Benefits of Automating Your Home

We live in a time unlike any other. With so many technological advancements at our fingertips, our lives are made easier, which is fortunate considering the fast-paced lives most of us lead. In recent years, great strides have been made in making homes a bit more “tech savvy.” This technology, in short, allows the homeowner to run his or her home while away through a remote, often on a Smartphone or iPad. In fact, these homes have been labeled as being “smart,” due to the fact that they can seemingly think on their own. This ability to “think,” also known as being an automated home, helps homeowners in a number of ways. What are the ways in which a home automation system can benefit you?

Adds Safety Through Appliance and Lighting Control
Another home automation advantage is added safety for both your family and home. You have the ability to control the small appliances and lighting, again with the simple tap of your finger on your favorite technological device. You can always check to make sure your daughter turned off her curling iron or ensure that your oven has been flipped off from the morning family breakfast. Your home and family also enjoy an added measure of safety through your ability to control the lights in your home. Not only does this allow you to make sure lights are off when you are gone to save electricity, it also allows you to turn them on at specific times if you would like it to look like you are home. This also helps increase the safety and security of your home.

Secures Home Through Automated Door Locks
Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of an automated system in your home is automated door locks. How often have you left for work in the morning only to realize that you forgot to lock your front door? Through an automated system, you can lock your doors with the tap of your finger. This quickly eases your mind, so you can focus on your day’s work rather than who may or may not be entering your home. This is also a great benefit for you if you have to leave to work before your children leave for school. Often, children run out the door to catch the bus and forgot to lock the door. You can easily have control of the situation by locking the door from your office each day. The fact that you can be alerted each time someone enters your home also allows you to monitor who is entering your home at all times, even when you are not there.

Increases Awareness Through Security Cameras
Unfortunately, we just cannot be everywhere at once. This means that we often miss things that happen, perhaps even in our own home or yard. With a home automation system, you can easily see what is happening. Now you can make sure no unwelcome guests arrive unbeknownst to you or your family. Security cameras increase family safety by recording clips when detecting movement or at specific times of the day or night.

Increases Convenience Through Temperature Adjustment
Often, we leave for work early in the morning and forget to adjust our thermostat. As a result, we come home to a house that is severely too hot or too cold. This is inconvenient, as it usually takes a good amount of time for the household temperature to increase or decrease after being adjusted. However, with a home automation system, you can simply adjust the thermostat from the convenience of your office a few hours before heading home. This is both cost effective and saves on energy, and it helps you stay “on top of” your life when you have run out the door first thing in the morning without considering much else besides arriving to work on time.

Saves Time
It is no secret that today’s world is busier than in days past. If you are like most people, you are constantly running from place to place, working to accomplish everything on your never-ending “to-do” list. Because of the high-tech nature of a home automation system, you never have to worry about running home to open the door for your children after school or making a quick stop at home in order to adjust household items. In short, you easily save precious time and experience more daily productivity.

Saves Money and Increases Convenience
As mentioned earlier, a home automation system saves money. The most beneficial impact the system will have is on your monthly utility bill. No longer will you be spending money for household appliances left on in your family’s absence. You will also save on gas costs, as you will never need to stop by the house in order to turn something off or on. This is certainly convenient. You will have complete control to make sure costs are low without exerting any additional effort

Contributes to Economy
Simply put, you are contributing to the economy when you purchase and utilize a home automation system. You ensure that you are only using the energy and resources that are necessary while you are home.

Increases Peace of Mind
Perhaps this benefit will not apply to everyone, but for those who habitually worry about whether or not they have taken care of everything at home before leaving for the day, a home automation system is a perfect investment. In short, it offers peace of mind. This is quite beneficial for those individuals who leave each day, obsessively worrying if everything is in order. With so many stresses in daily life, it is nice to take at least one off the list by being able to see what is going on at home without physically being there.

Allows You Control When Out of Town
Have you ever gone out of town and given a key to a neighbor? Many do this in order to allow the neighbor to perform household chores that cannot be neglected such as feeding the plant, taking care of the dog, or delivering the mail. A home automation system allows you just a bit more control than simply turning over a key, which is a great relief to some homeowners. You can easily set up a time for the person to enter your home and let him or her in yourself through your smartphone or iPad.

