Like a lot of homeowners, Robert Burghart stepped into home automation as he would into unknown waters – one toe at a time. In his previous home, he started small with a basic control system but quickly learned the limits of his choice when he couldn’t connect his Sonos system and his surveillance cameras. So when he moved in to a larger home, he knew his previous control system wouldn’t cut it. His electronics integrator, Joe Abramo of Custom Automated Solutions, told him that a six-source six-zone Niles Auriel multi-room audio controller would let him use his Sonos Connect as a streaming source so he wouldn’t have to keep the Sonos system entirely separate. When Abramo described how Auriel also would integrate the Burghart’s home theater and their NAS drive with some 900 GB of their own music—and provide an easy upgrade path to automate the whole home with an ELAN entertainment and control system—his client was sold.
“With the Niles and ELAN systems in Robert’s new home, there really are no limits,” Abramo explained. “Before automating his entire home, Robert wanted to start small, so we only installed the theater and audio controls, where Niles’ Auriel system really shines. He became acclimated to the system extremely quickly and was enthusiastic about scaling up with ELAN. We’ve already integrated his climate controls, security, surveillance cameras, TV and video, lighting, garage doors and driveway gates since the initial installation.”
Working on a time crunch, the initial audio system was just as easy to install as it is to use. “Just a week prior to the homeowner’s move-in date, we began the installation process of the Niles Auriel system,” Abramo continued. “It literally took 30 minutes to install and 5 minutes to program right from my iPad. Auriel is probably the easiest whole-home audio solution to install currently on the market. That helped get the system up and running quickly, and cut down on the man-hours and installation cost. For subsequent installations, I’m confident anyone on my staff will be able to program the Auriel system.”
ELAN was the perfect choice to integrate all of the systems, especially the audio. “We have a guest house and a racecar garage, and I can control that alarm system separately from the main home,” Burghart explained. “The best thing about the ELAN system is that everything is on one app that I can access anywhere in the world. We have it set up so the climate controls use less power when we arm the security system upon leaving the house. Then, I can turn it back to my desired level before I leave work, so it’s ready when I get there. That’s really important in the hot Arizona climate. I’ve also used the app while away to open the gate and garage doors for repairmen and even to check the cameras. I can even check in on the dog when no one is home!”
Having access to every function from a single app was a major selling point for Burghart. With his old system, he would have to use separate apps to access his sound and security systems. This became a hassle very quickly since he was using both every day. Now, everything has the same control scheme through the ELAN g! app, making the entire system incredibly simple. According to Burghart, even his 4-year-old daughter can use it.
“She really only needs it to turn on the movie Frozen, but she can do it,” he joked. “Just as all other youngsters today, she learns technology very quickly. After always wanting our phones and tablets, we ended up giving her an old iPad. Now, she loves going into the cameras and seeing herself on the screen.”
But all of this electronics wizardry isn’t what he praises most. If you ask him what the most essential aspect of his installation was, he’ll tell you it’s the human element.
“The key is having a good AV/security expert you can trust,” he said. “Joe showed me things I never knew existed, and it really opened my eyes to all the possibilities of home automation. I used to be someone who went to Costco for security cameras and Best Buy for a Sonos system, but having Joe put everything together the right way and show me how much more can be done was a home-altering moment. He was referred to me by a friend, and now he’s worked with four or five of our friends because he really knows what he’s doing and provides great service whenever we have any trouble.”
Some special additions to the system include a strobe effect on some of the lights if there is a security incident so police can quickly identify the correct house, a timer so the gate closes after a few minutes of inactivity, an event trigger so the lights automatically turn on when they disarm the security system after entering the home, and a theater favorite where the lights dim as soon as you select a source and the video starts playing.
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