What is going on in the world of home automation?

Challenges and Solutions for Audio/Video Distribution

After visiting various projects around the UAE, we came across many project that have faced a serious issue of wiring video extenders and proper video Matrix. All of this is to avoid using the appropriate devices that would cost the same on the long run. In this article, we will explain the various options and the way to overcome it.

Big meeting rooms and conference halls have extend in dimensions above 5m x 5m. To wire media from one end of the room to the other, the system must have the appropriate cable to transmit the required content. While an good quality HDMI cable can extend 4K60 4:4:4 (TMDS bandwidth of 18 Gbps) upto 6.1m (depending on manufacturer) and 1080p content up to 12m (depending on manufacturer), Digital Media and HDBaseT is a solution that helps extend 4K60 video signals for up to 100M. Extender is a simple solution for transferring the signal from one location to another.

On the other hand, a video matrix is used as a middle man to handle many inputs to many outputs. So imagine you have 10 screens to display your presentations, the matrix will help put every content at the display screen selected. A usual matrix comes with HDMI Inputs and HDMI outputs.

 

The New Challenge:

With the introduction of 4K, we are limited with the distances between the source and the display to play this type of video and we will for sure require extenders. So the number of extenders with a video distribution solution increased and so a dangerous way to install these extenders is to stack them close to each other. Especially when they are 2 cm apart, the heat is accumulating and the power cables and HDBaseT cables are overlapping.

One of the projects with overload of transmitters and receiver. Imagine the wires behind and the heat released.

 

Traditional Solutions For Large Facilities:

At Crestron, Digital Media (DM) Modular Matrix can handle the switching in the displays between the sources. The switcher comes in various sizes depending on the amount of video input and output (upto 128 video input and 128 video output. So instead of distributing only HDMI connections, the DM Modular Matrix has slots for installing special cards that cover media such as RCA, VGA, BNC, SDI, HDMI, network stream, DM Copper connection or DM Fiber connection, covering various video and audio formats.  While DM copper can extend media up to 100m, DM fiber can extend the media signal up to 12 km.

A 32 input by 32 output modular DM Switcher

From the AV rack side, the DM Modular Matrix replaces the receivers and the transmitters and the opposing transmitters and receiver are placed at the source and the display respectively.  

Sample of Digital Media 8G or HDBaseT traditional connection

 

The New Solution for Large Facilities:

Multicast is the newest technology and delivering media using network is the latest. Unlike the usual streaming options available in the market, Crestron was successful in delivering 4K60 4:4:4 which require 18Gbps in a single Gigabit network connection. Competitors were successful in delivering network audio and video however they had to sacrifice the following:

  • Latency
  • Image quality (lower resolution)
  • Less bandwidth ( 10G network connection)

With Creston NVX, the best part is that the system encodes, decodes and scales at no latency. The media is transported in the network through a device that can be an encoder or decoder and the system can be expanded to many devices with the limitation being the network switch capability. Security is another factor with NVX

The All New NVX Method for transporting Audio and Video around the network

 

How The Amazon Alexa Can Automate Your Home From Your Voice

For decades, people have watched movies and television shows about technology and its impact on the future. From flying cars to friendly robots, we can all observe the ways in which the future is quickly becoming the present. Over the last few years, home automation has emerged and taken over the mainstream market; bringing sophisticated skill sets to our homes. Leading the way in this new era of home automation is Amazon’s Echo. Known by most as Amazon Alexa, The Echo is a voice-controlled speaker, home automation device and personal assistant. Most importantly, Amazon Alexa is smart. Over 4,000 skills have been added in just the past 90 days, and Amazon Alexa continues to expand its knowledge daily. Amazon allows other companies and individuals to integrate with the Amazon Alexa. Home automation company Crestron has integrated its systems with Amazon Alexa to create the home of the future.

 

Crestron is a company that provides integrated systems for audio and video, shades and blinds, lighting, temperature control and other components for home automation. Crestron provides complete solutions for full home automation by providing an assortment of products ranging from speakers and audio receivers to lighting and shade controls. By combining the voice control of Amazon Alexa with Crestron’s total integration system, homeowners can now control their home automation setup completely hands-free.

