News / Media

Audio Impact Wins Home of the Year 2014 from Electronic House Magazine

San-Diego-Home-of-the-Year-Award

Audio Impact won Home of the Year again, making 4 wins total from Electronic House Magazine. This year’s winning system is an amazing Mission Beach boardwalk home with spectacular custom lighting, made simple by our expert team of technicians. Our goal is to create systems that complement lifestyles. For the owners of this beachfront estate, their goal was to illuminate the artistic details of their home, while keeping control simple, yet still fully customizable.

Using Crestron controllers, we created lighting scenes to control everything from the individual fixtures, to a whole scene, to the whole home. Incorporated into the controls were also the entertainment systems, security cameras, and climate controls. Every entertainment system is centrally controlled, showing minimal equipment in the living areas of the home. The home features 16 discrete zones of music, including outdoor rock speakers. The owners can control audio in each zone or the entire home via their mobile devices with Apple’s AirPlay. Sitting on the patio enjoying the view, they can play music, change lighting scenes, view their security cameras, open and close shades, or change temperature settings without getting up from their ultimate relaxing beach lifestyle.

This isn’t the first or last win for Audio Impact. We are working on amazing systems for clients throughout San Diego. What makes our approach truly unique is our understanding of how an automated lifestyle should function for our clients. We take the time to discover what parts of their home are most meaningful to them and offer ideas to enhance their enjoyment of those areas. From customers who want to create a movie theater experience in their homes with hassle free controls, to customers who want ambient lighting and whole home audio, we turn those wants into craftsman quality results.

We are proud of our designs and the enjoyment our clients enjoy, day after day, with their new smart lifestyles. Below are our current and past awards as featured in Electronic House Magazine:

Audio Impact Wins 2014 Home of The Year Award from Electronic House Magazine for Home Automation

Audio Impact Wins 2012 Home of The Year Award from Electronic House Magazine for Home Theater

Audio Impact Wins 2011 Home of The Year Award from Electronic House Magazine for Outdoor System

Audio Impact Wins 2010 Home of The Year Award from Electronic House Magazine for Home Automation

Posted by ryan Sat, 31 May 2014 07:44:00 GMT

6 Ways Smart Phones are Changing Home Security

san-diego-home-security-installer

With today’s on-the-go lifestyle, mobile technology is changing what you should expect from a home security system. With the right installation, securing your home and family is as simple as clicking an app on your mobile device. Mobile-ready security systems are amazing for homeowners who want to know their home is secure while they are away at work, or on vacation.

Here are 6 amazing ways that smart phones are changing home security:

1) Watch security cameras through your phone. Now you can watch live streaming video feeds that not only keep you secure, but also let you greet visitors at your door, view your kids coming home from school, check on pets and much more. In addition, you can view recorded clips to check motion activated alerts or events you might have missed.

2) Receive real-time home security notifications. Know what is happening right as it happens through text messages or email. You can have alerts sent anytime a sensor is activated in your home, such as the garage door opening, a window or door opening, or motion in the house while the home is armed. You can even specify what type of alerts you want to receive so you don’t get overwhelmed with notifications.

3) Instant connection to 24/7 emergency response. With active alerts and fully capable communications, you can confirm if a security threat exists and alert authorities right from your mobile device.

4) Reliable communications. Properly installed with the right backup power and fail-safes, a remote system offers more reliability. A trained professional can design a system that stays secure even in a power outage.

5) Remote access control for home service providers. Smart locks with wireless connections allow you to lock and unlock your door remotely. Now you can give access to contractors or guests and even setup unique codes for specific users. You’ll always know who is accessing your home and when. For added security, additional features allow you to lock one door that action triggers all the other doors in the house to lock. Smart locks can even unlock doors during a fire, allowing safer evacuation and emergency response.

6) Create a completely customized security solution. Mobile apps and online management tools allow you to customize your security system to your specific needs. Create personalized rules, add users, set up custom notifications and much more.

