SoundVision

The best home alarms have fingerprints

LEGALLY speaking, not just any company can nor should any company – install security, camera systems or even Nest doorbells.

Installation of security cameras seems relatively innocent? The best home alarms have fingerprints. For starters, you are inviting a stranger inside your home for a security survey. Of course we don’t run background checks and fingerprints on every contractor who enters our home but we aren’t asking them to assess risk at that point either. In addition homeowners are allowing someone access to view their homes, often interior and exterior with camera and security permissions. If not properly set, allowing a potential hacker access as well. Fire alarm and security monitoring are more serious. In the event of an emergency, not having expert installation could be catastrophic.

Licensing and why you should care

Fire and safety are categories of service that lend themselves to heavy liability and licensing requirements. These are LIFE SAFETY categories of service.  For example, if a small AV firm wanted to begin selling security systems and they were exercising a low voltage exemption by the state, they would not only need to be licensed by the North Carolina Alarm Systems Licensing Board but ALSO retain an actual Low Voltage license classification SP-AF-LV. Even an electrician currently licensed by the state to do electrical work is not automatically licensed to security oriented work.

Neither of which are relatively easy to obtain in a short amount of time. Requirements include relevant work experience certification, additional education, exams, verifiable references with notarized affidavits, background checks and meeting with an investigator all subject approval of the actual NC Alarm Systems Licensing Board during a hearing in Raleigh.

Read specifications for obtaining licensing here

In order to renew Michelle’s license, who works exclusively in the office and does not set one foot inside a client’s home, this was what was required:

  1. Completion of a 3 hour state approved CEU course (which included an exam)
  2. New fingerprints (every 2 years) at the Moorseville Police Department, which were more challenging to obtain than usual due to Covid19 restrictions this year. Not all police departments are doing fingerprints and for Mooresville Police, there was a significant delay in the scheduling.
  3. Finally, a background check.

This process occurs upon hire and then every 2 years afterwards for all employees. For this reason, we have to be very selective of potential staff members.

It is frustrating for us to see unlicensed contractors doing this work. In the event of catastrophe, homeowners (and their insurance companies) will wish they had hired a properly licensed and insured professional.  Be careful of who you let into your home. Click here to check if your contractor is licensed for security with the state.

SoundVision Recognized as a Rising Star by CE PRO Magazine

SoundVision has been recognized as one of 9 “rising stars” across the United States by audio video industry publication, CE PRO. This included a financial review of SoundVision’s earnings and financial structure. This also included a review of internal processes during the interview with our CEO, Mark DiPietro.

Why would this matter to current and potential SoundVision clients?  Well, it speaks to integrity, planning and vision. How many fly by night companies are out there to make a quick buck and an even quicker departure?  Many will deliver the product at he lowest price and quick exit as quick as possible. IF they finish the project with no loose ends. In the future who does the client call for service? Most AV companies won’t service projects they didn’t design. Whereas, customer service is a critical component to our success with our service memberships.

Our team is staffed with seasoned professionals, who have experienced different roles in our industry and others as well. We have learned in some cases, the hard way – what NOT to do. Our team embraces active collaboration and we work extremely hard to make sure the client’s overall experience is our top priority. Further, we support vendors who support our clients. Examples of this include Control4, Lutron and the team from Snap AV who will involve their own resources and engineers when needed. We aren’t in this to make a quick buck and leave, neither should our vendors. We value these relationships and are very selective about whom we partner up with.

In short, we want to grow old with our clients.  Financial stability and consistent service nurture this. This recognition is in line with achieving our overall goal.

Read the entire article here from CE PRO http://digitaledition.cepro.com/publication/?m=59704&i=666645&p=48.

 

 

 

 

 

Why is this remote so &!;!!?? complicated!!!! – Non-Video Equipment

In our last post, we outlined the power of macros with the Control4 remote configuration. How they can make your life easier by doing some of the things you do every day (or night), all the time, and automate those same tasks.  We went over how, with the press of a button, many different devices can turn on or off.

