Monthly Archives: March 2017

Virtual & Augmented Reality: Ready for Take-off?

We’ve heard about it for decades, but is Virtual Reality, with its sleek companion Augmented Reality, finally ready for prime-time?  Over the holidays, we all watched the commercials with people of all ages laughing, gasping, stunned as they were submerged into a deeper reality.  It’s only now that we’re seeing the potential, and how amazing VR & AR truly are.

Prevalent in the gaming world, augmented reality blends real-world with virtual world, allowing users to interact with virtual content in a real setting.  Let that sink in for a minute.  Imagine where that will take us.  Here’s just a sampling from the floor of CES2017.

AR goes beyond any other experience and its applications are as infinite as its experiences.  We’ll explore the gear in another post.  For now, just fathom where this incredible technology can transport you to…..

At home: Take a destination vacation, virtually

At work: Recruiting, training, visualization and providing a real connection for your remote workforce.

At play:  Pokemon was the tip of the gaming iceberg. Coming soon to an Xbox near you (2018) is mixed reality! And Six Flags partners with Samsung to launch a VR Roller coaster!

In retail:  VR/AR enhances experiential marketing and customer engagement

In healthcare: Imagine if your surgical team had access to augmented reality?   And for those experiencing low vision (blurry vision, tunnel vision or blind spots that can’t be corrected), a University of California, Berkeley Professor is working to bring a lower cost aid to this community, helping to restore their sight.

In education: True abstract learning at all levels.

In worship: Imagine.

Ready for take-off?  At the speed of sound! Mr. Sulu, set course for Earth. Punch it!

Recommended Sources:

https://www.cnet.com/news/gaming-vr-virtual-reality-ar-augmented-reality-help-restore-sight/

http://augray.com/blog/augmented-reality-virtual-reality-gaming/

http://augray.com/blog/augmented-reality-helps-reinventing-customer-engagement/

Add Luxury to your Vacation Home & Value to your Income Property

Your vacation home should be just that, a vacation.  It’s a restful sanctuary free from headaches, unnecessary chores and stress.  This is where an automated home can shine, literally.

You may be imagining your lakefront home with automated control of your lights, shades and water features. Or perhaps your mountain retreat with outdoor audio, a weatherproof LCD and remote control of your fire feature.  These features add enjoyment and value to your property.  But when you’ve made your Friday afternoon escape and pull into the drive, the last thing you want is a surprise such as a burst water heater, an A/C that’s been left on or, worse, evidence of a break-in.

From basic security features and keyless entries to more sophisticated occupancy and water sensors, your home can alert you should something go amiss.  If a pipe bursts you can react immediately and get a service technician on the property, hours before you may be able to arrive.  You can grant him access and have the repair performed before long-term damage can occur.

As a rental property, there is a tremendous perception of luxury and value in automation.  Easy navigation of the home’s unfamiliar entertainment system, for example, will increase their overall “experience” and enjoyment.  And they’ll appreciate the added security, particularly in remote areas.  You’ll appreciate that you can remotely mange your guest network, controlling which devices are allowed to be controlled, as well as the ability to turn off the A/C or heat when a door is left open.

Upon your guests’ check-out, you can remotely assess the home’s condition, ensure the lights are off, the shades are closed, the appliances are as they should be, the thermostat is set and the gate is latched.

When you’re ready to plan your perfect vacation get-away home, give us a call, even if it’s out of our area.  We can help design your luxury system and work with a trusted network of integration partners to make sure you’ll receive the service you’ve come to expect from us.

What’s My Line?

I’m often asked, what is it, exactly, that you do”? In some professions, that’s an easy, straightforward answer. For me, well, maybe it’s not so easy. Remember the iconic mid-century “What’s My Line”?  How many clues would it take to uncover my role?  It might be easier to say what I’m not.

I am CEDIA.  As a CEDIA Pro, I’m an Electronics Systems Contractor.  Others may refer to me as a Technologies Systems Integrator.  I have some specialties such as a Home Theater Designer.  And some call me a Residential Systems Integration Firm.  Hollywood gives me a bad rap (White House Down , the bad guys pose as AV Installers!)  Wow, that’s really not what I do!  For what I do, there’s rarely a drop-down selection that comes close because what I do is deliver the life you’ve dreamed of.  Really.

