Connected Design Digital Edition

In this Issue: As you turn the pages of this Summer issue, bask in some of these visuals. Dive into these features offering the latest outdoor solutions available in today’s market. As I take a look back at all the progress we have made both as humans and as an industry, I have to offer my applause. Tech is present in everything we do on a daily basis.


All The Glory

One thing comes to mind when I reflect on this issue—resiliency. And, for once, I am not talking about plugging along through the pandemic. The theme of resiliency stands out to me because in many of the features and case studies you will read, integrators hurdled some onerous obstacles. For example, Future Automation & Design restructured a home’s entire “nervous system;” New Wave AV faced a wall, a glass wall, that is, and maneuvered to deliver the ultimate home entertainment system. And in our cover story, Electronic Concepts New York encountered a lighting nightmare yet turned it into a dream.

      No matter the challenge, smart home integrators dig into their creativity pockets to reveal the golden coin of resourcefulness. And when it gets real tough, well, they also know when to call for backup. Just as cyberManor’s Gordon van Zuiden has done with partnering with an interior designer; and Electronic Concepts’ Paul Bochner has done with teaming up with Coastal Source Lighting.

      The end result gets all the glory, but it’s the daily grind and, sometimes the plain-old ugly, that exposes the kind of company you’ve built. Staying resilient through it all is what makes those end results so much sweeter.


Stephanie M. Adamow – Senior Managing Editor

CD DigiMag June Ring Advertorial



In his 20+ year career as a smart home technology integrator, Joe Whitaker, president of Thoughtful Integrations, based in St. Louis, MO, has seen a fair amount of challenging projects. And like many custom integrators, he and his team have found solutions to meet needs and surpass expectations. One particular project he encountered recently required ingenuity, resource allocation and deep understanding of the product and client needs. Most importantly, however, the seamless integrator-manufacturer relationship made all the difference.


Solving Problems; Generating Revenue

As a Global Board of Directors member Governance Committee Member for CEDIA, Whitaker takes full advantage of the programs the organization provides, including the Propel Program, an affinity program that provides members with access to emerging trends, innovative technology, and special offers from manufacturers. When the program began in November 2020, manufacturer brands included security and surveillance manufacturer, Ring. Whitaker promptly joined the Propel program and simultaneously signed on to be a Ring Pro installer through their Ring Partner Program.

Through the Ring Partner Program, Whitaker responded to a request for a retailer’s multiple-location commercial project, involving security and surveillance systems, both at storefronts and warehouses. The scope of the project posed challenges, as locations spanned the country, but the ability to solve the client’s problems with an easy-to-use system, while also forming lasting relationships, outweighed these obstacles.

The client had previously worked with another security company, but soon became frustrated with monthly fees and unfriendly” user interfaces. Looking for a simpler solution, they turned to Ring.

Whitaker has found great success with the Ring Partner Program, reporting that 90 percent of leads convert to sales (He’s received 8 leads from the program so far, and 7 of them has turned into solid sales leads). This is attributed to the client’s established commitment to purchase; they simply need a trusted installer. “I’ve never seen a conversion rate like this,” Whitaker explains. “But on top of that, there is also an extra 40 percent conversion rate (3 out of the 8 sales leads) for customers adding other technologies, such as network, audio/video, digital stage, etc . The customer is looking for an integrator they’re comfortable with to do the installation. It’s your job to close it, and enhance and explain the expectations correctly.”

What’s more, Whitaker notes, once you create the relationship with the client, they have you top of mind for future projects and services.

Most Consumer-Friendly Experience

By far, the biggest problem-solver Whitaker has noticed with Ring is its simple-to-use features. Whitaker recalls the many support calls he’s received from customers who experience problems reviewing surveillance recordings from other manufacturers. Many times, the user needs to take several steps, possibly on a laptop or computer, to access these recordings.

With Ring, users simply access the app and select the desired camera. As users scroll through footage, they can select portions of video to view. The app details if an action has taken place, such as “motion detected,” “person detected,” as well as timestamps. You can select and “grab” portions of videos easily.  Whitaker describes it as the “most consumer-friendly experience I’ve ever seen.”

Integrator Support

Ring provides a thorough training once an integrator joins the Partner Program. They provide education about each of their products. According to Whitaker, this provides the integrator the extensive product knowledge needed to educate clients as to which product is best for specific installations based on the type of camera (hardwired vs battery or solar), particular angles that need to be recorded, the locations the client wishes to keep an eye on, and more.

“For situations like this, both in commercial and residential, we are leading with Ring as the primary solution,” Whitaker says. “Ring allows the full features of surveillance and security expected by clients, but allows us to provide these solutions within tight budgets, such as those of retail commercial clients.”

Joe Whitaker

Joe Whitaker, of Thoughtful Integrations, has found great success with the Ring Partner Program.

An Outside Perspective


Written by Chris Smith, TheCoTeam


Tribeca Rooftop. Photography by Ty Cole


Rockland County Residence. Photography by John Kane


Brooklyn Heights Penthouse. Photography by Francine Fleischer

It’s summer! Time to take the Connected with Architects conversation outside. I sat down with Gareth Mahon, RLA, LEED AP, Principal at landscape architecture firm RKLA Studio (New York City), to learn more about his approach to exterior spaces.

What drew you to landscape architecture? You actually started in tech, correct?

Yes, while living in Ireland, I worked at APC for five years as their Head of Technical Support for Europe, Middle East and Africa. My degree is in Electronic Engineering, so I am very comfortable with technology. However, not up to speed on it as much
these days!

      I knew that it was not what I wanted to do. Not technology, per se, but the corporate world. I really liked design and the way things are built. I flirted with being an architect, but decided not to go back to school.

You almost missed your calling?

Yes! About 20 years ago, I met Robin Key, my business partner here at RKLA. I was consulting, helping out with drawings, graphics, web design, etc. Robin asked, “Why don’t you just work with me and we’ll see if we can grow this business?!” We’ve been great business partners and close friends ever since.

What influences your design aesthetic and love of nature?

My upbringing in Ireland, growing up on a farm, and having an appreciation for the land and the natural world.

Now that you live in Brooklyn, a far cry from the farm, what is your connection to the outdoors?

On my last trip to Ireland, two years ago, friends reminded me how much time we used to spend outside. I had lived in New York for 18 years, and I don’t think I’d ever gone hiking! When I returned, I committed to hiking every weekend, and I’ve made that happen. You have to escape the hold of the city; the reward
is amazing.

In your work, effectively creating personal sanctuaries, clients might not have to leave.

I’ve never thought about it that way, but maybe we are facilitating people being stuck in the city!

Who is the team at RKLA?

We’re six people, including the two partners. It might sound top-heavy to some, but we, as principals of the firm, are very hands on. We’re connected with our clients, truly involved, and bring a lot of knowledge to projects. Our team also includes two long-term RKLA members and contributors at nine years apiece, one at two years, and we recently welcomed a new member to our team with 20 years of industry experience.

You’re practicing partners—active participants rather than observers?

Yes, we wouldn’t have it any other way. Quality control is everything for us. We like being down in the trenches (landscape pun acknowledged)! We also have great senior people, fantastic at what they do, and we really trust them!


Tribeca Rooftop. Photography by Ty Cole


Tavern on the Green. Photography by Francine Fleischer


Brooklyn Heights Penthouse. Photography by Francine Fleischer

How do you describe the value proposition at RKLA?