Now, let’s elaborate a bit more, with respect to non-audio video equipment.  If you will take my word for it, there are a number of pages, like the one you see below, all activated by the previously discussed macro.

I don’t want to belabor the point; rather, I wanted to give you a glimpse into how many different things a single macro, or group of macros can do.  For example, see below….

This string comes in the programming right after the one we showed in our previous blog.  To take a look at that one, click here.

The above macro first checks to see if the garage doors are open, and if so, closes them.  As an aside, guys, how many times have you been in bed and your wife asks you if the garage doors are closed?  This fixes that request.  BTW, the app also shows you when the doors are opened or closed.  I’ve included a screen shot below to show you what this looks like.

Garage door opened and closed

 

Next, the macro tells the system to lock the Yale door lock on the basement door.  This is SUPER helpful once you are in bed, upstairs, and asked if the basement door is locked. There is another icon on the app confirming this as well.

The system then runs the bedtime lighting scene.  It turns off over 15 lights at this time, all at different times.

The system then waits 55 seconds (which is the rough time it takes us to get our things together to head upstairs to bed), and turns off the basement lights and ceiling fan.

After another 60 seconds of waiting, the system locks the Yale door lock in the Great Room and arms the Honeywell alarm system to Instant mode for bed.

Finally, after waiting another 46 seconds (about the time it takes us to get ready for bed), the system turns on the TV in the Owner’s Suite (my wife has to watch a show before she falls to sleep) and starts a 90 minute timer to turn the TV off in the event we fall asleep and forget.

Remember, a macro is only limited to our or your imagination! This truly shows the power of the automated or “smart” home.

Smart Tech for a Kid-Friendly Home

Smart Tech for a Kid-Friendly Home

When you think of smart technology and your children, you probably think about tablets and other smart entertainment devices. What you might not realize is how much safer smart tech can keep your kids, while also making your home a little more fun for them to live in, too.

Beyond lock and key

There’s always extra concern when it comes to protecting your kids, especially when technology is considered. It’s no longer uncommon for kids to come home from school to an empty house, but at least now there’s a way to check in on them while you’re at work or running errands.

Door and window sensors can alert you that your child has arrived home safely, and a smart door lock enables you to let them in if they’ve locked themselves out. You can even consider equipping your home with a camera with two-way communication abilities and greet them as they enter your home. Keeping all of these controls in the palm of your hand can also come in handy when you need to know whether or not they were home for curfew, to let in the babysitter, or see if there are any unwanted visitors at the door.

Lighting control is a bright idea

Lighting and shade control can help you save on energy costs or blackout a room so you can watch a movie, but have you considered the impact your lighting has on your schedule? Imagine timed dimmers in your kids’ rooms to signal wind-down time before bed or ease the younger one’s fear of the dark by programming a night light, as well as get them up in the morning for school.

Have some fun with it

Smart technology is more than just an ability to keep your family and belongings safe or the capability to stream music through your home – we can help you optimize your home and network capability for gaming, family gatherings, and personalized settings for everyone in your home. By setting up a VPN, firewalls, and parental controls for things like time limits, you can keep them safe.

We can help!

If you’ve been thinking about how you can incorporate more kid-friendly smart technology into your home, we can help! We have every tool and the experts you need to keep your kids entertained and safe. \lsdlo

Keeping Your Home Safe This Holiday

The old tune might say there’s no place like home for the holidays, but the reality is a lot of folks have to travel. While leaving your home behind can be stressful, there are numerous ways to incorporate smart technology into your home to keep it and your belongings safe while you’re away.

 

Amp up your security system

The best defense against intruders is a security system. Whether you’ve already integrated the basics, like an alarm, or you’re just starting from scratch, let our experienced security and surveillance pros at SoundVision help you figure out the best security system to help defend your home. There are endless options to amp up your security – from digital doorbells and locks, to round-the-clock surveillance cameras. From basic essentials to a robust system with all the bells and whistles, we can help make sure your belongings stay safe!

 

Leave a light (or a few) on

We don’t mean permanently! Use lighting and shade control to your advantage by setting “scenes” based off the time of day to make it look like you’re home. By incorporating dynamic lighting and shade settings, your home will look a little more “lived-in” than if you had just set a simple timer for the living room lamp. What’s more, having the right settings for your lighting and shades can help you save on energy costs whether you’re at home or away!

 

Connectivity is the key

All of this smart tech isn’t being used to its potential if you’re not able to monitor your home from your mobile device. Make sure you have the best apps to keep you connected to your home no matter how far away! By having the right connectivity, you’ll be able to check if the doors are locked, your kitchen appliances are off, the thermostat is properly set, and even chat with anyone who rings the doorbell! Staying connected to your home will give you peace of mind while you’re away for the holidays.

 

Check with the pros

Consulting a professional integrator whenever you’re considering new safety or smart home tech is always a great way to make sure you’re getting the best tech to suit your needs! Whether you already have the basics or you’re starting from scratch, we can help you.

 

We are a Google / Nest Authorized Partner

Innovative Design, Revolutionary Results

Which is the right solution for you? At SoundVision, we believe in simplifying life through technology, but that technology solution is different for everyone. Just as no two homeowners are alike, no two technology systems are either and that’s why, as Lake Norman’s premiere technology systems integrator, we offer a variety of solutions from leading manufacturers so that we can custom tailor each solution to meet the needs of each home.

In designing a home automation system, we start with a thorough needs analysis that documents your wants, needs and must haves. We’ll review your life-safety and security needs, network infrastructure, and more to engineer a solution that suits the needs of you and your family. So, whether you need automated door locks and a camera system, or a fully integrated home automation system to control your motorized shades, indoor and outdoor lighting, audio and video, we’ve got you covered.

Staying ahead of the curve

To be the best in design, installation and service for our customers and to meet the rigorous demands of the manufacturers’ lines that we are privileged to represent, our engineers, programmers and installation technicians undergo continuous education and hands-on training. We participate in industry and manufacturer-led sessions and continually seek new and innovative solutions to bring to our overall product offering.

We are proud to be one of the very first partners in the whole country with revolutionary lines such as Google Home and the Google Home Hub and the Nest line of products including the Nest thermostat, hello doorbell and camera system. Nest Protect is a life-safety pioneer. It not only detects smoke and carbon monoxide, but “speaks” when there’s a problem and can even text your phone.

And you may not think of a home technologies integrator when buying a door lock but think about that keyless touchpad being integrated into your home control. Yale keyless door locks are as beautiful as they are functional, safe and convenient. We can integrate them into your home’s system so that they operate with your home’s lighting and shades and be controlled from your home’s keypads and touchscreens or from a convenient mobile app.

Among the choices in voice control, Josh.ai adds a layer of artificial intelligence that makes accessing your systems seamless. Josh can control everything from your Yale door locks to your Sonos audio!

With so many amazing choices in smart home technologies, how do you know which is the best fit for you? It’s not just about the choosing the right stuff, it’s about making the right technologies work together. Give us a call and we’ll help navigate the myriad collection of high-tech gear, define the features and applications you’re looking for, and put together the perfect combination for you. “Josh, call SoundVision!”

 

 

 

Staying Connected While Entertaining for the Holidays

Whenever you think about the holidays, you probably think about friends and family around the table, enjoying a meal and each other’s company. Maybe you think about presents or twinkle lights – or maybe you just can’t wait to watch your favorite holiday movie. The reality, though, is that you’re probably spending a lot more time in the kitchen. Thanks to new tech, that doesn’t mean you’ll be missing out on the fun.

 

Make your kitchen a smart one

How much planning and personalization went into your kitchen? It’s arguably one of the most personal, necessary rooms in your entire home. All the more reason to pay some extra special attention to it! By incorporating the right functionality, entertainment features like built-in audio or video screens, and voice-controlled smart home automation like Josh.ai, you can personalize your kitchen to suit your needs for not only everyday living, but for special entertaining, too.

