Integrating technology into a project

Integrating technology into a self-build project is fast becoming the norm. CEDIA (the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association) discusses what can be achieved by installing technology in the most important rooms in your house

Bedrooms

Comfort and style play key roles in the design of the latest technologies for the bedroom.Remote controls and smart panels fitted nearby mean that you can have full control of the technology in your room, and around your house for that matter, from the convenience of your bed.

Many people enjoy the luxury of TV in the bedroom, but find it hard to make it blend with the interiors. One option to make this more aesthetically pleasing is to hide it when not in use. This can be done through enclosing the TV in cabinetry with fold away doors or through a motorised mechanism when the TV is not being watched. These mechanisms are most popular in cabinets or chests above or at the foot of the bed in the ceiling and can be hidden at the click of a button.

Babs Moore, the director of Amina Technologies Ltd, has a vast amount of expertise and is hugely positive about the use of audio systems in the bedroom. She comments:

“In this room, audio is most commonly used for listening to music and the radio, however surround sound should be considered to compliment this if a TV is in place. In-ceiling speakers provide a discrete solution which fills the room with sound but for better audio performance, then on-wall or in-wall speakers are an option. For the ultimate unobtrusive sound, invisible speakers can be plastered or wallpapered over.”

As well as audio visual, there is a huge range of technology available for the control of the lighting, blinds and the curtains in the bedroom. Different ‘scenes’ can be set to allow you to change the feel of the room by one click of a button.

Bathrooms

There’s a definite trend in adding built in TVs in the bathroom. They can be seamlessly integrated into a bathroom wall and the range available ensures it compliments any décor, including “mirror” screens that disappear from view when switched off.Obviously TV screens in a damp space or where there’s risk of water damage should be waterproof.

For audio, in-wall docks are perfect as a subtle and tasteful home for your iPod. They can be easily installed with minimum wires and fuss and connect through almost any local or home audio system.

A bathroom’s interior can also be combined with lighting systems to create beautiful effects; colour-changing LEDs provide a beautiful and innovative setting. The scope of colours available means you can cater to any mood, and enjoy a contemporary energy-saving solution to illuminating your bathroom.

All in all, technology allows the bathroom to transformed into a relaxing environment where you can watch your favourite TV show or listen to your playlist.

Kitchens

The desire for tech pieces, such as flip-down or integrated TVs, which you can watch while you’re in the kitchen so you don’t miss your favourite show, or touchscreen family computers that work well on kitchen tables, so you can keep an eye on children doing their homework while you’re preparing meals have become popular additions.

A smart kitchen also has the ability to hold professionally integrated audio. This can be installed so that users can play music through their existing iPod without any need for wiring or docking stations. Homeowners can hear their favourite song in rich, hi-fi quality instantly through invisible speakers. These types of speakers can be discreetly installed in ceilings and walls, built into units behind grilles to cabinetry or plastered in completely so they become totally invisible.

As we increasingly spend more of our time in the kitchen, it is also becoming important as a control centre for the home. Control systems allow homeowners to have control over and monitor the entire house through an iPad, iPhone or built-in custom design touch panel. A 3D representation of the whole house can be displayed in the kitchen and show where music is playing, lights and heating are on, doors and windows are left open and even if there is a fire breaking out.

Living space

For many, the living space can be important as it is the entertainment area.It is often an open plan space which means that it is a multi-functional space – used to watch TV, eat dinner, read a book or entertain a group of people.

Typically, the room centres around a TV. The TV can be fitted to a motorised bracket which allows it to be moved and achieve optimum viewing. For example, if you are cooking in the kitchen but still want to see the TV, the screen can be positioned accordingly.

Surround sound audio is preferred when watching a film.The placement of speakers in rooms is a science and can improve sound immensely.Generally speakers are situated above or to the side of the screen, which allows the sound to be directed right to a listener’s ear.

Mood lighting can be achieved in this space. As a multi-functional room, lighting scenes can be set to reflect the current activity.Bright lights when reading a book, dimmed lighted when watching a film.

By integrating the lights, curtains, video and audio entertainment into a control system, the perfect ambience can be achieved in this space.

Babs Moore adds that:

“The use of invisible speakers creates added flexibility allowing a stunning space for entertaining and living providing high clarity room filling sound for parties or full surround or 3D sound for watching films with zero visual intrusion.”