When you work with RKLA you get access to one of two partners, each of which have many years of experience and are passionate collaborators. They are backed by a team of really excited and enthusiastic designers. In some firms, you just don’t really get that.

Tell me a bit about your process.

We want to get to know the site and the client. We begin with a thorough programming and site analysis phase; then come up with concepts to help facilitate the discussion. We keep it very visual and try to tease out as much information as possible from the client. From there, we follow a traditional design process of iteration. When a design is finalized, we create construction and pricing drawings to get bids. For the residential work, we’re very involved in helping clients select the best contractors. We’ll typically stay with the project through construction.

How do you hide technology in your designs?

People expect technology to be in spaces, and they don’t necessarily notice it. If they notice it, they don’t pay attention to it. They have, seemingly, become blind to its existence.

What is your typical involvement with lighting?

We do the lighting design for the landscape lighting on 85 percent of our residential projects. It’s usually mood lighting: lighting trees, pathways, seating and dining areas. Our approach tends to be quite subtle and we’re not usually trying to make big statements with lighting.

Have you had any unique lighting applications?

An existing client asked us to light their water tower; they wanted to be able to change colors. We chose a DMX solution, and the client was happy. We typically don’t get involved in that level of control.

I saw a “Landscape Audio System” in some of your projects. What is your take on this solution?

No issue with the bullets, but hiding those massive mushroom subwoofers is always a problem! The sound is incredible, but they take up a lot of real estate in rooftop planters.

How often is a music system in your design?

I would say 90%.

Is video lower?

Yes, closer to 10%.

And how about exterior motorized shading?

We typically have motorized shades on every project, assuming it was needed. They tend to be a standalone system and not usually part of the home automation system. We’re also doing more pergola/louvered systems.

Any general advice for clients?

Hire your landscape architect the same day you hire an architect. It makes for a better project—smoother—project.

Chris Smith is the Principal and Founder of TheCoTeam. Bringing 20 years of industry experience to the custom installation space, they Coach | Consult | Collaborate with integrators and manufacturers to solve problems and run a more efficient business. TheCoTeam.com



Located in Harding Township, New Jersey, a neighbor to Morristown in the County of Morris, a majestic residence sits at the foot of a cul de sac, overlooking a stunning valley. The township is “home to industrialists, politicians and Fortune 500 executives” and has long been considered one of New Jersey’s most exclusive areas,” according to the New York Times. This is not hard to imagine when you gaze upon this home, which is not only the main residence for a couple and their children but also extended family.

DSC_1981 vibrance
C5227D79-0357-4910-AA6F-93A5775CA0BD 2

      It was here that the homeowner eventually welcomed Electronic Concepts of New York’s (ECNY) principal, Paul Bochner, albeit late into the construction. Bochner’s name was mentioned to the client at a recent visit to the Savant Experience Center. He had inquired about a lighting control system, but the conversation soon led to the discovery that the homeowner was a hi-fi aficionado, and Bochner’s name eased its way into the exchange.
      It was unfortunate that the home’s walls had been completely buttoned up by the time Bochner became involved, leading to a massive challenge in the wiring department. However, it led to in-depth conversations between Bochner and the client, which reaped many rewards. And in the end, Bochner not only tackled the lighting debacle inside but enlisted the help of lighting experts Coastal Source to truly illuminate the luxurious home on
its surface.

Delivering the Proper Solutions

Upon listening to the client, Bochner elaborated, he realized that their wishlist went far beyond lighting. In fact, what he truly wanted was whole-home automation, AV distribution, CCTV, home theater, landscape lighting, shading and more.
      The main problem for ECNY was being late to the party. Unfortunately, after the client spent a fortune on boutique light fixtures for the home, the wiring was insufficient. Specifically, the home was configured for 0-10v fixtures, but was not wired or connected properly.
      Bochner and his team worked closely with Lutron to cleverly hide local 0-10v devices throughout the expanse of the 18,000-sq.-ft. home.
      “This is the quintessential case of needing an integrator while you were initiating the design,” Bochner sighed.


“There was no qualified professional guiding or managing the expectations of the client. And this client had very high technical expectations.”
      The ECNY team came in like a band of superheroes, saving the clients from spending unnecessary time and much more money.
      “The client wanted the best of everything, and we were able to deliver a really high-end product while managing his expectations,” Bochner relayed.
      Bochner is especially proud of the home theater. In the room, approximately 30×60, ECNY installed a 10.4.2 Atmos system with NAD Electronics; a Display Technologies 218” Diagonal top/bottom masking screen, which was paired with a Barco projector; B&W speakers; and Kaleidescape video system, all of which is controlled by Savant with IP video. The theater also features Cineak seating and Lutron lighting.
      Being an audiophile, the client also was provided B&W in-ceiling speakers throughout the home, specifically Diamond in-ceiling speakers in the common areas. There is even a listening room housing speakers from French manufacturer Devialet.
      The other piece of the project that has heads turning is the landscape lighting. He partnered with and relied heavily upon the expertise at Coastal Source for the entire outdoor lighting system. The two companies worked hand in hand—Bochner with a landscape plan and Coastal Source with an impeccable design to spotlight each plant, tree and bush on
the property.
      “When we turned everything on the first night, the client looked on and said ‘I want 60 more,’” Bochner noted. “The tip here was to listen to the customer to understand his needs and what fit his tastes and design.”

Contact Info:
Electronic Concepts New York
174 NJ 17
Rochelle Park, NJ 07662
Paul Bochner, Prinicpal



Lighting Design
Coastal Source


Access Networks, Barco, Bowers and Wilkins, Cineak Seating, Coastal Source, Display Technologies, IC Realtime, Kaleidescape, Lutron, NAD Electronics, Savant

Outside the (Speaker) Box


By Danne Dzenawagis

Designer Spotlight

Custom-painted gray Edge Media Frame encasing the TV and soundbar to match the technology to the design of the room. Installed by TRIPhase Technologies.

Designer Spotlight

Leon Speakers’ Ente SoundTile is a speaker system that is hidden behind a fine art print.


Leon Speakers can print graphics onto grilles, which is a great branding opportunity for a business interested in incorporating its logo.

There are probably more options than you think for adding that custom touch to your next installation. We talked with custom audio manufacturer Leon Speakers about some common customizations that help blend design and technology in any space.

      For most A/V projects, any time the word “custom” is involved, chances are the next word that comes to mind is “expensive,” but the two aren’t necessarily synonymous. Yes, designing a completely custom system can end up being pricey; but there are a number of relatively simple customizations that can be employed to blend technology beautifully into any space—making both the interior designer and the homeowner happy.

      While off-the-shelf tech products typically don’t offer much in the way of design customizations (if any at all), some A/V manufacturers operate much like a high-end furniture manufacturers, offering a
standard base model with the ability to select color, finish, fabric, and more.

      Leon Speakers is one such company, specializing in a build-to-order approach that allows integrators and end-users to provide high-end audio solutions while keeping design top-of-mind.

      “Custom is at the heart of what we do here at Leon,” said Noah Kaplan, Leon’s founder and president. “For almost 25 years, we’ve been working with both the A/V and interior design communities to offer design-forward solutions you can’t get out of the box.”

