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News & Updates

Trends and Tendencies for Smart Home Technology in 2021

Hello Tech Enthusiasts! With technology updating and changing basically every week, we thought it would be helpful if we could lead the way into the future as best we could. We put this blog together to talk about the components of a Smart Home System and the biggest items in South Florida Home Automation.

In addition to our normal jobs, we’ve been devoting a lot of our time toward our Boca Tech Talks, our series of webinars partnered with AIA and ASID geared toward educating the community and helping designers acquire CEU credits (with almost 250 credits issued over 2 seasons!). With over 30 hours of presentation and an unknown amount of time putting them together, our team got pretty good at it!

boca tech talks ceu webinars taught in the second season of 2020
A list of instructors and the CEU Webinars taught in the Second Season of Boca Tech Talks 2020

These presentations (which can all be viewed on our website) invited some of the most well-known and knowledgeable experts in their respective fields and we coaxed them into spilling all the good stuff!

Deb Giarratana from Orion Integrated Systems
Deb Giarratana, Channel Sales Manager at Orion Integrated Systems

Deb Giarratana from Orion Integrated Systems, located in Palm Beach, FL, had plenty to say about the way technology can affect our health in ways we don’t even realize. Circadian lighting schemes that increase your health and productivity, automated shades and drapes to regulate heat and UV radiation, air and water purification systems because… health!
Deb loves the benefits that technology applies to your health and assured us that her predictions for 2021 are more of the same. “Touchless everything!” Deb told us, dimmers with sensors, garbage cans that open on their own, you name it – she wants it! Voice assistants, drone landing pads (They’re real!), distributed A/V, being able to live in each room comfortably and safely is the dream we’re all chasing so, why not be healthy while you do it?

Jason Sayen from LK and Associates
Jason Sayen, CEDIA Outreach Instructor and Director of Sales and Business Development at LK & Associates

With all that tech connected to each other, another problem makes itself known… your network. Is it fast enough to keep your system working smooth and fast or are you bottle-necked by your slow internet? The power couple of our industry, Jason and Vanessa Sayen from LK and Associates, located in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, spoke about this at length. A robust, enterprise-grade network that can keep your business running from home, your kids in school and online, videos streaming, and so much more.
These enterprise grade solutions help troubleshoot problems in residential, commercial, and marine residences/businesses all in real-time.

Vanessa Sayen from LK & Associates
Vanessa Sayen, CEDIA Outreach Instructor and Marketing Manager at LK & Associates

Vanessa and Jason have been in the game for a long time and know a thing or two about this subject, they know that every room doesn’t have to do it all, it just needs to do all the things you need it to. A dedicated media room is great for movies, but you won’t want to eat dinner in there every night. A multipurpose room with a hidden rack room to hide all the equipment so your guests never even see a wire. Pre-plan your jobs for the best results! All our adapts tell us that the faster you bring in the experts the better the job will be. In terms of running wire and design, the beginning of a job is the most important part of an integration, preferably before the drywall even goes up.

cutting edge home entertainment
This new state-of-the-art Samsung Ultra Short Throw projector can blast out a picture up to 110″, is powerful enough to be seen during the day (even though you can close the shades and dim the lights at the press of a single button!), and its so close to the wall you wont get yelled at for walking in front of it anymore!

When building something outdoors, the motto is still “the sooner the better”. Being able to run wire while you place support beams and structure is a huge boon, especially if whatever it is you’re installing is going to become a permanent solution.

calvin gray from Struxure
Calvin Gray, Vice President of Marketing Development for StruXure

Calvin Gray from StruXure outdoor, a pergola company located in Davie, FL, told us about their new $7-$10,000 “umbrella” type solution called the Cabana X; this is a moveable and re-place able enhancement to your outdoor space that will completely change how you use your yard.
When trying to get some fresh air you might not want to be limited by a small space like the Cabana X and would opt toward their larger Pergola X model that was introduced to many restaurants during the pandemic. This Pergola X created additional seating outdoors when avid food lovers were shouting for more outdoor space.

