A love of music is what inspired NASCAR driver Mark Martin to initially outfit his Batesville, Ark. home with a smart home system, but it was his hectic racing schedule that ultimately led to the recent introduction of a more complete control installation—one that would let him manage his entire home environment, not just the audio and video equipment. “What I wanted more than anything was a system that was bulletproof,” says Martin, after having struggling for years with a finicky A/V distribution system.
After connecting with custom electronics (CE) professional Ryan Heringer, Sound Concepts, Jonesboro, Ark., Martin agreed to a complete tech overhaul of his 6,000-square-foot residence. “The A/V distribution system that was already in the house was old and difficult to operate, and just to get it to work it had to be rebooted once a week,” Heringer says.
Heringer’s advice to Martin: Rip it out and start fresh with an Elan g! automation system. Gun-shy about introducing another system to his house, Martin agreed, but only to a minimal amount of automation. Sound Concepts started by setting up 12 zones of distributed audio (with all new speakers) and eight zones of video. A Crestron HDMI switcher was integrated into the Elan g! platform to ensure transmission of the highest audio and video quality.
As good as the system would be at pumping music and video throughout the house, it would be the ability to manage his music and video library and easily direct content to specific entertainment zones from the screen of an iPad that would forever change Martin’s mind about home technology.
Over the course of the next few weeks, as Martin and his family became increasingly enamored with Elan g!, Sound Concepts visited the residence several times to expand the complete control system. Seven surveillance cameras and three exterior intercom stations added to the security setup and can be accessed from the mobile g! app on any iPad or iPhone, as well as from an Elan g! wall-mounted touchpanel in the kitchen. More recently, lights and thermostats we integrated, and commands created that enable Martin to prepare the house for his arrival and departure by simply touching a Home or Away button. These two macro commands, which synchronously adjust the lights, electronic door locks, alarm system, thermostats and A/V, have proven a valuable tool for a frequently traveling Martin when racing season swings into high gear.
In fact, the Elan g! home automation system “was so awesome that I decided to have it installed in my lake home in North Carolina that we were in the process of remodeling,” Martin says. Naturally, Sound Concepts was hired for the job, and flown to the house via airplane, piloted by Martin himself.
For this home, Sound Concepts did the works—automated LED lights, thermostats, irrigation, motorized shades, garage doors, security, a dedicated theater (featuring a 84-inch 4K LG TV and 7.2 surround-sound system), and whole-house audio and video distribution. Although more extensive in the scope of products it manages and controls, the Elan g! system functions no differently than it does in Martin’s original automated house in Batesville. The control menus presented on the iPad and iPhone are organized and laid out identically, and Home and Away commands produce similar results. Plus, Martin is able to use the Elan g! mobile app to remotely access either home; for instance, view the surveillance cameras or regulate the heating and cooling system of the Batesville residence from North Carolina, and vice versa. Even better, Martin can monitor both homes (requires logging in to each home separately) while en route, or while preparing for the trip from either of two airplane hangars. Yes, an Elan g! system was installed by Sound Concepts at each hangar, primarily as a convenient way to operate the A/V equipment. In less than a year, Sound Concepts had automated a total of four places for Martin.
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Although Martin has relied solely on Sound Concepts to tweak the settings of his multiple Elan g! systems, he’s eager to try it himself. “I could probably reprogramming settings for the whole house in less than 10 minutes,” he says. And for a guy like Martin, speed is everything.
More pictures of Martin’s home can be found here.
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Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.