Home Automation System Puts Oceanside House on Cruise Control – Electronic House


Staying at a vacation home should be easy. The house should require minimal effort to manage, and provide maximum enjoyment to anyone who steps inside. The environment should be comfortable and hassle-free and relieve every ounce of stress and worry. Our featured Home of the Week, a 6,000-square-foot oceanfront beauty grants its owners all of the above, thanks largely to a well-appointed home automation system that was custom designed and installed by the home tech professional at Roberts AV Solutions, of Jupiter, Fla.

Laid Back Luxury
Roberts AV Solutions president Paul Roberts likens the atmosphere at the newly built residence to that of a cruise ship. Everything from the lights and thermostats, to the A/V equipment and window shades are maintained by a full crew of expertly designed smart home technologies. “When you’re inside the house, there’s nothing but sitting back to admire the gorgeous views of the Atlantic ocean on one side and the Indian River on the other to think about,” says Roberts, “The effect is a lot like being on a cruise ship.”

Music complements the laid-back atmosphere, courtesy of a whole-house audio system that was installed by Roberts AV Solutions as the house was being constructed. The ability to have music accessible from anywhere on the property by simply tapping a button on a keypad, mobile device, or handheld remote, is what initially inspired the homeowners to add technology to the house, but after speaking with Roberts about some of the other possibilities, they asked him to work other high-tech amenities into their budget.

Expanding Their Horizons with Unified Control
This would include 32 Somfy motorized window shades; a scene-setting lighting system; five Nest thermostats, a suite of URC equipment to distribute video from a central rack of equipment to 11 Samsung 4K TVs; a Jandy Aqualink swimming pool and spa system; a Honeywell Vista security system; and a dedicated home theater, complete with a 9.1 surround-sound system of Martin Logan speakers, JVC video projector, a 120-inch Vutec screen, and eight chairs equipped with ButtKicker seat shakers.

To control every component, device, and system individually would have been a tedious exercise, of course, so Roberts tied every piece of electronic gear together under the management of a single control system, the Total Control system from URC. This unified method of home management lets the homeowners operate everything from a variety of URC control devices, including three in-wall touchpanels, any iPad or smartphone, or any of nine URC handheld remotes. Roberts made sure that the control process was uniform across all interfaces, so that supervising the various systems works the same from a touchpanel as it does from an app on a mobile device. For example, the homeowners can engage a Party scene just as easily from the kitchen touchpanel as they can from an iPad while lounging by the swimming pool.

Made for Romance … and More
Party is just one of more than a dozen scenes crafted by Roberts AV Solutions for the homeowners. With a tap of a single button, they can have the house ready for bedtime, their arrival and departure, casual entertaining, even romance. The latter closes the motorized shades in the bedroom, pipes music from a pre-selected Pandora station to a pair of built-in KEF speakers, and dims the lights.

Making the setup even handier for the homeowners is the ability to activate these scenes, as well as monitor and control every system under the URC regime, remotely from any smartphone or tablet with an Internet connection. Because the owners stay at the residence only part time, being able quickly and conveniently prepare the house for their arrival has become a favorite feature, says Roberts. For example, with a few button taps on a smartphone while the homeowners are en route, they homeowners can prep the entertainment area on the patio for a relaxing return to the residence.

They can direct video from one of several streaming media players to the 55-inch SkyVue outdoor TV or choose an Internet radio station or tunes from a streaming device to play over four commercial-grade QSC speakers (chosen by Roberts, incidentally, after he saw them in action on a cruise ship), kick start the jets in the spa, and activate the lights in and around the swimming pool. As the homeowners pull into the driveway, they can also activate a few lights, disarm the security system and adjust the AC. After settling in, they can stroll 50 yards to the beach and never miss a beat. “We positioned the QSC speakers so that the music can be heard from the sand,” says Roberts. And should visitors arrive, a link between an OnQ intercom system and the URC Total Control system lets the owners speak with visitors at the front door from their iPhone.

Providing Peace of Mind
Remote access to the URC system isn’t just about maintaining control from afar. It also provides the homeowners with valuable peace of mind. They can visually inspect various parts of the property through live feeds from eight IC Realtime surveillance cameras, some of which can be panned, tilted, and zoomed in for a better look. They can also check out the current weather conditions via an IC Realtime app, and the status of very electronic facet that’s part of the URC Total Control ecosystem.

Getting all of these systems in sync takes lots of technical know-how, but Roberts also credits the success of this project to meticulous planning … and plenty involvement and feedback from the homeowner. “He’s a pretty tech-savvy guy, so he liked providing input and monitoring every step of the design and integration process.” Roberts was more than happy to provide ample documentation and photos of the project in progress. “We created a Dropbox folder and stuffed it with in-progress photos and blueprints, which allowed the homeowner to envision exactly how the system would be integrated and perform, without even being on site,” Roberts explains. This due diligence is ultimately is what ensured that the system met every expectation, and stayed on budget.

The Professionals
Roberts AV Solutions
Jupiter, Fla.

Home Control: URC
Whole-House Music and Video: URC
Lighting Control: URC
Motorized Shading: Somfy
Security: Honeywell
Surveillance Cameras: IC Realtime
Heating & Cooling Control: Nest
Intercom: OnQ
Swimming Pool & Spa Control: Jandy
Whole-House Speakers: KEF
TVs: Samsung
Video Projector: JVC
Projection Screen: Vutec
Home Theater Speakers: Martin Logan

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