This allows you to stay in control of the situation. You no longer need to worry about the neighbor losing that key or having complete, unrestrained access to your belongings. In addition, you can make sure the chores are actually being completed, so you do not have any surprises when you return home.

Keeps Tabs On Your Children
Through the home automation system, you can easily keep tabs on your children. You can ensure that they make it safely into the house each night, letting them in without getting out of bed to greet them. You can also see their comings and goings on security cameras, as well as make sure the porch is lit when they arrive home.

This helps you keep them safe, as well as helps you know what they are up to each day, which can be quite helpful for a busy parent. In sum, investing in a home automation system will benefit you in several ways. It is cost effective. It will save you time and energy. And perhaps the most important? It will keep you and your family safe and your home secure.


Guests Revel at Crestron Controlled Hotel Rooms

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Crestron automated room control brings luxurious experience to guests and significant savings to property 

After years in decline, Atlantic City is poised for a rebirth led by Revel, an upscale $2.4 billion resort and casino that opened in April.

Among its amenities are Crestron systems in all guest rooms, meeting rooms and public areas that go far beyond anything previously installed, even in high-end Las Vegas properties.

“This is by far the most sophisticated system in any hotel anywhere in the United States,” says William Schafer, principal of Warwick, NY-based Assurity Design Group. “By integrating all of the hotel’s major systems, including lighting, HVAC, audio/video, door locks, mini bar, shades and drapes, the property dramatically improves the guest experience, simplifies system monitoring and maintenance and has saved nearly $2 million over the cost of installing separate systems.”

Throughout the four years it took to plan, implement and commission this system, Assurity worked hand-in-hand with engineers at Crestron, who developed several new products specifically with this project in mind.  “Revel has definitely set the bar for every hotel in the United States,” adds Schafer.

Automated amenities  

One of the biggest advances that Revel brings to the hotel industry is automation of its sleeping rooms.  The Crestron system goes to work as soon as the guest checks in, automatically setting temperature and lighting levels to comfortable, welcoming levels.

Once in the room, the guest has full control over lights, climate, TV, pay-per-view movies, and the mini bar from a simple, Crestron handheld remote. Press the “Do Not Disturb” button and the doorbell is disabled and a red indicator is displayed outside. Press “Housekeeping” and a green “Service Needed” indicator lights up outside. Before guests leave the room, they can simply turn off all systems with the touch of one button.  In ADA-accessible rooms and suites, the system also provides drapery and shading control.

All of these functions are connected to Revel’s property management system, so that the front desk, reservations, billing, marketing and security can access them as needed. When guests check out, the Crestron management system automatically turns off everything (lights, TV, climate control, etc.) in that room, resulting in significant energy savings.

In addition, each of the guest room systems is constantly monitored for possible problems through Crestron Fusion RV™ software. Assurity staff works in tandem with the IT and facility departments to help maintain and operate these systems, Schafer explains. “They know if there’s a problem in the room, even before the guest notices. For example, if the temperature hits 80 degrees and that’s not how the guest normally likes it, we will check to see if there’s a mechanical problem, an electronics problem, or if the guest desired this temperature.  The system is so comprehensive, Schafer adds, “It will know when the batteries need to be replaced in a remote.”

Although similar systems have been installed in high-roller suites in some Las Vegas hotels, at Revel every one of its 1,898 guest rooms is automated, from standard guest rooms to luxurious loft suites, which feature two stories of windows with spectacular views. Furthermore, this is the first time these systems have been integrated to this degree, and that’s a major advantage to the property.

“As in most other hotels,” Schafer explains, “everyone’s product is networked. You have a mini bar that rides on a wireless network, as does the room key system and a doorbell/room entry system, with each company normally installing its own network and its own server.

“In a building this size, to install those three separate networks, each with its own wiring and parts would have cost close to $2 million more than our solution, which was to integrate everything onto a single Crestron network.”

Another important advantage to Revel’s guest room system is that it can be upgraded very rapidly. “For example, we recently added a sleep timer function similar to what you’d find on a TV remote, except that it turns the lights off in addition to the TV. Once we had written the code and tested it, we were able to upgrade the entire building in about 30 minutes, without the need to visit a single room or disturb a single guest.” Another new feature, which Schafer hopes to implement soon, will save guests’ temperature and lighting preferences, so that when they return for future stays, their room will automatically be set up the way they like it.