      Leon has a team of designers and engineers on-staff who are experienced at working with integrators, architects, and interior designers to customize their product line to suit the audio needs and aesthetic of any space.

      “The projects we work on are really collaborative in nature,” said Kaplan. “We think of ourselves as an extension of our dealers’ creativity. We’ll meet early on in the project to hear what their initial ideas are, and from there, we can make suggestions and come up with design solutions together.”

      When talking custom, the possibilities are endless, but we worked with Leon to put together a list of seven design-friendly ways to customize your next project.

1. Customize the Finish

Speakers typically come standard in black or sometimes white, but companies like Leon can match speaker cabinets to any paint or stain color to blend with the surrounding environment. For in-wall and in-ceiling options, the same paint-matching process can be applied to perforated metal grilles, perfectly matching the speakers to the color of the room.

Designer Spotlight
Speaker cabinets can be created out of custom woods and materials or painted to match the decor.
Designe rSpotlight

Speaker cabinets can be created out of custom woods and materials or painted to match the decor.

2. Choose a Custom Grille

The majority of speaker grilles out there are plain black, but customizing the grille fabric or material is an easy way to pick up on other design touches in the room. In a midcentury space with rich tones and walnut furnishings, a granite-gray grille fabric can be a beautiful complement, or in a light and airy space with all-white-everything, it only makes sense to specify a light-colored grille. Leon is even able to print graphics onto grilles, which can be perfect for matching patterns and textures, or a great branding opportunity for a business interested in incorporating its logo.

3. Utilize Custom Materials

Standard speaker cabinets are typically made out of MDF or plastic, but certain spaces call for more custom solutions to ensure the audio seamlessly integrates into the surroundings. In an industrial-style space with exposed ductwork, creating the speaker cabinets out of a matching metal might help them to feel less obtrusive. And in spaces with unique wood tones and textures, Leon is able to provide custom hardwood cabinet trim to match closely the wood finishes in the room.

4. Specify Custom Shapes & Sizes

Have a nook or a niche that an off-the-shelf product isn’t quite fitting into? Speaker cabinets can be built to custom dimensions, allowing integrators to specify different heights, widths, depths, and even unique forms. You don’t have to try to fit a square peg into a round hole when a few tweaks can be made to deliver a custom solution that fits just right.

5. Hide Technology in Custom Cases

No matter how much you sing the praises of the products you’re recommending, sometimes your client has their heart set on a certain brand and there’s no talking them out of it. The good news is that for off-the-shelf products like Sonos, Leon offers solutions that provide concealment and style, like hardwood cabinets and soundbar-mounting solutions that blend the speakers in with the design.

6. Create a Custom Frame for the TV

Talk to any interior designer and they’ll tell you that figuring out what to do with the TV is often their biggest challenge when it comes to integrating technology into their designs. A simple solution for making the display feel like it matches the room’s decor is to create a custom frame for the TV. Leon makes hardwood and metal veneer TV frames that frame all sides of the display while also concealing the
mounting and wiring. They can even work with custom finishes and materials to ensure the frame perfectly matches the finishes in the space.

7. Conceal TVs and Speakers with Custom Artwork

In certain spaces, having the technology completely hidden away is the goal, and when that’s the case, there are some great options that use artwork to conceal both the TV and speakers. Leon’s Media Décor moving art screens and Eclipse Art Lifts reveal or conceal any TV behind art, and its Ente SoundTile is a speaker system that is hidden behind a fine art print.

And of course, designing something completely custom is always an
option too.

“We’ve created speaker cabinets out of skateboard decks, integrated audio into massive outdoor art sculptures, and worked with just about any custom material and finish you can think of,” said Kaplan. “Basically, if you’ve got an idea, chances are, we can make it happen.”



By Katye McGregor Bennett

Getting outside has never been more popular after a year of home confinement. Residents have turned their backyards or patios into a place for both productivity and solace. With warm weather returning and long summer days ahead, many homeowners are now looking for ways to create a retreat by completely reimagining their garden areas and outdoor living spaces. While not an exhaustive list, by any means, here are a plethora of options and ideas uncovered after scouring the ‘sphere connecting outdoor tech and design.


The outdoor pizza oven is a coveted outdoor-kitchen fixture and there’s a wide range of options. The Ooni, is an inexpensive model (used often at KMB headquarters!) reaching 950°F in just 20 minutes and cooking incredible stone-baked fresh pizza in as little as 60 seconds.

Let’s Eat
“With families of all ages at home so much more now, there is a renewed interest in kitchen and vegetable gardens,” says landscape designer Renée Byers in an article by AD Pro. “We locate kitchen gardens in sunny spots as close to the house as possible and integrate them into the landscape with paths and fencing…”

      It’s not just the ingredients that take root outdoors, however, but the kitchen and dining areas as well. “People want family spaces with everything from big-screen TVs to pizza ovens and billiard tables. They want their homes to look like and have the amenities of the resorts that they used to travel to for vacations,” says landscape designer Fernando Wong, whose clients are requesting fully equipped outdoor kitchens with fridges, storage space, and custom-built grills.

Some Like it Hot

The outdoor pizza oven is a coveted outdoor-kitchen fixture and there’s a wide range of options. The Ooni (right), is an inexpensive model (used often at KMB headquarters!) reaching 950°F in just 20 minutes and cooking incredible stone-baked fresh pizza in as little as 60 seconds.

      Ramsin Khachi likes the Zesti ZRW Bench Top Wood Fired Oven while Modenus Media’s Kitchen & Bath Industry Group designers were recently discussing Kalamazoo pizza ovens, which also sells Kamodo and Gaucho style grills that are downright sexy.

      Emily Clark, Creative Director & Designer of Clark and Co. Homes, who was recently interviewed during Design Uncut’s “Smarthome Ecosystem” episode for KBIS Virtual, loves Traeger Grills for the outdoor kitchen, and recommends the Astria Oracle outdoor fireplace, as well. In addition to these hotties, we are also lusting over the Evoo grill, thanks to the recommendation of our COVID cooking crush Sam the Cooking Guy.


With the kitchen moving outdoors, one might ask the question: Where does the indoors end and the outdoors begin? A good question, but also a moot point if you have partitions that open and close at will! Big retractable glass doors are a more permanent fixture of a home that can suddenly make indoor spaces al fresco.

      Likewise, products like Screen Innovations’ motorized Zen Outdoor Shades take an outdoor space and temporarily enclose it, expanding your comfortable living space while keeping harsh elements at bay.

Leslie Carothers, CEO of Savour Partnership and long-time design industry consultant and innovator, named the SI Zen shades her favorite pick at this year’s KBIS show.

      “This product allows you to expand the square footage of your home by creating a completely enclosed screened-in area that keeps bugs out, but allows air to flow in,” she says in a recent Forbes article, “Influencers Share their Favorite Products from The 2021 Kitchen & Bath Industry Show.”

Just, Wow

In a recent interview with Ramsin Khachi of KHACHI Design + Build on KMB’s Connecting Tech + Design Podcast, we talked about some very interesting outdoor technology that dares homeowners to dream. Some of the highlights he shared include the Sunflower Smart Umbrella, with integrated solar panels that generate and store renewable energy and that automatically follow the sun and close in high winds or inclement weather.

      The Akvo Spiral Lift is a movable pool floor that covers your pool and allows you to use that space when you aren’t swimming.

