Ocean Front Walkeshwar Apartment Receives a Complete Makeover including a Hidden Home Theater, an Automated Smart Glass and customized Voice Activated Control of the Entire Residence
Pre-Installation and Setup
What started as a basic surround sound system for this Ocean Front Walkeshwar apartment in Mumbai going under renovation, turned into one of the most challenging projects we have had a chance to work on till date. We were extremely fortunate that our clients for this residence are very enthusiastic about the latest in technology and innovative concepts for the home. After experiencing the many solutions we had to offer in our showroom, they fell in love with the idea of turning their weekend home into a cutting edge fully automated residence with maximum use of space and surroundings.
With careful planning with the interior design team and consistent input from the client, we were able to design a complete concealed 5.1 Surround Sound Setup with a Hidden Full HD Projector and Projection Screen. A 2 nd Zone of Audio was also planned for the Bedroom which allows the family to listen to music, the news, or even the latest sporting event even while the main zone may be occupied.
But AV is just the beginning for this future ready residence. The home owners wanted the entire residence under automation control, with all possible interfaces to control the system. Smart Phone or Tablets, Amazon Alexa in each room, In-Wall Kepads and In-Wall touch screens throughout would ensure control of anything is not more than a click away.
By the time we were finished, the entire residence was smart. From the Doorbird Doorstation and Yale Smart Lock at the entrance, to the motorized window shadings and complete lighting control throughout the residence, every aspect of the residence has a smart control option.
A serious Home Cinema Experience was the original reason the home owners of this residence approached us for this project. They wanted to create an enjoyable entertainment experience without having to break the pocket book, but also make the maximum use of space in their rooms. The living room would serve as an entertainment lounge as well as a Full Scale Home Cinema with a Projector and Projection Screen to complement the 5.1 Surround Sound System.
To maximize space, we designed the Front LCR speakers to be placed In-Wall behind the Front Projection Screen. This would involve us fixing a perforated projection screen which would allow the audio to pass even though the speakers are placed behind the screen, but would create the most space for the room with the speakers neatly concealed inside the wall. Similarly for the surround speakers, we chose to proceed with In-Ceiling speakers which would neatly fit in the ceiling without compromising on space in the room, but still deliver a superior sound stage. With the speakers completely hidden, the architects and our clients also wanted to conceal the remainder products in the Home Theater to create a luxury setting which can transform to an entertainment experience when required. The Home Owner suggested a solution to hide their projector inside a boxing which would fit the décor of the room, and only have a small hole cut for the projector lens to project the image. The Projection Screen would also be completely hidden in its own right, only appearing when the projector comes on and the system comes to life.
The concealment of the projection screen proved to be one of the most intricate works of in the project, requiring us to be very precise to accommodate the solution being planned. A beautiful rollable painting would cover the projection screen when it was not being used, and would roll into a niche created above the screen when the entertainment system is on. Through the help of the Control4 automation system, we were able to program the painting to roll up as soon as the projector was turned on, and similarly roll down concealing the Projection Screen when the projector is turned off.
After a great deal of research and product demonstrations with the home owner, we were able to finalize on the BIC America brand of In-Wall and In-Ceiling Speakers and subwoofer, along with an Epson EH-TW6700 Projector for the living space. The EH-TW6700 was a perfect fit for the 96’’ Diagonal Projection Image which needed to be generated from the 14 ft throw distance.
The high contrast ratio and vivid clarity of the Epson shined even with the curtains open in daytime viewing scenarios.
Considering the layout of the room optical placement of the subwoofer was in the back of the room where both rows of seating connected. The 10’’ BIC America V1020 was the subwoofer we finalized and it produced extremely accurate bass even down to 30Hz frequencies.
For our Audio/Video cables we did not want to compromise the experience in any way and suggested Tributaries Cables to our client. The HDMI cables all support 4K in case a projection upgrade is made in the future, and their speaker wires and subwoofer cables all ensure no audio loss occurs during transmission.
The Home Owners wanted all possible sources at their disposal since the living room would be their prime entertainment zone. We installed a Synology DS216Play NAS and installed Plex Media Server so that they can store their entire digital collection of movies and music which can be easily played in any room in the residence. We also integrated and Apple TV as the media player and the Pioneer BDP-180 for their Blu-Ray Player.
With a second zone of audio being planned for the Bedroom, we wanted to choose and AV Receiver which allowed us to easily control and power both zones from a single amplifier. To save on space and easily add a second zone, we chose the Pioneer VSX-930- K AV Receiver which more than met all of our requirements. With BIC America MSR-PRO6 In-Ceiling Speakers installed in the bedroom, this allowed our home owner to easily listen to music in the bedroom independent of what the main zone in the living room was being used for. Volume control is also independent for the second zone, so controlling the source and volume for this area became a breeze with the Pioneer VSX-930- K.
We’ve already touched based earlier in this write up on some of the scale of automation and the unique elements which were added to this project. The home owners are very tech savvy and found very creative ways to maximize the use of the automation system. To begin with, a Doorbird Doorstation was integrated at the front entrance so that the home owners would receive a notification on their smart phones whenever the bell was rung. This notification would come whether they are at home or even away. Once the notification is checked, the Doorbird app is opened and our customer can have a video call with anyone at the door. Using the Yale YRD- 220 Smart Lock which was also integrated at the entrance, they can directly send a command via their Doorbird app to unlock the front door from anywhere in the world directly from their smart phone. The Yale Smart Lock also allows access via a digital master code which saves the customer from having to carry keys whenever they choose to leave the residence.
Once inside the residence, three in-wall Ipad’s which are home to the Control4 interface, two keypads, two Amazon Echo Dot’s to easily control the Lighting, Split A/C’s, Ceiling Fans, Audio/Video, and Motorized Window Shadings.