With the right installation team, the capabilities of your home security are endless. Audio Impact installs security and smart home systems throughout San Diego County. We build strong systems that keep you connected even through unexpected challenges such as power outages and down communication lines.

Posted by ryan Sat, 31 May 2014 00:49:00 GMT

5 Reasons to Consider Smart Locks for Your Home

San Diego Smart Lock Installer

You can stop leaving your key under the doormat because the days of making copies of your keys are over. Electronic locks or smart locks are becoming more and more popular in the home. Electronic locks have been used in commercial buildings for years. For Americans, it’s all about convenience and gadgets, and now homeowners are discovering the benefits of using electronic locks in the home.

With electronic locks, you can do away with the conventional key. Instead your smart phone activates the deadbolt lock when you approach the door. There are many different styles of electronic locks, from keypads to mobile device controlled systems, and the latest models have proven themselves reliable and extremely secure.

Here are the 5 top benefits to switching to electronic lock for your home:

1) It’s a hassle free way to give welcome guests access to your home. No need to worry about getting keys back from guests or renters. For those impromptu visits from friends, family, or guests you can unlock the door remotely with your smart phone while you are away.

2) Setup unique user codes for everyone that needs access. You can give each person a unique code and even specify days and times when the recipient can enter. Electronic locks let you manage access for houseguests and home services such as housekeepers, dog walkers, contractors, babysitters, and short-term renters.

3) Know exactly who is accessing your property and when a visitor arrives and leaves. Electronic locks keep a log of all the entries and exits, so you can see which authorized person has been in your home and when.

4) No giving out keys and no locksmiths. You can easily and securely send access to your home to anyone with a supported smart phone or give them a one-time use code to punch in. Stop worrying about getting the keys back later. You can easily cancel or change access for key recipients at anytime, even remotely.

5) Stop turning back to make sure the doors are locked. With a networked smart lock, you can remotely secure your home and get real-time alerts of any activity.

And, if you are worried about security, digital keys are encrypted using bank-level encryption and cannot be transferred, stolen, or copied like a mechanical key can. For backup, the lock also operates with a conventional key by pulling back the digital display to reveal the keyhole.

Audio Impact has installed electronic locks throughout San Diego County. Let our team of experts show you how smart locking systems can enhance the security and safety of your home.

Posted by ryan Fri, 30 May 2014 22:19:00 GMT

Help Us Help You: 6 Most Important Pieces of Info to Share with Your Tech Installer

6 Most Important Pieces of Info to Share with Your Tech Installer Tidbits about your lifestyle, family and home can net a well-designed A/V and automation system.

August 19, 2013 by Lisa Montgomery

A realtor wouldn’t dream of selling you a house without understanding your needs and wants (or “must-haves” as they’re known these days). The same goes for the professional who designs and installs A/V and automation systems into homes. In order to provide a customer with technology that will truly enhance the convenience, comfort and entertainment value of a home, he needs to learn about how those homeowners live in their home now, what they’d like to improve about the house and how they envision life in an automated residence, among other tidbits. (To see home tech requests achieved to their fullest, check out our Home of the Year Award winners.)

“It’s like peeling back an onion,” says custom electronics (CE) professional Tommy Kissell of Texas-based Eco High Fidelity, of his first meetings with prospective clients. “The more we know about a client, the better equipped we’ll be to design a system that suits their habits, routines, schedules and lifestyle.” So what are some of the areas you can expect your CE pro to ask you about?

The House Itself Certainly, he’ll need to know whether you plan to automate an existing house, will be remodeling or would like to put the system into a house that’s on the drawing boards. Some of your first meetings with a CE pro could take place at your house; this will give the installer an opportunity to gauge the complexity of the job. He’ll need to see if there’s an attic, basement or crawlspace through which to fish cabling; if not, he may investigate other wiring avenues. He’ll be able to see first-hand if there are any materials like concrete and stucco that could make the project more difficult. Also, he’ll probably ask you about current technologies your home might already have: built-in speakers, a computer network, a security system? With a clear understanding of your home’s makeup, a CE pro will be able to determine the types of tools and manpower he will need to get the job done, and what types of products and systems—for example, wireless or hardwired—will work best.

