned air and some people are more sensitive to a lack of constant fresh air than others. Until recently, however, there were no automated systems that could compare in efficiency to a fully closed-off air conditioning and cooling system; fortunately, with the advent and widespread use of home automation systems that incorporate window, shade & blind control, there are 21st Century solutions that, in many ways, feel like a step back in time.

Before central heating, builders knew to get the most “solar gain” heat from the sun, a bank of south facing windows would add warmth to a home on the coldest day – provided the sky was clear. And before air conditioning, it was commonplace to open windows at night to let cool air in, then close windows to trap it until things cooled off again. But this requires you to stay on top of things.

Today, home automation systems can open and close windows, shades and blinds in direct response to conditions outside and the desired temperature inside – greatly improving the efficiency of any central heating or cooling system, and simultaneously increasing the amount of fresh air brought into the home when the time is right. Window, shade & blind control systems can bring the knowledge of the past into your home’s future; for more information about these and other home automation systems, contact us today!

Seagull Electronics is a Home Theater and Automation leader in home, business, and yacht integration systems since 1988. Servicing Jupiter, North Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, Wellington, Boca Raton, Miami, Florida.

Home Automation: Good for your home, good for the environment

home-automation-systemThere are a lot of good reasons to bring your home into the 21st Century and start enjoying the benefits of home automation systems — convenience is a big one, and our customers find the high level of control such systems bring quite satisfying on many levels. But you might be surprised how much home automation can help with the “greening” of your lifestyle — even if you don’t consider yourself an environmentalist at heart.

Home automation systems can customize the user experience within the home to personal habits and preferences, such as particular lighting or music that “follows” homeowners and guests from room to room as the sensors detect their movement. But, especially in larger homes with multiple zones, that customization can reap huge benefits in using less energy to run the home.

Imagine a home automation system that understands patterns in room use to such an extent that a room that’s rarely entered is kept shuttered and heated (or cooled) less. Or a system that recognizes the wife gets home first, and typically confines her activities to one or two rooms in the first part of the evening — so those rooms are brought to the appropriate climate only just before her arrival. When the husband gets home, the areas he typically inhabits get the attention of the automated system. And on weekends, when things change, the system changes along with it, tweaking energy use in different rooms and zones to heat and cool where needed, and to save energy where it’s not.

Couple that with systems that will lower blinds and close windows to trap the night’s cool air automatically in the summer, then raise the blinds and re-open the windows at night to bring fresh air in — then doing the reverse in winter, opening the blinds to get the maximum solar gain at just the right times of day.

Home automation offers the possibility of spectacularly efficient energy use, controlled centrally and customizable to fit every sort of household pattern — whether you’re interested in helping the environment, or just your pocketbook at utility bill time.

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.

How to Save on Home Automation Expenses

SAVE on home-automationJust because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.  This old cliché still holds true today.  Especially if you’re debating on having a Home Automation system installed in your house.

Home Automation systems can perform a variety of amazing actions. Whether it be regulating the temperature of your fish tank or hot tub, turning on the lights when you walk into your house, or raising and lowering the window shades at a designated time. It’s this kind of magic that makes Home Automation so appealing—and expensive.

Home Automation involves a mixture of different brands of products.  Getting several different products from several different companies to properly work together can become costly.

There are ways to save on costs while still covering as many of the key features of a Home Automation system as you can. For example, try not to have fancy setups in your home automation system such as having a hot tub turn on when a sensor notices that your car has pulled up into the driveway. Adding processing intelligence to your Home Automation system drives up the price. Another example is having a simple off button on a keypad that you push to turn off all the lights in the house rather than automating the lights to turn off whenever the security system triggers them.

You can also reduce the cost by limiting the number of products and systems your Home Automation system controls. Any time one system—like lighting—communicates with another system—like security, the cost can increase. For instance if you integrate audio/video distribution, HVAC and motorized window shades into your Home Automation system it will cost even more.

Programming a Home Automation system to sync the operation of the lights, thermostats and other devices can sometimes take a lot of time therefore costing a lot of money. So it’s important to decide whether it’s worth it to have the lights dim or the window shades close at a certain time of the day, or if you’d just be satisfied by pressing a couple buttons to make it happen.

Programming isn’t the only expense that you’ll incur when you bring a lot of products into your Home Automation system. The more you choose to automate the more hardware you will most likely have to buy. For example, you could easily use a programmable thermostat to adjust the heating and cooling automatically.  But you’ll need more processing power, more equipment, and a more sophisticated interface to make that thermostat adjust whenever you walk into your home theater room, open the draperies, or when you modify the settings from the screen of your TV.

Some tips to help keep costs down:

Be Realistic. Focus on what you need, rather than what you want in your home automation system.  Do you really need a sensor by the driveway to trigger on the lights on the front porch? Probably not.  Many security systems can control your home’s thermostats and lights, as well as protect your home.

Think Return On Investment. Choose features that offer a good return on investment—like heating and cooling control. Automating your HVAC system is one of the last things you often think about doing in a home automation system. In areas where energy costs are high, this has the highest payback of all the systems.  Automating the lights can also control your energy use.

Common Interface. Use a home automation system that will let you control devices with something you already own—like your iPod or iPad.

