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Generating the Wow Factor in Interior Design

Motorized Shades Bring the Zing to Design Projects

As an interior designer, you are always on the lookout for the next trend. It doesn’t matter whether you do antiques, mid-century modern, or eclectic; you always look for the detail that gives your clients that extra custom touch. It could be an unusual accessory sourced from an exclusive vendor or the way you deftly mix the old and the new into a cohesive design.

That detail shows in various aspects of your work. You know how to take a basic electrical plan and customize it to ensure that unique lamp is plugged in just the right place. You work with electricians and other lighting professionals to ensure a room's lighting properly highlights your carefully conceived design.

When it comes to window treatments, you are an expert in creating custom designs that are both functional and stylish. And this is an area where you can add a custom touch as well - motorized shades and window coverings. How do they add that extra touch to your Lake Forest, IL residential projects? Read on to find out.

 

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Get the Ultimate Control4 Home Automation Experience

The New Avidia is Ready to Make it Happen

What is home automation? Is it the ability to turn a light on and off with your smartphone instead of a switch? Is it the ability to tell your thermostat to change the temperature? Or is a way to control your home theater equipment without getting lost in multiple remotes and settings?

The answer is yes, it’s all of the above - but much more. All of these things make for a better experience living in your home. When small things are taken care of for you, less time is spent checking on whether your doors are locked and your alarm system is armed, and technology does your bidding rather than you having to learn how to use it – then you have the experience home automation is supposed to deliver. 

We at Avidia are focused on ensuring that your experience with home technology is a luxury you can enjoy as the fruits of your hard work. Home automation and technology should make your life simpler, giving you back time for what you want to do and who you want to do it with.

At the same time, we don’t believe this kind of automated luxury is purely the province of the ultra-wealthy. We design, configure, install, and support home technology solutions that are accessible not only from a usability standpoint but also a financial one. Whether you need a lighting control solution for your living areas or a full-fledged Control4 home automation system to manage your sprawling Barrington, IL estate, Avidia is ready to be of service.

Read on to learn more about why you should consider Avidia for all your home technology needs.

 

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Why Would You Want Home Lighting Control?

It’s All in the Scenes

What’s residential lighting control all about, and why might you want it?  It can do many things in your home. Admittedly, you might find it frivolous in one respect - do you really need automation for your lights? After all, you can always flip a switch, or slide a dimmer up and down. Indeed, some interior designers might specify dimmers in their electrical plans for almost every room but might not think about lighting control. 

We know smart technology is being imbued into all manner of products, even lowly kitchen appliances. Lighting control is actually one of the most requested for smart home features, and is also one that is easy to justify as more than a luxury. In commercial environments, from offices to warehouses, lighting control is used extensively for efficiency, worker comfort and productivity, as well as to extend equipment life. In your Wilmette, IL residence, lighting control can bring those same benefits - and a little luxury that you won’t mind as well

Read on to see why residential lighting control simply makes sense, and learn about the killer lighting control feature that will really win you over.

 

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Interested in Control4 Home Automation?

Why Avidia Service Makes a Difference

In large metropolitan areas like Chicago, there is no shortage of service providers for practically anything you can think of - and that goes for home automation technology as well. The technology itself is important, and with smart home technology and automation, you should choose companies and platforms that continue to innovate and add new capabilities.

Since 2003, Control4 has been an innovator and leader in home automation. There’s very little their system can’t do when it comes to smart home control, and Avidia is proud to be a Control4 Platinum Dealer. In June, we detailed the latest software from Control4, OS 3, which adds significant functionality and ease of use to make it one of the most elegant and flexible home automation platforms.

While the technology is critical, who installs and services it is just as crucial to your overall experience and satisfaction. This month, we’d like to tell you why and how Avidia is different, and why you should choose us for your Glenview home’s Control4 smart home system.

SEE ALSO: 3 Ways Smart Home Technology Gives You Hands-Off Control

 

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Why You Should Use Control4 in Your New Construction

Real estate trends are shifting in favor of tech-savvy solutions that give homeowners unprecedented control over their property. A recent study by Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC found that 44 percent of homeowners want a move-in ready smart home. What’s the best way for builders in the Wilmette, IL area to keep up with this growing demand for smart technology? They can partner with their local Control4 dealer who will work with them during the construction process to lay the framework for a custom smart home solution.

