Smart Home Automation Article for Arroyo Magazine

Arroyo Magazine interview between Joanna Beresford & Larry Weiss December 2013

JD: What new developments are you and your clients excited about in terms of home theater and entertainment, and home automation/integration?
LW: There are 5 different factors within the last 5 years that become a driving force for the home entertainment and automation:
1. The increase in internet speed: the high speed internet access has become a standard in majority of homes. Customers have many choices of live streaming media such as internet radio from Pandora®, Slackers ®, iTunes® Radio and movies from Netflix®, Amazon® Video on Demand and many more. The most exciting technology that we have now is to be able to watch current first- run movies playing in the commercial movie theaters in the comfort of our own home.
2. The development in display (aka Flat Panel) technology: Since the HDTV become a
Standard in 2006, the display manufacturers have really pushed the envelope in terms of the quality, size and price for the flat panel displays. Not too long ago, 1080P resolution was the standard, now the 4K (4 times the HDTV resolution) have become popular. It is very common now for a typical affluent family to have more than 3 flat panel televisions in the house.
3. The popularity of Tablets and Smart Phone: Since the introduction of the first Apple®
iPad in 2010, having a central controller to control everything in the house becomes
norm.
4. The increase cost of electricity and gas: more than ever now the customers are faced with the reality, especially in California, to save the usage of electricity and gas. This is when having lighting and climate control is becoming crucial. The “Green” approach has
become the buzz word lately.
5. Busy lifestyle for affluent customers: Customers like to have a convenient of controlling everything in the house from a touch of a button and from a central location. From music, movies, lighting, climate, shades, alarm security, and camera surveillance.

Because of those 5 reasons above, having an Integrated home entertainment and technology is a must for any affluent customers. Like the introduction of color TV have changed the Americans’ lifestyle, so does the Integrated Home Entertainment and Technology. Now, something we have seen only in the science fictions movies before have become reality.

For instance, this is a typical lifestyle in many affluent homes: Dad is a very busy businessman or successful manager, Mom is a busy housewife or career woman and kids are going to top schools. Dad catches the news from the Apple® Ipad before goes to work, Mom comes home and she doesn’t want to enter a “Dark House”, all the light in the house will turn on automatically according to Sunset or Sunrise schedule. While preparing for the family dinner, Mom look at the recipe from her kitchen touch panel and turn on the music in the kitchen. At night, Dad is very busy, he just wants to watch television program or movies that interest him, skip the TV commercial and maybe pause it and continue watching it in the master bedroom. Meanwhile, kids may do their homework research on the internet and video chatting with their friends to discuss it. During the weekend or holiday, they may invite their friends and families and entertaining throughout the whole house. Dad may have an outdoor BBQ fiesta with other Dads while listening to their favorite up- beat music stations or watch the football game outside. Meanwhile, Mom is socializing inside the house while listening to soft jazz music. Kids are playing video game competing with someone across the globe. With the Integrated Home Technology, all those lifestyle and activities can be achieved easily.

JD: How would you describe your process of working with a client – in terms of consultation, customization, etc.?
LW: The most important aspect to build integrated home entertainment and automation is to understand the potential customer vision, lifestyle, budget and needs. During the initial discovery and interview process, we ask many questions regarding how the potential customer lives their life while explaining what current technologies are available that may benefit the potential customer. We have developed a standard 18 pages questionnaire that guide potential customer to explore the idea and benefit of integrated system, that otherwise they many not aware of . We try to explore and gather as much information that possible and try to put our thinking head into potential customer’s shoes and come up with the best solutions that fit customer vision, lifestyle, budget and needs. Each solution is very unique and personalized because each individual family is very
unique. It is in our DNA to translate the customers’ desires and vision in plain English and to execute it into properly designed and engineered system.