Covering Up

How about some retractable options for those spots that get really bright and hot during the day, but you want to uncover as the sun retreats? Gate Shade represents
the beginning of a cooperation with Nicolas Thomkins, a designer of international fame, for the development of Unosider’s range.

     The metal housing of the arch is available in several colors, while the inner frame is made of steel. Both integrated arm awnings can be operated via a remote control and provide a 30 square meter (or roughly 323 square feet) maximum covered area.

      StruXure motorized pergolas are also stunning, causing a buzz from designers on social media. The Pergola X, for example, is the modern-day pergola that has the technology to open, close, pivot, and slide depending on your needs.

AV Keeps it Fun

The idea of moving the media room and music outdoors is not new, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t give a nod to some of the rugged audio-video trends and products that anchor backyard entertainment. Jamie Briesemeister of HTA Certified firm Integration Controls loves the Samsung Terrace outdoor QLED TV, Sea-loc nano-coated weatherproof TVs, and Coastal Source speakers and outdoor lighting fixtures, featuring Savant control and more. We also love Leon’s Terra LuminSound line, which incorporates speakers and lighting in one compact, waterproof enclosure.

Consider the Outdoor Home Network

Outdoor spaces can have spotty coverage and can wreak havoc on your sanity as you’re trying to do a Zoom meeting from the hammock.

“The outdoors can be a challenging environment to accommodate, as large open areas where coverage is needed can potentially have a lot of interference from neighboring Wi-Fi systems, buildings, even trees,” says Access Networks’ Nathan Holmes. “We recommend using a combination of Omnidirectional and Sectorized access points. Wi-Fi energy radiates horizontally in all directions from an Omnidirectional access point, whereas a Sectorized access point focused the Wi-Fi energy in specific directions and patterns.

      By installing sectorized access points on the perimeter of an outdoor project and using omnidirectional access points attached to structures and/or located in the central areas of the property, a comprehensive Wi-Fi design can be created that provides excellent Wi-Fi coverage where it is needed and reduces interference to (or access from) neighboring properties.


    To maintain aesthetics, Wireless Access Points can be hidden in discrete mounts, like you see in the image above.

      Sound complex? A good technology integrator can make it simple and should be used for any serious home network. In fact, a technology integrator is crucial to execute outdoor technology at any significant level and can serve as a valuable, knowledgeable resource for designers, architects, builders,
and homeowners.

Not sure where to start? We recommend working with HTA Certified integrators, which you can find in your area by visiting htacertified.org/companies

Katye McGregor Bennett

A 25+ veteran of the residential tech & AV integration industries, Katye McGregor Bennett is the CEO of KMB Communications, a boutique communications firm that anchors the intersection of technology + design by connecting brands, buyers, and prospective audiences through creating compelling content and conversation that elevates and amplifies. In addition to co-hosting Design Uncut with Veronika Miller, Katye hosts two
popular podcasts, Connecting Tech+Design and AV Trade Talk. She is part of the
DesignHounds influencer group and also serves on the NAHB Custom Technology Work Group, is a strategic advisor in the CEDIA, HTA, and AVIXA communities, frequent contributor to Connected Design and founder of the AV Yoga group.

As You Wish


In our “never lift a finger” world, it seems quite obvious that voice control would become essential to daily living. The advent of Siri and assistants like Alexa and Google Nest have only perpetuated the phenomenon. But do your clients know what is truly possible? Do they have preconceived conceptions that you need to clarify? Are they concerned about privacy/security issues?
      According to research conducted in June 2020, “growing consumer interest towards adoption of advanced voice-enabled devices is driving the interest of several established players and start-ups towards developing consumer-centric solutions for this market.”
      The study also stated: “The speech and voice recognition market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 17.2% from 2019 to 2025 to reach $26.8 billion by 2025.”
      With this in mind, let’s examine voice control from the smart home and design angle with Alex Capecelatro, CEO of leading manufacturer, Josh.ai.


Josh.ai is the manufacturer of the Josh Micro, a diminutive but powerful piece of hardware that uses innovative far-field voice detection and artificial intelligence to unify home technology and redefine how users interact with their home.

Connected Design: What is the state of voice control right now?
Capecelatro: Voice control today is, in many ways, more powerful and enabling than most people realize, but it is also not nearly as far as we thought it would be. You can walk into any room and ask for any song, any TV show, etc. There is a vast amount of intuitive control available today with natural language, which is capable  through direct device integration. That being said, it is still not a conversation. Instead, it is primarily command and response.

We are noticing increased consumer demand for voice control. Tell us what you are seeing from a manufacturer’s standpoint.
First, there’s a lot of excitement surrounding voice control because of Amazon, Google and Siri. But we’re seeing that consumers are very concerned about privacy and making sure that their voice control system is going to integrate with everything in their home the way they need it to. We’re hearing from dealers that the customer is saying, “I know I want voice control, but I don’t trust these big mass-market assistants” or “I need something that’s going to be more deeply integrated.”
      Second, on the integrator side, they are learning that the value of voice control is not about complexity and advanced technology, but rather simplicity. It’s about how easy it is to walk in a room, simply give a command and have it work. When they lead with that, they sell more systems and [larger packages].
      Showing them how easy it would be to tie in motorized shades, distributed audio or smart thermostats, for example, is key. We find that integrators are getting very smart about understanding how to use voice control to sell more complete solutions.
      Third, we are seeing a big pull from the design community. Architects and designers don’t want to have lots of technology visible, but they understand that their clients want to control their environment and their entertainment easily. Voice controls give them the opportunity to have a single device to control everything in the household that can be hidden in a wall or ceiling.
      It is that hybrid combination of customers, integrators and design influencers that is driving a lot of growth in this market.


How are your products being utilized now that you didn’t imagine?
In the beginning, we thought our product would control advanced features and integrations. But it’s been quite the opposite. Most people are looking for very simple commands. So, we have made it that easy. People want to speak in the most concise way possible.
      We have enabled the device [so that it knows what room it is in and whether the lights should be on or off]. We understand that there are lights. If they’re on, you probably want them off, and vice versa. And, with a single word, you can walk into a room and say, “Lights,” “Shades,” “Music,” or “TV.”
      It’s been interesting to see this drive for simplicity.

What does our audience still need to know about voice control?
First, I find most folks do not properly pitch voice control. They will [compare it to Alexa or Siri], but those products don’t really enable the type of control that their clients desire. It also may lead people to immediately think about the downfalls, privacy issues or other concerns that have come up [in the past].
      There’s a three-point pitch that works really well. First, sell them on the magic of walking into a room and saying “Good morning” or “Entertain.” With a single word or single phrase, you get the magic of lights turning on, shades opening,
and fireplaces lighting. It is really an emotional experience.
      Sometimes we forget that what we’re really selling is the magic. That’s what the customer is looking for.
      Secondly, after the magic is selling the integration. You can make voice control work with anything, whether it’s a pool heater, sauna or shower.
      At my house, for example, I have a piece of artwork [with a lighting feature], which is connected to my Josh system. I say, “Ok, Josh, turn on the Anthony James,” which is the name of the artist, and that turns the light on. It is a cool effect.
      Thirdly, there is the privacy component. Many people are worried about what certain platforms, like Facebook and Google, are doing with their data. That’s definitely a potential concern when you’re dealing with the mass market assistants. But with Josh.ai, it is completely private. Your clients will never need to worry about who’s listening. There is a peace of mind that it’s not going anywhere.
      We try not to rely on the cloud. We do most of the processing on the device in the home—Edge processing. Safeguards are implemented so we don’t store anything that we don’t need to.  Clients can choose to disable voice commands from being logged. Deleting their chat history may hinder troubleshooting efforts, but it is a tradeoff that ensures their commands are not stored anywhere. We need to communicate this properly because it is big part of getting a customer to
feel comfortable.

