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Case Study: Luxury Home System Takeover Part 1

Over the last few months, I and the rest of the #DoneRightNotEasyCrew have been working tirelessly on one of most ambitious endeavors yet. The complete overhaul and repair of a Crestron control system in our client’s luxury New Jersey home. Now we are no stranger to system takeovers, especially ones of this scale, but little did we know we would be embarking on a project that would totally transform our client’s home for the better.

It is, unfortunately, common in this industry for jobs to be rushed through by integrators who simply don’t have the expertise to deal with the needs of high-end clients. Many dealers will have a plethora of small clients and oftentimes cannot scale up quickly or effectively enough to manage the financials, job site management and specific needs of luxury clients. Companies that under design and over promise the capabilities of their systems and engineers tend to make mistakes throughout the process that leads to malfunctioning systems. You see almost every day a disgruntled Crestron user who made a significant financial investment in the wrong integration company.

In the case of our client, who contacted us after finally being fed up with his control system, the problems were obvious as soon as we stepped on the site for our initial walkthrough and consultation. Here was another large job with an almost completely inoperable system. Everything from the most complicated to the most simply aspects of the system were not working properly, down to even the basic need for available wi-fi throughout the home. As we further explored the job site it became increasingly clear that this was a rushed job by an another inexperienced integrator.

Not only were the racks with audio/video equipment localized throughout the home with no centralized control system, two out of the three equipment racks were in locations where electronic equipment should never be. A dusty mechanical room with boiler and HVAC unit which kept room temperature unnaturally high and a similar mechanical room which was even smaller and could barely fit the components. The second rack location was even uncomfortably close to leaking water, which is just asking for issues. To say the racks were wired poorly would be an understatement, wires were crossed with one another and incorrect wire for both the type of signal and component power requirements was used.  

It’s no surprise that the end user experience was affected by these design and infrastructure issues. Our client would often work from home, and his office was not connected to the Crestron system at all. Despite the fact that the office was where our client would spend most of his time, he only had a cable remote and an old TV. No access at all to access control, secure networks, cameras or any other part of his expensive and complicated system. It was clear that the original consultation took no effort to determine the actual needs of the system’s end users.

Prior to sitting down with the client for his consultation, we came together as a group and decided to not re-do the faults of the past. The system as designed was so beyond hope that we needed to do it the right way and NOT the easy way and make it work to our clients expectations. This required us to be honest about the fact that we were are the professionals and give our professional opinion on how to solve these problems. With the impressive luxury home as a backdrop we set out to give our client a system that doesn’t just work, it WOWs. Where it seemed that nobody at the other integration company was behind the wheel or understanding the process and what was happening, we quickly took the reins and begin taking control of the jobsite to provide our client with a system he could be proud of, streamlining his home so we could streamline his life.

The reality of the world of high-level Crestron automation is that every job is different, and required expertise, patience, and experience to develop processes to build well functioning reliable systems. Despite our streamlined processes, there are always new and unique roadblocks that challenge even the #DoneRightNotEasy crew on a job of this magnitude. In parts 2 and 3 of this series, we will highlight the steps we took to turn this system around, as well as what’s in store for the future.


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