Inconvenient Truths Everybody can rattle off a few items they find annoying or inconvenient about their home. Maybe it’s the closet and bathroom lights that nobody bothers to turn off, or the tedium of locking up and shutting things off before bedtime. A CE pro wants to hear your pet peeves you so he can design your system that takes care of those trouble spots. Don’t hold back, and make sure every member of the family has a say.

Comfort with Technology How do you use technology in your home now? For example, are you a fan of streaming music and video services? Are you a PC or Mac user? Do your kids do much of their homework online? What about mobile devices? Are they loaded with apps? A CE pro can tell a lot by your current use of and familiarity with technology. For example, if everyone in family is an avid user of an iPad, your CE pro may design a system that lets you use this device to manage and monitor your home systems. If you have thousands of CDs, then those might be prioritized within a whole-house audio system over streaming services, for example (or perhaps you’d rather pare down the collection and simplify to the streaming route).

Way of Life Lifestyle is a big buzzword in the home technology industry, and for good reason. A candid discussion of your way of life will likely reveal the most important pieces of information a CE pro needs to design and implement a system so in sync with you and your family that you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it. At the very least, expect to divulge your household status (single, married, kids, elderly parents), your family’s schedule (work, school, travel), your social life (do you entertain frequently) and your hobbies (sports, exercise, photography, art collecting, etc.). If your daily routine involves a half hour on the treadmill, perhaps you’d like to have some music piped in over in-ceiling speakers rather than be tethered to an iPod; or maybe create the proper lighting environment for displaying artwork.

Aesthetic Preferences Do you want to show off your home electronics investment or keep it under wraps? Your aesthetic preferences will help a CE pro decide whether he should install speakers that recess into the walls or models that stand out in the open, for example. If you like the idea of having all of the A/V components (amplifiers, processors, Blu-ray players, etc.) hidden completely from view, by all means tell your CE pro. There are lots of clever ways to hide technology.

On the Clock Prepare to have an idea of when you’d like the project started and finished. Do you want everything installed by the holidays? Is there a special event by which you’d like the project buttoned up? Based on answers to earlier questions, a CE pro is probably visualizing a system, but when you say you want it done in six weeks, he may have to rethink the plan, or may even bow out if you’re firm on the deadline. Be clear with your timeframe; be flexible if you can.

For more information and more articles, click here.

Posted by ryan Tue, 06 May 2014 16:49:00 GMT

My Favorite (A/V!) Things From 2013

At Electronic House we are lucky to be exposed to the best new technology and most impressive. In the spirit of Julie Andrews’ rendition of “My Favorite Things” (or Carrie Underwood if you prefer) from The Sound of Music, we bring you our favorite things from 2013.

LISA MONTGOMERY:

Homes

Sophisticated Library Includes Hidden Lighting Controls I love it when custom electronics professionals get creative, and the book spine that was fitted with buttons for controlling the room’s lights is the epitome of thinking outside the box.

Smart Glass Creates a Home Office Hideout It’s not often we run across a home where smartglass has been integrated into a control system. Here, a curved wall of glass goes from clear to frosty when a button on a Lutron keypad is pressed.

Frosted office

NetZero Home Gets 600 LEDs Controlled by an Automation System To me, a story about an automated home is always more interesting when the owner of the house is intimately involved in the project. In this story, the owner was not only involved … he actually built a product that would expand the functionality of his professionally installed home automation system.

Trends

5 Up and Coming Technologies for the Home It’s fun to look into the future ball of home technologies, and this story does just that.

WiFi Strengthens its Position as a Home Control Protocol I always like cheering for the underdog, and in this story I do give a big hurrah to Wi-Fi, as it makes inroads as a very viable home control platform.

