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The Art of Technology
1385 Boundary Road, Vancouver BC
t: 604.606.1888 | f:604.606.1838
Tag Archives: British Columbia
Summer is in full-swing and the holidays inevitably are approaching. Before you know it you’ll likely be hosting an out-of-town guest or two. You might be ready for visitors – but is your home? Whether it’s a party that requires a reliable system to impress and keep your guests entertained or some in-laws visiting that could benefit from more intuitive controls, there’s a lot to consider! If you haven’t thought about your home’s technology in a while, now might be a good time. Upgrades to your home automation can ensure your systems are working seamlessly in time for your guests.
Home Automation Simplifies Control
You might have mastered your control panel, but will your guests be able to figure out how to turn the lights on and off and adjust the thermostat before they go to bed? Is your lighting control is a bank of switches at the front door or are your shades on a separate remote? Talk to us about integrating your systems and simplifying control. It’s crucial to make sure your controls are easy enough for your guests to understand.
Service Plan add Peace-of-Mind
Maybe you already have all the right home automation tech in place. However, when was the last time you checked your service plan? Having a proactive service plan for your home automation system from a knowledgeable integrator like La Scala helps ensure you’ll always be up and running. We’ll be alerted before any potential problems arise. While you’re at it, don’t forget to check your network and make sure it’s robust enough to handle streaming on all your guests’ devices.
Regardless of whether you’re entertaining a few or dozens, for a night or a week, make sure you have the right smart home technology and the best service plan in place. Both you and your guests will be comfortable and thoroughly entertained.
The AV system was designed to provide the ideal collaborative solution for your team. Perfectly aligned to cast its laser image onto the projection screen while centered exactly on the custom ceiling tile, the projector would descend on a scissor lift at the touch of a button. The equipment order had been placed and the trades were meticulously scheduled. And then, well into the project; a request was made to change the room’s prominent light fixture and consequently, its location. Its new position would place it directly in front of the projector’s path. It may not sound like a complex issue but repositioning the projector may require either a short or long-throw lens be added, or a longer scissor-lift be specified. The electrical drop may also need to be relocated along with moving any other affected ceiling features. Audio visual systems are integral to any collaborative space and changes to a room’s walls, ceiling, flooring, lighting or furnishings may have a ripple effect that could result in costly change orders and extend your project’s timeline.
Typical video conferencing-enabled spaces will feature either a flat panel display, videowall matrix or projection system, along with microphones, speakers, AV equipment and room control device such as a pop-up touch panel. These elements are all part of an expertly engineered system, each with precise locations carefully documented. If, for example, a change is made replacing the specified 2-pedestal boardroom table with an extended 3-pedestal table, additional in-ceiling speakers or microphones may be required. Placement of these components will likely affect adjacent ceiling features including fire sprinklers, HVAC, occupancy sensors and lighting fixtures. Switching from 2 to 3 pedestals also shifts the locations of the floor boxes for power and connectivity. While these issues can be resolved through collaborative redesign and coordination with other trades, they will certainly impact the project’s timeline and budget.
Change orders of furniture, audio visual systems, electrical and more happen and for a variety of reasons. Custom items may encounter unforeseen delays. Furniture specified months earlier may be discontinued or the designer or client may have requested a change. Regardless of the circumstances, collaboration among stakeholders at the onset of change is the key to successful project outcomes.
This summer is the stuff of dreams for sports fans, with the FIFA World Cup, the US Open and the College World Series all taking over our televisions. But before huddling in your living room around your old TV to cheer on your favorite team, make sure you’re hooked up with the correct audio-video setup for the most immersive, bright and connected viewing experience for you and your guests this season.
Regardless of your setup, a few things are clear: for the ultimate viewing experience, you’ll need a large screen with the most clear, bright picture possible, complete with fluid motion displays, a setup with no clunky speakers or wires to distract you from the on-screen action, and strong network capability along with the technical support you need to make sure you don’t miss a play. Should you opt for LED or OLED technology? Or maybe a big-screen 4K projector is more your speed? And which audio setup will deliver that immersive audio experience? What’s more, it’s important to consider which cable or streaming service to use. The options are endless.
If you’re ready for the ultimate experience, a home theater with custom seating, a large screen projector and surround sound will help you feel as if you’ve been thrown into the game. If a TV-based setup is more of what you’re looking for, some key features to look for are motion-smoothing technology and color accuracy, as well as a bright picture, since most of the matches are during the daytime. But if you’d rather be outside by the pool, maybe an outdoor setup, equipped with weatherproof speakers and televisions, is your solution.
Whether you’re a dedicated sports fan looking for the most immersive and elaborate experience possible or you’re simply hosting your first watch party among friends, you need an experienced team of professionals to help ensure your home is equipped with the best technology and support to make you feel like you and your guests have been transported into the stadium.
Smart home technology might make you think of temperature, automated lighting and shade control, voice-control entertainment and security. What you might not realize is that this technology can extend into your wine collection.
Gone are the days of having your wine unprotected and at the wrong temperature or worrying about a power outage at home while trekking across Europe. There are numerous options for any level of connoisseur and any size collection. New technology from the standard cooler to a fully-equipped cellar, complete with the accessibility and organization at your fingertips thanks to state-of-the-art smart home technology and apps, makes this investment an excellent one for your home.
These systems have many benefits, the most important being their ability to connect with your existing home automation technology. Motorized shades, lighting and audio aren’t just for your living areas anymore – you can utilize your smart home tech to play your favorite music, control the temperature, adjust the lighting and protect your cellar from unauthorized guests. For those with serious collections, many systems offer monitoring of your inventory, so you know what bottle has been accessed, by whom and when.
High-tech options like the Elertus Wine Protection System or the IWG Cellar Cerveau offer your collection protection from humidity, temperature changes and power outages. Systems like the Cellar Cerveau and eSommelier come equipped with label recognition software and RFID label technology to help you track your inventory – down to where the bottle is in your cellar and what your collection is worth. What’s more, some systems come pre-configured with an expansive listing of data like wine types, grape varieties and tasting notes, while others can also offer suggestions for new additions.
Whether you’re just starting your collection or have been an oenophile for decades, consider the value of automating your wine cellar. La Scala has been privileged to work with some of Vancouver’s finest designers to integrate these features into our clients’ cellars and would welcome the opportunity to work with you and your design team. Need a little inspiration? Check out these five luxury homes featuring next-level cellars with automated controls. Can’t wait? Give us a call and let’s get started!
Effective, productive collaboration is dependent upon the participants’ ability to communicate and engage with the shared content. Content must be clearly visible with displayed text legible from every seat in the room. Designing the space with the appropriate display size, type and placement is key in creating an engaging, collaborative environment.
Addressing the space’s technologies early in the planning phase will allow for the most flexibility in design options and provide the best possible outcome. Determining the ideal display will require an analysis of the requirements and goals. Working with the interior designer and project stakeholders to factor in furniture, calculations of the room’s dimensions, viewing distances and angles can be made. Ambient light, available in-ceiling and on-wall mounting locations, control system, budget and the types of content to be viewed will be factored in as well.
Viewing Distance Determines Display Type
Viewing distance is calculated based on the furthest participant and is a key factor in determining display type. There are various methods of calculation to determine proper viewing distance and screen size. Our commercial AV industry association, AVIXA (Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association, formerly Infocomm), offers the specification “ANSI/INFOCOMM V202.01:2016, Display Image Size for 2D Content in Audiovisual System”. This industry standard uses multiple calculations that factor content, image size, font size, viewer positions from multiple locations, ambient light, off-axis viewing, the human eye’s range of sight at various angles, and more. These standards apply not only to presentation spaces, but to more complex applications as well including auditoriums, multi-purpose spaces and large training venues.
Calculations using a multiplier factor can provide a close estimation of display size that can help guide the design of small-to-medium size spaces including huddle spaces, board rooms and conference rooms. Screen size and distance calculations are greatly impacted by the content being presented, however, because the type of content dictates the multipliers (or factors) used in the calculation.
