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Day 4 at #CEDIA17 with Customised

CEDIA Day 4 - UK Misses Out For Now

I’ve set myself a challenge during this years CEDIA Show in San Diego. I’ve got to get a blog out every day of the show.

The CEDIA (Custom Electronics Design and Installation Association) industry has taken it’s annual EXPO to San Diego this year and has literally taken over the Gaslamp and Convention Centre areas of this coastal gem in California. CEDIA 2017 is a 100% dedicated to Home Technology show running between 5th and 9th of September. Over 500 exhibitors and 150 training courses are available to visitors to the show.

Saturday was billed as the quiet day of the show, lots of visitors will be going back home for the weekend and it’s the day which exhibitors use to see the show after the rush of the previous days. For me Saturday was the day I got to spend the most time with exhibitors. I also revisited some of the booths from my first day at the show.

Portal had a great destination booth to visit at the show. Great visual aids to convey the service and really helpful staff. Portal is an aggregator of all your suppliers in one platform. You can build your quotations and proposals within Portal and once accepted can start the order process from the same platform. Portal will separately raise the purchase orders from your preferred suppliers. Although heavily focused on the US market, the staff at Portal seemed undeterred about working with myself and UK suppliers to get this working for Customised and others on the other side of the pond. Watch this space.

Wi-Fi is the invisible infrastructure that ties a lot of our home technology together in our projects and there was a strong presence from several manufacturers of wireless networking equipment. I spent time quizzing Ubiquiti about new products launching and can confirm a higher capacity Network Video Recorder is coming to the UK very soon. Eero are not a brand we can get hold of in the UK but it was neat to see their mesh system no with the launch of POE, a global standard for powering devices using network cable, compatible devices then it won’t be long before we see this featuring in UK installations. TP-Link, Hewlett Packard and Netgear all showed off mesh wi-fi systems at the show.

As I headed for the exit doors at the show, I spied a tiny Logitech Harmony display on a booth by ADI. I had no idea who ADI were prior to the show as they are not in the UK but I had to take a quick look at the Harmony Pro remote control and hub, currently not available in the UK. The Hub benefits from an improved IR distribution kit and better remote access features for Harmony professional dealers. Logitech Harmony have launched a new Pro portal on their website packed with support, e-learning and marketing assets. UK Installers can sign up for the Pro service but will have to wait for the Harmony Pro remote. Be patient, it’s coming.

My trip to CEDIA 2017 will be a significant milestone in the Customised journey and I’ve gathered so much experience and knowledge from the trip. It was so good to meet with old friends and make some long lasting new ones. I’ll be back next year to create another milestone.

Look out for the effects it’s going to have on services and communication from Customised by finding us and following us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Also, let me know if you want any particular topics tackled in our blogs.

See you next year San Diego.

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Day 3 at #CEDIA17 with Customised

CEDIA Day 3 - Sonos Can't Win

I’ve set myself a challenge during this years CEDIA Show in San Diego. I’ve got to get a blog out every day of the show.

The CEDIA (Custom Electronics Design and Installation Association) industry has taken it’s annual EXPO to San Diego this year and has literally taken over the Gaslamp and Convention Centre areas of this coastal gem in California. CEDIA 2017 is a 100% dedicated to Home Technology show running between 5th and 9th of September. Over 500 exhibitors and 150 training courses are available to visitors to the show.

Friday was the standout day of the show, crowd numbers swelled, excitement peaked and the weekend was starting. Friday was my Sonos day. I attended the Sonos 101 seminar at the convention centre in the morning and then ended the day with a visit to the Sonos Loft outside in the vibrant Gaslamp area of the city.

Sonos are the coolest cats at CEDIA, they know, we know it. Whilst typing up this blog a video criticising Sonos at CEDIA has surfaced on social media, I kind of get why the tweeter was blasting them online but if he had the opportunity to see the effort Sonos made in their Loft in Gaslamp then I’m not sure he would have posted his short video. Sonos probably aren't loosing sleep over the criticism.

In between Sonos commitments I got to have a close look at the latest product and service launches from Samsung, Krika and Hogar Controls.

Samsung showcased the new Frame televisions. Frame couples the latest TV technology with beautiful artwork encased in customisable TV frames. When your not watching TV, the Frame reverts to being your favourite artwork. The display reacts to ambient light to dim as the room lighting changes to retain a realistic painting like display. Samsung have a great artwork collection you can access and you can choose several frame finishing. Go and find this cutting edge television online.

