October 07, 2009
| by Julie Jacobson
Even the wealthiest homeowners want to save. In this case, a resident of New York’s Trump Towers was ready to overhaul his three-year-old automation and audio/video system. He hired local integration firm IVCi Home for the task.
The condo, though elegant, is a typical cramped New York City space, measuring 1,100 square feet. The living room was devoured by two half-sized racks, hidden in a giant bureau beneath the flat-screen TV.
IVCi replaced them with a single rack hidden in an office closet. “By doing this, we combined and contained all of the technology, saved precious real estate in the living room and re-evaluated what was really needed to make the system work,” says system designer Richard Hollander.
Hollander explains, “We do an audit before we go into projects that have an existing system. We advise the homeowner what’s important to keep, and what is older technology that should be replaced.”
Rather than ripping out the client’s existing gear, here’s how IVCi approached the project:
—The homeowner had a couple of older Kaleidescape movie servers. IVCi took advantage of a special trade-in offer from the manufacturer in order to upgrade to 1080p.
—The original surround-sound receiver had to go, but IVCi kept the AM/FM tuners from Crestron.
—Although the homeowner’s existing Crestron control system was a bit dated, IVCi was able to give it a “fresh coat of paint” by simply swapping out faceplates on the in-wall touchscreens and creating a new graphical user interface “for a more current look and feel,” says Hollander.
—The original Crestron wireless touchpanels lacked Internet widgets—and the homeowner loves to pause his movies to check his stocks in one fell swoop. Rather than chucking the older ones, though, IVCi “redeployed” them to less-critical locations. For example, an older model was positioned by the entryway, granting the residents access to their whole-house control system. “Now they have an AWAY button by the front door.”
—IVCi could have replaced the customer’s existing Vienna Acoustic speakers in the living room with more modern-looking, TV-matching loudspeakers. But the existing speakers worked beautifully, so IVCi simply added two more to give the customer a 7.1 surround sound system.
Julie Jacobson is co-founder of EH Publishing and currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro, mostly in the areas of home automation, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. She majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. Julie is a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player with the scars to prove it. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson.