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Author: GMI Automation

Crestron and Your Indoor Pool

For those luxury homeowners that just can’t get enough of the summer lifestyle, an indoor pool is a natural choice. However as with any complicated system, indoor pools bring with them a share of headaches that our busy clients do not have the time or energy to add to their already very full plates. Luckily for them, GMI and the #DoneRightNotEasy crew make it our mission to streamline and simplify the life of our clients, and integration of an indoor pool into a Crestron automation system can create an amazing indoor swimming destination as stress free as the rest of a luxury automated home.

When your pool is inside a home, as opposed to out in the elements, it calls for a more nuanced approach to regulating the temperature of the water. This is especially important if your indoor pool has both a traditional pool as well as a hot tub or spa. When automated through a Crestron control system, indoor pool and hot tub temperatures can be directly linked to the overall environmental systems of the home. Integrating the pool and hot tub into the larger full home ecosystem saves energy and time, and creates the perfect swimming temperature each and every time the pool is used.

Indoor pools are often used as part of an at home workout, either directly through lap swimming, or by using the hot tub as part of a warmup or cool down procedure. As with the home gym, integration into a Crestron automation system means that hot tub jets and heating systems can be programmed to turn on at the exact right time based off when you start or end your workout. All of this happens seamlessly in the background, and can be triggered by the touch of a button on any Crestron panel or switch. Imagine completing your home work out and walking directly into a hot tub set to the ideal temperature and jet setting, all without you lifting a finger.

Maintaining the chemical balance of an indoor pool can be tricky, especially if it is located in a room with large windows. Much like an outdoor pool, the sun’s rays can significantly affect pool chemistry. With shading solutions programmed correctly by the #DoneRightNotEasy crew, you can ensure that your indoor pool is shaded properly throughout the day, greatly reducing pool chemical issues. The Crestron control system can even be programmed to trigger a chemical feed into the pool when chemicals are out of balance.

An indoor pool room can dazzle and amaze when equipped with in pool and around pool lights controlled by Crestron automation. As the standout feature of many luxury homes, automating these lighting systems or indoor water features goes a long way to adding the “wow” factor that many Crestron automation customers are looking for.

Interested in automating your home and indoor pool?

GMI Announces New Lead Crestron Programmer

The team at GMI Automation is pleased to announce the naming of Gregory Nixon as our new Lead Crestron Programmer. In his new role, Gregory will continue to lead and manage our team of Crestron engineers across a variety of job sites, along with taking additional responsibility in system design and programming.

Having been with the GMI Automation for close to 15 years, Gregory is deeply familiar with the world of full home automation. Having a background in both detail-oriented installation and large scale system design he has always been a natural fit for our team. In his previous role here at GMI Gregory effectively managed the full scope of all of our projects, on both the residential and commercial side of our automation business.

Gregory is deeply committed to customer service and excellence in everything that he does here at GMI. 

Detailed system design, documentation, construction, and programming, all with a focus on client satisfaction is what separates us from a typical integration company, and Gregory carries these values with him every moment of every day. All this and more makes him a natural fit for this new role.

We are excited to continue to work alongside Gregory in his new enhanced role, our clients and vendors should expect nothing but improvements in our already great relationships.

Simplify Your Home Workout With Powerful Automation

When it comes to luxury home design, one of the most popular elements in recent years is the home gym. Who doesn’t want the convenience and ease of working out at home versus joining a crowded gym or scheduling time at a boutique class. Physical fitness and overall health are extremely important, and our busy clients need solutions that allow them more easily fit a workout into their jam packed schedules. Enter GMI and the #DoneRightNotEasy crew, we take the effort out of the home workout with custom automation that helps you focus on yourself.

For those who workout in the morning, getting out of bed and getting started can often be the most difficult step. Automated shades and lighting systems can be programmed to gradually bring the light level in the room up to daylight levels, easing you into the day regardless of what time you need to be up for your workout. Once you change and begin your walk across the estate to the gym, the simple flick of a switch will illuminate your path and trigger environmental controls, keeping the gym itself the perfect temperature for a comfortable session.

When you arrive inside the gym itself, proper programming of your Crestron automation system brings the room to life at the push of a button. From a wall switch, Crestron remote, panel, or even your smartphone device, you can instantly trigger the lights to your desired level, and turn on your choice of entertainment for your workout. Does music motivate you through your weights and cardio? Streaming music can instantly pump your workout playlist through speakers nested behind walls or in the ceiling. Perhaps you’re a busy financial professional and you use your gym time to catch up on the morning news. Your desired channel or set of channels can be queued right away when you enter the room.

Our ability to build custom and unique solutions for our clients doesn’t just go for behind the scenes coding and programming. We take time to physically design our systems for the rooms as well. This means building custom mounting brackets for Crestron panels for mirrored gym walls or even for an exercise machine itself. Imagine running on the treadmill and having the ability to change the channel, music, or both right at your fingertips. Panels can even be programmed to control video surveillance, home access, or link with video conferencing software, mitigating against unforeseen items interrupting your important workout.

Crestron automation systems built and programmed by GMI Automation, while powerful, are designed to simplify the life or our end users. When a client has a gym in their luxury home we know they take their physical health very seriously, and during the design phase of our system we get to know their habits and routines, allowing us to build out the features discussed in the previous paragraphs. Just another reason why the #DoneRightNotEasy crew is the luxury homeowners first choice for streamlined and reliable automation systems.

Does your home gym need that extra level of control and simplicity? Contact GMI today and learn more.

Unique Design for Powerful Control

When we are first approached for a full home automation project, either new build or takeover, we often encounter clients who are unaware of the true potential of a Crestron system. While the more well known components of a Crestron automation system might be what originally piques the interest of a prospective client, the reality is that Crestron control is only limited by your imagination, and that with proper design, installation and coding, anything is possible.

As experienced integrators and Crestron engineers, we’ve made many of our client’s dreams into reality. Here are just some of the ways we use this expertise to bring a unique Crestron experience to our clients.

Exceeding Expectations

One of the ways we separate ourselves from other integrators and provide a unique experience is by providing solutions that are better than our clients even anticipate. Specifically with distributed 4K. We’ve talked at length about the difficulties of effectively distributing 4K throughout a space, and it is because of that difficulty that we take it to the next level.
TVs are mounted throughout the home and connected back to the Crestron control system and centralized video sources. These sources are all different, and thus send out signals at different resolutions. We install scalers at the TV level so that no matter what a source is presenting, even if it is not in 4K resolution, it will present as such. Our clients are spending big money for 4K projectors and televisions, and many integrators will fail to take advantage of that.

Bringing People Together

GMI and the #DoneRightNotEasy crew believe that automation’s purpose should be to simplify and streamline not just your home or office, but your life as well. Many of our clients spend time across multiple homes and places of business, and need a simple but effective way to keep in communication with family members or business associates.

We accomplish this is by linking systems together with powerful and reliable network connections, creating the infrastructure for instant communication. In a recent multi home system we included a custom built, robust intercom system which allowed the end users to use any control panel to speak with someone at any other control panel, no matter in which house they happen to be. In this blog we have also extensively outlined our expertise in video conferencing systems. Both intercom and video conferencing systems require interplay between Crestron automation platforms and third party software, which require unique and customized code to work effectively.

Integrating Protection and Control

Crestron automation is known for being exciting, cool, and on the cutting edge of technology. Quite the opposite, home and network security are two of the most boring things imaginable. However, when they are all linked together, automation, home security, and protected networks, they bring a level of control and simplicity that our clients simply do not expect.

Not only does this integration protect your home from unwanted intrusion from physical burglars and cyber criminals, it also provides the foundation on which your simplified life now rests. Room occupancy sensors and door contacts, traditionally used in security systems, are dual purposed to trigger any number of automation scenes. Imagine leaving a room and not having to think twice about even hitting a switch to ensure lights, music and entertainment devices are powered down. Network systems are built from the ground up to ensure that your devices are never without powerful wireless signal, no matter where you are on the site.

The happiness and experience of our client’s is the most important thing for us, and it’s because of this that we strive everyday to provide unique and powerful automation solutions for their homes and businesses.

Interested in a Crestron automation system that will blow you out of the water? 

The Importance of The Right Tools For the Job

Imagine for a moment that you are a professional NASCAR driver. You’re mid race, barreling around the track at 200 MPH and you notice your dashboard indicator lights show an issue with your tire pressure. Moments later you pull into the service area and your well trained and well equipped pit crew change your tires out with precision, getting you back on the road without skipping a beat. Now imagine the alternative, you pull in for service and your crew is unprepared, stumbling for appropriate tools, missing critical parts, and costing you valuable time.

Now, when it comes to effectively designing, building, programming and servicing your luxury Crestron automation system, which crew do you want in your corner? Home automation is about simplifying and streamlining your life the same way a pit crew streamlines a race. GMI and the #DoneRightNotEasy crew pride ourselves in bringing the right skill levels and tools to the job to ensure your system works each and every time it’s needed.

This process starts before we even set foot on the job site. Once a system is designed around the needs of the end user, we work with our equipment vendors to create a detailed list of every piece control equipment, video or audio source, lighting array, and everything else needed for the project. This level of documentation and planning is critical to the end result as it allows us to stage a job site appropriately with adequate tools, equipment, and personnel. To accomplish this we keep our work vans and work areas clean and organized, ensuring that when a tool is required for a task it is always close at hand and ready to use.

Once we begin to build out system infrastructure with wiring and rack construction, it is imperative that these items are done properly and cleanly, even if the end user will never see the back end. Considerable problems can arise when the proper care isn’t taken in designing and building racks. For example, what many engineers fail to understand is that there are specifications pertaining to the maximum number of a certain type of device that can be on a communications loop prior to malfunction occurring. We take care to install the proper hubs, repeaters, or similar components adequately handle the number of devices able to communicate on a single loop. We also use supporting bars in our racks and velcro to guide wires from point to point between component parts. Keeping like wires together with each other and organized properly keeps power wires away from power limited control system wiring and ensures system functionality

Once racks are built and in place, and wires properly run throughout a home, the knowledge to properly code and program the system is one of the most important tools in our war chest. We aren’t just programming commands, but full fledged conversations between gear who oftentimes are speaking different programming languages. The more streamlined the code, the better the systems will work at the high level our clients come to expect.

The final tool we bring to the job site is perhaps the most important, and it the #DoneRightNotEasy crew themselves. Assembling a team of experienced and competent engineers allows us to bring all of the previously discussed tools together under one roof. We work closely with our clients so they stay comfortable throughout our process. From design, to installation, to the final product itself, our team is there every step of the way, deploying our unique skills to the appropriate parts of a job to ensure a simple, reliable and intuitive automation system that streamlines our client’s life.

At the end of the day, a Crestron automation system, like a NASCAR racing unit, will only run as well as the crew, tools, and knowledge in place to keep it that way.

Interested in bringing the #DoneRightNotEasy crew into your home or office. 

Crestron Systems and Your Smartphone

There’s little doubt that in 2017, people love to connect with their smart phones and devices. In fact, the average user checks his or her smartphone 46 times a day, totalling almost 8 billion check ins a day in the United States alone. GMI understands the ubiquity of these devices and furthermore understands that our busy Crestron automation users need to be able to access their systems quickly and easily, regardless if they are on premise or not.

Here are just some of the ways GMI and the #DoneRightNotEasy crew connect your smartphone and your Crestron automation system for the ultimate in control from anywhere.

Complete Control

First and foremost, control of your connected and automated home or office through your smartphone or mobile device is not limited in anyway, and provides you with complete control of lights, shades, media, climate, security, and every other piece of the Crestron system. Whether you are laying in bed out of reach of your Crestron remote, or across the world on business, your device will be connected directly to your Crestron system without any limitations to access. You can even manage multiple Crestron systems in different locations through the same app, eliminating any need to manage multiple logins.

Familiarity

GMI understands that for an end user to be comfortable using their system, the system must fit into the life and habits they are already used too. This means streamlining and customizing the Graphical User Interface, or GUI, for all Crestron panels and control devices. The Crestron Control App for Apple and Android devices can be programmed and designed to duplicate the exact interface used for the in home panels and devices. This means no matter where the user is in the world, they will be able to easily control their Crestron system without learning new steps or patterns.

Under One Roof

One of the best things about bringing Crestron control to your smartphone or device is how, like the system itself, every part of your system is brought under one roof. No longer will you be forced to switch back and forth between multiple applications in order to control the different parts of your home. This is especially important when it comes to video surveillance. Camera systems typically require stand alone apps to operate, but with Crestron you can view your camera system in full HD directly from the Crestron app itself. Even more impressive is the integration with Rava SIP Intercom Technology, enabling hands-free wireless communication with touch screens, door stations, and mobile devices throughout a residence or workplace, all directly from the lock screen of your phone with push notifications.

Stay In The Know

While many of our end users prefer to utilise our concierge level back end service to monitor and keep track of their system maintenance, others like to be updated directly with system statuses and changes. The Crestron mobile app can be programmed by our engineers to provide end users with as much or as little information as they desire on a day to day basis, all delivered directly to the palm of their hand wherever they may be. This can be especially useful for business owners and compliance officers, allowing them to be alerted anytime a specific individual at their firm enters or leaves the premises, or even when someone is utilizing the video conferencing system.

At the end of the day, the level at which one uses and accesses a Crestron control system from a mobile device is up to the user themselves. Much like the systems themselves, this mobile access is endlessly customizable and catered directly to our users after working together with them to understand how the system will be used. Proving once again that the #DoneRightNotEasy crew can create a lifestyle for you limited only by your imagination.

Interested in Crestron automation for your home or business? 

High End Audio Done Right

When you are competing in a high end market such as that of Crestron automation systems, it is incredibly important that you separate yourself from the pack by providing a unique value experience for your clients. The reason we refer to ourselves as the #DoneRightNotEasy crew is just that, we take the time needed to do a job the right way, even if it isn’t the most direct or easiest solution. This is especially critical when it comes to home audio systems, either distributed throughout a home or centralized to a home theater or listening room. Our audiophile clients come to expect the highest of sound quality in both of these systems and to do so we must utilize our knowledge and experience in unique ways.

When it comes to home audio, either distributed or local to a home theater or listening room, any integrator can purchase, install and leave high end speakers and they will still sound great to the untrained ear. Where the #DoneRightNotEasy crew shows our value is by specifically calibrating every speaker in the home ecosystem to the room or area it is located. Speakers aren’t designed for rooms, they’re designed to be set up in rooms. Without calibration, the audio won’t be optimal, which means where and how the speakers are set up is almost always more important than the quality of the audio system itself.

In a home theater or dedicated listening room, calibration starts with the room itself, which we prepare by custom designing acoustic panels and placing them strategically along the walls and ceiling of the room, testing as we go to ensure the perfect soundscape. We then cover the acoustic treatments and speakers with acoustically transparent fabric walls for an extra clean look coupled with the ability to access and repair a system competent with as little intrusion as possible.

For distributed audio the process is a bit different, but just as critical. Calibrating small rooms, like your living room, hallway or bedroom, is surprisingly more complex than calibrating larger rooms such as a full home theater. Small rooms have much more distortion because bass-frequency wavelengths do not fit inside the room. The subsequent folding of the bass sound waves causes severe resonance, which is the common ‘boomy’ or ‘ringing’ bass commonly heard in consumer speakers. We work to solve these issues and create full home deluxe sound through proper speaker placement. Since Crestron distributed audio systems tend to utilize hidden speakers, either in ceiling or in wall, a deep knowledge of how these alternate speaker styles work and produce sound is required for appropriate placement. Once the measurements and specs are created for speaker placement, each speaker is individually calibrated, then the system calibrated as a whole, for the highest quality sound throughout the home.

The last piece of the puzzle for quality distributed audio in a home comes from the source itself. With so many streaming options available to consumers these days, each streaming at different bandwidths, it’s important to optimize these streams for consistency of quality. This means utilizing our go to streaming device, the powerful MMS-5 streaming server by Autonomic Control, which allows our music loving clients to stream from pandora, spotify, and any other streaming music service they desire with optimal sound quality throughout their home. Source quality is also important because it is the most common cause of distortion and speaker degradation.

Interested in a home theater or distributed audio in your automated home?

Crestron Doctors Fall 2017 Preview

With the official end of the summer season behind us, It’s time to set our sites on breezier days and chillier nights, which for our clients, means more time inside their luxury homes enjoying the comfort and ease of the Crestron Automation systems. With a successful summer under our belts, we decided it was time to look forward to what the fall would bring for GMI Automation and the #DoneRightNotEasy crew.

Here are just some of the topics you can look forward to the Crestron Doctors blog exploring in the coming months.

Deeper Dives

As we approach the end of the year, you will begin to see us revisiting topics from the past several months, taking a closer look at how the #DoneRightNotEasy crew brings value to our clients through our mastery of all parts of Crestron automation. We will take a deeper dive into such topics as wireless networks, shading and lighting, integrated security, and many more. These systems are integral to a well built automation system and we can’t wait to bring a deeper level of knowledge about them to our readers.

New and Unique Topics

Revisiting and going deeper on old topics is one thing, but that won’t stop us from talking about some of the new and unique ways in which we provide our customers with a home automation experience they can’t live without. We will explore how home gyms can be automated with distributed audio and video for the ultimate in ease and comfort in your home workouts. We will also discuss how Crestron automation integrates with your kitchen to help take the pressure off of holiday meals.

Case Studies

In the next few months we will continue to highlight specific automation projects GMI builds throughout the country. We have a specialized custom system built for a clients New York City home office, a full home automation renovation, and more. We will also continue to give updates on our multi office video conference system overhaul, as well exploring more of the relationships we keep with vendors of all kinds when working on this large scale jobs. We also will be submitting some of our work to the CEDIA Best of the Year awards and will be sure to keep our readers informed on how they can help us bring the trophy home!

GMI Office Renovation

Followers of the #DoneRightNotEasy crew on instagram will have seen updates in the past few weeks of the total renovation and modernization of our office and soon to be working Crestron commercial showroom. Our renovations will include a two by two planar video wall, multiple connected conference rooms, and fully automated lighting, shading and distributed audio throughout the professional designed open floor plan by our in house interior designer. All of this will be powered by the latest in Crestron automation hardware as well as top of the line secure network solutions. This will serve as not only a work space for our employees, but as a working showroom for potential commercial clients.

Vendor Relationships: HVAC

When working on a luxury full home automation project, it is of the utmost importance that integration professionals take a holistic view of the job site. Crestron control systems, by their nature, connect directly to every part of the home, which is why working closely with other vendors on a project is vital to our success, as well as the end user experience. We recently began highlighting how we work on site with specific types of vendors to ensure our clients experience white-glove level service during all parts of the installation process.

In the previous entry in this series we covered our relationship with landscape professionals. Today we continue by discussing how we elevate the vendors for one of the most critical systems in the home: HVAC.

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, shortened to HVAC, is the technology of indoor environmental comfort. The goal of a full home HVAC system is to provide comfort and acceptable indoor air quality throughout a home or office. To integrate these comfort systems into the automation system at large, we connect thermostats directly into standard residential HVAC systems using industry standard wiring, and back to a Crestron control system processor for integrated control. The control system automatically adjusts temperature settings, based on multiple factors, to provide complete comfort to the home’s residents without the end user having to lift a finger.

Due to the specialized nature of their work, it is unlikely that even a high end HVAC professional will have much experiencing handling the nuance that goes into proper Crestron automation. Since the systems connect directly to one another through the standard thermostat wiring, we make sure to work with the vendors to acquire appropriate documentation of the existing HVAC system. Part of this is working with the vendor to replace any wiring or terminations that could create a failure point in the control system. Additionally we make sure to educate the vendors on how the complete home environmental ecosystem does not end with HVAC, and extends to lighting, shades, and security devices.

Proper integration into the HVAC system is critical to the our success as luxury integrators, as we strive to build automation systems that bring comfort and simplicity to our client’s otherwise very hectic lives. The fact of the matter is, that no matter who installed or serviced the HVAC system in the past, a professional integrator like GMI and the #DoneRightNotEasy crew needs to take ownership of everything their system touches. If something in the connected HVAC system were to malfunction, the automation system will oftentimes be blamed, making it even more critical for everyone to be on the same page throughout the full cycle of the project.

This is just one of the many ways we create value for our clients, by integrating not only the physical systems of their home together in a simple and reliable way, but also by integrating our experience and knowledge into every system we touch. Ensuring that our fellow vendors on every project are working to our level is an integral part of providing concierge level service to our end users.