Technology Plays a Crucial Role in Decluttering Your Lifestyle
Everywhere you look, a new expert is proclaiming the fantastic benefits of tidying up your home. All you have to do is look to Marie Kondo's hit Netflix series or Francine Jay’s The Joy of Less bestseller. There’s a lot of focus on getting rid of things you don’t need, but just as important is finding the most efficient ways to use and store the things that are indispensable to you.
That’s precisely where audio video distribution plays a vital role in your Stamford, CT home. The term audio video distribution may sound clunky, but its effect is the exact opposite. It lets you expand your entertainment choices while reducing the impact on your décor by following the tips outlined below.
As we embrace the digital era of entertainment, there's no reason to have a huge pile of CDs or DVDs sitting in the corner of your media room. Naturally, we’ll allow audiophiles an exception for their favorite vinyl collections. Decluttering is as simple as uploading your existing library into a dedicated media server which you can then access from anywhere in the house.
Perhaps the most Kondo-approved AV distribution option is streaming. Enjoy thousands of titles without a dip in quality through services like Netflix, Fubo TV, Spotify, and Tidal. For the most part, you can do this without any additional equipment since these days most AV receivers, TVs and media servers have network capabilities.
Embrace AV Over IP
Where do you want to have access to your entertainment? Limiting your clutter doesn’t have to mean limiting where you get to listen to music or watch movies. Our audio video distribution solutions let you easily share your content—whether it’s from a media server or Blu-ray player—throughout the house.
AV over IP requires fewer components in each room and less wiring since you're sending your signals through the same cables you use for your network. You can even reduce the boxes in your rack since AV over IP lets you extend to 100s of zones without needing additional matrix switchers or receivers.
Centralize Your Control
Enhance your day-to-day lifestyle by reducing the clutter of remotes on your coffee table or bedside table. Handling your entertainment is seamless through the Savant Pro Remote, a mobile app, or dedicated touchpad. Even take advantage of hands-off control by integrating any voice assistant devices you have around like Google Home or Amazon Echo.
Hide Away Your AV Gear
As we mentioned, beyond removing items entirely, how you store the ones you need is just as important. Via dedicated AV closets you can hide most hardware in dedicated racks that stay out of sight then use your audio video distribution system to send the signals wherever they need to go. Even the equipment that does have to be in the room—like televisions or speakers—doesn’t have to be intrusive.
Not only can you place speakers discreetly within walls and ceilings through architectural lines from the likes of Stealth Acoustics, but there are various ways to conceal TVs as well when they’re not in use. Some can be hidden within dedicated media furniture or niches in the ceiling. Another route is to have TVs camouflage themselves as works of arts or mirrors when they’re off.
AV distribution streamlines your décor and lifestyle to bring the ultimate joy to your entire family. Do you want to bring a tailored AV solution into your home? All you have to do is call us at (203) 653-5025 or fill out our contact form to set up a consultation.
Rich AV Design can show you plenty of opportunities to elevate your health and wellness—just by enjoying your home.
We’ve been talking a lot about home health recently, with all the wellness gadgets released at CES 2019 and the hyped technologies trickling in, such as smart mirrors, refrigerators, wearables and more. But what are some more practical home automation tools that will benefit your health right after installation? Maybe you even have some technology installed but need some pointers about how to optimize it for your body’s needs.
Home automation gives Greenwich, CT, residents the most effortless way to improve their wellbeing. Health and wellness initiatives often feel like an uphill battle, with all the emphasis on diets, exercise programs, routines and doctor visits. But did you know that you could boost mental and physical health just by automating basic home functions? Keep reading to see how Rich AV Design takes the guesswork out of health.
Humans operate best by following their circadian rhythm, which dictates that they work during daylight hours and start resting when the sun sets. Our partners at Ketra create programmable lighting control that solves both our day and night-time lighting deficits by giving us high-energy, cool light during the day and warmer illumination at night. The technology automatically and discreetly changes lighting tone and brightness throughout the day.
We can’t enjoy our peak health without lighting automation. Why? Long nights at work, coupled with prolonged exposure to cool lighting, rarely give our bodies the mental and physical break we deserve. Without lighting tuned to warm-dim with the sun, our mind doesn’t stimulate enough melatonin to relax and sleep at night, leaving us tired the next day. When we wake up, we need more blue-toned lighting surrounding us to power through our task list with mental clarity—and the cycle continues.
