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Crestron Voice Control – Alexa, Siri & Google Home

Crestron Voice Control with Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri & Google Home

It’s not that long ago that controlling your home via your voice would of seemed particularly far fetched. Voice control in cars had been around in niche vehicles for some time but was fairly unreliable and rarely used after a few unsuccessful attempts of shouting at the steering wheel.

Amazon Echo - Voice Control

Amazon Echo – Voice Control

A lot of people see voice control of their home as a gimic, something for the very small amount of people who have the latest and greatest gadget. To some extent we agree – controlling your TV in the living room is always going to be easier with a remote control and for most rooms a traditional control interface will be best – a touchpanel, an iPad or a remote control.

For some rooms though voice control excels – bathrooms, kitchens and gyms are particularly suited to voice control. In kitchens and bathrooms people tend to have wet hands or their hands full and simply being able to say “Alexa – Next track” is a great feature. Gyms also excel, for clients on running machines it is much easier to say a command than fumble with physical controls – literally interupting your stride. Imagine lying in the bath and simply stating what you would like to happen – no risk of dropping devices in to the bath or having to dry a hand before changing the music or lights.

Crestron and Amazon Alexa, Google Home and Apple Siri is still in it’s infancy – all the three voice control systems are fairly new to market with more and more devices being added daily. We have extensive experience integration them in to a Crestron Home Automation system and can enhance the standard offering by allowing full integration. Now it is possible to voice control your entire home – switching lights on, adjusting temperature and controlling your audio video system all by the power of speech.

It is a genuinely exciting time and we can only see voice integration becoming more and more popular – particularly when enhanced by a Crestron system.

Crestron Controls

Lutron UK

Home Automation

Case Study:- Multi-Room Audio Installation Putney, SW15

A Simple Sonos Multi-Room Audio System and Home Cinema Installation in Putney, SW15

One of our simpler jobs -Multi-Room Audio Installation Putney, SW15 – this client got in touch as she had just purchased a new home which was wired for Multi-Room Audio but had no sources in place. She has Sonos installed in another home and liked the flexibility and performance so it made sense to continue this theme in to her new home. A total of Ten audio zones are powered by Sonos Connect amplifiers with a home cinema room benefiting from a Sonos Playbar and subwoofer. Any zone has access to a wealth of digital audio services from Spotify and Amazon music through to internet radio. For our international clients being able to stream radio over the internet from abroad is a great feature. The Sonos Playbar is fed audio from the TV so anything being watched automatically benefits from enhanced audio – a great solution for enjoying streaming apps such as Netflix from a modern Smart TV.

Home Cinema

Home Cinema

Sonos Amps

Sonos Amps

Sonos Playbar

Sonos Playbar

We also upgraded the clients in-ceiling speakers to Origin Acoustics 6.5 models as the developer supplied speakers were seriously lacking in both detail and low end bass. The whole system is controlled by an iPad Pro with a table top charging station ensuring the iPad is always ready for it’s control duties and providing a convenient home for the iPad to live. The result is a seriously happy client with a very powerful multi-room audio system and we thought it worth posting the images above to show off the quality of the installation.

Whole House AV

Home Entertainment

Lighting Controls

Smart Home vs Home Automation vs Connected Home

Home Automation, Smart Homes and Connected Homes – Explained

Smart Home vs Home Automation vs Connected Home – With the rise of the Internet of Things more and more people are realising the benefits of an intelligent home. New products from the likes of Google and Apple allow home owners to even control their home by voice commands – adding a wow factor and convenience via technology that would of been thought of as very futuristic even a few years ago. Solutions for a fully smart home vary from easily installed systems suitable for technologically minded home owners through to fully bespoke professionally installed and maintained systems – we specialise in the latter systems. 

But what do the various terms mean?

Connected Homes

This is the simplest approach of the three terms and most homes have an element of the technology installed. A connected home simply refers to the infrastructure installed in the home – a simple network to allow solid connectivity of Smart TVs and a good wifi network is a great example of a connected home but the infrastructure can extend to allow media servers, home theater PCs and simple media solutions.

Smart Home

A Smart Home in London

A Smart Home in London

A Smart Home builds on the infrastructure installed in a connected home – media distribution allows any room of the house to enjoy the clients music collection and distributes centralised video sources to any TV of the home. This Multi-Room Audio Video system can be further enhanced by lighting control – allowing mood lighting in either key rooms or throughout the whole house. Automatic actions such as bringing lighting on at dusk or switching audio video off when the alarm is set ensure the house is smart enough to add convenience to your home.

