By Adam Raymond, Managing Director of PRZM (CEDIA Member)
After a lengthy career in IT services and Infrastructure projects, I recently took the plunge and set up PRZM — to focus on improving technology experiences within the residential and commercial markets.
A year into business, I have continually been surprised by how overlooked a smart home design can be to both builders and homeowners. The idea of starting a new build or extension without architectural plans would set off panic alarms in many. We therefore have an ongoing educational challenge as an industry to ensure that a well-documented smart home design and cable schedule is something that should be both delivered to a client and something they should expect — even if they don’t realise it yet.
Perhaps some clients believe the design and cable schedule is simply throwaway after the first fix and therefore “everything else will just work” after that — there may seem little point in investing much time into it. Like many of us, I do these designs out of my commitment to CEDIA guidelines and self-discipline, and out of passion from working in a field that I enjoy. It got me thinking though, what else can be put in front of the client as an example to make them see value of design?
The Media and Cinema Room
Perhaps an obvious one with all the recent publicity is the ability to generate professional looking top down and 3D designs of a media or cinema room via The CEDIA Designer (TCD) tool. From my experiences so far, clients don’t expect it for a media room, but really appreciate it being done. It shows builders, architects, and clients alike, that you are adding value and there is science to the exact positions of TVs, projectors, speakers, and seating.
Evidence of security considerations
Various reports have and will continue to pop up in tabloid newspapers of a doorbell camera being hacked. My take on this is always “how secure was the network?” At the end of the day, office blocks run CCTV, door entry systems, and other things people want in their smart homes without them necessarily contributing to headlines.
The network is more and more the backbone for the smart home and with that brings a need for networking knowledge and understanding of how to make it secure and reliable. With networking, I have also gladly waved goodbye to the sight of infrared blasters where possible — who doesn’t miss having to keep them taped up in the hope the heat won’t make them fall off?! Security is a never-ending piece of string; therefore, I see at a minimum to segregate network services, separate Guest Wi-Fi, and strong passwords as essential for being planned into the project.
Cater for redundancy
Uninterruptable power supplies are great in ensuring the core components don’t suffer too much downtime. I like them because they will keep a CCTV recorder live in the event of a (limited) power outage. In some cases, it can also pay for itself, if it avoids a site visit to interrogate a device that may not have otherwise gone offline.
Training and certification are hard to fit in, but my main reason for doing this aggressively in my first year of full-time operation, was to prove to clients and architects alike that “I am qualified and do what I say I can do.” Sometimes, pictures and recommendations aren’t enough. CEDIA has a number of training streams dedicated to design and technical aspects of our industry and TCD is free for members requiring basic design features.
Based in Central London, we specialise in improving technology experiences within the residential and commercial markets. We provide a comprehensive end to end service of design, installation and aftercare. Our full suite of services focusses on security, entertainment and automation, bringing these together to make a smarter and safer living area.
We work alongside M&E service providers, architects, interior designers and homeowners alike, serving clients within London and the surrounding areas.