LuxLive 2018

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LuxLive 2018

Yesterday Customised attended LuxLive, Europe's biggest annual lighting event.

Held at ExCel London, the venue was packed with many fantastic lighting technology stands, brands and visitors. As well as over 100 expert speakers, covering crucial topics including emergency lighting, safer cities, lighting for transport and infrastructure, workplace and wellbeing lighting and much more. One of the stands there was Lutron, a brand that we both provide and love. We at customised were looking forward to seeing all of the latest lighting tech but something was always going to grab our attention a little bit more than the rest and that was the new RA2 Select lighting system by Lutron.

So, just what does this brilliant bit of equipment do? The RA2 Select is a whole-home lighting and shading control system designed to meet the needs of any residential property. The new system is configured by default and easily personalised by the homeowner. Recommended lighting and shading scenes are automatically created as each device is added to the system, improving speed of installation and ease of use. The simple, fast and flexible system provides smart home capabilities, personalised control and added convenience for the homeowner. A free app allows users to monitor and adjust lights and blinds on their smart device wherever they are, offering complete control. 

RA2 Select also seamlessly integrates with other smart home technologies bringing added simplicity to the smart home, including Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, The Google Assistant, Honeywell Wi-Fi Thermostats, Nest and Sonos….which is exactly why we love it even more! If you would like to find out more about the RA2 Select then please do get in touch with us.

We had a great time yesterday, meeting lots of interesting people and finding out about all of the latest lighting systems that are developing all of the time, making our lives easier, smarter and cheaper. Thank you to all who made it a top day and be sure to check out our social media channels for videos, pictures and much more from LuxLive 2018.

See you all again at next years!

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Saving energy with Nest is easy

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Saving energy with Nest is easy

Do you want to save on heating bills this winter? 

With winter quickly approaching, it's that time of year again when we all want our homes to be warm and cosy. However, that can come at a cost! As a smart home tech company, we love the thought of saving money, energy and even time, and that's why we highly recommend the fantastic Nest Thermostats.

The Nest Learning Thermostat and the Nest Thermostat E are designed to make your home more comfortable, whilst saving money on your heating bills. Both controllable via your smart devices, the Nest Thermostats can warm your home up whenever you like, at the exact temperature you like. Featuring the Eco Leaf, they can also sense when you are using more heat than you actually need, so automatically turn the heating down or off when its reached your required temperature. They are even capable of controlling your hot water! 

With Nest its easy to save money. Upgrade your heating with a Nest Thermostat installed by Nest Pro’s Customised and start saving. Contact us to arrange your free survey today.

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Your TV deserves better sound

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Your TV deserves better sound

Your TV deserves better sound. Bring sporting events to life with surround sound from Sonos. Transform box set binge watching into a more immersive experience with 5.1 audio. Take your gaming to another level with chair shaking bass from the Sonos Sub. This is our Half Day Home Cinema installation with Sonos Playbar, Sub and a pair of Play:1 speakers. To control the whole set up we have a Logitech Harmony remote control. Our Half Day Home Cinema package is £2,499 full installed by our Tech Team.

This homeowner is loving their audio and visual upgrade. Does your TV deserve better? Contact us now us to arrange your demonstration of our Half Day Home Cinema package here in the Home Tech Experience Centre.

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Sonos, Scooters and Sushi - #CEDIAEXPO Blog

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Sonos, Scooters and Sushi - #CEDIAEXPO Blog

Tuesday at the CEDIA Expo was definitely an acclimatisation day. During the week of the show I’m in a rented house with other industry colleagues. We had our first meet up at the house and found our immediate bearings for food, drink and groceries. Yesterday was also my first introduction to the Scooter scheme in San Diego. The hire of electric scooters is one of the most fun things I’ve seen available in a city. These high speed scooters are such a great way to get around and see the city. What’s really cool is the app and tech that is running this scheme throughout the city. Check out Bird scooter rental and see if it is in your city https://www.bird.co/how.

I made it down to the convention centre via my scooter and picked up my pass and caught up for coffee and lunch with the Digital Delight team https://www.digitaldelight.com/. It was great to share insights and discuss industry trends with JJ and Peter from this Houston based technology experts. In the convention centre lobby the signage for Sonos and their new Amp was everywhere. I’m really excited about hearing this new product and starting to install this in our upcoming projects. Look out for our social media posts this week as we get up close to this new product from Sonos https://www.sonos.com/en-us/shop/amp.html.

The evening saw us welcome more guests to the rental home to complete the resident lineup. The house is the HQ for Digital Delight, Customised and Tech Dad https://www.techdad.com/about/ during the week of the Expo. All three businesses will be participating in panel discussions with Logitech during the show so look out for videos and pictures of this on all our social media accounts. The late night socialising saw us gather at a nearby Sushi bar in Little Italy and then go back to the house for home tech chat into the wee hours.

This week is really growing into a memorable show for Customised and I’m excited about bringing you all the news from the show with our blogs and social media activity. Check out The Digital Ramble on Facebook for live videos with myself and JJ Canon from Digital Delight https://www.facebook.com/thedigitalramble/.

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​A secure, safe, smart home, all year round.

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​A secure, safe, smart home, all year round.

During these past six weeks of summer holidays I’ve worked out we were away from home for more than twenty nights. During these periods away from home we remained in constant connection with our home. It gives us tremendous peace of mind when we are away that everything is safe and secure back home.


We got motion alerts from the front door when mail was delivered. On a couple of occasions we got a call from our front door when a large item was being attempted for delivery. We got a temperature alert from our thermostat when the house temperature got above 26 degrees during the hot spell of weather. We received a message from the smoke detector to say that it carried out its monthly check and the battery level and sensor performance is okay. A quick conversation with Siri confirmed that all our lights were off during the day but that our lamps were on at night to give the impression of occupancy. We were even able to open the back garden gate lock for the window cleaner to finish his work at the rear of the house, we knew he had left by checking the outdoor camera overlooking the back garden.