Similarly, your body needs a different temperature based on daytime, your overall health, activity level and more. Your climate controls should act accordingly. Fortunately, the Savant Multistat system uses zoned climate management so that you can easily manage multiple rooms from one device and tie temperature control to any scene you set.
Keeping your temperature consistent throughout the house helps prevent respiratory distress. But did you know that the rooms in your home can vary widely in temperature depending on its access to sunlight? That’s where the flexible Savant system proves helpful. About 80% of incoming sunlight converts to heat, so Rich AV can set a sunny space a few degrees cooler than your home theater so that your body temperature feels consistent as you move through rooms.
To take it further, Savant allows you to set room temperature based on time of day, day of week or day of the year, scheduling climate control routines to suit your life across the seasons. As we mentioned before, Multistat links your temperature monitoring to scenes. What does that mean for you? Every time you hit the “Relax” scene, your temperature will drop a few degrees and light a fire. You can also program a “Wake Up” scene that heats the floors on winter mornings.
Since Americans spend about 90% of their time indoors, we can’t disregard air quality when planning healthier smart homes. Savant’s Multistat doesn’t only measure the air temperature, but also the humidity. Though Connecticut residents don’t experience the muggiest summers in the U.S. states, midsummer days can make our interior air feel damp and heavy. As part of their comprehensive HVAC system, Savant’s sensors automatically stabilize these humidity levels so you can breathe easily again in your home.
An Exciting Future Ahead
We saw some fascinating updates on the CES 2019 show floor, from smart refrigerators that can automate food storage temperatures or track nutrition, to a smart mirror that gives you vital health measurements every time you step into the bathroom.
Though this type of tech hasn’t spread to the majority of smart homes, Rich AV Design can’t wait to see where the future takes us. As Savant dealers, we’ve seen firsthand the many devices that our favorite automation system can handle and look forward to what we can connect soon.
Ready to see how an integrated home can improve your health? Call us at (203) 653-5025 or fill out our contact form for a free consultation
Full Control of Your Smart Home in the Palm of Your Hand
Get the most out of your smart technology with a solution that offers one-app control of your entire home. One of the main reasons we work with Savant Systems for all of our home automation projects is because of their intuitive user interface. Not only is all your technology in one place, but it’s easy to manage through a beautiful, customizable profile.
Often as families transition into smart technology, they replace a clutter of remotes on the coffee table with a clutter of apps on their phone. Finding your way to the right app for what you want to do can be frustrating. Let your local Savant Dealer take all the smart devices in your Stamford, CT home and put them under one easy-to-use interface.
Explore the many ways to manage lighting, entertainment, climate and more from your app through our video tutorials. Each family member gets a personalized profile with quick access to the features and scenes they use most often. There's also the ability to set limits on specific accounts if there are particular systems—like your security and surveillance—that you don't want them to access. For added customization, add your photos to represent the rooms in your home.
Set the Perfect Scene Instantly
There's also a more natural way to save and pull up your favorite settings in the form of personalized Savant scenes. Are you ready to host friends for a dinner party? Design a smart scene through your app that starts a curated playlist, lowers the thermostat and activates some festive lighting. The scenes you use most often can go in your favorites to access them directly from your home screen. Edit scenes from the app to add a new device or if you find a more appropriate setting you like.
Stream Your Favorite Music
Our clients particularly like the multi-room audio solutions within the Savant App. Explore their list of native streaming services for an easy way to access your favorite music. If you don’t find what you want on Spotify, Pandora, or Deezer you can also pull up your digital collection. Once you have a playlist ready you want to listen to, play it throughout the house with just a few swipes of your screen. Just choose the room or rooms you want to listen in and have a soundtrack that follows you throughout the day.
Stay Connected to Home
Even when you’re not home, your Savant App gives you peace of mind. Alerts pushed to your favorite smart device let you know if you left a light on, the garage door open or didn’t set your alarm. Not only do you know what's happening at all times, but you can make the necessary changes directly from your app. There's also the option to view live surveillance footage of your home if you have cameras installed.