Home Automation

Home Automation builds on the Smart Home principles – whole house audio video and mood lighting systems are enhanced by heating and air conditioning integration – anything electrical in the home can be integrated to add convenience or save energy – often both at once. Automating heating controls within the home can ensure rooms are only heated or cooled when you need them, saving huge amounts of energy. Homes with renewable energies can become truly eco friendly by managing the whole house power consumption – using the home automation system to use energy in the most efficient way possible – for example heating hot water when energy is at its highest or distributing warm air from south facing rooms with solar gain to north facing cooler rooms. Proactively running the home in this way ensures complete client comfort whilst ensuring the lowest possible energy use.

Summary

With the rise of home installed and connected devices it is great to see home owners waking up to and taking the first steps with Smart Homes and Home Automation. The future is convenient. energy efficient and full of easy to access content. Our professionally installed systems are reliable, scalable, efficient and flexible and we often produce designs for home owners looking to install a connected home during a refit or renovation. Once a Connected Home is installed then adding in elements of Smart Home and Home Automation technology is easy with modular elements being added in as required to create the perfect system for a client.

Home Automation

Crestron Installers

Whole House AV

Introducing the Autonomic MMS Music Server

A Hugely Flexible Digital Music Solution from Autonomic.

The Autonomic MMS Music Server frequently serves as the cornerstone to our whole house audio systems. The MMS is a hugely flexible digital music server – allowing a world of music to be enjoyed anywhere in the home when partnered with our Crestron or Savant Home Entertainment solutions. Easy access to high quality music is essential to delivering a successful system with the following services being supported (services available may depend on geographical location):

Streaming Services

Music Services available on the Autonomic MMS

For our international clients the MMS allows us to easily access “home” radio stations – for instance one recent Australian client who is living in Primrose Hill has access to Sydney radio stations, in addition to his Spotify playlists and iTunes collection. iTunes music collections are sync’ed from client computers direct to the storage on the MMS allowing access for anyone in the home and removing the need for a client device to be on at the time. For larger music collections the storage of the MMS can be upgraded by adding in USB hard drives or streaming from network attached storage – allowing a limitless music collection. 

The Autonomic MMS-1e

The Autonomic MMS-1e

Easy streaming of the above services is further enhanced by allowing multiple streams of music – so different family members can enjoy different music around the home. With our Crestron installations we tend to use user profiles so individual radio stations and playlists follow clients around the home, making the system quick and efficient to use. The MMS comes in a variety of sizes from a one output MMS-1e to a five output MMS-5A which allows five streams. For larger properties we can install multiple units – five MMS1e units can allow five individuals to listen independently to different music in the home – it’s like having your own music server in every room of the home. 

With all our whole house audio systems a client can easily join rooms together for impromptu parties with rooms being added to existing music streams easily and efficiently. This is a hugely flexible solution which is only available via a professionally installed system.

MultiRoom AV

Home Automation

Home Cinema

Lutron LED Lamps

Lutron Homeworks QS, Quantum and Grafik Eye Compatible LEDs

Lutron lighting control systems excel at energy efficient mood lighting and automated lighting controls – however specifying compatible Lutron LED lamps has always been far from straightforward. Cheaper LED lamps can change colour through the dimming cycle – transforming from stark white to a deep orange, depending on the amount the lamp is dimmed. Some fittings even flicker when at the lower end of the dimming range. For this reason Creston lighting controls have been our preferred solution – sourcing the lighting dimmers and LED fittings from the same manufacturer ensures no issues and a happy customer. We are therefore very pleased that Lutron have announced the release of their own LED fittings, we get the same benefits of a single supplier including outstanding levels of support as every product in the lighting system is supplied by Lutron.

The main benefits of the new LED fixtures are:

  • A single company supplying all elements of the lighting system – fantastic support and full compatibility.
  • Brilliant quality of lighting – fittings are matched so all fittings in a ceiling look identical, more natural lighting than cheaper LEDs.
  • Perfect dimming – step free and flicker free dimming – allows precise control of lighting levels.
  • 10 Year Warranty! Break free of the constant replacing cycle imposed by cheap lamps failing.

The range of lights currently includes LED downlights in addition to LED linear lighting. Get in touch to see how they can benefit your project.

Lutron LED Lamps

Lutron LED Lamps

Lutron

Crestron Lighting

Mood Lighting

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