Pergola X by Struxure
Escape to your Backyard. Create a Vacation Destination right outside your home.
cabana X by Struxure
Cabana X provides a unique space to connect your mind, body, and spirit— to enjoy the outdoors while remaining protected from the elements.

While staying at home whether you’re indoors or out, you still need power, and finding power is the same as it’s always been… South Florida’s own power struggle being nicknamed “Florida Flicker and Flash” is an expert example as to why clean renewable resources are needed.

Jessica Weiss from sonnen
Jessica Weiss, National Business Development Manager – Energy Automation & AI – Sonnen

Jessica Weiss from Sonnen brought many examples and solutions to this very subject.
The quality and access to power is the concern most people have. Dirty power from plants and generators is unreliable and pollutes the air, the time for solar, hydro, and wind power collection has come, and it is expanding very rapidly. Being able to collect and store your own energy is an increasingly vital resource coming into 2021 and Jessica told us about some very promising locations that are already making serious headway in these fields.

Smart energy management by sonnen
Sonnen Home Battery Solution. Powering your life with smart, clean, and safe home energy systems.

In today’s technology world we are becoming hyper-aware of these power problems and are searching for a reliable and powerful solution. Jessica told us about an apartment complex called Soleil Lofts that has communal solar panels that charge batteries located in each resident’s apartment. Each battery able to power the residence easily until more power is stored, this is no solution, but it is a step toward illuminating the right path.

Soleil Lofts development in Utah US
The Soleil Lofts apartments, in Herriman, Utah, seeks to attract environmentally conscious customers who want to hasten the transition to all-electric and clean energy living.

When it comes to technology there is no right or wrong equipment, there is only a right and wrong way to install  that equipment. But, as far as the actual pieces of tech go, it’s all preference.

Wayne Augustin from C&E Marketing
Wayne Augustin, Premium Products Team Leader at C&E Marketing

So, when we got to Wayne Augustin from C&E Marketing, located in Sunrise, FL, we were ready to hear about all the different speaker models and the potential possibilities they can offer. “How do you want your sound to look?” he asked us, and then showed us how newer speaker models can be hidden completely inside the wall!
Invisible speakers that show literally zero sign of installation are not a new invention, in fact, they were invented in the 90’s. However, until recently they have been classified as “lackluster” and were never really used except for commercial sales buildings for background noise… until now!

Hidden Speakers during installation
“A/B” speaker test wall during installation phase.
Hidden Speakers after installation
“A/B” speaker test wall showing rectangular grill of normal in-wall speakers compared to completely invisible in-wall speakers.

Now, these speakers can be installed and used like any other pair of speakers, they are not “concert quality” like Wayne tells us but they are good enough to sprinkle around a media room.
We could talk about creating a media room and the sound that goes into it all day long! The screen, projector, etc. we’d be here all day, all year! And we didn’t even get to lighting yet!

Michelle Guss from Crestron
Michelle Guss, CEDIA Outreach Instructor and Director of Residential Business Development for North America at Crestron

Michelle Guss from Crestron is our lighting expert, and she keeps telling us that their new user experience has never been easier. With a phone app and enhanced security, a new user can use Crestron Home for renovations and new builds.
With over 750 automated tests and 30,000 lines of automation code it sounds scary but it’s “never been easier to configure and deploy” according to our pro. It’s non-hackable, links with the entire home – lights, shades, locks, alarms, you name it! You can interact with your conferencing from your desktop, your tv, wherever you want to Video Conference. Don’t be held back by your laptop’s internet strength or your phones battery, utilize every room in your home by connecting every room with Crestron!

crestron home
Crestron brings your idea of home to life… made possible with smart home technology that is intuitive and simple. Instantly responsive to touch or the sound of your voice. A complete smart home system engineered to become invisible, so all that remains is the experience. Your experience.

With the third season of our Boca Tech Talks approaching fast make sure you stay caught up with the Tech Times! Stay #BTASmart with our blog, and, of course, the Boca Tech Talks coming in 2021!

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