Coordinate Across Devices
Run your Savant app on the device of your choice including your laptop, smartphone, iPad or smartwatch. Synch up your app with your handheld remotes and touchpads to make it easier to find your favorite scenes, channels, and features.
Ready to find out what a one-app smart home looks like? Have your local Savant Dealer design a custom solution for your space. Call us at (203) 653-5025 or fill out our contact form for a free consultation.
While your shades, blinds, and drapes have a wide range of purposes, there are two that stand out above the rest: protecting your privacy and managing natural light. Though daylight can improve your day by basking your space in a warm glow, it can also make your television unwatchable in the afternoon. So, you how do you get it only when you want it?
While you can turn fixtures on and off on command, managing when and where you get sunlight is a little trickier. Although shades are a great start, when controlled manually it’s difficult and tedious to stay ahead of the shifting sunlight. Smart shading solutions that let you manage them through apps, sensors and schedules make it easier for you to take control.
You can use automated shades in a variety of ways to harvest natural light and improve your day-to-day lifestyle. Each family will find their unique approaches, but below we outline some of the most common ones you can implement in your Stamford, CT home.
The first thing that comes to mind when talking about natural light is how it serves as a replacement for artificial light. One way to make sure you’re not wasting energy when the sun is out is to have your motorized shades on an astronomical timer. Program them to go up when the sun rises and close as soon as the sun sets as well.
Regulate Your Internal Temperature
There is one caveat when using sunlight throughout the day—it heats your space really fast. How can you balance out the need for natural light with wanting to keep your home at a comfortable temperature? Establish additional timers to close shades at the hottest times of the day or when the sun hits them directly (the specific times will depend on whether you have west or east facing windows).
Eliminate the Glare on Your Television
Even the best TVs can’t compete with glare caused by sunlight. Any time you want to lay back and watch a movie or binge-watch your favorite TV show, use your motorized shades to create the ideal viewing environment. Ready the room at the press of a button with a “Movie” scene that dims the lights, closes your shades, and turns on the TV to your favorite channel or streaming service.
Improve Your Sleep Cycles
Added exposure to natural light also has its health benefits. Primarily, it helps to regulate your circadian rhythm resulting in better sleep and mental health. Automated shades optimize your exposure to sunlight from the second you wake up in the morning until it's time to settle down at the end of the day. Throughout the day sunlight shifts color from cooler blues to warmer oranges to signal to your body when it needs to be active and when it’s time to relax.
Want to learn more about how to optimize the amount of sunlight you get in your home? Reach out to one of our shading experts by filling out our contact form or calling us at (203) 653-5025.
Our Service Plans Ensure You Get the Best Results from Your Technology
As you bring smart technology into your Darien, CT home, one of the benefits of a professional installation is having someone available to help you with your system down the line. Every technology solution deserves service and support to solve issues quickly before they become a serious problem. Even with the best installations, smart home technology benefits from constant upkeep to add the latest upgrades and maintain components for long periods.
At Rich AV we make it a priority to offer constant support to our clients through our service plans. However, even those that do not sign up for a monthly plan can reach out for help and receive in-home support during business hours depending on scheduling availability. Explore our monthly plans below to find out which might be the best fit to maintain and service your smart home technology.
You can start with our basic package that costs $29 a month and offers 24/7 basic support, guaranteed 30-minute response time, and advanced support Monday-Friday. Each hour of advanced support costs $160/hour. Regularly, we recommend this one for clients that do not have too many essential smart home technology components and can wait for a response in case of any issues.
If you have any issues on the weekend, you can benefit from our more comprehensive plans. Our next-tier plan at $79 a month includes 7-day in-home priority service along with the 30-minute response time and 24/7 support included in the Essentials plan. Calls include up to 1-hour response from our advanced support staff in case of urgent issues. Rates for service labor go down to $144 per hour.
Expand your support further with our Proactive plan at $179 a month. Along with all the features included in the Priority plan, the Proactive plan includes remote system health management. Every smart device in your home is connected to our troubleshooting tools to monitor whether they're functioning correctly at all times.
During our regular diagnostics, we’ll see if a device is disconnected, needs to be restarted, or needs a software update. Not only does this keep your system healthier for longer, but often we spot and address issues with your smart home technology before you even notice anything is wrong.