While speaking with clients, what should integrators and designers relay about Josh.ai’s voice control systems?
For integrators, it is important to explain to clients whether or not their existing products will integrate well
with the Josh.ai system or if they need updated equipment.
      For designers, they should know the Josh Nano, which was released in November, is an architectural product, which means that is made to install flush to the wall and includes the world’s smallest microphone. It is made to disappear.

Gordon van Zuiden & cyberManor: ‘General practitioners’ of the home


Since Gordon van Zuiden began his career in technology integration in the late 90s, his vision has remained the same—to make homes better by leveraging the best of what the Internet can give them.
      Ironically enough, van Zuiden’s neighborhood was one of the first to get high-speed cable and DSL Internet some two decades ago. At the time, AOL was immensely popular, but in the van Zuiden household, no one had to take turns using the dial-up. van Zuiden took pride in connecting his family’s PCs to the high speed, always on Internet, network printer and hard drive allowing them to check email, do homework, and use the phone all at the same time.
      Neighbors down the street took notice and began asking van Zuiden for help in creating the same setup in their own homes. Looking back, van Zuiden credits this time period as being
the birth of cyberManor, which also sparked the start of some new partnerships.
      van Zuiden realized rather quickly that he much preferred to work on the data side of things, so a partnership with an A/V expert was a no-brainer. As he began working with more clients with varying needs, he formed partnerships with several other home professionals, even beyond the main categories of builders, architects, and interior designers to more specialized professions like landscapers and pool installers.


“I like to think of us as general practitioners,” says van Zuiden. “We are technology integrators across everything that might be in the home. It’s not just about the TVs, computers, and music, it’s also about the digital picture frame on the wall, the intelligent bed with different sleep cycles, the Kohler shower heads that provides a hydrotherapy shower experience, and the Thermador coffee machine with recipes from around the world. We may not be the ‘expert heart surgeons’ but we’re always the client’s first point of contact that can map out the best course of action for technology integration.”
      One of van Zuiden’s most recent partnerships was with interior designer Celia Boutell who worked closely with the entire cyberManor team on the Smart Home Experience Center, a spin on the typical smart home vignette one might find in a commercial space.
      Even before stepping inside this contemporary 2 story townhome 1926 Victorian home in Los Gatos, Calif., guests are greeted with tech right at the front door with a Control4 front door station. Thanks to Josh.ai integration, as guests enter the home, they can say, “Okay, Josh, I’m home” to have the Control4 Centralized lighting system turn on, Lutron motorized shades lifted, the living room TV set to watch Apple TV, the temperature adjusted through the Ecobee Thermostat, and music played from Pandora, Spotify, Apple Music or Deezer on the 6-zone Control4 whole house speaker system. In the upstairs master bathroom, guests can check out the weather, watch TV, and more right on the mirror while taking a shower that they turned on with their voice. The best part, van Zuiden says, is that all of this technology comes together in a way that is elegant thanks to Boutell’s expert design.
      Another interesting aspect about the cyberManor Experience Center is that it also doubles as an AirBnb when it’s not being used for tours. Here is what one guest had to say after their stay at the cyberManor Experience Center:


If you‘re looking to take a step into the future of smart home technology all the while maintaining the coziness of a family member‘s guest home, then look no further than this Home Technology Experience Center townhome! The accommodation is a luxurious yet cozy smart home that features a fully integrated Control4 system that allows you to control everything from lighting, shades, and even music from panels mounted on the walls! With all of the amazing features, the house itself became the main attraction of our entire trip! If you are not particularly tech-savvy, do not worry! Gordon is an extremely gracious and thoughtful host who gave us a quick tour of the system and was ready to respond to any questions or concerns we had throughout the trip. We didn‘t have many though as the system is so intuitive. The quick tour was all we needed to enjoy all the amenities the house had to offer. In addition to the amazing technology the house is also a beautifully designed yet warm space. We really enjoyed cooking while listening to music in the kitchen and eating breakfast in the lovely rooftop garden… This high-tech paradise is an amazing find that I can‘t recommend highly enough.”


The All-in-One Client

For some designers, adding elements of technology in a home can feel overwhelming and even a little intimidating. A common misconception is that in order to work with technology, designers need to change their approach and make sacrifices in design. But as Celia Boutell will tell you, that certainly is not the case.

After being introduced through another designer, Boutell and
cyberManor’s Gordon van Zuiden entered into a unique relationship where van Zuiden essentially filled the roles of both client and project partner. van Zuiden had a clear vision for how he wanted the space to perform, and Boutell admits that his wishes were all very achievable from a design perspective.

In the bathroom, she was able to maintain the European-design aesthetic she envisioned with handles and knobs that also integrated with voice controls in the shower. On the first level of the home, a cedar wood beam is able to house a speaker without disrupting the flow of the space. And in the bedroom, a projection screen tucks away neatly into the ceiling when not in use.

Boutell says that working on the cyberManor Experience Center was not much different than a standard project. She credits the seamless exhibition to partnering with the right vendors and suppliers who all worked together toward a common goal.

As far as challenges go, Boutell admits that there really weren’t any. The main difference in working on a project with a heavy tech focus, she says, is the timeline. Mapping out a plan early on helped Boutell and van Zuiden avoid any hiccups and arrive at a final outcome that had all the comfort of a home with the latest advancements in technology.

When pandemic living overwhelmed a large family’s connection abilities, Future Automation & Design took a leap of faith with Access Networks.


Case Study

When pandemic living overwhelmed a large family’s connection abilities, Future Automation & Design took a leap of faith with Access Networks.
      What happens when you have a large extended family frequently living together under the same roof? Maybe a few disagreements, but what sent this family over the edge was the lack of sufficient Wi-Fi connections and network capabilities that became all too necessary once lockdown restrictions took effect.

Case Study
Case Study
Case Study

All of the access points are designed for minimal physical appearance, Coleman explained. They are hidden in ceilings inside or discreetly within the landscape outside, or positioned next to security cameras.