SEE MORE: Why You Should Hire a Professional to Install Your Smart Technology

Clients Are Expecting Homes With Custom Solutions

When it comes to smart technology, expectations may vary widely from project to project. Some clients may simply want surveillance cameras they can monitor remotely. Others want a fully integrated solution that gives them intuitive control of lights, entertainment, climate, security and more. Our Control4 systems range from 1-room to whole house options so homeowners can choose whichever fits their distinct needs. With our initial wiring installation, it's easy for them to expand in the future if they want to add new technology to their smart home system.

Help Create a Foundation for the Future 

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3 Best Features of the New Control4 Software Update

You can experience further integration, control, and customization with the latest Control4 O.S. 2.9 software. Whether you want to personalize your user interface, add your preferred smart devices or literally tell your system what to do, it’s all possible with the home automation company’s latest upgrade. As your local Control4 dealers in Barrington, IL, we’d like to show you some of the coolest features revealed earlier this year at CEDIA 2016.

SEE MORE: Product Spotlight: A Look at Control4’s EA Series

Integration with Alexa Voice Control

Since it hit the mainstream market with a pair of Super Bowl commercials earlier this year, Amazon’s Alexa has become one of the most popular systems in the smart home market. Through voice commands, you can turn devices on and off or ask questions just like you would Siri on your iPhone. Now you can use those same voice commands in your home automation system.

Clients can access individual devices that are compatible with Amazon. Tell the lights to dim down or the thermostat to lower a few degrees. The coolest thing about the latest integration, though, is the ability to activate your Control4 smart scenes to manage multiple components at once. Say “Party On” and the lights change color and your pre-planned playlist begins playing.

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How Control4 Lets You Stick With the Brands You Love

One of the perks of using a Control4 dealer for your smart home needs is that your system can be custom-designed to include what matters most to you. You can choose to include lighting, security, AV, climate control, and more depending on your family’s needs. You can also decide how you want to incorporate that technology into your Lake Forest, IL home. While Control4 offers most of the software and hardware (from speakers to thermostats) needed for your smart home, it also gives you the opportunity to work with the brands you’ve come to love.

SEE MORE: Product Spotlight: A Look at the Control4 EA Series

What Companies Are Compatible With Control4?

Since the company was founded in 2003, Control4 has expanded its list of industry partners every year. They now work with the top brands in the HVAC, audio, video, and security industries to offer smart home solutions that include the best technology in the world. Among the official Control4 partners are Sony, Amazon, Lutron, Apple, McIntosh, and Nest. Anyone that wants to become a certified partner, can inquire on the company’s website.

How Does Control4 Make Partners Compatible?

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7 Ways to Go Green With Smart Technology

Although a lot of the information on smart home automation systems focuses on the convenience factor, smart technology can also have a significant return on investment. Through efficient use of all the technology in your Glencoe, Illinois home, you can reduce your carbon footprint and monthly energy bills. From lighting control to smart thermostats, here are some ways we can help you go green this year. 

SEE MORE: 3 Reasons to Upgrade to a Smart Home System

Change the Default Settings on Your Lights

With centralized control from a touchpad, tablet or smartphone, it's easy to make widespread adjustments. Except for some rare occasions, you don't need to have all the lights in your home at 100 percent intensity. You can dim each fixture from 100 to 90 percent to significantly cut down on your monthly energy use.

Take Advantage of Natural Light

Another way to give your artificial lights a break is to embrace natural light. You can install photo sensors to gauge the amount of sunlight throughout the day. During the brightest times of day, your shades rise and your lights dim so you're not wasting energy.

Install a Smart Thermostat

Whether you’re trying to keep a large home cool in the summer or cozy in the winter, it takes a lot of energy for your thermostat to adjust the temperature. Smart technology helps in a variety of ways. For one, it’s easy to change the temperature in each room so you can spend fewer resources on those that aren’t being used. Turn up your thermostat when you’re not home and alert it when you’re on the way back so it can have the right temperature ready when you return.

