The general brief with the client for this project was to ensure that the AV and automation system did not become a prominent feature of the home but complimentary to the entertainment and lifestyle requirements of the owner. The mandate from the client was simple - "The integration of the different electronic systems must be intuitive". They did not want to have to refer to an owners manual or call us for instructions consistently. The need for a "one platform" easy to use integrated system was required as they had been left with a bad experience before with difficult to use products.
Key Design Objectives:
- Structured Cabling "Smart Wiring" System
- Equipment to compliment the décor of the home
- Intuitive and easy to use touch screen control system
- Home theatre for Media room and Lounge room
- TV and music distributed to multiple rooms independently
- Automated lighting control
- Security and Access control throughout the property
- Telephone and intercom communication system
System and design
The structured cabling system provided caters for all inbound services such as Foxtel, Free-to-Air analogue and digital TV, phone, internet, access control including the distribution of a local network. The importance of having a thorough pre wire was expressed to the client and additional cabling was provided on our recommendation for initial redundancy however in our experience is very useful for unknowns in the future.
A communications closet for the main cabling hub, lighting control modules and AV equipment was designated underneath the central staircase of the home, this location was chosen because of it's proximity to the main entertaining areas. It also minimised the length of cable required during the pre wire phase of the project in turn saving the client unnecessary expenditure.
The custom made equipment rack was designed for easy access management of equipment. Ample ventilation and thermostat controlled extraction was integrated into the room to keep equipment cooled and the rack was built to sit off the floor in case of any unexpected water leaks. The audio visual distribution equipment located in the rack enables components to be shared to eight independent rooms and the multi-zone system allows occupants to enjoy different sources in different areas of the home simultaneously or the same source in all areas for entertaining purposes.
The Crestron lighting control system automates the day to day usage of lights in and outside the home in addition to ceiling fans, exhaust systems and heat lamps in bathrooms, which minimise the environmental footprint effectively reducing energy consumption and costs to the end user. The Crestron system was the perfect choice as the home owner had done plenty of independent research and had criticised other lighting control products on the market as they felt the buttons were too small and difficult to read.
The control system offers a combination of in-wall and hand-held wireless touch-screen controllers programmed to simplify the operation of all electronic devices. An additional feature is the ability to control all home functions on the owners iPhone and view iPhone functions on TV's and control devices.The clever integration of Crestron and RTI for this project maintained an intelligent cost effective solution allowing us to keep within the project budget.
The PABX phone and intercom system was designed to manage multiple inbound lines at the same time allowing seperate lines to communicate with and facilitate visitor access to premise at multiple entry points. Colour cameras are built into the intercom system which can be viewed on all visual devices such as TV's and touch screen controls.
The installation of the project progressed smoothly and efficiently until the late introduction by the client to have a billiards table in the Media room. This was a 'curve ball' to say the least, as the system had originally been designed as the primary zone in the home with the ability of providing home theatre with a 7.1 digital surround sound speaker system.
It was decided that we remain with the initial concept of a front projection system however this would need to be re positioned in the room (after already being pre wired) to accomodate the position of the newly added table. It was also agreed that instead of providing 7.1 speaker system, instead we would up spec the speaker system to a 4 speaker stereo configuration with a large subwoofer to cater for increased volume and performance when entertaining.
Another addition to the project, the owner requested to have the ability to view the CCTV cameras on the projection system in the games room without having to interrupt the source currently being viewed. This was achieved via the Crstron and AMS system providing a picture in picture (PIP) mode on the big screen when activiation of the front gate intercom was activated by a visiting guest.
The end result is an integrated solution that carefully compliments the homes design for entertaining. The prominent use of Crestron products for multiple facets of this project proved to be a great success and is proof that a project does not require a neverending budget to integrate this level of product in a modest residential application.
The client has expressed their resounding satisfaction with the project and that they are surprised by how much they use technology now for day to day living in their new home and are only too happy to show off their new system to any unsuspecting family and guests.