New normal, new needs

Spurred on by recent lockdowns, this homeowner decided he needed a home that would allow him to work with no issues but also provide him and his family with entertainment. Amy Wallington investigates.

The last year and a half has been consumed by the global pandemic and being in and out of lockdown with not a lot to do. As a result, many people are now investing in their homes and incorporating new areas into their houses to cater for the new work from home era. This was the case for this South African family.

Integrator, Control IT was chosen to install a whole home automation system into this new build property that specifically catered to the homeowner’s exact needs. “He had three main areas of concern: the network, his audio and video needs, and security,” says George Kaptanis, managing director of Control IT.

“The network in the home needed to be as robust and reliable as possible as he would be working from home a lot and required as little downtime as possible,” he explains. “He also required full wireless network coverage with seamless handover as he moves through the space to prevent disconnecting from the network while on any online meetings or calls. The network needed to have as little latency as possible.”

This is a requirement many integrators are now starting to see incorporated into their client’s projects since the pandemic. Working from home is set to stay for many people across the world and the lines between home automation and workplace technology are now starting to blur as we see it being installed more and more into people’s homes.

When work is done, most people enjoy relaxing with home entertainment, another area seeing heavy investment since the pandemic. Kaptanis continues: “The customer requested an automation system to control all aspects of his audio and video needs and demands from multimedia devices, enabling effortless streaming from any digital device wherever he may be. This included streaming services like Netflix, Apple AirPlay, YouTube, DSTV, and Spotify. He also requested an unobtrusive but powerful home theatre system in his living area.”

“He also requested an unobtrusive but powerful home theatre system in his living area.”

Most homes in South Africa require a security system and, in this case, it was a priority in the project. “One of the main needs for the client was a robust security system as well as full coverage of the property with cameras,” he clarifies. “He also needed to access the CCTV cameras on all televisions in the house as well as on all mobile devices, tablets, and laptops. He wanted to be able to view his cameras anywhere in the world and also required that his alarm system was accessible on all devices.”

A highly secure set up, Kaptanis adds: “To gain access to the property, one would need to pass through two very large gates. The customer required that one gate be opened and then once the vehicle or person has moved past the first set of beams, the gate would close, and the second gate would then open. The intercom system would have to be accessible from anywhere in the world as he travels frequently.”

The client had very basic knowledge of home technology as he used to have video switching with basic control via Control4. Therefore, Control IT were able to work with him to guide him through the next steps of his home automation brief.

“The client gave us free rein as long as his needs were taken care of,” says Kaptanis. “We opted for the ELAN system as it gave us the freedom to customise his homepage with integrated visuals of the areas that were of concern.”

The system is easy to use and provides simple control to the homeowner and his family. Control IT has ensured it delivers a more personal experience and is also limited for the children’s use. “The system has been programmed differently for the children, limiting access to purely multimedia as per the homeowner’s request,” he explains. “He did not want the children accidentally opening the security gates, for example.”

One issue throughout the project was a shortage of materials, something that many integrators are having to battle currently. Kaptanis admits: “There was a mass shortage of fibre as we had just come out of lockdown, but ELAN Systems RSA went above and beyond to fly in product for us from alternative suppliers to assist us with meeting the deadline.”

As a whole home system, the homeowners can monitor and control all the security aspects of the home, from point of entry with status indicators for the gates and garages to visuals from the CCTV cameras around the property. They also have full integration of the alarm system and all its beams giving detailed feedback via the ELAN app.

Futureproofing the property was also a key aspect, as Kaptanis shares: “We have provisionally wired for additional audio and video zones should he want to extend it further.

 

Tech Spec

4K Apple TVs

Clearline 24port PoE Surge Protectors

Denon AVR1600 Receiver

Denon AVR2600 Receiver

DSTV EXPLORA2

ELAN G1 System Controller

ELAN GSC10 Systems Controller

ELAN HR30 Wi-Fi Remote Controls

ELAN Video Doorbell

Furman Elite 10

Global Caché Relay Control

HDAnywhere MHUB 8x6 +2 4K Video Matrix

LaunchPort Desktop Stand

LaunchPort Wall Docking System

MegaServ 43u Server Racks

MegaServ 4u Server Rack

Monitor Audio In-Wall Home Theatre Package

Niles Audio Auriel One Touch Control

Samsung 55QLED80 TVs

Samsung 75QLED80 TVs

Samsung Blu-ray Player

Triad 750 Power Amp for In-Wall Subwoofer

Ubiquiti 8 Port PoE SFP 1GB Network Switches

Ubiquiti 12 Port PoE SFP Network Switch

Ubiquiti 24 Port PoE SFP 10GB Network Switches

Ubiquiti Dual Band ACPRO Wireless Access Points

Ubiquiti Enterprise Router

Uniview 1080p 3.6mm Bullet IP Cameras

Uniview 16ch NVR

Vogels Thin Series Brackets