 

At its core, Amazon Alexa is a personal assistant. Alexa can perform basic tasks such as searching for information, adding products to a shopping list and playing music upon request. What makes Amazon Alexa so special is the ability to speak naturally to the device without having to stop and press a button. Amazon Alexa is always listening, so there’s no need to interact with the speaker itself before talking to Alexa. Beyond the typical commands of any virtual personal assistant, Amazon Alexa can integrate with websites, applications and appliances to provide additional functionality. These integrations are known as “skills”, and Amazon Alexa learns new skills daily. Skills are customizable, and can be added via the Amazon Alexa application available on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

 

The possibilities for what Amazon Alexa can learn are endless. Currently you can ask Alexa to perform tasks such as ordering pizza, reading audio books, providing facts on specific topics, ordering products from Amazon and even dimming your lights to a setting that suits your mood. Speaking to Alexa is very natural. You can say things like, “Alexa, dim my bedroom lights”, “Alexa order more toothpaste”, or “Alexa, ask Automatic if I need gas”. All the skills available in the Amazon Alexa application have made the Echo a perfect companion to total home automation. On its own, the Amazon Alexa can perform basic home automation tasks; adding Crestron as a partner enhances Alexa’s abilities far beyond what was imaginable even 3 years ago. With Crestron integration, Amazon Alexa can control your television, sound system, thermostat, security system, smoke detectors, lighting and a variety of appliances. Imagine arriving to a home that knows exactly what you want. You can have Amazon Alexa close the garage door, turn on the lights and start your favorite music as soon as you enter your home; all with the sound of your voice. You can find a recipe, preheat the oven, start the tea kettle, hear step by step instructions from your recipe and set timers for each dish you’re preparing. The power is no longer in your hands, it’s in your voice.

 

Contact us or visit our showroom to try out an Alexa enabled automation system, and gain control over your home or office through the power of your voice.

What is ELV (Extra Low Voltage) System Integration

When we hear the word “integration” we already have a positive feeling about it. It is because there is rarely something wrong when people or things are brought or put together in some sort of well-functioning association. This is exactly what “system integration” in engineering means – associating many subsystems in one whole system with the aim of saving resources such as money, time and work.

Since modern businesses are turned to innovative solutions in order to be more competitive and profitable, they continuously find ways to combine already existing or new products and systems into something more useful, faster and more efficient. This is why many companies today, across all industries, use ELV (Extra Low Voltage) system technologies. Electrical or strictly technical definition of an Extra Low Voltage system refers to the system which operates in voltage not exceeding 35V (or 60V ripple free DC),  but in the construction business an ELV system refers to the system which needs electricity to work but it is not the part of the building’s main electrical system.

The scope of technologies which are collectively named “ELV system integration” is extensive. For example, while LAN and WLAN cabling systems have no electricity passing through their cables, they are still called “ELV”. Some of the more classic ELV systems are; telephony systems, CCTV (Closed Circuit TV), ACS (Access Control System), fire alarms, CATV (Cable Television) and SMATV (Satellite Master Antenna Television), Home Automation Systems etc. These are simply a few of the many examples. There are many, many more of them and very often their common “ELV” name does not explain what all these systems are all about.

Home Automation System is a typical example of an ELV system integration. This system is a collection of technologies for monitoring and controlling many processes and objects in the building which work with electricity: from home appliances, lights and doors to audio and TV equipment. The fact that in the past this system was controlled via remote control devices and now it is remotely controlled via internet, paints a wonderful picture of how fast ELV systems develop. This exact capability for remote management saves maintenance costs and brings many new possibilities for upgrading the system.

The main reason why ELV system integration solutions have such a broad utilization across all industries is the fact that they decrease the costs of construction and simplify the management of processes and people while having great functionality. For example, ELV systems use the same common data network thus decreasing the costs on cabling and pathways.

Modern IP-based ELV systems are very extendable in comparison with the classic analog solutions. Their software is easily upgradable and there are great possibilities of their integration with new and different systems. There is no need to mention that all of these characteristics of modern ELV system integration solutions dramatically increase the quality of living and working which explains their quick expansion across all fields of work and life. The market is flooded with ELV System Integrator companies which design and provide customized solutions for their demanding customers all around the world.

Which is why, when you are planning to deploy an ELV (Extra Low Voltage) system, you should take up an integrated home automation system. Which not only saves time and energy, but also money, while also promoting the elegance of the space. Check out our extra low voltage solutions such as home automation systems.

 

 

Top Strategies for a Green Building with Home Automation & Other Tips!

It has been said that green is the new black. From industry to individuals, everyone is looking for ways to become more “green.” Smart houses that use home automation technology can be counted among the greenest and most energy efficient residential spaces, but so are homes that have introduced simple practices such as recycling and pot plants. Here are the best strategies to greening your home and building.