 

There when you need a helping hand

There are countless options currently available for smart appliances like refrigerators, ovens and “hubs” like Josh. And while these might seem a little frivolous – or perhaps even intrusive – it’s worth taking time to consider the added convenience they can bring to your home. Having an app connected to your oven means you don’t have to miss the football game to keep the bird from burning. A smart refrigerator that can text you a picture of your refrigerator’s contents can save you from a second trip to the store.

 

Incorporate devices like a kitchen hub serve as your voice-controlled connection to the rest of your home, a helping hand for your recipes, or a backup phone when your hands are full. Connect these smart appliances with a hub like Josh, and you’ve got an extra set of hands in the kitchen!

 

Smart appliances are safe appliances

With hectic schedules, guests and your mind on a million different things, you wouldn’t be the first to forget to turn off the stove, turn off the lights or feel like you need to be in two places at once. By incorporating the right smart appliances and systems, you can maximize safety AND convenience in your kitchen. Your stove and oven can now warn you that they’ve been left on – instead of hearing the news from your smoke detector (or worse).

 

If a smart kitchen sounds like the solution you’ve been waiting for, we’re here to help you integrate the best tech for your needs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why you should be building (or living in) a smart MDU

As cities’ populations grow and the need for building upward grows, the trend toward multi-dwelling units (MDUs) has exploded. Not only are these MDUs in demand for the builder and buyer alike, but they’re increasingly more exclusive, high-tech and luxurious. The good news is: with technology from Control4, this level of modern luxury is affordable.

Our advice: Include smart home automation in the blueprints
The best way to incorporate smart home automation into your units is to include it in your plans from the beginning. Structured wiring, strategically-placed outlets and connectivity designed for the best internet connection, power capability and equipment placement increases the value of your units and allows for minimal interior design disruptions – ensuring your vision comes to life without having to worry about unsightly wires or bulky equipment getting in the way of the details. By wiring before the walls go up and considering features like built-in speakers, storage for entertainment features or a whole-home control center at the front door, design and convenience stay the center of attention.

Smart MDUs mean safety, connectivity, convenience and more
Buyers have placed convenience, connectivity and energy efficiency at the top of their must-have lists when it comes to shopping for their homes. By incorporating smart home technologies like climate control, automated shade and lighting control, they can improve their energy efficiencies, whether they’re at home or out-of-town.

Smart home automation also offers endless options that increase safety – from cameras at the lobby door to smart locks to timed settings for your shades and lights – that protect both the occupants and the building itself. Some systems can even alert residents and building staff about fire and water damage before they become a widespread or serious issue. Now, residents can know what’s happening in their homes, while it’s happening.

Make it easily customizable
One thing is for sure – anyone buying a home wants to make it feel like home and there’s no better way to accomplish that than offering a smart home system that’s customizable to their needs. Custom climate control, security features and entertainment systems with personalized moods and functions make your buyers happy. Even better, consider implementing connectivity to the concierge desk and any entry points like doors, automated gates and garages to ensure your residents are only a touch away from communicating with property staff and their visitors. All of these features are even more attractive when residents are able to connect them to their personal cell phones and tablets.

By making your MDU’s smart, you can increase the value of your MDU, while also making it more attractive to buyers. Moreover, you’re more likely to retain your residents if you’re ahead of the trend, as there’s less for you to update later on. Talk to us about how we can help you with the best tech for your next MDU!

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Home Theater. The Ultimate Entertainment Experience

Ultra HD, 4K…the quality of content these days is amazing and so are the number of ways we have in accessing it! Is your home theater or media room up to the task, able to make the most of the high definition audio and video available? With summer blockbusters available for streaming and with the holidays just around the corner, there’s no better time to add the home theater you’ve dreamed of or to upgrade your existing theater so that you may enjoy the very best digital entertainment experience!

Are you a movie lover, serious gamer or avid sports fan? A dedicated home theater makes an exceptional space for your home entertainment. And with technologies like Dolby Atmos and 4K, enjoying the mind-blowing sights and sounds in a room specifically designed for hi-performance audio and video is spectacular!

So what’ll it be, Home Theater or Media Room?

