For installer Michael Wackernah of Limitless Systems Inc. (LSI) in Huntington, N.Y., this 24,000-square-foot retrofit project was an Olympic test of endurance, attention to detail and control (both emotional and technical). “He’s the CEO of a profitable technology company, so he’s always on his game,” Wackernah says, adding the client double-checked LSI’s work, and required them to vacuum behind drilled drywall. Needless to say, this retrofit involved a lot of extreme vacuuming, since LSI retrofitted nearly everything, including a 65-inch Samsung 3D TV wired through an 8-foot-wide stone fireplace.
When a ton of technology is incorporated into a new home or a retrofit project, a hard-working, impeccably trained and always-in-control manager is required: That system is Control4.
Control4’s automation system is programmed to anticipate the homeowners’ needs in advance and perform upon demand with ease from touchpanels, cell phones or the home’s existing Panasonic telephone system. For example, preprogrammed lighting in the garage, driveway and applicable passageways accompanies the husband or wife when arriving or departing from “his” and “her” garages. Smart lighting also greets the CEO at 5 a.m. with an eye-pleasing, 30 percent glow. When the system anticipates guests in the driveway, it sounds a doorbell chime through the home’s speakers; it also alerts the police if the lady of the house presses the DISTRESS button on a house phone or any touchpanel.
Need more? From anywhere on the five-acre property, the client can access 19 flat-screen Samsung TVs, 30 audio zones, more than 300 indoor and outdoor lights, or the independent “his” and “hers” audio/video systems in the gym. Control4 even oversees the 13-year-old’s Internet and TV habits, prohibiting her from surfing or tuning in after 11:30 p.m.
“We created a full-blown manual with 290 pages of custom programming [and behind-the-scenes details], and we have a paper trail of everything, down to the remotes,” Wackernah says. “So any tech can upgrade and program the system.” Wackernah even provided the homeowner with his own printed manual and a backup copy on a USB memory stick.
“Control4 lets us do everything remotely,” he continues. “Just today we remotely reprogrammed the system so the wife can access her cable box from the guest bedroom. It’s that easy.” EH
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Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates