September 08, 2010
| by Lisa Montgomery
Integrisys used its LivSystem software to ensure that the most relevant controls are at the ready. For example, the 10-inch wall-mounted panel in the garage defaults to commands that pertain mostly to the security system. “This is the area where the family enters and leaves the home, so having security controls up front and center made sense,” Velazquez says.
The menu on the screen in the theater presents a completely different set of options: WATCH TV, WATCH MOVIE and LEAVE. Of course, the family can always drill deeper into the offerings to access commands for other rooms. And they can enact global commands that impact the entire house. MORNING, EVENING, GOOD NIGHT and GOOD NIGHT WITH GUESTS all arrange the lights, thermostats, motorized shades and security systems differently. The homeowners can use the scheduling feature of the LivSystem software to program a whole-house mode to activate at a certain time of day, or the family can override the internal timer and activate the mode on a whim.
All Mapped Out
If the owners need to do something specific, such as brighten and dim the lights on the Lutron HomeWorks system, they go to a preconfigured lighting page. Commands can be issued from a touchpanel, but in a house where hundreds of fixtures are tied to the system, it’s easier for the family to hit buttons on the lighting keypads that replaced old light switches.
The intensity levels and fade rates of every light were programmed into the HomeWorks system by Integrysis, but again, the LivSystem software is there for any adjustments the owners wish to make. In the case of lighting, this is pretty much a given, says Velazquez. A new piece of artwork or a rearrangement of furniture, for example, can call for a different lighting setup. To change the settings, the owners call up a map that identifies the position of each light within a room. From there, they touch the lighting icon and use simple tools like sliders and clock timers to change the intensity, add it to a group of lights, or put in on a schedule.
Having lived with the AMX NetLinx system and LivSystem software for more than a year, the family has molded the operation of their electronic components to fit their lifestyle.
That’s not to say that things won’t change, though. The engineers at Integrisys are continually refining and adding new features to the software—and the updates can be pushed to the owners’ system remotely from the Integrysis server. The family doesn’t have to do a thing other than give Integrisys the go-ahead.
As tricked out as this home is, it doesn’t appear there would be much to add, but according to Integrisys, in the world of automation there’s always something new to explore, such as the LivSytem’s energy management application. The homeowners haven’t expressed a need for it yet, but it’s there when they’d like a way to monitor and manage their energy use, says Velazquez. Recent downloadable upgrades include the ability to control the house via an iPad as well as through the keypad of an IP-enabled telephone system.
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.