April 13, 2010
by Arlen Schweiger
Every custom electronics pro is going to come across that monster project that’s loaded with potential pitfalls. And on top of that, they usually have to make things as simple as possible for the homeowners to operate.
This one was it for Springfield, Mo.-based SCS Home Entertainment, as it combined multiple high-def displays, audio zones, shading, security, lighting and other controls. Tying everything together is a Crestron home automation system and its suite of wireless tablets, in-wall interfaces and other controls.
“This design and installation is the most complex and all-inclusive project that SCS has been involved,” says SCS programmer Jay Rice. “All areas and attributes were carefully considered and designed for ease of use, comfort and security in mind. Our goal was to make each system in the design flow together with one another to benefit the homeowners. We were always aware that a system of this magnitude could easily become cumbersome and overwhelming if not installed and programmed properly.”
Things certainly could get a little hairy for both the installers and the homeowner, considering the amount of A/V and other technology to be implemented. The resulting project, according to Rice, included 12 matrix-switched HD displays (including Pioneer Elite, Sony and SunBriteTV), 22 audio zones with 14 sources (including an Escient media server and Rega turntable), full lighting control including 14 motorized shades, six zones of HVAC and full CCTV-security-access control.
“SCS worked closely with the homeowners to be sure that our touchpanel layouts made sense and had a flow that felt the most natural to them,” he says. “We feel this is key to a successful outcome and certainly reduces the chance for negative ‘surprises.’”
From those layouts and control commands came practical and simplified ways to handle the many pieces of technology—with controls available from four 8-inch wireless web tablets, five 6-inch in-wall touchpanels, four hard-button remotes and eControl emulating the web tablets on every PC on the network. Something for everyone to have fun with this automated home.
Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.