Don’t be Oversold. It’s often the subsystems you connect to your Home Automation system that raise the price.  For example, one brand might play at 20 watts per channel and cost $300 per room, while another plays at 200 watts and costs $2,500 per room. Be sure to understand what you’re getting for your money before choosing your subsystems.

Ask for Less. There is more than one way to set up your in the world of home automation. Always ask your Custom Designer if there’s a more economical way to get the features you want out of your home automation system.

Go Lite. In an effort to make their systems more marketable, many home automation companies offer less expensive versions of their elite home automation systems. Usually, these versions offer the same basic features as the expensive version, but on a smaller scale and without all the bells and whistles.

Line It Up. Ask your Home Automation Designer to break down everything you want to do and show you line by line what each item will cost.  If you have the time and money, anything can be done.  It’s important to ask how much time and money each component will add to your bottom line.

Expand Later. You don’t have to have everything done at the same time. You can start with one room and then expand the Home Automation system later. Most Home automation and control systems are expandable.  For example, if you have your media room and master bedroom integrated now, you can call the Custom Designer back next year to add the kitchen, dining room and rear deck.

Light Control in Home Theater Settings

lightingHome theater enthusiasts have long known that even the best displays on the market require careful control of room lighting for optimal performance. That’s why when we’re helping our customers design the ultimate home theater experience, we urge them to take extra time to consider light control options; it’s an often overlooked part of home theater design that can make an enormous difference when it’s time to watch a movie.

One of the benefits of whole-house home automation has always been having a finer degree of control over particular portions of your home “zones,” in the parlance of home automation professionals. This benefit is nowhere more apparent than in the case of homes that incorporate a dedicated home theater, where the typically-controlled elements of home automation are part and parcel to improving the movie-watching experience.

Light control is practically the heart and soul of home automation, and in a home theater setting those capabilities truly shine. For a system robust enough to control every light in a home, adjusting them for optimal comfort and safety throughout changing conditions over the course of days and nights, it becomes a trivially simple matter to have lights dim when a movie begins in a house’s home theater room, and fully automatically – perhaps even dimming just slightly during the opening credits and going to full black once the film begins.

Then, at the end of a movie, home automation systems can be programmed to raise the lights gradually as the credits roll, allowing movie viewers the opportunity to adjust their eyes slowly to a brightening room, rather than all at once. For longer films that seem to be increasingly popular among home theater viewers, this sort of gentle nudge back into the real world is much more pleasant.

For more information on home theater light control and our many other services, contact us today!

Home Automation: Creating Safer, More Secure Homes

Elegant beige interiorEveryone’s done it — you’ve left the house, perhaps you’re at the end of the driveway, or just around the block, or maybe your flight is just lifting off. It’s at that often inopportune moment that you begin to doubt yourself: did you lock that side door before you left? Did you leave lights, faucets, or a major appliance running? Did you remember to reset the sprinkler system? Is the heat running full-tilt because you brushed against the thermostat on the way out the door?

 

Worst of all, is there someone in your home not authorized to be there?

 

One of the most enduring benefits of the technology that has made home automation possible is how it offers us the ability to full monitor our homes from afar — whether across the street, or across the globe, home automation means you can answer every one of these questions with the touch of a button or a swipe across a smartphone.

 

Home automation systems offer you have full access to stored information that includes simple data such as climate controls and the status of light switches, but can also log information about who has been coming and going over a specified period of time. While you’re away, for example, you can monitor whether the repair technician has used his specific code to enter the home, or not — and using video technology you can check in real-time to monitor his progress, or view recordings of his time in the home, and deactivate his code once he’s finished so it can never be used to access the house again.

 

There’s a peace of mind that comes with knowing, at a glance, that your home and possessions are safe and sound while you’re away; and, if something needs adjusting — be it an overlooked door or window lock, thermostat setting, or sprinkler — home automation systems allow you to make that change from your smartphone or computer, and know with confidence things at home are just the way you left them. Or perhaps better.

 

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.

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Understanding the Difference between Home Automation and Home Control

Everyone understands that your lifestyle and living standard vastly improves when the technology behind home automation becomes implemented in your daily life. The interactive element, strictly on its own, creates new efficiencies that are inarguable; activate your sprinkler from a smartphone? Grab your tablet and TIVO your favorite show from the office? Start a movie in your home theater and watch the lights dim as the curtain goes up — and watch them brighten again as the credits roll? As our applications become more powerful, we discover the technology itself creates value in our lives and in how we interact with it — and with one another.

At Seagull Electronics, we understand that the technology is meant to be a boon, not a hurdle to overcome. That’s why we offer whole-house installation and implementation, bringing you the promise of the technology without the fear of having to wade through it all on your own. Part of this is understanding the difference between home automation, and home control.

Home control is just what it sounds like; you have every option mentioned above, right at your fingertips whenever you need it. But home automation is the next step: creating a “hands-free” home control experience. Imagine motion sensors that detect movement as you walk from room to room, or even outside, reacting to your presence to perform pre-programmed tasks such as turning lights or heat on and off, following you with the music you prefer, raising and lowering blinds to your inputted preferences?

When technology integrates with your daily routine and knows how you like things, life within the home automation world becomes truly effortless. And it is a process that’s not merely efficient with your time — it can also lower utility bills.

Home automation is here, and home and business owners are enjoying it today. Contact us and learn how integrating technology into your lifestyle can improve it!

 

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.