Krika have a long heritage in remote monitoring of your installations network devices and at CEDIA they announced their Krika Concierge service, which probably can’t launch soon enough for some installers. Krika Concierge are going to handle your initial technical support calls and queries from your customers, assisting them in remedying issues without the installer having to get involved. They will aim to resolve issues as a first responder but if necessary escalate it to a service visit from your team if advanced or in home support is required. Krika Concierge has different service plans available to installation businesses. Track them down on social media to get more information.

Hogar Controls were long term targets from my pre-show planning. Their participation in the Z-Wave Alliance area hid a compatibility with Apple HomeKit but I found it in my pre-show investigation. Hogar make a stylish range of products which give elegant control of lighting from a wall switch or wireless button. Their switches are finished with a glass faceplate and metallic trim around the edge with control provided by touch sensitive buttons behind the glass exterior. The communication with your Apple Home is via a Hub and this is the part which works with Apple HomeKit. We’re going to get some of these switches and a hub for testing very soon so look out for tweets or Instagram posts when I get my hands on them.

An evening reception with CEDIA closed Day 3 at the show and it was an excellent opportunity to network with other CEDIA members based around the globe.

Day 4 is my last day at the show and it's going to be a mad dash to tick off all the things I wanted to see.

Follow the Customised Story at CEDIA 2017 on Instagram, search for @customised1.

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Day 2 at #CEDIA17 with Customised

Day 2 - The Amazon Effect

I’ve set myself a challenge during this years CEDIA Show in San Diego. I’ve got to get a blog out every day of the show.

The CEDIA (Custom Electronics Design and Installation Association) industry has taken it’s annual EXPO to San Diego this year and has literally taken over the Gaslamp and Convention Centre areas of this coastal gem in California. CEDIA 2017 is a 100% dedicated to Home Technology show running between 5th and 9th of September. Over 500 exhibitors and 150 training courses are available to visitors to the show.

The doors opened to the show floor and visitors to the show poured in to experience the best and latest in home technology. I had barely walked 5 steps through the entrance and was faced by the huge Lutron booth. Highlights from this global lighting and shades specialist were the launch of the RA2 Select controller for larger wireless installations, a new Pico scene controller and a slick looking Lutron app for control of your home including simple access for the homeowner to change their automation and scene preferences.

On the Lutron booth I had the great pleasure of meeting Rob from The Tech Reps and we spoke in length about The One Day Smart Home concept and business model and how Lutron can be a big part of the speedy installation process.

Next up we spent some time with the fabulous guys and girls from Leon Speakers and were wowed by the products they create to conceal your everyday technology.

A major highlight was getting a tour of the Smart Life Roadshow trailer. This Smart Home experience by Intel and Amazon Alexa is a must follow on social media. The lifestyle enhancements they are promoting using home technology is inspiring for the Customised team as we are about to create our own Smart Life facility in Norfolk.

I had the amazing privilege of meeting and chatting with Carley Knobloch on the CEDIA booth and got some quick insights from her about the benefits a smarter home can bring a homeowner and their family. Carley did a fantastic job hosting the CEDIA Awards held during the show. Find Carley on Instagram, @carleyknobloch.

After lunch I attended the Keynote by Amazon Home Services and have to admit that after this captivating presentation ended I was dazed by the announcements. Amazon have handed CEDIA members the mid market home technology opportunity on a plate. They have provided the CEDIA channel with a signposted trail to the mass market. The news of Amazon Home Sevices endorsing and promoting CEDIA certified member businesses will prove to be the catalyst that kicks that exponential curve in a rapid ascent to high volume installation work for CEDIA members.

Amazon Saves CEDIA blog coming very soon!

It was great to see that Amazon place great importance on the need for CEDIA members listed to be CEDIA ESC qualified. Customised have had ESC-T qualified staff since 2011 and had minor marketing perks to having this certification until now. Now we have a waiting game until Home Services launches in the UK. I will be making enquiries into possible launch dates for a UK service.

Last night I had the great pleasure of attending the HomeTech Podcast Happy Hour in the awesome Gaslamp area of the city. It was a lot of fun meeting the hosts of my favourite podcast in person and to meet fellow listeners of the show who I’ve spoken with on social media and forums. This is a major part of the CEDIA experience, meeting with friends, discussing the industry and sharing experiences to benefit each other. A great night thanks to the sponsors iHummingbird.

Looking onwards to Day 3 of the show, more training courses are booked with Sonos, Lutron and CEDIA, meetings are arranged with Honeywell, Ring and Nest and the evening is planned at the Just Add Power party back in the Gaslamp region.

Follow the Customised Story at CEDIA 2017 on Instagram, search for @customised1.

