Hoishik has maintained a history with Guidi Homes, a successful home builder in the Philadelphia region, as a technology partner on both high end new construction projects and home renovations. Guidi Homes recently asked us to help one of their clients who had purchased a whole house technology system from a large Philadelphia integrator that went out of business. The client could no longer receive support for an expansive Crestron system, Lutron lighting, surveillance cameras and their computer network. Part of the system had not worked for months after unsuccessful attempts to have the system serviced. Hoishik met with the client to develop a plan to takeover the project.
The first step of our takeover process is to complete a full technology audit at the client’s home. We evaluate what works, what doesn’t, what we would have done differently if we had installed the original system. We also determine what can be done to make the system more current. After gathering information and creating a proposal, we presented our recommended options to our client and received approval to proceed. We conduct a system takeover in phases.
• Baseline Testing - We start a takeover by documenting how the system currently works so that we can incorporate certain desired functionality in the new interface. We document and wire-map the project so that we can determine any weaknesses in existing wiring infrastructure. As we often find in residential installations, there is little or no documentation on how the system is wired or programmed. We created improved documentation for our client on wiring as well as a custom user guide.
• Equipment staging – We build, program and test the entire system at our facility prior to onsite implementation. In this particular case where we did not remove the system from the client's home, we staged a test system at our facility to test our custom program. Our goal is to make transitions as smooth as possible and we accomplish this by allowing the existing system to work while we slowly make changes. It's a far less disruptive process for our clients to have essential technologies working at the end of each day such as Internet, TV's, etc.
• Installation – We installed the entire system in a matter of a few weeks. Our client was able to give us feedback for any adjustments & customization they wanted with the new system after having the opportunity to live with the system for a period of time. Many months after our take-over, we still make changes to the system. Technology in any home should be an evolution. Habits change and technology changes. A quality system should be flexible enough to be updated regularly to remain current.
• Continued support – After the system has been completed, we are now able to monitor the system remotely and we regularly make visits to ensure the system works for the client. We regularly recommend updates to keep the system current and well maintained to promote longevity.
There are 11 TV’s in this house so we implemented a Crestron DM HDMI video distribution system. It should have been included initially as it could have saved our client money with FIOS over the years. Video distribution also allows our client to access the Kaleidescape movie server and Apple TV from all televisions. The existing system would only allow our client to watch his Kaleidescape movie server from his family room TV.
We implemented our latest in house developed Crestron control app for the iPads. The old system had several annoying bugs that our client had to endure ever since the original installation. He would turn on music in the kitchen and the exterior speakers would turn on with it…not exactly what you’d expect. Now everything works the way it is supposed to, the bugs are gone, and it is much more intuitive than the original system.
We our latest tools to remotely monitor many of the devices in the home. This gives us the ability to react and often fix problems that arise before our client even knows about them. If a camera falls off the network, or there are power related issues, we know about them when they happen.
The lighting keypad layout in the house was somewhat confusing. We made many reprogramming changes so that the way that lighting works is consistent as you move from room to room. We had all keypads engraved to reflect the new preset lighting scenes. Lighting can also be controlled from touch panels, iPads and iPhones.
Finally, we added a fully loaded Terra outdoor speaker system including two buried sub-woofers and speakers located in hidden locations around the yard. Even with numerous additions to the system, Hoishik was able to make this system easier than ever for our client to live with.