There are 5 different level of Home Automation aka. Smart Home:
1. Whole house audio (music)
2. Whole house video (movies and television)
3. Lighting and Climate Control
4. Security and surveillance
5. Luxury and comfort

The common pitfall in many so-called experts in Home Technology industry is they don’t really truly understand the customer vision, lifestyle and desires. For instance when the potential customer mentions that they would like to get a Simple system, actually what most customer wants is Simple to Use system. A small Simple system with 5 remote controls could be very cumbersome to use, however well planned and thought out Simple to Use system may be very complex in the background, however will be very user friendly with a single remote control customer can Watch TV or Movie while dimming the light with one button press.

Moreover, focus on the Integration of the system, not only the Installation of the system. Many potential customers that have called us saying they have an Installation issue, however in reality they have Integration issue. Unless the TV came off the wall or speakers came off from the ceiling, most likely if the system doesn’t function properly like the customer’s desire, it is caused by Integration issue. MONACO® has expertise in Custom Installation and Integration (C2I™).

JD: How do you envision the “smart home” of the future? In other words, how do you foresee daily domestic life, in terms of technology, as it might exist in the year 2023? Or 2050?
LW: Smart Home will become the new standard for all homes in the next 15 years and we will see a lifestyle change in many American homes. What we have now, is only the beginning of it. The Home Automation will change the way American live their life like the electricity did in the beginning of 20th century.
Currently, there are more than 50 Manufacturers that offers Home Automation including even an alarm company like ADT. What the potential affluent customers have to look for is to make sure they choose the manufacturers, products and infrastructure that are designed for custom home that is appropriate for the square footage of the house. Do not get products that is designed for smaller residential and expect to work flawlessly in larger residential environment (caution when you are dealing with above 5000 sq feet homes)

JD: What would you like for me to include in the article about Monaco’s services, expertise, history, etc.?
MONACO® is a premier solution provider for affluent home owners looking for premium
solutions in Audio, Video and Technology. We have been in the business since 2005
specializing in easy to use home entertainment and automation that performs beyond the ordinary while completing your décor and offering exceptional value. MONACO® is a proud member of Custom Electronic and Installation Association (CEDIA) and American Society of Interior Designer (ASID) Industry Partner. Our expertise has yield many trust of affluent customers and top tier manufacturers. Furthermore, we have been selected as Crestron Elite Partner and URC Master Dealer since 2011. In July 2013, we opened our Solution Center Store™ in Pasadena. Our Solution Center Store™ is a place for our valuable customers, interior designers and architects to learn and experience the latest in Audio, Video and Technology.

Please call (626) 395 9597 to schedule you FREE In Home Consultation

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5 Smart Tips for Potential Smart Home Automation Buyer:
1. Always focus on the overall scope project & system infrastructure, not on the pieces of the equipments/ components.
2. Always wire for the future
3. Always insist on an Easy to Use, integrated system.
4. Describing your vision, lifestyle, and needs are far more important than describing the Equipments/ components you may want/need.
5. Always ask how expandable or future proof the system is going to be.

© Larry Weiss, I.E DMCE (Founder, President and Chief System Engineer for MONACO® Audio Video &Automation Specialist). He has been in the industry for more than 16 years, expert in Design and Engineering from basic to complex Audio, Video and Technology. His expertise has been featured in many national recognized projects and publications. He currently holds an Industrial Engineering degree from University of Washington, Seattle WA and Digital Media Certified Engineer certification from Crestron Technical Institute, Cypress CA and many numerous national and international industry certifications.

http://www.crestrondealerlosangeles.com

http://www.mycrestronguy.com

http://www.smarthomelosangeles.com

MONACO AV is specialized in creating Crestron smart home automation and home theater which includes whole house music, whole house video, climate control, lighting , shading, and CCTV surveillance. We are regarded as one of the best Crestron dealer in Los Angeles area and have been in business since 2005.  We have done numerous successful smart home automation projects in Los Angeles, Pasadena, La Canada, San Marino, Hollywood and many more.