Your home media room offers a great space for enjoying some family-time movie-watching and for hosting your friends on game day. It can boast a stunning 4K laser projector or a surreal OLED display along with Smart TV streaming and savvy social media features. A well-designed and outfitted media room can also take advantage of exceptional audio through a surround sound or Dolby Atmos system. However, one potential disadvantage is its central location; today’s open floor plans often place the media room adjacent to the kitchen, the busiest hub in the home. While this is great for engaging conversation, it is not ideal for either sound or picture quality as the room is open to the back (uncontrolled sound) and likely flooded with natural light. These features may be distracting.

Get lost in an immersive experience

A dedicated home theater includes technologies specifically designed to perform in a controlled space. Acoustic issues have been addressed for optimal sound as well as for noise-control to and from adjoining spaces. Custom seating is ideally positioned for viewing and comfort rather working around window placement or to aid in conversation. Speaker systems, like Martin Logan’s iconic Masterpiece Series, can be positioned and calibrated in the defined space as designed.  And in this perfectly suited environment, it won’t take long to understand why they have earned the tagline “the art of Truth in Sound!”

This isolated room rarely features windows, so images are true and free from glare. If there are any windows, they will have been treated with black-out shades to maintain the perfect environment. So, enjoy an afternoon of football or binge-watch your favorite streamed series free from interruption.

Another advantage is that, in a purpose-built space, décor doesn’t depend on the rest of the house, so the sky is the limit (actually, it’s not; you can add a custom fiber-optic constellation mural on the ceiling!). A home theater is also a place that reflects your personality and style– from mid-century modern to the Starship Enterprise or a custom tribute to your alma mater or favorite NASCAR driver!

The set up can be a single or multi-screen configuration, or a hybrid of multiple screens ideal for watching sports with a large projection screen that rolls down for serious movie watching. Integrated controls allow the user to choose from a variety of streamed or local content. The content may be exclusive to the theater or shared across the home’s systems from a movie server.

Trending now

Aside from incredible imagery and sound, what’s trending in custom theaters now?

  • Establishing a seamless connectivity across a robust network
  • Experiencing virtual reality through wearable technology & virtual reality that transforms your movie-watching experience.
  • Connecting in real-time through Social Media integration
  • Integrated control throughout the home, with access to content sources, control of security features, whole-house lighting, HVAC and more
  • Voice Control – Limitless searching, command and control of the theater and smart home’s multiple features including the ability to order your showtime pizza via a voice control interface such as Josh.ai!

Where will you be hosting Thanksgiving Day game-watching and cozy mid-winter movie nights? Give us a call and let’s get started planning the best seat in the house!

 

 

 

 

Upgrading To Smart Home Audio

martin_logan_electrostat

If you’ve been thinking about upgrading your home’s audio and entertainment systems, there’s no better time than now. Whether you’re starting from scratch or looking for a system you can easily integrate into the rest of your smart home, there are great solutions for any music library.

 

Entertainment that’s music to your ears

When you think about home entertainment, chances are you stop at home theater. While the home theater has undeniably become the standard for smart home entertainment, it seems like home audio has taken a back seat – and what a shame! There’s no reason why your music library can’t provide that same value when done correctly. Whether it’s a dedicated listening room you’re after or you’d like to integrate sound throughout your entire home – there’s a perfect smart home solution for your needs.

 

Choosing the right setup

An important factor to consider when you’re integrating any kind of home audio system into your space is your media type. Old-school vinyl needs a little bit different tech than a completely streamed music library – and you want to hear every note as it was intended, right? Right. Not only will you want to consider speaker type and placement in addition to your media player, but you’ll also want the best accessibility, whether that’s built-in storage for all your records or the latest touch screen display and controls for your digital library.

 

The pros know best

The best way to ensure you’re getting the best setup for your sound is to ask the people who know. Instead of making your best guess, consult the pros at SoundVision who can optimize all of your spaces for the best listening experience possible, whether inside or outside your home. With a whole-home audio system, entertaining is easy and casual listening is an immersive experience.

 

 

 

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