Patrick Coleman, principal of Future Automation & Design was called to the home, which, fortunately he was familiar with having installed a dedicated theater as well as network and control/home automation approximately three years ago when the residence was built.
      The bustling house of two sets of parents (sisters who married friends), their children, a matriarch, and occasionally a nanny, was, as many homes during the pandemic, chaotic and a network-sucking machine.
      With a friendly and honest rapport already in place, the homeowners had no problem explaining to Coleman what they desperately needed—a fix for the overwhelming pressure on the network, causing dropped Wi-Fi, no roaming and slow response times.
      “This was some heavy-duty usage,” he explained. “We knew that the Wi-Fi and network had to scream. With the dedicated theater, distributed audio and video streaming and security, it was good for awhile when everyone wasn’t home all the time,” but now it had to level up.
      Simultaneously, as the pandemic hit and Future Automation received this request, Coleman also partnered with Access Networks for networking needs. Once a skeptic on Access Networks’ scope of abilities, Coleman admits that after working with the company and products, he will “never look back.”
      “I was on the fence for several years,” Coleman admitted. “I realized that other W-Fi companies are boutique brands that are not heavily used in enterprise and commercial applications. And that is really what you need in a house that is 6,000 to 7,000 square feet. You have to approach it like a commercial project.”
      While the hard network components remain, Future Automation & Design installed an Access Networks C120 Wireless Controller in the rack as well as seven wireless access points, five indoors and two outdoors that automatically control roaming, signal and strength when multiple devices are connected. The homeowners were more than delighted with the transformation. The outdoor Wi-Fi was requested so the family could easily work and play no matter where they resided on the property.
      All of the access points are designed for minimal physical appearance, Coleman explained. They are hidden in ceilings inside or discreetly within the landscape outside, or positioned next to security cameras.
      It is not unheard of to receive support calls from time to time regarding dropped Wi-Fi or network issues, especially in Los Angeles with notoriously poor cellular service. However, not once did Coleman receive a request throughout the pandemic, even with everyone working and remote learning at home.
      Simply put: “It rocked,” said Coleman. “I can’t believe I waited
so long to [sign on with Access Networks]. I didn’t realize how
many problems they solved. They also provide phenomenal support.”

Case Study

Contact info

Future Automation & Design
811 N Catalina Ave Suite 2316
Redondo Beach, CA 90277

Patrick Coleman, President/Senior System Designer

Showroom Spotlight


You’ve heard the saying, “You dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” This couldn’t be more true for Long Beach, CA’s Digital Installers. Led by Owner Rusty Deeble and Manager Matt Fleischmann, the team has continued to upgrade its showroom since the business’ inception in 2000. As they up the ante with each addition/renovation, the amount of high-level projects has skyrocketed as well.

Showroom Spotlight

According to Straits Reserach, the golf simulators market was valued at $1,229 million in 2019 and is expected to grow with a CAGR of 8.3 percent. The company also reports that the indoor segment holds the largest market share of more than 60 percent, thanks to the increasing adoption of indoor portable golf simulators.

Gaining Momentum
In the beginning, the showroom was modest, with spaces dedicated as a boardroom, a living room, a kitchen and an outdoor space. The boardroom was rented hourly, and the installation portion of the business operated from the space. Demand began to increase for corporate and social function rentals, so Digital Installers created DI Studios for such leasing. Bringing crowds to their location this way served as stellar advertising, and before they knew it, another expansion was underway.
      Being members of the ProSource buying group also served as beneficial for the integrators. With access to more product and higher-end brands, the business continued to grow, expanding to twice its original size. In 2019, Digital Installers won the ProSource Dream Showroom Makeover. Adding to the cash prize awarded, the company contributed its own investment and dove into a complete showroom remodel project. Then came COVID.

“We still had traffic through the showroom during COVID-19, but they were one-on-one meetings,” Deeble explained. “The in-person functions completely stopped. But our marketing director started hosting live virtual events from the showroom, allowing people to see it. Additionally, we added a Matterport scan to our website.” Matterport is a system that works with a wide range of 3D cameras, 360 cameras and iPhones and is designed to accurately capture the size, scale and complexity of a room.

Golf Meets Virtual Reality
During the last year, living through the pandemic, Digital Installers saw a significant increase in the need for home entertainment, Deeble explained. Combined with the evolution of virtual reality and consumers’ missing out on their favorite activities, the stars aligned for the next advancement of Digital Installers’ showroom—golf simulation.
      Deeble, an avid golfer, was among many who saw their playing time decrease due to pandemic restrictions. Recreating the pastime at “home” seemed the next logical step, especially considering the rising trend of virtual gaming.
      According to Straits Reserach, the golf simulators market was valued at $1,229 million in 2019 and is expected to grow with a CAGR of 8.3 percent. The company also reports that the indoor segment holds the largest market share of more than 60 percent, thanks to the increasing adoption of indoor portable golf simulators.
      Digital Installers’ new golf simulation room features a Fullswing Pro series system, which allows users to explore more than 80 famous courses, with a screen that is equipped to handle the force of the ball. The room has a country club vibe, Deeble explains. “It was designed with all the finer elements,” he elaborated. “It is not just to be looked at. It is to be enjoyed. Our guest can play a round at Pebble Beach or TPC Sawgrass in an hour and a half. The most frequent comment we receive is that it is a unique, one-of-a-kind experience.”
      The room, which can be reserved just like any other tee time, is illuminated with Loxone panelized lighting. Inside, there are 10 in-ceiling lights and 36 feet of linear tape lighting; six in-ceiling lights; and 20 feet of linear tape lighting on the exterior entry, with the built-in bar. Each lighting fixture is RGBW so the hues and tones can be customized to consumers’ preferences. A 4.2 B&W sound system was integrated with two in-wall, two in-ceiling, and two in-wall subwoofers.
      The space is accented with a combination of aged white brick and natural white oak walls, custom tiling and brown leather club chairs.
       What is appealing to guests is that the simulator attracts the golf enthusiast first but the additional games such as dodgeball, soccer, baseball, hockey, etc. appeal to the whole family.
      “Seeing our guests’ eyes [light up] with smiles when they come in is what we are really proud of,” Deeble attests. “The fact that they want to stick around and hang out longer is pretty special. You can’t do that with just any showroom.”

Contact info

Digital Installers Showroom
1530 E. Wardlow Rd.
Long Beach, CA 90807

Rusty Deeble, Owner
Matt Fleischmann, Manager




In-house Interior Designer
Jennie Deeble

Simulator & Software
Fullswing Simulators

General Contractor
Steedle Brothers Construction

Artfully Crafted


Case Study

The day in the life of a custom integrator is not something that can be generalized. Each project presents new opportunities to solve problems creatively, improving skills at each turn. For Patrick Coleman, principal of Future Automation & Design, every job is truly custom.
      When he met a couple from Santa Monica for a recent retrofit, he learned that their strong-mindedness and his company’s experience and knowledge blended rather nicely.
As with any retrofit project, Coleman points out, you never know what you’ll be up against. While new constructions are more straightforward, retrofits are often dotted with a myriad of challenges, particularly regarding wiring. In fact, Coleman had no shortage of these issues.

Case Study
Case Study

“We knew we had to make sure everything was robust and controlled by Josh,” Coleman recalls. “We made it a seamless transition, where they can give voice commands from anywhere. They don’t have to lift a finger.”

    It was Fall 2020 when Future Automation & Design began working with the husband and wife team on their four-story, 6,500 sq. ft. home on what Coleman describes as a “custom, voice-controlled smart home with a focus on privacy.” These tech-savvy, football aficionados had specific ideas, having employed Control4 at their previous home in Texas. But this home would be a level up, and Future Automation & Design was ready.
      One of the biggest transformations was the basement. Formerly a ballet studio, Future Automation & Design designed a sports bar area as well as a full Dolby Atmos theater, where custom speakers were configured in the ceiling.
      But the theater wasn’t the only place where ingenuity was used. In various places throughout the home, Future Automation & Design artfully crafted shelves in closets to hold sources like amplifiers; custom soundbars were constructed by Triad for seamless finishes; and outside, along with a 65-inch Samsung Terrace TV, there are Paradigm Garden Oasis speakers aligned in hedges, and subwoofers are buried.