Luxury suites

The hotel features five two-bedroom Hospitality Suites and two three-bedroom Sky Suites on its exclusive 44th floor, each with a living room, mini kitchen and bar, two full baths and a dining/conference area.

Each of these suites offers guests a music system with multiple iPod® docs and XM® radio, using a multi-zone Crestron Adagio® media system to allow guests to play what they choose in any room.  The suites also include a wireless Crestron touch screen controller to further simplify the use of the various electronic systems.

Two super-luxurious Sky Suites add a media room, two private massage rooms and a butler’s pantry to the floor plan. In addition to the other amenities, they offer a Crestron DigitalMedia solution that allows guests to watch the same movie on any or all of six large-screen TVs, either from the hotel’s video system or an in-room Blu-ray Disc®  player.

The electronics in the luxury suites represent collaboration between Assurity Design for the electronic amenities and Cerami & Associates of New York City for the audio/video systems, with KMK Technologies of Monroeville, NJ handling the installation.

Conference and common areas

The innovations at Revel continue beyond its guest rooms and suites.

The common and back-of-house areas of the hotel –the lobbies, halls, employee lounges and restrooms– all use centralized Crestron lighting control, together with Crestron dimming systems and occupancy sensors – to maximize their energy efficiency and minimize their carbon footprint.

In addition, Cerami & Associates designed audio/video systems for a conference center and more than a dozen restaurants and bars, all using Crestron DigitalMedia technology, to optimize quality while reducing installation and maintenance costs. These systems also feature Crestron control to simplify operations.

“We have integrated all of these systems with Fusion RV as well, so that Assurity staff can monitor them constantly and anticipate any problems before they occur,” Schafer explains.

For Atlantic City, the opening of Revel is more than the addition of a fancy new hotel and casino. “Governor Christie worked hard to ensure that this property was built here, because he saw it as an opportunity for the state, which it definitely is,” Schafer says.

“Four years ago I started traveling to Atlantic City regularly to work on this project. In those few years I’ve seen a transformation. The city has been revitalized. New homes and condos are being built. Other hotels have watching what Revel has been building, and I think they’ve been saying, ‘we’ve got to pick up our game.’

“Revel is setting the bar, and that’s a great thing for the hotel industry.


What Is Surround Sound and How Do You Get It?

Surround sound is a term applied to several types of processes that enable the listener to experience sound coming from all directions, depending on the source material.

Getting Surround Sound – The Home Theater, AV, or Surround Surround Receiver
To get surround sound, you need a component that can decode and reproduce surround sound from a source, such as a DVD. Most commonly, this component is referred to as an AV Receiver (Audio/Video Receiver), Home Theater Receiver, or Surround Sound Receiver.

A Home Theater, AV, or Surround Sound Receiver usually combines the functions of three components:
1. A radio tuner for AM/FM and, in some cases, HD (High Definition Radio) or XM-Satellite Radio.

2. A Preamplifier that switches and controls which audio and video source is selected (such as a DVD player, VCR, CD player, etc…) and processes the incoming stereo or surround sound signals and distributes them to the correct amplifier channels and the subwoofer output. The preamp in an AV receiver can also route video signals coming from source components (such as a DVD player) and direct the video signal to the television.

3. A built-in Multi-channel amplifier (5.1, 6.1, or 7.1 channels) that sends the surround sound signals and power to the speaker system.

Receiver or Separate Components
The Home Theater receiver is the heart of a home theater system and provides most, if not all, the inputs and outputs that you connect everything, including your television, into. An AV Receiver provides an easy and cost-effective way of centralizing your your home theater system.

However, in many higher-end installations, the functions of a Receiver are often provided by separate components: Preamp/Processor, Tuner, and either a single multi-channel amplifier or even separate amplifiers for each channel. Such a setup provides more flexibility in switching out and/or upgrading the separate aspects of the system as well as isolating any interference that is caused by having all these functions combined in a signal chassis and sharing the same power supply. For the average consumer, however, a good Home Theater, AV, or Surround Sound Receiver will function just fine.