Integrated Control Vs. Multiple Apps for Home Automation Smartphone and downloadable apps have had huge implications in the home control marketplace. This story investigates the advantages and disadvantages of using apps to rule your house.

Products

Super Shading Solutions Get Motorized Of all the electronic systems available to the home, motorized shading is one of my favorites, mostly due to the fact that shades look about as low-tech as a throw pillow. Add a motor to them, though, and they can do some amazing things. This story discusses what’s possible.

High-Definition Artwork for Your TV This story came to my by surprise. I received a very well written email about a new technology that solves a very real problem facing anyone who owns a flat-panel TV: what to do with the screen to make it look better when the TV is off. This solution, unlike many others, is super affordable, easy to implement and lets you change the look of your static TV screen on a whim.

TV Art

To read the full article, click here.

Posted by ryan Tue, 24 Dec 2013 21:29:00 GMT

9 Overlooked Home Theater Features

Many home theater enthusiasts, especially DIYers (and I’m including myself here) tend to fuss all about the big picture and sound-in-the-round speaker approach, while neglecting many important details.

Sometimes installers are guilty of the same thing (though usually it’s the client’s taste or budget that’s to blame). A home theater is more than a room and more than a collection of electronics all tethered together. When done right, a home theater is a total experience.

A well-done home theater is inclusive, comfortable, and- most importantly- not noticeable once the movie's on.

To get to that sublime experience, you need to pay attention to all the details

The truth is that few rooms are perfect for a home theater before the gear arrives, and many still aren’t perfect after the gear’s been installed and connected. In fact, perfection is rarely achievable, but there are a number of features that any home theater enthusiast overlooks at their own peril…

To read about the impact of lighting, reflections, seating, and more, click here.

To read about the impact of lighting, reflections, seating, and more, click here..

Posted by ryan Tue, 17 Dec 2013 16:29:00 GMT

Why I Care More About Your (Inter)face Than Your Rack

Grab a handful of AV magazines and you’re sure to see some pictures of AV rack installs. Every week I’m sure to see articles about a rocking rack in my inbox, and each year at the CEDIA Electronic Lifestyles banquet an award is given for the best rack. Maybe us industry people get so excited about racks because we spend so much time with them—terminating, testing, and troubleshooting; we know that it is the brain, heart, and brawn of the system. Yet, I find our industry’s fixation on the rack to be misguided. It is the Interface that is the true soul of the system.

A Crestron Interface

It is the only part of the system the client actually touches. Racks tend to live in closets, basements, or equipment rooms. Maybe, the client will bring a friend into the space to show off the color-coded wires and fancy flashing buttons, but the rack is meant to be hidden. The remote, touchscreen, or app is what the client interacts with on a daily basis. It is where the magic really happens as far as they are concerned.

Recently, when walking through my clients framed house, the wife declared that she would not be using the system. She informed me that she was uncomfortable with technology and was only doing this for her husband. Their rack would live in the basement and their house was to be controlled via a remote and an iPad. After we finished the system, she called to tell me she was playing Pandora through the system using her iPad. It was magic to her and it had nothing to do with those boxes in the basement, no matter how nicely the wires were run.

If the system isn’t easy to use, it’s not worth the money. You can install the best receiver, the best speakers, and the most riveting flat screen, but if the wife can’t turn it on, the system is worth nothing. The interface must be intuitive. Think about how Apple designs its operating systems. Have you ever ended up on a new screen on an Apple device? You may think, I don’t know how to do this, but it should work like this, and BAM, that is exactly how it works.

Last night I was using the Apple remote app while watching a movie (ironically my remote was down) and wanted to fast forward (there is no fast-forward on the app). I decided to try swiping forward and guess what? The movie fast-forwarded. Swipe again and I had a faster-forwarding speed. No one had to teach me. No training had to be done. Our interfaces should be the same way. They need be so easy to use that the client can hand it off to the babysitter as they walk out the door to dinner.