Case Study

Additional features of the project include 13 zones of distributed video from Just Add Power; approximately 25 audio zones; and panelized lighting, integrated with Control4.
      There is an observation deck atop the home, also outfitted with Triad speakers—within Wi-Fi and voice-command range. In fact, introducing the homeowners to voice control through Josh.ai was a complete game-changer. While it was a tough sell in the beginning, after becoming familiar with Josh, Coleman remembers seeing this austere couple break a few smiles in delight. The residence is equipped with several Josh.ai Micros throughout, with some situated under TVs. All of this is integrated and controlled within the Control4 platform.
      “We knew we had to make sure everything was robust and controlled by Josh,” Coleman recalls. “We made it a seamless transition, where they can give voice commands from anywhere. They don’t have to lift a finger.”
      A large portion of work was dedicated to re-wiring. Coleman described it as a remapping of the entire nervous system of the home. The network was upgraded to a full enterprise-grade system through Access Networks and Araknis. “We are very diligent with designing the network first, and then build out from there,” Coleman explained.
      “Not many companies in the L.A. area will take on a retrofit of this size because of the liability or the level of comfort in the space,” Coleman added. But this is where Future Automation & Design thrives. The company can “easily” do 50 percent retrofit and 50 percent new construction.
      On top of that, with an art degree in his back pocket, Coleman is in his comfort zone crafting tech spaces. “We take the approach of interior technology designer,” he shares. “I like blending the creative and the technical. And I enjoy working with architects and interior designers.”
      Coleman also makes sure his crew is trained in basic or advanced programming. The Future Automation & Design team introduced the homeowner to advanced security and privacy solutions through Vivint for alarms that are integrated with Control4’s intercom system. Surveillance cameras were placed around the property, which can be viewed through the home’s TVs. All security is integrated through Josh as well. All doors can be locked and systems turned on with voice commands.
      Coleman’s team creates a solid relationship with homeowners, who, like this couple, have opened their homes for Future Automation & Design potential clients to give tours and demonstrate the possibilities of smart home design and technology.

Contact Info

Future Automation & Design
811 N Catalina Ave Suite 2316
Redondo Beach, CA 90277

Patrick Coleman,
President/Senior System Designer




Eric Charles Parlee

Interior Design
Kristin Scheifele (KS Design Studios)


Access Networks, Araknis, Control4, Denon, Josh.ai, Just Add Power, Luma Surveillance, Nyce Sensors, Origin Acoustics – For Whole House Audio, Paradigm -, For Theater & Outdoor Audio, Samsung – For Outdoor TV, Sony – For All New TV’s, Strong Mounts, Triad, Vivint for Alarm, Wattbox, Yale

Eyes Wide Open



Smart home integrators spend a lot of their time reviewing how best to deliver solutions that truly enrich and simplify their clients’ lives.  A key part of that process is demonstrating the seemingly infinite number of options in a straightforward and clear manner. Angus Murray of UK integrator New Wave AV has found that having a Control4 Experience Center showroom offers the perfect environment for enabling the wildest of imaginations.
      Take his project in the London suburb of Kent, for example. Through a mutual relationship with the project’s interior designer, Murray met some eager homeowners who visited the Experience Center for ideas on their new 12,000-square-foot home.
      The main desire for this family of four was to own a system that allowed them to enjoy both audio and video around the property with minimal equipment on display. In addition, they wanted a dedicated cinema room as well as a secondary projection system in their bar/media room for more informal viewing. With teenagers ruling the roost, there were serious networking requirements in addition to multi-room audio. A total of 20 audio zones were installed throughout the home.
      “It was no surprise that the teenage children in the house preferred using AirPlay and listening to music that was more bass heavy,” noted Murray. “The EQ curves for their bedrooms were adjusted to reflect this difference. Dedicated Spotify Direct connections were also created. These automatically turned on the relevant bedroom.”
      One of the biggest advantages of the family’s visit to the Experience Center was being exposed to lighting control, which they had never utilized previously. “It allowed them to see the benefits of this level of lighting control—the ability to control multiple circuits within a lighting scene quickly and easily.”


The main desire for this family of four was to own a system that allowed them to enjoy both audio and video around the property with minimal equipment on display. In addition, they wanted a dedicated cinema room as well as a secondary projection system in their bar/media room for more informal viewing.


Let There Be Light (or Not)

After discussing the lighting design and window treatments with the interior designer, it was agreed that lighting and window treatment control would be specified in the key rooms in the property. Lighting scenes were created for film viewing in both the cinema and the bar. In the cinema, the scenes were triggered when the projector turned on. “Dusk to Dawn” lighting was created as well as “Welcome Home” lighting.    
      ‘Mockupancy’ was programmed (and linked to the Intruder Alarm away setting) to recreate the look of an occupied property while the homeowners are away. Mockupancy automatically records whenever the alarm is not armed.  When the alarm is set to “Away,” the mockupancy playback is triggered, including lighting and window treatments.
      In the cinema room, when a film finishes, the back-panel lighting is ramped up to 10 percent to gently lighten the room.

Bumps in the Road

Challenges were encountered in the bar/media room, particularly with a glass wall that offered views of the
swimming pool.
      “It was a stunning room, but because of the glass wall, it didn’t naturally work as a projection room,” Murray admitted.
New Wave AV installed Triad In-Ceiling Rotating Silver Sat speakers that are angled to the primary seating position. With lasers built in, you can see where the speakers are pointing. They provide a full 5.1 surround sound system without having any speakers in the glass wall.
      Another challenge arose when the projector for the room was replaced with a larger, heavier version. A custom Future Automation lift was designed (with 10mm spare ceiling depth) to allow for the increased size of the projector and was supplied with a heavy-duty motor to deal with the increase in weight.


Safeguarding Homes & Partnerships

With security also being of high importance to the homeowners, it was helpful for New Wave AV to have the opportunity to
show the clients all the possibilities. Being able to see that when the alarm went off, the music will turn off and lights would turn on was eye-opening. “They really like the integration of the security system within the overall [home automation] system,” Murray recalled.
      Additionally, with three entry/exit gates all quite close together, a Control4 DS2 was specified as the main intercom to link together with the main house touch panels.
      All in all, building relationships is key. Murray’s close partnership with the interior designer, and then the newly formed relationship with the homeowners after
their visit to the Experience Center provided the basis for a job well done, even when challenges arose.
     “It was critical for us having Control4 on this project because of the ability to use one interface,” Murray pointed out. “There were a number of subsystems within the property. If they didn’t have Control4, they would have needed a separate app for everything, lighting, gate control, music, CCTC, alarm, etc. So having everything consolidated was truly beneficial for them.”

