The technology available today is pretty amazing, especially when it comes to custom home automation. You can enhance several aspects of daily living—and your family’s comfort—by implementing any one of the many recent innovations.
REALTOR® Nick FitzGibbon recently met with Craig Sheardown, Owner and Managing Partner of AV Haus Incorporated in Guelph. They talked about artificial intelligence, the increased interest in smart energy monitoring and one of their all-time favourite requests from clients.
NF: How would you describe the services you offer and how long have you been a local business?
CS: AV Haus is in its second year of operation, and it has been non-stop since the day we started!
Our area of focus is to work with our clients, typically custom home builders and homeowners, to design customized home automation systems that both enhance the client’s lifestyle while blending seamlessly into their space.
NF: What are some of the most popular smart tech/home automation features homeowners ask you for?
CS: Because we offer custom solutions for every client, no two projects are ever identical, though there are definitely common requests—namely, being able to enjoy music throughout the home.
Our projects usually include architectural speakers throughout the home and can even include them in outdoor living spaces. This allows for various family members to enjoy their own music in their own spaces, or the same selection throughout the home. This is a key feature for families and for clients who entertain.
NF: Are there any interesting trends you’ve been noticing lately, either in terms of what people are asking for or in the technology itself?
CS: Yes, there are a few we’ve noticed, namely an interest in voice-controlled automation and advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies. We offer some really impressive and exciting options from brands we’ve partnered with that actually let you speak to your home naturally. (i.e., “Okay, I need you to turn on the television, set the lighting scene to ‘cinema’ and lock the front door.”)
We’re also seeing an increase in requests for smart energy monitoring. Consumers are more conscious than ever before of their energy usage and consumption. We offer products that provide a visual representation of energy production trends and help our clients to optimize their energy usage.
NF: How would you separate home automation/smart technology features into those you’d consider essential and ones that are nice to have?
CS: The technologies we provide that make our client’s lives easier, safer and generally more enjoyable are what we consider essential.
Our list would include security features (i.e., video doorbells, smart locks and cameras), reliable networking capabilities—especially with the number of home devices that connect to the internet, as well as the increase in the number of people working and learning remotely, and energy consumption solutions, like motorized blinds and smart thermostats.
We’d also include advanced home theatre systems on our “Essential” list as well, because if you’re going to work hard all day, you deserve a great system to come home to and relax with. Our “Nice to Have” list is long but would definitely include one of our favourite requests: Theatre Rooms.
NF: Many might not realize that lighting design is also something that you do. What are the benefits of customizing and automating the lighting in your home?
CS: This is such an underappreciated aspect of home automation, and one we recommend in all of our projects because of the many benefits it offers!
Lighting is an important feature in our daily lives, in fact it’s essential. It’s not only aesthetically pleasing, but it actually helps your body to stabilize your circadian rhythm, which contributes to a better night’s sleep and improved mood and productivity! We also recommend installing smart lighting features as a means of safety and security.
One feature we program regularly into our projects is used in conjunction with video doorbells. When the doorbell detects motion, which can be up to 30 feet away, it signals the lights in the front entryway of the house to turn on and then off 5 minutes later. This is a great solution for two reasons:
- it means no more walking into a dark house at night, fumbling around for a light switch with your hands full and
- it gives the impression that your home is occupied, even when you’re away.
NF: Is there a particular feature or application you can’t live without? Or perhaps an underrated one you feel most homeowners would benefit from having?
CS: Personally, our family’s most used smart features would include lighting and music. We enjoy setting our lighting “scenes" during different parts of the day, depending on what we might be doing. In the evenings we enjoy a warm, dim ambiance with low audio volumes to promote rest and relaxation. During the day, we’re able to set a scene that mimics daylight—perfect for these dreary winter days or for the basement.
With three young children at home, we’ve also benefited from customizing scenes unique to each bedroom. These customizations include individualized lighting aspects (brightness and colour) as well as preferred audio playlists in each room. The scenes are also programmed with a self-shut-off timer, because as any parent will tell you, you never want to risk sneaking in and waking your sleeping children after they’ve finally fallen asleep!
The key to these features working together is ensuring we use a reliable application that not only allows these scenes to be set, but can also be accessed remotely. Forgot to lock the door? Want to make sure the house is the perfect temperature upon returning home for the day? No problem, the systems we work with allow you to do that remotely from your smart device, wherever you might be.
NF: Is there anything else you might want readers to know?
CS: We have been blown away by the way our community has both supported and embraced us.
As a business we take great pride in the immense levels of trust that our clients put in us when designing their automation systems. We do not take that responsibility lightly; it’s an honour to be invited into houses and help make them homes. We are proud to not only be part of but serve Guelph and surrounding communities.
We also want to ensure that we thank everyone who has supported us while we’ve gotten up and running—our family, friends and valued clients. We could not do what we do without you. And to those who are being introduced to us here for the first time, we can’t wait to meet you!
NF: That’s fantastic, Craig. Thanks for sharing so much great information and showing us all what’s possible for our homes.
Learn more about the services AV Haus offers and contact them online here.
Buying, selling or investing in real estate? Connect with Nick Fitzgibbon online here.