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Benefits of A Home Theater System


Modern technology affords individuals the opportunity to watch movies on portable DVD players, computer laptops, and even handheld smartphones. However, these devices cannot authentically replicate the experience of watching a film in a movie theater. The grand visuals and surround sound that accompany the movie theater experience can truly bring to life the story being projected on the big screen. With the rising popularity of home theater installation, though, you now can enjoy the following benefits in the comfort of your own home.

Instant Entertainment
With the winter months, going out is about to become much more difficult. That doesn’t mean, though, that local residents want to stop seeing movies until the spring comes. If you often find yourself sitting at home during the winter season because you don’t want to battle freezing winds, consider getting a home theater. Once your home theater installation is complete, all you have to do is pop in a DVD or turn to your favorite television channel to enjoy quality entertainment without ever having to leave your home.

An Authentic Theater Experience
On their own, many televisions can provide excellent visuals and great sound. They cannot reproduce the experience of watching a film in a movie theater, though. A home theater system is essentially your own movie theater. You can have larger-than-life visuals. You can enjoy amazing sound quality. If you want a truly authentic home theater system, you can even install luxurious theater seats.

Affordable Movie-Watching
When you take into consideration the expense of movie tickets, parking fees, and concession stand purchases, your costs can quickly skyrocket if you intend to treat your family to a night at the theater. A home theater system soon enough pays for itself, as never again do you have to pay for these expenses each time you watch a movie. Simply walk into your home theater room, fire up your favorite movie, and enjoy your viewing experience without paying an exorbitant amount of money for it.

MusickDen can swiftly set up your home theater system with our team of home theater installation specialists. No matter your personal film-viewing preferences, we can work with them to create a home theater that exceeds your expectations. Call our office today for more information.

Source: Techteriors

Keep Your Home Secure with Home Automation When You are on Holiday

If you’re braving holiday travel this year to visit relatives, good luck to you. Seeing family and loved ones is what Christmas is all about, but the getting-there-and-back part is always a bit stressful (and sometimes headache-inducing).

Imagine being stuck in the airport, or grounded by a blizzard, and worry begins to enter your mind; Did I remember to arm the house’s security system? Did I leave the garage door open? What if I come home next week to discover that the heater has been blaring the entire time?

With Home Automation, these worries are quickly transformed to peace of mind. That’s because with the Home Automation it’s easy to:
– Check which lights are on at the house
– Check the status of your security system (and even view live security video)
– Make adjustments to you smart thermostat
– Set up temporary security codes if anyone needs to get in your house
– Much more

All of this can be done on your smartphone from anywhere in the world where you have access to an internet connection. So while you can’t take all the stress out of holiday travel, you can at least be sure your home is secure while you’re away.

One-Touch Security As You Walk Out the Door
Even as you’re walking out the door, loading up the car, and pulling out the driveway, home automation is securing your home. In fact, with a single touch of a button, you can initiate a “going away” scene: simultaneously all the lights in your home turn off, your doors lock, your security system arms itself, and the climate control is adjusted. Goodbye home, hello peace of mind!

Keep an Eye on Your Home While You’re Away
Not everyone can be home, but while you’re spending the holidays in a different city, state, or country, you can still be “home” with home automation. That’s because we allows you to check in on your home—view live security video feeds, adjust your home’s climate settings, and much more, all from your smart phone. In fact, you can access your entire home automation system. You are essentially taking a big piece of “home” with you for the holidays, that you get to carry around in your pocket.

Security Alerts
If something were to happen to your house while you are away (like a break-in), you’d probably want to be notified immediately. With home automation, you can set up automatic alerts that send you a text message when anything goes awry.

Automatic alerts are just one piece of the puzzle—once you are given the heads up, you can actually do something to fix it. If it’s just a friend at the front door (best case scenario), then you can let him in by unlocking the door from your smart phone or by providing him with a temporary access code. If it’s something like a busted pipe in the basement, you can turn your water off and take the necessary steps to mitigate the situation, even before you get home. And if there’s an intruder, you’ll be able to notify the authorities immediately.

If Only Your Crazy Relatives Had Home Automation
While your home is sitting nice and secure, there’s no guarantee that your holiday destination will be equipped with the comforts and conveniences of home automation. But sometimes you’ve got to get away in order to appreciate what you’ve got back at home—at least you can look forward to finally returning to your smart home when the holidays are over!