Think you’ve done a good job programming? Use the “mom test.” Hand the remote over to your mom and see if she can navigate.

To read the full article, click here.

Posted by ryan Mon, 18 Nov 2013 17:12:00 GMT

Honeywell's New Voice-Activated Thermostat Brings Comfort to the Lazy

It never fails. The moment you finally get comfortable under your covers is the moment you realize that you haven’t turned down the thermostat. Rather than choose between a toe-stubbing trek through darkened halls or sweating through the night, check out Honeywell’s new voice-activated thermostat. You stay snuggled safely in bed and save energy—win, meet win.

Honeywell's new voice-activated thermostat

The Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat with Voice Control builds on the the company’s Smart Thermostat line that debuted in April of this year. Like its predecessors, the new unit features a color-customizable touchscreen display that allows the unit to blend in with the room’s paint scheme; an intuitive, interview-style 7-day scheduling function; Wi-Fi connectivity and a mobile app for both iOS and Android.

But unlike any other thermostat on the market, Honeywell’s employs powerful cloud-based voice recognition technology. Simply say “hello, thermostat” to engage the unit, then tell it how you feel—”make it cooler” lowers the temperature by one degree, “make it much cooler” drops the mercury by four degrees. You can also dictate a specific temperature or temperature change. Additionally, the thermostat utilizes far-field speech recognition to ignore ambient background noise and pick out your voice from across a noisy room. Plus it will only respond once you utter “hello, thermostat,” regardless of accent, so it won’t turn on the A/C whenever you play Nelly’s “Hot in Herre”.

Click here to view full article

Posted by ryan Thu, 19 Sep 2013 17:59:00 GMT

5 Smart Home Technologies That Save You Money

When looking for ways to save money, you might not think to look into home automation. In the past, the term “smart home” conjured up images of expensive home improvements and high-tech gadgets that were only found in celebrity mansions or grand estates. However, with the emergence of new wireless technology and more companies providing these products, these systems are now more affordable than ever. Additionally, they do not require any major renovations to your home and will actually start saving you money on your utilities costs. In fact, the savings you’ll realize in just a few years can pay for your whole smart home system.

Image credit: Nest

1. Programmable Thermostats

The largest portion of a home’s energy bill generally comes from heating and cooling costs. Furthermore, most homes have inefficient systems that waste large amounts of energy in heating and cooling unoccupied rooms or even the entire home. Smart home technology can solve this problem in two ways.

First, current home automation systems with programmable thermostats allow you to set the temperature of your home remotely from your smartphone, tablet, or other internet-enabled device, so you don’t have to heat or cool your home while you are away. Before returning home, you can reset the thermostat so that a comfortable temperature is waiting for you.

For other DIY energy saving tips, you can visit Energy.gov.

Find out more ways we can help you green up your home by clicking here

Posted by ryan Thu, 29 Aug 2013 16:02:00 GMT

Big, beautiful backyard with big, beautiful sound

A grassy, open area

We recently did a full home system featuring Control4 interfaces, an Apple Airport-based network, and a Sonos audio system- all of which extend out across the homeowner’s gorgeous backyard! Rock speakers surround the pool and patio to bring Sonos to every corner of the yard, and subtly, too- can you play spot-the-speaker in the image above?

The system can switch between all of the sources Sonos offers- including internet radio stations, Pandora, iTunes, Sirius, and more- via the homeowner’s iPhone or iPad app. Volume can also be controlled there, or with the built-in volume controls around the patio.

Television embedded in the loggia stone wall

And speaking of the patio, part of that is the loggia: its own music zone with a television nestled in the stone wall and a smart remote with dock, it creates a beautiful outdoor living area for relaxing in the San Diego weather. You’ll see it in the picture above- excuse the continued construction in the reflection!

See our video below for a better look:

http://youtu.be/LKv6f0awUZo

Posted by ryan Mon, 05 Aug 2013 16:25:00 GMT