These troubleshooting tools will only let us see the status of the device, not how or when you use it, so you do not have to worry about any security or privacy concerns when using this feature.
Having an efficient and reliable smart home is about much more than having the best devices. Each of our installations comes with ongoing support so your technology is always performing at its best.
Do you want to learn more about our service plans or want help figuring out which is the best fit for your home? Ask one of our experts by calling (203) 653-5025 or filling out our online contact form. If you already now what you want, you can sign up online at our service plans page.
Create a Safer, More Comfortable Environment for Your Kids
Over the years, parents have come up with hundreds of unique ways to child-proof their homes. Vowing to create the safest and most comfortable environment for their kids, they add parental controls to their TVs, secure cabinets and toilets, and even add humidifiers in their bedrooms. Even the most discerning parents, however, may be missing out on one crucial tool: automated shading.
Rarely more than a stylistic consideration, the right kind of shades can have a significant impact on your kids. As you read this blog, you’ll find out how automated shades make your Greenwich, CT home safer. Lots of other benefits come along with smarter control of your window treatments, including better sleep habits and added independence for your kids.
Like with most parenting decisions, safety should be top of mind. Cords are the primary control option for most shades. Having these cords around children is such a significant safety hazard, that most models include warning labels advising consumers of the risk. The Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Window Covering Manufacturing association are even working together to ensure 90 percent of all window coverings sold in the US in 2019 be cordless.
Because automated shades don't require a wand or cord to control them, they're ideal for homes with children. Choose to manage them via remotes, mobile apps, voice control, or dedicated touchpads. Automate changes through schedules or motion sensors. This approach is not only safer but more intuitive, allowing you to reap some of the benefits outlined below as well.
Improve Their Sleep Cycles
There is nothing more frustrating than light ruining your baby or toddler’s sleep schedule. Smart shades are an ideal way to create the perfect sleep environment for naptime. They close automatically when it’s time for your kid to get some rest, blocking out all sunlight to help them fall into a peaceful slumber. Have your smart shades lift automatically when it’s time for your child’s nap to end to discourage them from oversleeping and wreaking havoc on their nighttime routine.
Although these benefits are ideal for younger kids, they also help to create better sleeping habits as your kids grow older. With automated shading schedules, raise shades in the morning to help them ease out of bed when it’s time for school.
Give Them Independence
Relying on cords and wands isn't just dangerous for children, it's also quite inconvenient. More natural control will afford your kids added independence on your terms. Often, cords and wands may be too hard for them to reach. Do you remember the last time they couldn't figure it out and just pulled on the shades themselves?
Using remotes or touchpads, children can more easily adjust shades as needed throughout the house. Put control in their hands without giving up yours. Only give them access to the ones that you’re comfortable with them adjusting—like those in their rooms or general living areas.
Now is the best time to embrace an easy-to-install tech upgrade that not only makes your home kid-friendly but does so while enhancing your decor. To learn more about the benefits of automated shades or to set up a one-on-one consultation, call us at (203) 653-5025 or fill out our online contact form.
Find Out How Their Entry Services Keep You Protected at All Times
Earlier this year, Savant announced a new suite of entry service solutions that makes it easy for homeowners to see and communicate with people at the front door, gate, garage or any other major entry point. Door stations with two-way communication, sensors and integrated control link up directly to a newly upgraded Savant Pro App for unprecedented access.
Make your Greenwich, CT home safer while streamlining your daily routine with these new smart features. As your local Savant Dealers, we’d like to take the opportunity to showcase these new services and highlight some ways we optimize them for your lifestyle.
New door stations from Savant come with a variety of features you won’t find in other smart home systems, including night vision, motion detection and three months of video storage. Each door station includes exclusive technology from 2N, one of the top IP intercom companies in the world. Every model comes with back boxes that allow for surface or flush-mount installations.
Go with a door station that has a doorbell and HD video camera for smaller applications. There are also some available with built-in keypads to put in personalized access codes or trigger commands within your Savant Smart home. Heavy-duty designs are also available for gate applications where the station is more exposed to the elements.