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How Networking is the Backbone of Your Control4 System

As your local Control4 dealers, we’re proud to work with one of the most innovative companies in the home automation industry. Recently named the 2016 ProSource Custom Integration Vendor of the Year, Control4 is always improving on its products and creating comprehensive technology solutions for your Winnetka, Illinois home. One of the ways that the company has done this is by emphasizing the importance of robust networking systems as the backbone of your home automation. 


SEE MORE: Product Spotlight: A Look at Control4’s EA Series

Why is Your Home Networking So Important?

A network is kind of like a referee in sports, the better it is the less you notice it. When was the last time you thought about your internet connection? It likely wasn’t when you streamed a movie uninterrupted on Netflix or sent an email to your secretary. It was probably when your Blu-Ray player wouldn’t connect to your Hulu app or your Facebook wouldn’t load on your computer.

It’s the same with smart home automation. You’re not going to notice how well your AV system communicates with your security system or how well your control system handles network traffic unless it becomes a problem. And it is our job to make sure those problems don’t arise.

Is Your Network Prepared to Handle the Load?

Every second of every day, data is traveling at break-neck speed throughout your system. Smart control devices—whether standalone or part of a Control4 system—place a huge burden on your network. This is for a variety of reasons.

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How to Upgrade Your Outdoor Music System

Planning to host friends this summers in your Wilmette, Illinois home? Invite them over for an afternoon cookout and show off your beautiful view of Lake Michigan. To liven up the mood, you're going to need an impressive music system that can cover your entire outdoor area. Avidia can design a whole house audio system that not only adds quality sound to every corner of your home, but also makes it easy to access your favorite music at the press of a button. 

SEE MORE: How to Extend the Reach of Your Favorite Entertainment

Invest in Equipment Designed for Outdoor Use

Your beautiful outdoor environment is going to go to waste if you settle for old speakers, or those not meant for outside use. It's tempting to bring out wireless speakers and place them in a corner of your patio or pool, but this will result in uneven and unreliable sound. You need to invest in quality outdoor speakers designed to brave the elements and disperse sound over large areas.

We recommend going with Episode outdoor speakers. You can have Landscape ones hidden away in your foliage or use surface mounted speakers on your walls or pillars. If you’re a big audio enthusiast, you should also invest in their underground subwoofers that add deep, powerful bass.

Create the Right Foundation for Your System

We create a comprehensive wiring plan so you can connect speakers all over your property, all while keeping cables hidden from view. With most clients now using streaming services to access their favorite music, it's also important that we extend the reach of their home network. We install outdoor access points to amplify the signal from your router, so your coverage reaches your entire space. 

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Amplifier vs. Receiver: Which Should You Use in Your High-End Audio System?

Amplifier vs. Receiver: Which Should You Use in Your High-End Audio System?

Figuring out the right setup for your high-end audio involves various steps. As people focus on finding the highest-quality speakers available, often forgotten is the heart of your stereo system: your receiver or amplifier. Having the best speakers on the planet won’t matter if you can’t get crisp, quality audio to them. Depending on how you want to use your system, your space, and budget limitations, and your personal tastes, we help you figure out if the high-end audio solution in your Lake Forest, Illinois home should be built around a receiver or separate components.

SEE MORE: How to Extend the Reach of Your Favorite Entertainment

 What Is the Difference Between an Amplifier and an AV Receiver?

When choosing between an amplifier and receiver for your high-end audio setup, you're actually choosing between a receiver and what the AV industry calls ‘separates.' This means instead of putting all your components in one box, you buy each separately.

An AV receiver is an all-in-one solution. It includes a tuner, preamplifier, and an amplifier. The tuner pulls in your audio signal; the preamplifier extends the signal to get it to the amplifier which powers up the signal to get it to your loudspeakers. These receivers usually have two to nine channels to meet surround sound demands. Each channel corresponds to a different speaker in the room.

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Product Spotlight: A Look at Control4’s EA Series

Product Spotlight: A Look at Control4’s EA Series

Figuring out which technology is the best fit for your Highland Park, Illinois home can be an intimidating task. Whether you’re looking for a full smart home solution or an upgrade to your family room, you want an impressive system that’s reliable while still falling within your family’s budget. As the premier Control4 dealers in the area, one of our primary roles is to be your technology advisers. As part of that role, we'd like to introduce you to Control4's new EA series which gives you intuitive control of your favorite technology and entertainment. Check out our latest review to see some of the series’ best features.