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Day 1 at #CEDIA17 with Customised

I’ve set myself a challenge during this years CEDIA Show in San Diego. I’ve got to get a blog out everyday of the show.

The CEDIA (Custom Electronics Design and Installation Association) industry has taken it’s annual EXPO to San Diego this year and has literally taken over the Gaslamp and Convention Centre areas of this coastal gem in California. CEDIA 2017 is a 100% dedicated to Home Technology show running between 5th and 9th of September. Over 500 exhibitors and 150 training courses are available to visitors to the show.

The show floor officially opens on Thursday the 7th but training began on the 5th at the venue. I touched down in San Diego on the 6th and immediately got involved with manufacturer training sessions which are free to attend during the show.

First up was a session with iDevices, a Connecticut based tech manufacturer, with a growing range of Apple HomeKit compatible lighting switches and dimmers, power outlets and thermostats. They covered all their new products, described a hub-less Smart Home using Bluetooth and Wi-Fi technology and showed their products as a viable alternative to Leviton and Lutron wireless lighting solutions.

This session was closely followed by an overview period with the Z-Wave Alliance. This global connected home standard continues to be the default communication choice for manufacturers and service providers. New improvements in mesh network healing, advancements in security protocols and continued backwards compatibility with early devices make this a hugely popular platform for home technology professionals and electricians worldwide.

One of the great benefits of attending global shows like CEDIA is the opportunity to meet, in person, people we network with in industry forums, on social media and who we listen to on podcasts. Check out our social media this week to see us catch-up with industry friends. It was great to catch up with colleagues on Day 1.

Day 1 ended with the attendance of the CEDIA opening Keynote speech by Dave Evans, Co-Founder and CTO, Stringify. Dave famously coined the term “Internet of Everything” and his Keynote charted the exponential growth in the need for more data, more speed and more storage to support the connected future. Population growth coupled with non-sustainable demands on essential resources has put an even greater emphasis on technology to provide new answers we need to find. The Keynote mapped out a future where crucial services like healthcare, transportation and agriculture will rely heavily on the Internet of Intelligent Things to handle the continuing growth.

Looking onwards to Day 2, the doors are open to the main show floor and thousands of visitors will get up close to the newest and best technology available for their homeowner clients. Dozens of training sessions will be running today. I’m booked in for training with Amazon Alexa and I’m attending another Keynote in the evening by Amazon Smart Home Services. On the show floor I will be making a beeline for the Leon Speakers, Savant, Lutron and Josh.ai booths.

Follow the Customised Story at CEDIA 2017 on Instagram, search for @customised1.

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CEDIA 2017 - San Diego - #CEDIA17 #LiveInstall

Why go further? Why go out of area? Is there not enough to satisfy the need for our Smart Home knowledge at Integrated Systems Europe or the Essential Install Show?

This year Customised are going further to gather the knowledge needed to improve our professional home technology installation service in customers homes. The UK home market is in a major acceleration phase in the use and adoption of home technology devices. The pace ramped up when Google, Apple, Amazon and other giant tech business put down their early markers in the home control game.

The giants, now tagged with the GAFA acronym by Bruno Napoli, instantly made Smart Home living available to all homeowners. They’ve made it so simple to control your home with an app or your voice. The giants have been clever because all they have really created are platforms for the next tier of tech giants to revel in. On HomeKit, Google Home and Amazon Alexa brands such as Philips, Honeywell, Nest, Ikea and many other well known brands are thriving and working together. GAFA retain the attention of the end user by providing the platform on their product. After you've dimmed the lights then you’re quickly back to social media, online shopping and sharing your data with them.

Customised believe strongly that we can also revel and thrive by working with these platforms. We’re embracing the opportunities to professionally install Nest thermostats, Hue lightbulbs and Logitech buttons for homeowners. There are many people who will install their own technology but there are equally hundreds and thousands of homeowners who will insist on the tech being installed for them. These are typically the same people who pay for more established services such as gardening, car detailing, cleaning and ironing.

Installing and setting up home control products is not as simple as it’s often portrayed. Often the people exclaiming that the tech is DIY and too easy are techy people working within this industry. Go and ask your mum or your cousin or your hairdresser if they would be able to install and setup a Smart door lock or a Smart thermostat. They wouldn't dream of it. Think about the homeowner more and you’ll see that Do It For Me home tech install is a fast establishing service offering.

Looping back to CEDIA 2017, surely it is all about the “custom install” brands and GAFA are excluded from this industry gathering. Wrong.

Amazon - sponsors of the CEDIA training during the show and have two large exhibition booths.