For corporate environments where presentations including PowerPoint, Excel, Word or Webpages will be shared, a large image will enhance user engagement by allowing participants to clearly and comfortably read the content. To calculate for this scenario, use a multiplier of 6 times the display’s image height (based on 1920 x 1080P resolution) to determine the furthest seating position. If data-rich content such as CAD drawings, Word or Excel documents or Web pages are to be shared, a factor of 4 should be used for added clarity. In rooms using video conferencing (WebEx, Skype, etc.) a multiplier of 4 is also recommended since it is a mixed-use application with multiple windows within the display image.
Video viewing is more lenient respective to screen size and distance. Smaller screen sizes or longer viewer distances are acceptable. The multiplier used for general video increases to 8 times the display’s image height. For example, if using a 55″ Monitor (27″ high screen height), the maximum seating distance would be 18’ (8 X 27” = 216”). In a mixed-content environment, such as a conference room, the text-content calculation would be the default. An alternative offering great flexibility without compromising design is installing both a flatpanel display as well as a recessed projection screen which can provide a larger image when required.
The 45° Cone
Viewing angles are an important consideration, especially with rooms that are exceptionally wide or where multiple displays may be needed. For ideal viewing, participants should be within 45 degrees from the center of the screen. The top of the screen should ideally be positioned within 30 degrees above eye level. AVIXA’s standard is more exact, but this general guideline will help set the expectation of screen size and positioning for design purposes.
Aspect Ratio and Scaling
Widescreen aspect ratios of 16:9 and 16:10 are prevalent, with 16:9 becoming the go-to. Laptops have standardized on 16:9, but most new displays and projectors can properly scale a 16:10 image to 16:9 and visa-versa. Any incompatibilities in native resolution can be addressed by the system designer.
Providing a screen that maximizes your content will keep your participants engaged and allow for a successful, productive meeting. Do you have a collaborative space that could benefit from a more engaging video solution? Call us for a complimentary on-site assessment of your space! We’ll do the math!
Noise is a critical factor affecting room design but, unlike lighting or climate control, it is often overlooked. Effective control of environmental noises and distracting conversations can significantly increase worker productivity while creating privacy from common areas. These noise control methods can take different form and accomplish different types of noise control. One such method, sound masking, is an effective way to eliminate the distractions, as well as privacy concerns, of overheard conversations but how it works, is often misunderstood.
The ABCs of Acoustics
The ABC’s of acoustic design, as architects refer to them, are a variety of elements that can be employed to address noise control and speech privacy. These include solutions that absorb, block, or cover sound. In any given space, the right solution may include involve one method or a hybrid off two or all three. Sound masking systems cover noise and fit into the C category.
We’ve learned that acoustic treatments absorb noise. Sound masking, on the other hand, is the addition of sound. It is an ambient sound, created by digital generators, that are specifically engineered to the frequency of human speech to target conversational noise rendering it unintelligible and therefore, less distracting. Sound masking does not eliminate all noise or cancel sound in an environment; it simply reduces how far conversations can be heard and clearly understood.
Sound Masking: What it is Not!
Sound masking is often referred to as “white noise” but its frequency varies significantly. Unlike white noise’s irritating static, sound masking is engineered to match the comfortable frequency range of the human voice. When designed and installed properly, the “whoosh” of sound masking will fade into the background of a workplace while simultaneously making speech more difficult to hear and, more importantly, to clearly understand.
Sound Masking Success
Implementation of a sound masking system will be far more successful if activated when workers are not present. It’s simple, human nature to hear something when it’s first flipped on and be overly aware of it. Instead, if your staff were to walk in while it’s already on, they would be less likely to notice it, if they noticed it at all. Ongoing, systems can be controlled manually or automatically, set to activate and deactivate based on staff scheduling.
If an environment has widely varying noise levels, an “active volume control” can be added to improve effectiveness. Special microphones (emitters) would be installed to measure the conversational speech levels and adjust the system’s output as the noise levels rise and fall. With the system staying in-sync with the environmental noise, the occupants wouldn’t detect a change.
Often a complement to sound masking, acoustical treatments provide barriers and sound absorption, lessening overall noise levels and reducing reverberation from hard surfaces. What’s the right solution for your space? Call us to request a consultation today.