I integrate your home’s systems to perfectly operate as one – your climate, audio, video, security, lighting, shading…it’s automated, to your comfort and for your enjoyment.  My team and I masterfully make the system work as one – that’s the secret to simplifying everything on your end.  Easy, simple, elegant.

As a CEDIA pro, I believe life is best lived at home, simply. And that’s who I am.  I craft the personal home experience that delivers the life you’ve dreamed of for yourself and your family. A life lived best at home.  So, what do I do? I make the complicated simple. I put the lights on and open the shades. Yes, I do windows. More importantly, I let you know when the kids are home, and I keep you comfortable and entertained.

How do I do it?  I listen.  If you asked an architect to design a house, what would it look like?  What would it be made of, how many rooms would it have, do you want a big kitchen?  They’d start with a few questions: tell me about your style, your kids, what you enjoy doing together, do you enjoy cooking?  The same holds true for the technologies inside. They complement your lifestyle and make your house your home.  And that’s what I do. I am CEDIA and I’m listening.

Mad About Your Media Room!

Content is king!  From subscription streaming to satellite, sources for content seem endless, and so are your options for viewing!  Whether you’re hosting a Sunday afternoon of sports, a night of gaming, or any other excuse to have friends over, here’s some tips to treat all your guests to their favorite team, game or conversation.

Multi-screen or Multiple Screens?

The popularity of picture-in-picture viewing has exploded with the recent, feature-rich 4K options available.  And video walls comprised of multiple displays are seeing a spike, taking full advantage of available content.  Configurations include a mix of flatscreens and projection, offering an endless range of size choices.  Some prefer one large, main viewing canvas, flanked by smaller screens, either symmetrically or asymmetrically placed.  Others prefer a massive video wall comprised of a grid of narrow-bezel displays that can be configured to toggle content across the entire grid or in a multi-screen matrix.

Another option is offering multiple screens throughout a space, providing viewing from several seating or entertainment areas.  This works well when incorporating spaces such a billiards table, bar area, casual seating nook, etc.  Mounting solutions for a video matrix is somewhat complex however.  Aside from a seamless installation, panels must be accessible for maintenance, allow for heat dispersion and more.

And keep in mind that any security feed, such as your front door camera or baby monitor, are sources that can be fed onto the screens as well. This is ideal when your media room is in the basement and you’re watching for the pizza guy!

Design 

As an Electronics System Contractor, we will help with space planning and AV design and work alongside your interior design professional to ensure the best possible outcome, the perfect blend of aesthetics and technology.  Once you’ve decided on entertaining and viewing areas, there are a number of things to consider.

Optimize your room’s viewing by creating multiple layers of seating.  Take the tiered home theater seating approach and apply it across your space to take advantage of line of sight from anywhere in the room.  A first tier could be a mix of sleek gaming chairs, multi-purpose seating/storage ottomans and kid-friendly bean bags that could be stowed away when not needed. For your main seating tier, modular sectionals offer terrific flexibility while some well-placed  swivel chairs keep viewers engaged and comfortable.  Hi-top tables and bar seating provide guests a clear shot across the room while offering spaces for intimate conversation or a competitive hand of poker. And don’t ignore design conveniences like installing drink rails and providing side tables for your guests.

Sound

Audio does not take a back seat to video!  Designing the room’s acoustics is essential for comfortable listening and conversation.  Thoughtful acoustic design and noise control reduces fatigue and allows guests in each area to enjoy content and conversation.

Seamless Audio Switching is also essential to content enjoyment.  As content is chosen or swapped across screens, the sound must follow without a distracting stutter.  We can program flawless source switching across your devices – no fumbling with multiple devices and no missed moments of the game!  No time here for amateurs!

Ready to host a party in your in-home sports bar?

Great! Call us!  We’ll walk you through your choices, then design the system of your dreams that’s robust but fun and simple to use. Better get stocked up on beer!

For more ideas, visit us on houzz. And check out our website gallery.