But to take the home automation a step further, the home owner asked for some very unique customization which had not been integrated till date in any of our projects. Starting from the entrance, one of the custom features we added was to automatically turn on the entrance indoor and outdoor lights when the doorbell button on the Doorbird Doorstation was pressed if it was night time. The Control4 automation system has an amazing feature which lets you schedule automation events based on the time of day. Using this feature we were able to easily schedule the lights to come on at the doorbell press, but only if the time was after sunset and before sunrise.
With the many in-wall IPads placed throughout the residence for automation control, it was important to keep the Ipads charged. Of course keeping them on charge 24/7 would drain the battery life. So our client asked us to schedule the Ipad’s to charge once a day from 2 am to 6 am when they would be least used. That would ensure all the Ipad’s are active and charged all day, getting re-charged automatically without adversely affecting the batteries.
For the Audio/Video we set up a custom lighting scene to activate when the projector came on, and depending on whether it was daytime or nighttime, accordingly dimmed the lights to specific levels along with closing the motorized window shadings and turning on cooling fans to keep the projector cool in its compartment. We also programmed customized voice commands using the Amazon Echo Dot to easily turn on the home theater and any particular source, turn off the home theater, set a custom lighting scene, turn on the Fan or A/C, set the Fan or A/C to a particular speed or temperature, and open or close the Motorized Window Shadings. Controlling the residence became extremely fast and simple. The home owners could just communicate their requirements to their home and it would respond.
This particular residence has a glass separating the Living Room and Kitchen. The Home Owners wanted the glass to become transparent when the kitchen was in use and opaque when they wanted to conceal the view to the kitchen. They installed a smart glass which could easily be triggered to transparent or opaque by an electrical switch. On their request, we were also able to automate the smart glass using the Control4 Home Automation system. The smart glass was added to scenes such as “Movie Watching” and “Friends Over” to automatically become transparent or opaque depending on our clients requirements for that particular scene. They were also able to voice control the smart glass using the Amazon Echo Dot.
Again taking advantage of Control4 scheduling and Contro4’s new Z2IO wireless relay and contact sensor, we were able to customize the passage lights to come on automatically when the bedroom door is opened at night. Just incase someone is trying to use the restroom or walk to the living room while being quiet, the contact sensor on the bedroom door alerts the Control4 system whenever the door is opened between the hours of sunset and sunrise, resulting in the passage lights automatically coming on.
Network and Media Streaming
With the large number of networked devices in this system, a very strong network infrastructure was needed to ensure the system responded instantaneously and maintained constant uptime. Our home owners relied heavily on the automation system for control of the residence, while home or away. We did not want to use a brand of networking hardware which could result in an unstable system. We integrate our go-to brand for Networking and Wifi, Ubiquiti.
One Ubiquiti UAP-AC- Lite was placed centrally in a trap door in the passage at this residence and it performed flawlessly giving coverage throughout the residence. An Ubiquiti US-8- 60W 8- Port POE Network switch was also used for the wired devices on the network. This ensured a quick response time between our Control4 EA-1 automation controller and the many wired and wireless automation devices.
Apple TV’s were installed in both the living room and bedroom so that a variety of streaming options were available to our clients. They could stream their digital library of movies or music from their Synology NAS, or watch streaming services such as Netflix, Hotstar and Amazon Prime. The Apple TV’s could be easily controlled via the Control4 Home Automation System. The Synology NAS played a key role in not just storing digital movies and music, but home videos and family photos which could be watched on the large projection screen or the television in the bedroom.
Components and Cables
Home Automation Controllers: Control4 EA-1
Home Automation Universal Remote Control: Control4 SR-260
Motorized Window Shadings Control: Axxess RCS6
Lighting Control: Control4 C4-DIN- 8DIM-E
In-Wall Keypad: Control4 C4-KCB- BL
In-Wall IPad: Apple IPad Mini 2
Home Theater Speakers: BIC America M-PRO6W In-Wall Speakers, BIC America MSR-PRO6
In-Ceiling Speakers with BIC America V1020 subwoofer
Home Theater Amplifier: Pioneer VSX-930- K
Bedroom Speakers: BIC America MSR-PRO6
Video Door Phone: Doorbird D101
Smart Lock: Yale YRD-220
Voice Control: Amazon Echo Dot
HVAC Control: Card Access Z2IR
Fan Control: Matterlink Multi-X with Pecham F2 Universal Fan Speed Controller
NAS: Synology DS216Play
Blu-Ray Player: Pioneer BDP-180
Media Player: Apple TV 4 th Generation
HDMI Cables: Tributaries UHDP-010K, Tributaries UDHP-150K
Subwoofer Interconnect: Tributaries 2AD-030B
IPad Mount: Vidabox Ipad Mini Mount
The combination of so many different elements and brands from the custom integration industry working together delivered an easy to use and extremely useful experience for this residence. The Home Owners have easily adapted to using voice activated control to automate their devices, streamlining their home to work to their schedule and their needs. The system has an instantaneous response time and great reliability thanks to its strong network backbone.
From turning on the A/C to turning off the smart glass, everything is programmed and controllable. The A/V is the hallmark feature of this residence with the hidden home theater coming to life at the push of a button. Watching sporting events or movies delivers an amazing surround sound experience and the BIC America speakers deliver wonderful cinematic quality. The Pioneer amp easily powers both zones of audio with ease, and the Epson projector displays incredible visuals both day and night.
The Final Verdict
The Automation Solution we integrated for this Mumbai client spoke volumes about how automation can be customized to someone’s lifestyle and needs. As an integration company we strive to customize the setup to enhance and simplify our customer’s lifestyle. With the many customizations they have integrated, our clients are able to entertain their guests and themselves with relative ease in their new smart home.