SEE MORE: How to Extend the Reach of Your Favorite Entertainment


Control of All Your Home’s Technology

The new EA series (which stands for Entertainment Automation) is focused on creating a unique entertainment experience while making your home smarter. It can control products capable of high-resolution audio and 4K video while managing your lights, thermostat, security and more from the same system. Your entire home can be controlled from a smart remote, touchpad or the Control4 mobile app.

Easy Access to All Your Favorite Entertainment

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4 Tips for a Successful Landscape Lighting System

Unveiling your outdoor spaces as the hot summer months approach doesn’t have to be a hassle. Need a quick way to transform your patio, pool or backyard? Add functionality and beauty to your space with a comprehensive landscape lighting system linked to your whole home lighting control. Fashionable lights highlight your Winnetka home's best features while sensors keep pathways lit at all times. Everything is easily managed from the smart device of your choice. Read on for some tips to a successful system!

SEE MORE: Enhance Your Home’s Style With Smart Lighting

1. Connect Your Landscape Lighting to a Smart Control Solution

The benefits of a landscape lighting system are numerous, from increasing your security to adding personality to your home. However, many people shy away from a comprehensive system because it can be difficult to manage multiple fixtures spread over such a large space. We incorporate your system into your home lighting control and smart home automation solutions.

This way you can manage your system from the same user interface you use to control indoor lights, security, audio/video and more. That interface can be accessed from a smartphone, tablet or touchpad depending on your personal preferences. Below we’ll also talk at how sensors, scenes and schedules help you manage your system.

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Why You Should Hire a Professional to Install Your Smart Technology

In a recent study looking to gauge the growth of new technology, Realtor.com found the top ten markets for smart homes. Sitting at number seven is Chicago, Illinois likely due to the budding markets of its Northern suburbs including Lake Forest, Glenview, and Evanston. But what exactly constitutes a smart home? A smart home gives you interconnected and remote access to your technology. It can start with a few connected devices and ultimately evolve into a smart home automation system.

SEE MORE: 3 Reasons to Upgrade to a Smart Home

While it may be tempting to create a connected home by collecting the latest devices that hit the market, we recommend embracing a comprehensive solution from the start. This way you won’t have to deal with systems that can’t communicate with each other, are prone to break and aren't primed for growth. Below we’ll take a look at some of the advantages of working with a professional when installing a smart home automation system.

Bringing All Your Technology Together

Many smart home products are praised for their simplicity. All you have to do is connect them to the internet, download an app and enjoy the benefits. The problem with this approach is that you’re going to end up needing a “Home” folder on your iPhone to keep track of all the apps you need to follow your daily routine. There’ll be one to change the lights, one to lock the doors, and one to adjust the temperature.

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What Are the Benefits of Smart Home Control Apps?

By now you’ve probably seen advertisements for a variety of home electronics that you can control from a mobile app. There’s one for your thermostat, one for your locks and one for your entertainment. But what if you could bring it all together under one umbrella, practically turning your IPhone or Android into your personal butler. You can do just that with a smart home automation solution in your Highland Park, Illinois property. Below we take a look at some of the best features from the Crestron and Control 4 Apps.

SEE MORE: 3 Reasons to Upgrade to a Smart Home

Four Main Features of the Crestron App

In conjunction with your smart home automation system, Crestron offers a free mobile app that lets you control your lighting, security, entertainment, climate and more. Some other features are also available as in-app purchases.

• Integrate Third Party Apps: Want to settle in for an all-day Netflix marathon? You don't have to navigate through multiple apps just to pick out the show you want and get the lighting just right. Crestron lets you open third party apps within your graphic user interface so you can keep everything under one roof.
• Stay Informed: Receive alerts when a door is left unlocked, someone comes to your front door. or your alarm goes off. This way you can stay connected without having to constantly check-in on your surveillance.
• Upgrade to PinPoint: This add-on lets your system recognize exactly where you are based on your smartphone’s location. This way your user interface immediately adapts your menu to the room you’re in.

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Office:
655 Academy Drive
Northbrook, IL 60062
p:  (847) 868-9200

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Office:
655 Academy Drive
Northbrook, IL 60062
p:  (847) 868-9200