  • Use Pot Plants – pot plants have been shown to improve air quality, reduce dust, and even assist with temperature control (larger plants only)
  • Install Solar Panels – solar panels reduce your carbon footprint. They also help save you money over the longer term by reducing your energy bills.
  • Update Your Appliances ­– older appliances tend to be less energy efficient. Choose new appliances with a good energy rating. Use Surge Suppressors – plugging electronic devices into surge suppressors not only helps protect against voltage surges, but can help cut unnecessary electricity usage if you turn the strips off when the devices are not in use. It’s useful to remember that a device on standby can require as much as 40 percent of the energy used when it is on.
  • Use Energy Management Software – energy management software, as part of a home automation system, will help you keep track of water and energy usage by device, area, or time. You can use this data to make effective changes in your house or office. Home automation systems will automatically fully shut off devices when they are not being used, so you don’t have to remember to turn appliances off from standby. If you use energy management software, you can identify “leaky” appliances that are energy inefficient. Install Sensors – installing occupancy sensors around your house, especially in corridors, bathrooms, and garages
  • Install Sensors – installing occupancy sensors around your house, especially in corridors, bathrooms, and garages help turn lights off when they are accidentally left on and no longer in use.
  • Turn Down Your Thermostat – reducing your thermostat by one degree in winter can save around 3 – 5 percent of your monthly heating costs.
  • Insulate Your House – insulating your house helps protect you and your family from the extremities of weather so that you expend less energy on heating or cooling. Install insulation in your windows as well as your roof for maximum protection against the weather.
  • Install a Rainwater Tank for Flushing – have your rainwater tank connected to your garden and toilets and save on water consumption.
  • Recycle and Reuse – use reusable containers whenever possible and recycle Go Organic – buying and eating organic is one of the best ways to green your household as organic farming is less likely to degrade soil.
  • Use Green Materials – use as much green material around your home for building and furnish as possible. Bamboo, cordwood, and kirei board are just a few of the furniture and building materials used for green homes.
  • Use Green Paint – opt for healthier paint for your walls. Traditional paint can contain a lot of toxic solvents and volatile organic compounds. These are released into the air you breathe even after the paint dries. Choose non-toxic paints where possible.
  • Put Your Lawn to Use – with just a little work, your water-intensive lawn can be converted into a mini vegetable patch or an attractive garden. Use natural rather than chemical fertilisers if you’re starting up a vegetable patch, or design a garden patch from attractive native plants that won’t need frequent watering.

These are just a few of the many simple tips you can integrate within your home and lifestyle. With the ever changing and increasing environmentally-friendly methods of energy generation, going green has never been easier. No more are these tips difficult to

Automation Systems – The Future of Homes in Dubai

Smart homes are futuristic dream homes of most of the people who live in the city of Dubai as well as the country. Many of today’s household products are becoming “smart” and a part of the automation systems that can be set up. Products in the bathroom such as showers, electric razors and kitchens such as microwaves, refrigerators, and stoves are utilizing this technology. This technology seems to be new, but it uses existing technology. For example, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC are just some of the many different technologies used. These technologies are used together to make the electronic devices around a house automated, and function on a certain schedule or event.

When you hear the term “smart home”, you may visualize an expensive futuristic house or brand new mansion. However, with today’s new technologies and innovations, any homeowner can take advantage of either a few or multiple home automation services. Furthermore, these technologies are affordable for many homeowners. Whether you are building a new house or looking to simplify daily life in your current home, with smart home integration, your options are nearly limitless. Once your home automation system is installed, you can relax knowing your security system, lighting, heating, and entertainment features will run like clockwork.

How does it work? You choose the areas and appliances you wish to be “smart”, and our team will figure out the equipment necessary for automation. Our team will equip the systems with timers, settings, and control panels, conveniently located throughout your home. For example, you may have your lighting automated so that with one remote control you can turn on, off, and dim any light fixture inside or outside your home. Also, you may set timers on the house’s lighting so that porch or living room lights turn on at a specific time and you walk into a safe and welcoming home. No longer will you get up out of bed to turn off lights that were forgotten. Similarly, your security system and heating and cooling can all be controlled from one location, making your family comfortable, safe. Furthermore, home automation provides you with an energy efficient home, for an environmentally friendly household.

What choices are there for controlling the automation? You can select touch screens, remote controls, and online options. Want to change the heat setting while you are out of town? There are options for controlling your home automation system from a mobile phone or laptop. Prefer one central location that stays out of the reach of children? or maybe you wish to have a touch screen installed for easy access?