Google - huge exhibition space at the show alongside Nest.

Apple - Works with Apple HomeKit compatible products are all over the show.

I’m betting there will be over one thousand Amazon Echo’s setup and controlling booths at the show. I’m certain that Google, Amazon and Apple staff will be gathering valuable knowledge from the CEDIA show visitors to improve their services and products.

If they are there to soak up knowledge from me then I’ll equally be tapping into their insights and projections for a connected home future. The industry is moving at such a fast pace that Customised have a responsibility to our existing and future customers to be at the biggest shows and see the next generation of products and services. This is our first CEDIA EXPO but will definitely not be our last.

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Is it easy to use? I like simple. #SmartHome

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Is it easy to use? I like simple. #SmartHome

Time and time again we hear the same comment from clients.

"Is it easy to use? It has to be easy to work. I don't want anything too complicated. "

To be honest, Smart Home often isn't. The technically superior members of a family will pick up the new home control methods in seconds but there is always someone who never gets to grips with it right away.

I thought about this a lot when we introduced the Smart Home with Speed services. Work to the lowest skill level. Make the system so easy that my Grandma could use it. 

We use the Apple Home control platform, yes Apple, the people who make your phone. You know how easy that is to use. Their home automation app is so simple to live with. You also get the added benefit of Siri voice control of your home too. 

So, if you can work a iPhone or iPad then you will get on splendidly with a Customised Smart Home. You don't have to worry about the installation of the tech, our team of installers will install the devices and set them up in only a few hours. Wi-Fi throughout the house, lights made smart, heating made intelligent, music everywhere and security ramped up to a new level of reassurance.

To get one of our Smart Home with Speed systems follow these three steps: 

1. Fill out our Contact Us page. 

2. Our survey team will schedule a free survey at a time and date that suits you. 

3. Discuss your Smart Home requirements and installation date with our friendly survey team. 

We're here to make things easier for you. A Smart Home is simple with Customised.

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Gadget of the Week - Philips Hue - @tweethue

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Gadget of the Week - Philips Hue - @tweethue

Gadget of the week 

Philips Hue White and Colour Ambiance Starter Kit B22

Forgotten to switch the lights off at home? Don’t worry you can switch it off anywhere using your smartphone. The Philips Hue is a smart lighting system that can be controlled by an app on your smart phone. The bulbs have over 16 million colours including cool white to warm white plus dimming effects so that you can customise your lighting to your own personal daily routine. It is also compatible with Amazon Echo, Apple HomeKit and Google Home.

Available from online retailers, from £149.99

Customised are your Norfolk based CEDIA Smart Home experts.

Philips Hue image

Philips Hue image

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A Week With Customised - #SmartHome #WorkExperience

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A Week With Customised - #SmartHome #WorkExperience

Hello everyone, I am Valentina Mazzilli I am a second year student at East Norfolk Sixth Form College. I study 3D Design, Textiles and Financial Studies and I have be doing my work experience at Customised. I met Kris and Anna through a business talk, and immediately liked them and their business. Customised is a small business who listen and work closely with their clients. Each project they work on is different and Kris and Anna make sure that their clients are happy and get exactly what they want from the project. 

Over my time at Customised I have been on site with Kris learning about how smart lighting works and how smart houses function. Being a part of a real project was extremely insightful as to how much work really goes into projects. Anna and Kris really have so much passion for their work and it shows in everything they do. I have also worked with Anna in the office, I’ve written the Gadget of the Week for the EDP (Eastern Daily Press) also I have been updating the company's Houzz profile with photos and captions. Anna and Zoe took me to ‘Norfolk Tweetup’ which is a casual networking event for local businesses this was a good opportunity for me to meet other businesses and speak to them about what they do. 

It really has been a joy and I am so grateful to Anna and Kris for this wonderful opportunity to be apart of there team. I have gained lots of valuable skills and learnt interesting things since I have been with Customised. Both Anna and Kris are so full of knowledge and were kind enough to share it with me.

Picture by Inspired Youth

Picture by Inspired Youth

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Wipeout Your Wi-Fi Woes with Customised

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Wipeout Your Wi-Fi Woes with Customised

Wi-Fi Woes

I’m always asking new customers about their wi-fi, it fascinates me how many homeowners put up with awful wi-fi coverage. You wouldn’t put up with water slowly flowing out of your kitchen taps or have low voltage at your plug sockets causing appliances not to work correctly, yet having a poor wi-fi signal in parts of your home continues for months and years in people homes. I know it causes arguments in the home.

