News / Media

Inside Trump Towers Automated Condos

Each condo inside Trump Towers in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla. features a 6-inch Crestron touchpanel for one-touch access to a variety of high-style services.

By Lisa Montgomery, October 26, 2011

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You’d expect nothing less from Donald Trump. His world-renown Trump Towers are the epitome of luxury, featuring high-end construction, design and materials.

One the newest Trump Towers, in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla., takes luxury living by providing its residents one-touch access to a variety of high-style services.

Installed into each of the Tower’s 271 units is a 6-inch Crestron touchpanel from which an owner can press one button to request that a lounge chair be placed by the pool, his car be retrieved from valet parking or that someone from maintenance check out a leaky faucet in the kitchen.

As explained by Al Reinhard, owner of Miami-based Advanced Home Theater, the company hired to design and install the Crestron gear for the Towers, the touchpanel functions as a portal to the building’s eServices platform, which is designed exclusively for residents of multi-dwelling units like the Towers. Navigating the control panel couldn’t be easier. Six buttons are presented on the home page: valet, beach, maintenance, weather forecast, concierge and bulletin. Press valet, and other options could be presented.

“For example, if a resident owns a BMW and a Ferrari, we could design the touchpanel to display those options after the person presses the valet button. If the BMW button is pressed, the valet knows exactly which car to retrieve. He can then send a message back to the owner’s touchpanel informing him that his car is ready and waiting,” Reinhard explains.

The five-star treatment continues with features that allow the building management to send messages to every touchpanel to notify residents of special events and building maintenance, like an elevator that’s under repair. Similarly, residents can issue a building-wide invitation to a beach side barbeque. Should a resident receive a package or have a cab waiting at the lobby, a message from reception can be sent directly to that owner’s Crestron touchpanel.

Today, the touchpanel is used to streamline communications throughout the building, but as with all Crestron systems, it can be expanded to include the control devices such as lights, thermostats and A/V gear in each resident’s condo, says Reinhard.

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Posted by chantal Fri, 11 Nov 2011 18:34:00 GMT

Make a home smarter with automation systems

October 07, 2011

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Who wouldn’t like an extra set of hands around the house? Or some help with basic, everyday activities such as keeping your home comfortable? And if that extra help could also make your home more energy efficient, reducing your utility bills, wouldn’t that be an added bonus?

Home automation, once considered a luxury, is doing those tasks for more homeowners than ever before, and in ways that may surprise you. Many homeowners recognize the importance of saving energy, something that benefits the environment and their budgets. Three key areas of home automation that influence energy savings are window coverings, thermostats and lighting.

Heating and cooling accounts for the largest portion of a house’s overall energy use. Artificial lighting also contributes to home energy bills. Automating these areas of the home that consume the most energy allows users to improve energy efficiency.

Window coverings

You may think of your window treatments as more of a design statement, but window coverings, from blinds to shades, can help control the flow of sunlight into your home. In summer, drawing the blinds can help keep the interior of your home cooler. Opening window coverings when it’s cold outside in the winter can allow more warming sunlight to enter your home.

By automating your window coverings, you can better control the amount of light, and heat, entering your home, even when you’re not there. You can program an automation system to close window coverings after everyone has left the house for the day to help keep things cooler in the summer.

Or, in the winter, when many of us leave the house before the sun is up, an automation system can open window coverings to allow sunlight and warmth into the home after the sun rises.


Turning your thermostat back between 10 to 15 percent for eight hours a day can save you as much as 10 percent on your heating and cooling bills, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s website, Programmable thermostats allow you to automate temperature changes in your home.

In summer months, you can set the thermostat to allow the temperature in your home to rise higher so the air conditioning runs less when no one is there. The same technique can help reduce heating bills in the winter. By setting a programmable thermostat to change temperatures when needed, you can achieve more precise control over the temperature in your home without the risk of forgetting to set the thermostat back every time you leave the house.


Artificial light is another major energy user in households. Reducing electricity usage can be as simple as turning off lights you leave a room.