What about customizing? When you take a look at today’s smart homes, you will find an entire house personalized to the family’s needs and wants. It may sound complex, but it is as simple as choosing a few custom settings. For example, simply say “Good Morning” and as chosen, the air conditioner will turn off, the lights will turn on, the alarm will turn off, and your coffee will brew. All before you’ve gotten out of bed.

Entertainment systems also fall under the list of items that can be controlled with a home automation system. With Crestron’s powerful audio and video system integration, you can control almost any brand of TV, projector or speaker to function how you want it. You can also have home theaters complete with surround sound and multi-room speakers installed at the same time. Once your house is automated for practicality, you can look into investing in high-quality entertainment and sound systems as you may please.

 

The beauty of Crestron home automation systems is that it can function with almost any device whether it is old or new, making it a cost-effective option for a home automation system. Take some time to look into home automation options. You are sure to find at least one feature that will make your family’s life simpler and safer. Customize your smart homes to fit you and your family’s needs.

 

Contact us today to get a free estimate on deploying your future dream home automation in your household.

The true benefits of an AV (audio and video) distribution system

Audio and video distribution systems can be used in many places, but often they are not and this produces an economic and efficiency issue. As AV distribution systems are developed, more features are integrated, such as connecting to Youtube, Spotify, Rdio, and even Google Music playlists. You can also distribute video sources such as an AppleTV across multiple TV’s and projectors. This is beneficial as it makes your life simpler and error-prone in the long run.

But the question remains, what are the true benefits of an AV system?

Cost-efficient: Many speakers and TV’s often go into standby mode when unused for a long period of time. When you use an AV system, you specify which TV’s and speakers you want to activate, and thus you do not activate unrequired speakers/TVs. In the short term, this may not seem like an issue, but in the long-term, the issue becomes more apparent.

Efficient: Instead of having to manage multiple TV’s, and Speakers separately and control how you may want them to function, having an AV system will create a hub to allow you to control all AV systems from a central hub or even a tablet/mobile device (check our home automation systems for integration with tablets and other devices).

Simple: When you have a single hub to control all your AV systems, you are not left confused on which systems need to work and how to manage each single one in its own way. With an audio and video distribution system, you can control multiple different brands of systems without having to deal with each system individually.

Customizable: With an audio and video distribution system, you can control every single device and have them broadcast to multiple devices that do not necessarily have to be beside one another.  For example, screen sharing your laptop device to multiple TVs across your home.

When you use an AV system, you are simply using one system to manage all audio and video sources and targets, instead of sending staff around to each system and manually adjust settings. We use Crestron home automation systems, and Crestron has award-winning AV systems which give you the ability to broadcast 4K sources to 4K TV’s and projectors efficiently. Our audio and video distribution systems (powered by Crestron) can be connected to the home automation systems and give you complete control over your media control needs across your office and home from your Apple/Android mobile device or tablet.

 

2 Major Advantages Of Commercial Office Automation Solutions

There is a plethora of reasons, both financial and operational, to install an energy management automation solution to your commercial office. Automated buildings are energy efficient, comfortable and virtually effortless to operate. With the perfect solution, the advantages of using automation are highly considerable. However, the consequences of a poorly created system are difficult to reverse. If you are looking to have office automation in the sense to control HVAC, lights, security, and digital signage from a remote device such as iPad or mobile device, then this article will help to satisfy your curiosity greatly. Read on to discover some of the basic advantages of commercial office automation solutions you need to know.

  • The Operational Advantages
    • Making Quantum Improvements Highly Possible: There is always a link between profitability, environmental quality, and operating cost. Innovative PC technology is the key to managing costs and facilities efficiently. The already existing personnel cannot keep up with rising demands without better tools. It is either costs increase in other areas or quality suffers such as utility charges, contracted services, or personnel. A good commercial office automation solution will always make quantum improvements highly possible.
    • Maintains Quantifiable Comfort/Convenience: Computerised controls will help to maintain lighting and temperature levels in your office to provide measured comfort. Maintaining constant lighting and temperature levels cuts down on wasted energy and increases productivity.
    • Simplified Building Operation: Real-time graphical displays and remote controls from iPad will help you to see exactly what is happening with the appliances in your office without having to crawl up the ceilings or go up to the roof. It will help to save you money and time on expensive problem determination checks, and simplified operations.
    • Lowers Occupant Complaints: Fewer occupant complaints simply means a more comfortable building. It implies happier occupants, less time resolving complaints and a highly productive business environment.
    • Prevents Business Distortions/Interruptions: Unanticipated appliance breakdown will lead to expensive business interruptions. The cost of processes in a building and workers can be around fifty to one hundred times the facility operating expense on a square foot basis. When clients are involved, the impact can be equally expensive. Emergency repairs and breakdowns are highly expensive. Computerised controls will automatically check appliance status and help you reduce unanticipated problems.
  • The Financial Advantages
    • Lowers Maintenance Expenses: Operating the appliance in your office less and regulating it properly minimises wear-and-tear. This will also help to keep maintenance expenses down.
    • Reduces Utility Cost: The equipment operating costs in question will be reduced to about twenty percent. This will also help you save money on energy bills.
    • Improves Your Property Value: The value or worth of most commercial offices is associated with the net operating income. Reducing utility expenses boosts the net operating income on a dollar-to-dollar basis. This simple concept will help to enhance your property worth in an ephemeral of time.
    • It Manages Hidden And Direct Expenses: Recognising the actual expenses and how they are regulated affects your business ability to compete. Using office automation technology will reduce costs significantly on utilities, personnel, lost productivity, appliance replacement, and repair.
    • It Is A Great Investment: Commercial office automation solutions are a great investment for you. Most of the system you adopt will pay for themselves from energy cost savings alone in an ephemeral of time.