Certified Showroom

Contact Info

New Wave AV
Summer Barn, Victoria Road
Tonbridge, TN11 OLS

01732 852500



Interior Designer
Sue Fisher of FisherID


Manak Homes


2n, Acoustic GRG, Anthem, Antiference, Artcoustic, Attock, Audio Technica, Control4, CoolAutomation, Crown, Denon, DT, Domotz, Draytek, E Foam, Engineering Solutions, Future Automation, Heatmiser, Hellermann, Integral, JVC, Kaleidescape, Luxul, Ruckus, Pakedge, Projecta, Roku, Sony, SurgeX, Teucer, Triad, Triax, Tripp Lite, Visualint


Bridger installation

This waterfront home – like many contemporary builds – presented an immediate networking challenge. Bridger Automation notes, “In today‘s lifestyle, wireless connections are paramount and a lot of the systems run solely on Wi-Fi. Due to the construction of this home, which consisted of steel, concrete, glass and water, it presented a challenge to obtain functioning, strong Wi-Fi signals and routing cables to necessary points.”
      The Bridger team solved the puzzle, and, along with
elegant audio and video solutions, provided amenities for a broad range of client needs, from security to pool and
spa automation.
      But, as the integrator notes, “Lighting is probably the key feature to this home, as its design is to highlight the design aspects (including all the water features) of the home with a subtle, sophisticated look. Our company was the sole electrical contractor for this installation (excluding solar and air conditioning systems). Having this knowledge and flexibility allowed us to incorporate all relevant controls of lighting, blinds, curtains, louvres, fans, fireplaces, pool and pond pumps.”
      The automated “scenes” at work in this building are top notch. For example, “It was the architect’s and client’s vision to highlight and maximize impact by designing a quality, sophisticated lighting design to really highlight the home. We worked with our client to piece together an “Evening” lighting scene that automatically runs each day at sunset. This lighting scene runs for a period of time, then upon the programmed end time, slowly ramps off all lighting circuits to leave the home with a few landscape lights on throughout the duration of the night, to be turned on at sunrise.”

Bridger installation
Bridger installation
Bridger installation

Contact Info

Bridger Automation PTY LTD
40a Cronulla Avenue
Mermaid Beach, Queensland 4218


CEDIA Member Since 2015


Apple, AV Gear, Avico, Crestron, Episode, Foxtel, Integra, LaunchPort, LG, Luxul, Onkyo, PSS, Sonance, Sonos, Sony, SurgeX, Ultralift, Unifi, Zektor

Latest Trends


Savant Security

Easily integrating all of the elements in the smart home is what makes your clients’ eyes light up and creates a trusted relationship. If these elements not only simplify life but make homeowners feel more secure in their home environments, even better. With a new initiative between home automation and control company, Savant, and smart home security company Ring, smart home integrators will have a new tool on their hips.
       Ring is a well-known brand in the consumer world that also offers the Ring X Line, a professionally installed lineup of security devices made for the custom install industry. The Ring brand opens consumer doors to an integrator with its full suite of products and brand reputability. Their latest integration with Savant gives the integrator additional options to expand the customer’s smart home experience. The integration between the two companies is seamless within the Savant Pro App or any Savant control interface.
      Last year, Savant and Ring announced a multi-year strategic initiative, starting with Ring X Line bundles available to Savant authorized integrators via the Savant Store. Now, with the release of Savant’s daVinci 9.4, Savant has delivered unique features and increased functionality designed for professional installers to bring enhanced security and convenience to the Savant and Ring whole-home experience.
      Now, customers can use the Savant Pro App and touch panels to receive Ring notifications, view Live View, as well as see and speak to their visitors with Two-Way Talk. The Savant distributed audio system can also play a doorbell chime sound when a visitor presses the button on a linked Ring Video Doorbell as well as pause entertainment content in all zones and/or activate outdoor lights. Additionally, Savant customers can create custom push notifications so that, for example, a notification is sent if someone is at your door while you are away.
      At Ring, we want to provide consumers with peace of mind and smart security whether they are home or away, and we’re thrilled to integrate with the Savant smart-living experience,” said Jamie Siminoff, founder and chief inventor at Ring. “Ring and Savant both create technologies that help consumers’ homes work harder for them and ultimately make day-to-day life a little easier. The addition of Ring into the family of features that Savant offers will do just that.”

Problem Solved

Homeowners benefit from the convenience of this integration, but also can feel secure that they are future-proofing their homes. Homeowners want to invest in devices and systems that grow with them, including their smart home security.
       When integrators can offer their customers the latest integrations, smart home devices, and services, they’re building trust with their customers. Now that Ring X Line works with the Savant Pro App, integrators are able to offer their customers a smart home security solution that seamlessly blends into their home for a true whole-home security experience.
      “Ring X Line compatibility is an exciting addition to the Savant smart living experience and presents an important opportunity for integrators to deliver truly premium security and convenience features in association with a recognized leader in the video doorbell market,” stated Savant CEO
Robert Madonna.

Broad Appeal

There are benefits for new home builds in addition to the classic retrofit projects. Buyers are becoming more tech savvy and are expecting new homes to have smart home devices as a standard. Smart home technology shouldn’t take away from the home and should blend in seamlessly, so Ring and Savant are mindful of industrial design. Ring and Savant want builders, designers, and customers alike to be confident in the aesthetics of their smart home.
      “We want to build solutions for our customers that make their lives easier – at home and away,” says Andrew Vloyanetes, GM of Installed Solutions at Ring. “Integrating with Savant is another way we’re working toward this goal, and we’re looking forward to what we’ll be able to do for customers in the future.”
      The Ring X Line is also offered within the Savant Store giving the integrator a simple method of ordering product for their customer installs. Both companies value their integrator relationships and by working together have offered up a unique and best-in-class security experience.


Jessica Guyon

The Great, Smart Outdoors

With smart pergolas, you never have to sacrifice design for control anywhere.

What's Next with Jess
What's Next with Jess

When it comes to creating the ultimate outdoor oasis, one of the first orders of business is deciding what type of structure is needed. It should be flexible, providing both shade and leaks of sunlight when desired; offer protection from wind, rain and other elements; and most importantly, feel like a natural extension of the home.

One of the best examples of this is by StruXure, a smart pergola and cabana company for residential and commercial builds.

As our magazine has highlighted time and time again, so many areas inside our homes can be automated and controlled to our exact liking. But the outside of our homes is a whole new ballgame with its own set of unique challenges for integrators and homeowners alike. But StruXure says they have “yet to encounter an angle, slope, or climate that they couldn’t conquer.” Through precise measurements and a careful installation process, even the smallest patios and largest outdoor dining areas can be covered and controlled.

As the day progresses and the seasons change, smart pergolas have the ability to adapt quickly and easily to create the desired atmosphere. Unlike inside the home, some people may prefer to block the light during the day to prevent sunburn and keep the area cool. At night, they may choose to open up the louvers and pans to look up at the night sky. A remote control, app, and voice commands can achieve all of these desired motions; plus, the pergola itself is intuitive enough to make adjustments on its own.

StruXure’s Pergola X and Cabana X detect potentially hazardous weather conditions like rain, wind, snow, and freezing temperatures. Once winds exceed 60 MPH, a wind sensor automatically opens the louvers, letting the air flow freely throughout the system to minimize potential uplift. The pergolas can also detect rain and snow and will close to save patio cushions from getting wet and damaged. An internal gutter system also helps water flow safely away from the space, the same way it does for a home.

In addition to these features, StruXure’s approach also aligns closely with Connected Design’s mission to bridge the gap between architects, designers, and custom integrators. Not only do they offer consultations with their design team and provide architects and designers with drawings, 3D models and other materials, but they also allow architects to earn AIA Continuing Education credits through their course, “Exterior Motorized Shade & Shelter,” because when home pros are all on the same page, everybody wins.

Jessica Guyon

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Jessica Guyon
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