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Posted by chantal Wed, 09 Nov 2011 17:16:00 GMT

RTI T2-Cs+ handheld remote control

As part of the redesign of its popular T2-C handheld remote control, RTI has made it easier for electronics professionals to program its newly released T2-Cs+ by allowing for customizable button sizes.

By Robert Archer, October 20, 2011

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For many years the T-2C remote has been a staple of the RTI product line and recently to ensure its compatibility with the latest generation of home electronics the company updated the unit to reflect the market’s latest technologies.

The newly introduced T2-Cs+ from RTI is the latest generation T2-C handheld remote from the popular custom electronics manufacturer and it says some of the freshly added revisions to the remote include a 2.4-inch LCD touchscreen that offers users better image quality and an increased viewing angle, and 128MBs of flash memory along with a 532MHz CPU to bolster the unit’s speed and performance.

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Posted by chantal Tue, 08 Nov 2011 17:15:00 GMT

New Product Release - Sony Tablet

Tailored to your hands. Entertaining to your eyes.

Control the living room

Whether it’s your TV, Blu-ray Disc player, stereo or cable box, control everything right from your tablet. Best of all, the built-in universal remote controls not only Sony products but lots of other brands, too. Share, view and transfer personal video, photos and music to your DLNA compatible PC, TV or speakers.

Unlimited entertainment

Get entertainment at your fingertips with Sony Entertainment Network. Use Video Unlimited to access tons of hit movies to rent or own or tap into millions of songs from every major music label with Music Unlimited. Simply sync to the cloud and enjoy music you love wherever you are1. Utilize the Crackle app to view free full-length Hollywood movies and TV series on demand.

Customize with Android Market

With access to the Android Market, you can browse through thousands of useful, time-saving and entertaining apps. There’s also instant access to Google™ mobile services and applications including 3D maps and easy web search with Google Voice Search. Download what you want and make your tablet truly yours.

Get your game on

Have even more fun on the go playing action-packed games you know and love from the original PlayStation available on PS Certified devices.

Posted by chantal Mon, 07 Nov 2011 17:28:00 GMT

A Look Ahead at New Homes of 2015

By Erika Riggs, Zillow October 11, 2011

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If you had asked someone in the 1960s what the home of 2015 would look like, chances are they imagined something akin to The Jetsons’ home complete with Rosie the Robot and other space-age appliances that dressed and fed the family.

But, rather than space-age technology, the biggest thing that is expected to change in future single-family homes is the size.

“Homes will get smaller,” says Stephen Melman, Director of Economic Services at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) in Washington D.C. “We asked builders, ‘what do you anticipate the new home size would be by 2015?’ ”

According to the results of the study, surveyed home builders expect new single-family homes to check in at an average of 2,150 square feet. Current single family homes measure around 2,400 square feet, which is already a decrease from the peak home size in 2007 of 2,521.

While the decrease in home size has a lot to do with the recession, many believe that the real estate changes will stick around even after the economy and home values get back on solid ground.

“Although affordability is driving these decisions, smaller homes are a positive for builders,” said Melman. “It allows for more creative design, more amenities, better flow. It’s an opportunity to deliver a better home.”

Other things that make up the home of 2015? No more living room. According to the survey, 52 percent of builders expect the living room to merge with other spaces and 30 percent believe that it will vanish completely to save on square footage. Instead, expect to see great rooms — a space that combines the family and living room and flows into the kitchen.

Expect to see more:
- spacious laundry rooms
- master suite walk-in closets
- porches
- eat-in kitchens
- two-car garages
- ceiling fans

Expect to see less:
- mudrooms
- formal dining rooms
- four bedrooms or more
- media or hobby rooms
- skylights

Many of these changes reflect a desire for builders and consumers going green. Smaller space means more efficient heating and cooling. Ceiling fans distribute heat evenly while skylights, on the other hand, release heat.

However, as builders look to go green, they’ll be installing energy-efficient windows and compact fluorescent and LED lighting, as well as water-efficient appliances and plumbing.

Additionally, many new homes will have the baby boomer population in mind with walk-in showers, ground-floor master bedrooms and grab bars.