Savant Pro App
Now you can access those door stations through secure encrypted cloud connections no matter where you are. Receive an immediate notification on your phone if someone approaches your front door at a given time, uses a particular entry code, or rings the bell.
Once you receive the notification, view live footage from the app, communicate with the person directly and unlock the door. In cases where you weren’t able to respond immediately, browse recorded footage through your app.
One of the best aspects of the new entry services is the ability to create custom solutions when it comes to both the door station and the app. You can add various functions, for example, to the door station’s customizable buttons to lock/unlock doors, set the alarm, and even pull up some of your go-to smart home scenes.
For the app, choose which actions (like a specific button being pressed or noise being detected) generate notifications. These can also go through your whole home audio. Adjust the volume on these so you get lower sound in the nursery or home theater while keeping a higher alert in the kitchen, living room or patio.
Once you know the entry service features you’re most interested in, it’s time to reach out to your local Savant Dealer. For a custom solution in a brand-new project or upgrade, schedule a one-on-one consultation with us. Call us at (203) 653-5025 or fill out our online contact form.
Make Sure You Have the Best Solution for Your Music-Listening Needs
Every once in a while, we have people reach out to us about issues they are having with their multi-room audio systems. Rocking their favorite music is a hassle because they have lousy sound, can’t listen where they want, or can't even figure out how to get things to work. These are common issues we see in houses throughout Darien, CT. Since they’re brought up so often, we’ve outlined some of them below as well as solutions to each.
Knowing what speakers will work in your home can be hard. Store clerks have created the ideal environment and chosen appropriate music to make models shine. Now that you've shelled out the money and brought them home, though, they sound entirely different. Room dimensions, size, and furnishings affect performance. A professional should take the time to learn how and where you plan to use your speakers and calibrate them for any location or function.
The Sound is Too Low/Loud
Not all audio issues have to do with the speakers themselves. Do you have specific areas that are too loud or too low? In those cases, the problem typically has to do with the number of speakers and their placement. When you rely on just a couple, audio will be unnecessarily loud when you’re close up and too hard to hear when you’re farther away. Instead, add in-ceiling speakers throughout the room to get more uniform sound.
I Can’t Get My Music to Stream
Streaming has transformed the way we listen to music, but older multi-room audio solutions make it hard to stream your favorite music. Sonos is one easy way to embrace streaming. Once you install their wireless speakers or link your existing ones through their CONNECT amp, you’ll get easy access to Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal, and other popular streaming services.
I Can’t Play Music Where I Want
Need to get your music fix but don’t want to be relegated to your living room or listening room? Don’t limit your audio to just a few corners of the house. With a multi-room audio system, you can enjoy easy listening in the bathroom, kitchen, or even the backyard. Play all your music—including turntables—through speakers of your choice from an app, touchpad, or remote.
My Remote Doesn’t Work
How many times have you pointed the remote at the wrong set of speakers or had the batteries die out mid-session? If you have more than a handful of speakers, the remote chaos escalates quickly. We recommend going with a centralized solution that lets you access all your music and speakers from one app or touchpad. No more having to reprogram remotes. No more dead batteries. And you don’t even have to be in the same room to control the audio.
Have you encountered these or any other problems with your multi-room audio system? We’d love to help! Just reach out by calling (203) 653-5025 or filling out our online contact form.
Create the Ultimate Escape from The Frigid Temperatures
You may already be dreading the encroaching cold weather as we get deeper into the fall season here in the Greenwich, CT area. As the temperatures start dipping and the snow storms pick up, how can you create the perfect winter environment in your home? Now more than ever, you need a home automation system that adjusts to your changing needs based on the time of year. Did you know the right solution helps you keep your house warm, safe, and fun? Find out how in our latest blog.
If you focus on one smart technology feature during the winter months, lighting should be your top priority. Lights will have to bear an added load as the days become shorter. Link your lights to motion sensors and astronomical clocks to make sure you have the right illumination on all walkways. This is especially important after storms when snow or ice can become dangerous tripping hazards.
Having longer nights also significantly affects your mental wellbeing. Everyone’s heard of the winter blues. With less sunlight, your circadian rhythm gets disturbed, resulting in poor sleep and depression. Adjust your circadian rhythm with tunable lighting from Ketra that recreates the hues of natural light throughout the day inside your house, regardless of the outside conditions.