A kick back comment may be that you’ve tried a signal extender from a high street retailer or you phoned BT. You were either left with a plug in adaptor that requires you to connect to a new network in other parts of the house or your Hub has been shifted around the house where a phone socket appears to see if it’s any improvement.

Why are you committing so much of your valuable time to messing around with your wi-fi coverage, never making any apparent improvement?

For the Customised Tech Team, making wi-fi reach every corner of your home is a bread and butter task for us. We will carry out a 15-20 minute survey of the home. Specify and quote you for a wi-fi system and suggest some dates for installation.

On your installation date we install a high performance wi-fi system. We setup the network equipment, test the performance, show you how to manage the network and sign the installation off with you. You get left with glorious whole house wi-fi, a happy family and thoughts of “what else could the Tech Team do for me?”

A wi-fi system, supplied and professionally installed starts from £500 including VAT.

It’s time you got the Customised Tech Team in. Call 01508 528964 or email demo@customised.uk.com

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One Day Smart Home - Customised #SmartHome Blog

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One Day Smart Home - Customised #SmartHome Blog

Smart Home with Speed is an evolutionary way to have technology professionally installed in your home. For decades, the process of owning a Smart Home was normally aligned with a major renovation of your home or a complete new build project. It typically took months to complete and was a major investment, sometimes costing £10,000 and upwards.

When we were working on the concept of Smart Home with Speed the main objectives were faster installation, lower costs and most importantly a great homeowner experience. The results of  our research and planning culminated in the creation of our hugely popular service.

One Day Smart Home

The One Day service ticks all the key Smart Home boxes. From the get go our Tech Team target the source of all your connectivity, your internet connection. We review the location of your router, assess the wi-fi coverage and then install a new, improved wi-fi access point which will send wi-fi further around your home.

From that improved wireless foundation we then target essential services like heating, lighting and security.

A smart thermostat with features like geo-fencing and easy scheduling replaces your dumb thermostat for control of your heating and hot water. This upgrade introduces huge savings to your household energy bills.

Lighting in up to three rooms benefit from a change to Smart LED bulbs which will dim without flicker, save energy and can be scheduled to simulate occupancy when you are out. You can even have different colours and temperature of light.

For enhanced security the One Day system offers two options. Either a Smart Doorbell, which becomes your eyes at your front door to never miss a delivery and answer the front door, or you can choose an indoor camera which will monitor when people enter a room or use it to keep an eye on your pets.

To continue the monitoring theme we install two sensors. The first will detect water and we commonly place this under the kitchen or utility room sink. The second sensor measures air quality, humidity and temperature and can be placed anywhere in the home.

After this installation phase, typically 3-4 hours, we turn our attention to the entertainment devices in the One Day Smart Home system.

Your TV is treated to a new on-demand streaming box. Apple TV is installed and connected to your high definition TV via HDMI cable and set up to your preferences. Apple TV accesses a world of streaming TV, music, movies and games. Apple TV plays a key role in the Smart Home operation, it acts as the hub to allow remote control of your home when you’re away.

Music gets a 21st century upgrade, we install the first part of your Sonos wireless music system with a Play:1 speaker going into a room of your choosing. Sonos is an easy to expand wireless multi-room music system that streams music from all the popular services such as Apple Music, Spotify and TuneIn radio.

So now that's all the tech installed, next we turn our attention to the controls. iPhone and iPad apps along with Siri voice control are the primary methods of controlling the systems. In overall control is the Apple Home app which takes control of the heating, lighting, security, sensors and TV services. Siri is the convenient assistant you can use to issue commands for lighting levels, whole house scenes or request the status of the home. For the Sonos music system we use the outstanding Sonos app to give you the maximum features of the music system available to you.

The most important part of the package is that it is professionally installed. Two highly skilled home technology technicians, members of the Customised Tech Team will prepare, install, setup and show you how to operate your new Smart Home system. Any questions and queries you have about controlling, personalising and automating the system are dealt with not just on installation day but there are follow up appointments made to ensure you are getting the maximum benefits from the system.

Should any technical issues arise, Smart Home with Speed customers get a dedicated support email, telephone number and access to the Tech Team database of FAQ’s and videos. Your first year of service and support is included in the initial purchase of £2000 including VAT.

In summary, your home is going to receive a home technology makeover in under ten hours. Heating, lights, security, monitoring and entertainment services in the home are going to be made smarter. A professional installation team will guide you through the installation from initial survey to installation through to support and servicing. The Customised Tech Team are on a mission to make your home smart with as little disruption to your home and lifestyle as possible. Smart Home with Speed.

Contact Customised on 01508 528964 or contact us via our website at www.customised.uk.com

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