“A bigger share of the new homes will be purchased by people 55 or 65 and older,” said Melman. “They’re more likely to have more cash for a down payment, but they’re empty nesters, so they don’t need five bedrooms.”

Home digital control panels can help manage security and energy consumption.

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Posted by chantal Fri, 04 Nov 2011 16:36:00 GMT

Xbox TV is Official with HBO, Comcast, and More

Microsoft has announced plans to roll out a slew of entertainment services on Xbox LIVE.

October 06, 2011 by Rachel Cericola

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That Xbox 360 was a smart purchase after all. Not only does it play some killer games, but it now has even more entertainment options than before. Microsoft just announced plans to roll out a slew of TV entertainment on Xbox LIVE.

Of course, being able to access other services through a gaming console is really nothing new. It’s not even new to Xbox users. That said, the Xbox 360 will get to stake claim on a few firsts, including the BBC and LOVEFiLM in the UK, as well as Comcast’s Xfinity On Demand service, Verizon FiOS and HBO GO in the U.S., and much more.

If you have the Kinect accessory, you can use it to flip through all of the new features, without an actual remote. If waving your hands is too much of a chore, the option will also offer voice search with Bing on Xbox.

Microsoft also promises enhanced social features, allowing users to share recommendations, as well as show the Xbox LIVE community what games you’re playing, what movies you’re watching, and what music you’re listening to. It can even invite them to join in. There’s also integration with Facebook, meaning you can post from Xbox LIVE directly to your Facebook wall.

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Posted by chantal Thu, 03 Nov 2011 16:12:00 GMT

Inside Automated Haunted House

A Control4 system automates some creepy effects, including guillotine, three-headed dog and lighting, for a Halloween haunted house

By CE Pro Editors, October 31, 2011

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Enter one of the first rooms on this ghoulish garage tour, and a skeleton jumps out of a shipping crate, a red light glows and a three-headed dog barks and growls.

That’s just one of the automated effects set up for Halloween in this three-car garage in a suburb of Seattle.

Every October for the past three years, the Griffin and Petrie families have converted their garage into a haunted house, with the shock, scare and awe delivered by a Control4 HC-300 processor.

Brett Griffin, who sells Control4 systems for Definitive Audio, rigged the garage with motion sensors, relays and timers, all linked to the Control4 processor, which was programmed to enact a different frightening scene when each sensor is tripped.

In the final chamber, a trigger starts an MP3 of a priest reciting “Our Father” over wall-mounted Control4 speakers. A young lady in a guillotine pleads for mercy … the lights go out … there’s darkness … a brief moment of silence … the sound of the guillotine blade slices through the air … and a head thumps to the floor. It’s automation at its scariest.

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Posted by chantal Wed, 02 Nov 2011 16:38:00 GMT

Home Automation Brings Dignity, Independence to Residents with ALS

‘Smart home’ technology provides improved quality of life to residents with MS and Lou Gehrig’s disease: controlling lights, thermostats and entertainment at Boston’s Leonard Florence Center.

By Julie Jacobson, October 18, 2011

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Steve Saling escorts me to the house he shares with nine other people, chatting along the way, as he takes me up the elevator and through the motorized front doors of his pad. He shows off the entertainment system in his bedroom, streams some Pandora radio through the in-wall speakers, and adjusts the lights, shades and thermostat just so.

His home automation system is pretty typical, but Saling is not: He has ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Like most of his housemates, Saling has no control over his arms, legs, hands, voice and other faculties. He can move his head pretty well, though, and that’s all it takes to operate a custom control system from Promixis, a mostly-DIY home automation vendor since 1998.

Promixis’ new enterprise-grade control system, called PEAC, is installed at the Leonard Florence Center for Living in Chelsea, Mass., near Boston.

The center, funded in part by the Chelsea Jewish Foundation, opened in 2010 with space for 100 residents in 10 living areas, or houses, each with about 7,000 square feet of living space. Residents — most of them elderly — vary in their ability to manage activities of daily living.

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Posted by chantal Tue, 01 Nov 2011 16:13:00 GMT