Complete Home Automation

Home automation can range from basic timers that control lights, to fully integrated systems controlled by a master processor, and there are a lot of options in between.
“Complete Home Automation” Systems can control some or all of the following systems:

Motorized shades
Motorized windows
Access Control

In the ‘90s home automation systems were complex, expensive and somewhat unreliable. The category was dominated by companies like Crestron and AMX. These systems required special programming and very skilled designers and installers to engineer and implement them. We used to have to sell and install large touchscreens, then train customer on how to use them

In the early 2000’s the equipment evolved and got more reliable, but the systems were still very costly, as well as engineering and programming intensive. New manufacturers, including Savant and Control 4 introduced systems that were easier to design, deploy and program. These new systems gained traction, but some still had reliability issues and they still had significant costs.

The birth of the iPad changed everything for the 2010s. Now customers already own their own large touchpanels (iPads), they do not need training on how to use them, and they are used to jumping from app to app.

This has allowed new manufacturers to develop app based control systems. These systems are easy to use, relatively inexpensive, and they have gotten very reliable. Here are some of our favorites:

Lighting Control – Lutron’s Homeworks QS and Radio RA2 systems offer control of lights, motorized shades and HVAC (Heating/Cooling) with an easy to use app, as well as elegant keypads for local control.

The systems save energy by giving you the ability to control the lighting and shades throughout your home or in a single room. The systems can turn off all standby power to small appliances when not in use. All lights can be controlled through an “all off” button upon leaving your home in case a light was forgotten to ensure your energy savings. Customers can also benefit from direct security and alarm integration, when not home temperature is turned off and lights and shades are adjusted so home appears occupied. If there is an intruder all lights are turned on, shades rise and the outside lights flash.

Imagine arriving home disarming the alarm, your lights turn on automatically, the shades rise and the temperature adjusted to the desired preset; automation at its finest!

Music Systems – Sonos is the category leader with app based music systems that allow you to choose any room or group of rooms, and play any music from any device on the network or stream music from popular online sources like Pandora, Spotify, Sirius/XM and many other online providers.

Media/TV – URC, Crestron, Savant, Logitech, Control 4 and many others offer universal remote controls that also provide smartphone or tablet apps to control TVs and media systems.

Alarm – Honeywell has it’s Total Connect app that provides simple control of your alarm system, including remote arm/disarm as well as email or text notifications.

Surveillance – IC Realtime, Axis, Panasonic and others have created surveillance cameras and video recorders that can be accessed via apps to get real-time video on smartphones and tablets, from anywhere in the world.

Heating/Cooling – Nest has revolutionized this category with inexpensive smart thermostats and smoke/CO detectors that live on the WiFi network and are controllable with their free app.

Pool/Spa – Pentair has a network enabled pool/spa control system and associated app that allows for control from anywhere.

Access Control – Siedle has a new app based intercom system that allows users to see who is at the door, have 2 way communication and unlock the door. Savant, Crestron and Control 4 systems also include this feature.

If you prefer a single app, Savant, Crestron and Control 4 Systems allow users the ability to control multiple systems with a single customizable interface.

We have these systems setup in our office, let us know if you want to come and see what system is best for you.


Until next time,

Scott Sullivan
SoundVision, Inc.


SoundVision designs and installs systems for Residential, Commercial, Home, Business, Corporate, Restaurants and Hotels.

Areas served are: San Francisco, Marin, Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Greenbrae, Larkspur, Ross, Kentfield, San Anselmo, Fairfax, San Rafael, Novato, Napa, Calistoga, Oakville, Rutherford, Yountville, Saint Helena, Petaluma, Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Windsor, Cotati, Cloverdale, Healdsburg, Sonoma, Berkeley, Piedmont.

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