Check out Smart Home Building Contracting’s smart office solutions that can provide these benefits to your office space today!

Why is Home Automation a need today?

Home Automation has been around for over a decade, however, it was not practical to have installed in a home due to the costs. However, today there is a reason to install home automation systems in homes and offices. The reason being; cost is not what it once was.

In the past, automation systems used to cost 10,000 AED (~$3000 USD) to even deploy a simple system to control lights. Meanwhile, in the present, it can cost as low as 3,000 AED (~$800 USD) to have control over most if not all light systems and even more. Systems are more flexible, so you can control more than just your lights. You are able to control shades/drapes, lights, media control, security and much more from a single iPad or mobile device and from anywhere. For example, you would like to only automate lights in your house, then you simply need to set-up a light dimmer control and a processor. As your needs grow, your system becomes complex and cost more. However, due to advancing times, total control is becoming cheaper every day. We at Smart Home Building Contracting are efficient in our deployment of Smart Home appliances by making the most of our hardware that is backed by Crestron. Crestron is a worldwide brand in the automation industry and their quality is outstanding, with machines lasting for over 5 years functioning and experiencing minimal issues.

6 Amazing Benefits Of Residential Home Automation

The concept of residential automation has remained unfamiliar with most people in time past. As innovative technologies and products are becoming highly accessible, homeowners now like the concept of upgrading their living domicile. Are you pondering on what is residential automation? With residential automation, basic home appliances and systems will be under the control of homeowners. It also provides access from a remote source such as a smartphone app or a centralised unit. In this content, you will discover 6 amazing benefits of residential home automation.

Energy Efficiency:

One great advantage of residential home automations is energy efficiency. Your home’s energy efficiency can be increased by remotely powering off appliances and systems when they are not in use. Apart from normal residential automation items that provide you active control, certain products effectively check systems and strengthen the homeowner with guidance, insight, and knowledge to attain greater regulation and energy efficiency. Residential home automations will help lower excess energy usage, track equipment performance and improve efficiency.

Comfort:

It is highly imaginative to leave your home for work with a comfortable sixty degrees outside and later return to sweltering because of the temperature rise to 90 degrees. With a residential automation product, you can comfortable regulate the temperature of your home from a mobile application. This will make your home more comfortable to stay.

Security:

When you arrive home, simply tap your finger to turn on the lights. This will not make you afraid of anything in the dark or in your pathways. You have the opportunity to also automate while not at home to scare robbers and thieves. Your home security can be increased by using door locks, which are automated home products. With a simple app, you can take control of your safety without worrying if there is someone hiding in the dark.

Peace Of Mind:

Peace of mind is one of the best-hidden advantages that come with residential automation. There is no more worry if you locked the door, turned off the lights, or turn off the TV. Residential automation is reassuring and certainly worth the investment for people who have many worries to monitor products and important services.

Convenience:

Is it not problematic for you to depend on neighbours to always look over your home when you’re away? The convenient control of your living domicile is at your fingertips with the help of residential home automated products. It is not a good idea to trust someone else with your valuable and important properties.

Savings:

The truth is that residential automation is highly beneficial. The savings will be obvious in your first utility bill when you can make use of home appliances and systems aptly. You will not have to waste money and resources on lights when you’re not at home. In fact, you will not have to waste money on gas to rush home because of inability to turn off locks and doors. Apart from saving money when using residential automation, you will also secure your time wisely. There is no running through the house turning everything off, no wasted trips home and no time spent on pondering.