Warm Up with Shades and Smart Climate Control
There also needs to be a big focus on finding effective ways to keep your home warm. Elevate your climate control with a smart thermostat that anticipates your needs. Program the temperature to rise when you wake up in the morning and get back into energy-saving mode when you leave the house. Link your thermostat to occupancy sensors to ensure you’re not wasting energy warming up empty spaces.
But why should your thermostat be the only one responsible? Give it a helping hand with a smart shading solution. Your home automation system commands shades to close at specific temperature thresholds to keep warm air from leaking out of your windows. Lutron offers a variety of honeycomb roller shades specifically designed for this purpose.
Find the Ideal Snowed-in Entertainment
With the snow mounting and the temperatures in single digits, there won’t be any hurry to leave the house. So how can you keep the family from going stir-crazy during extended snow days? We recommend a media room design that makes it easy for the family to watch movies, sports games, or TV shows. With your home automation system, find what you want to watch with just a few taps on a dedicated touchpad or smartphone.
As the holidays approach, play music throughout the house to set the right atmosphere. Add a multi-room audio solution that lets you pull up your favorite artists and choose which speakers throughout the house to play them in. More importantly, you can create unique audio zones so the grinches in the family can get away from the holiday jingles and set their playlist in their own area of the house.
Stay Connected Even if You’re Not Home
We don’t blame you if you decide to leave in search of greener pastures. Whether you’re a snowbird or just going on an extended family vacation, your home automation system gives you peace of mind while you’re away.
Set “Vacation” scenes that recreate your typical routines through lights and shades; your home looks occupied even when you’re gone. From a smartphone, check in on live surveillance footage from anywhere in the world to make sure everything is fine back home.
Do you want to create the perfect escape from the Connecticut winter weather? Find out how our smart technology solutions can help. Just call us at (203) 653-5025 or fill out our online contact form.
The Steps to Upgrading to Motorized Window Treatments
We’ve discussed the benefits of motorized window treatments in the past including added security, functionality and style. Perhaps that's made you decide this technology is the perfect fit for your Stamford, CT home but you're not sure how to proceed. We understand that any addition - be it in new construction or retrofit - is a big decision. To make things easier, we’ve outlined our design and installation process below, so you know exactly what it takes to get a custom shading solution.
As with all our technology services, all of our motorized window treatments are tailored made for each client. The first step would be a one-on-one meeting with you to gauge your needs, ideas, and preferences. There are a few things we want to decide during this initial meeting.
First, you’ll choose the model for each window. For some tips on which shades work best in each room, you can click here. The choices include venetian blinds, roller shades, and even drapes. As you choose the type of window treatment, you should also consider what fabric you want. Pick the colors and openness factor that make sense depending on style and function.
Then its time to get to the more technical aspects of your installation. Do you want your shades and blinds to be battery powered or hard-wired? We discuss the benefits of both options during this initial meeting. Finally, you’ll want to decide how you want to control your shades. Choose from elegant wall keypads, remote controls, sleek touchpads, or mobile apps.
Once we’ve agreed upon a plan for your motorized window treatments, it’s time to get to work. We’ll start by taking care of the basic framework of your installation. This includes adding the necessary mounting brackets and cutting shade tubes to the right size. During this time, we’d also add a cabling foundation if you’re going with a hard-wired solution.
While we work on that part of your installation, our partners will be working on your custom shades. They will cut and sew each model according to the tube measurements we establish during setup. If applicable, they'll also take care of any color matching needed to ensure shades match up with their surroundings. This process usually takes about 4-6 weeks.
Once the shades are ready, we'll go back into the house and add them to the appropriate tracks or tubes. Since we've done the heavy work already, this part of the installation is relatively quick and not invasive.
When the second half of the installation is complete, it’s time to finalize your control programming and test it thoroughly. We’ll make sure you can manage each model individually or simultaneously from the control devices you chose during your initial consultation. The last step is a quick tutorial on how to use everything.
At the end of this five-step process, you'll have a beautiful, intuitive custom-made shading solution in your home. If you're interested in scheduling a consultation to get started, call us at (203) 653-5025 or fill out our online contact form.