When a high net worth CEO builds a 36,000-square-foot home, one of the first realizations is that such a large residence can be very difficult to manage and maintain. It’s a fact that inspired the South African businessman to ask the technology experts at Cinema Synergy to design and install a home automation system that could simplify the control of all of the core functions of the house, from security and lights to multi-room audio. With ease-of-use and audio quality being top concerns, the Elan Control System and Niles speakers were the obvious choices, according to Jonathan Clarke of Cinema Synergy.
Home Automation a Top Priority
“In our first meeting with the client, he made it clear that simplicity was the top priority for a full automation system,” Clarke recalls. “Because guests and young children would be using the system, it had to be intuitive for first-time users. After he saw how easy-to-use the Elan interface is, and how it’s the same on all devices, he was sold. Being a music lover with eclectic tastes, he also wanted speakers in every room, and already knew several leading brands. We agreed that the Niles nearly invisible in-ceiling and outdoor speakers were hands-down the best choice.”
When all of the plans had been set, the full scope of the project became clear. Cinema Synergy installed a single Elan gSC10 controller to act as the brain for the smart home system, with four Elan S16161A amplifiers to route power to all 31 audio zones and more than 65 Niles speakers.
In nearly every room and outdoor area the family and guests have complete control over their music through the Elan mobile app and four strategically planed Elan gTP7 seven-inch in-wall touchpanels.
“When we installed the first turntable, he played Sinatra, The Rolling Stones, and Michael Jackson throughout different rooms,” Clarke says. “It’s amazing to see someone’s eyes light up when they find how easy it is to control music in every room of their home. We included in-wall touchpanels in the master bedroom, the study, the main hallway, and near a favorite outdoor area. This way, there are no worries that a mobile device will break or get lost; there is always an Elan interface powered and ready to use at a moment’s notice.” The touchpanels also function as intercom stations, which link to the front door surveillance camera for easy communication with guests.
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Home Protection Brings Peace of Mind
Security and surveillance were next on the list of priorities, with this home containing no less than 33 zones of security and 30 exterior cameras to provide 360-degree views and recordings of the property. The home’s driveway gate is also tied to the system, so when a visitor rings the gate bell, a camera activates and video of the guest is displayed on all Elan touchpanels and the Elan Mobile app. The homeowners can then open the gate through the app, and even let the guest into the house, thanks to an integrated electronic lock that’s installed on the front door. This lock can be controlled through a keypad at the door or through the Elan app, and the system keeps a log of every time the door is opened, including who opened it.
Combating Damaging Power Surges
“The security system is fantastic, but the backup power system may be even more important,” Clarke says. “South Africa has a fairly unreliable electrical grid, so power spikes and outages are expected. To manage this, we installed Furman surge protectors and Uninterruptible Power Supplies to provide backup and ensure power is never abruptly cut. The home is connected to a 250-amp diesel generator that can power the entire residence, and all of the power demands switch over to the generator automatically in the event of a blackout.”
Wi-Fi Reaches 36,000 Square Feet
During the installation of the electronic systems, the team at Cinema Synergy faced one major hurdle that they had never previously encountered on other job sites: How to provide reliable Wi-Fi signals in a home this large with slab concrete floors. South Africa’s building codes are much different than North America and Europe; therefore, Cinema Synergy needed to use 15 enterprise-grade Pakedge wireless access points to adequately cover the house with Wi-Fi.
Designing Loads of Lighting Control
Cinema Synergy also integrated a major lighting system into the house, which proved to be extremely helpful to the homeowners. “Without a system, it would have taken more than an hour just to walk to each room to turn off the lights. Through the Elan Mobile app, the homeowner can shut down the house at night quickly and without even getting out of bed,” Clarke says.
Cinema Synergy is not working with the homeowners to monitor their lighting habits and develop schedules for the lights to follow; for example, one button that turns on groups of lights the first thing in the morning, and various dimming setting that are automatically applied at different times of the day to synchronize with the available sunlight.
“This project proves that any size of home can be completely controlled, and since Elan is so easy to use, any homeowner can dive into home automation,” Clarke concludes. “While there were a few onsite challenges to overcome, this project was a great endeavor that turned out amazing and left the homeowner eager for more.”
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