For many who haven’t experienced smart home technology being a part of their daily life then this may sound very futuristic, big brother’ish or complicated to operate. It is certainly a change from the normality that we’ve had in homes for many, many years. The reality is though that the old normal is dumb. It sends out no safety alerts, gives you no eyes and ears around your home and has dirtier windows.


The smart home is the new normal that is available today with a price tag that is affordable, a set up time that is not disruptive and is very easy to operate. If you can use a smartphone then you can work a smart home.


Customised understand that you might not need to address certain dumb elements of your home so we have come up with individual services, all set up, like smart doorbell installation, smart lock upgrade and smart camera set up. Find out more about our All Set Up services at www.customised.uk.com.

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Norfolk to California....again. #CEDIAEXPO Blog

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Norfolk to California....again. #CEDIAEXPO Blog

2017 was my first visit to CEDIA Expo. The decision to go outside of the UK and Europe to gain access to further Home Tech knowledge was an easy to one to make last year. The UK had a very poor offering of trade shows mainly focused on AV and home cinema or organised by brand focused distributors, and the giant Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) show in Amsterdam had only a fraction of the show dedicated to home technology. 2018 has seen no change on that front so it’s with huge excitement that I head to sunny San Diego again.


The CEDIA (Custom Electronics Design and Installation Association) EXPO has been in existence for nearly twenty years and grows in visitor and exhibitor numbers every year. It is a North American based show that draws the huge majority of its visitors from the United States. CEDIA EXPO spreads over five days of activities, with a main show floor of 500+ exhibitors being open for the final three days.


Ahead of last years visit it became obvious that this is a show which attracts the biggest names and trends in smart home and home technology. Household tech brand names like Amazon and Google were on hand last year to speak with professionals in this fast paced industry. Google have hung around in 2018 with another giant booth alongside Nest but Amazon appear to not have booth presence this time. What will be on show though are lots of collaboration with Amazon products on the show floor. So I guess Amazon have succeeded in infiltrating every sector of the CEDIA channel and will let their products do the promotion this year.


Other notable giants of tech who will welcome industry discussions during the EXPO will be Samsung, Sonos, Logitech, Lutron and Control4. It’s the participation of the biggest names in home technology that made booking tickets and accommodation in San Diego this year a no-brainer. As Customised move towards a very tight knit lineup of products and services for our customers homes, I have a duty to get up close to these brands to know what’s coming next. How do we get the best out of them and how do we improve our installation and support of the products.


I will be taking part in a number of training courses at the EXPO covering both technical and business development. I’m also excited to be part of panel discussions with Logitech as they speak with home technology professionals about the opportunities in the new markets opening up with more affordable home technology devices and services. Networking with my peers is also an big reason for taking the time out of the daily installation cycle to discuss business growth, sustainability and diversity. Meeting with business owners in another region often highlights opportunities and techniques to pursue and implement when I return to the UK next week.


You can follow my time at the CEDIA EXPO by following us on Instagram at @customised1. I will be generating lots of highlights from the show using Instagram Story. If you’d like to learn more about the CEDIA EXPO go to www.cediaexpo.com for more info.

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Keeping home safe

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Keeping home safe

Sadly in our local area there have been a number of robberies in the last few weeks.  A business premises broken into, oil stolen from a residential property and a vehicle stolen from a driveway.  Typical of thefts happening up and down the country at any time of year, in rural and urban areas.

With the summer holidays in full swing, taking us away from home and the office, what can we do to protect our property?  This is the fourth instalment of my home tech summer holiday blog, using tech to help me manage the working parent vs summer holiday battle.

Beyond a traditional audible alarm system, app viewable HD cameras that send notifications direct to my smartphone have given peace of mind while I’m away from home or the office.  I can open the app anywhere I have access to wi-fi or 3G/4G connection and make sure all is well. Cameras with motion sensors alert me to any motion within the camera’s field of view and records the footage to the Cloud in case I need it at a later date.  

The Ring Video Doorbell and Ring Floodlight Cam operate a bit like security cameras, but with added features.  The Ring Video Doorbell allows me to speak to the person ringing the doorbell, as covered in a previous blog, but also it’s motion sensors alert me to when someone untoward is at my front door; a polite ‘can I help you’ coming from the doorbell soon makes them announce their intention or leave!  The Floodlight Cam provides an essential security light function, and should the motion sensor alert me to a security breach, the audible siren is loud enough to give a potential wrong doer a fright!

Another security feature we have added is the video/audio surveillance system provided by our home insurers, Neos.  Motion sensors and door contacts provide alerts direct to my smartphone; a quick check of the security camera gives peace of mind that a door opening is just a family member watering the plants whilst we are away and not something more sinister.  If your home insurance is coming up for renewal, check out Neos Smarter Home Insurance.

With a range of home security services offered by Customised, from cameras, video doorbells to smart locks, why not book our Free Home Survey and improve your home security before the darker nights arrive.  

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Wi-Fi everywhere!

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Wi-Fi everywhere!

There’s nothing more frustrating than needing to reply to an urgent email or message when you don’t have access to wi-fi or no 4G signal on your phone.  As a working parent juggling the school holidays, this has become a bigger frustration than normal. The next feature in my series of summer holiday tech helpers is the understated outdoor wi-fi access point.

We’ve made sure we have good wi-fi coverage at home and in the garden, so we can enjoy the garden whilst still being contactable by clients.  But I never realised the extent of the coverage from the outdoor access point in our garden til I took our son to the park. Luckily for us, it’s just behind our house and our wifi extends halfway across this extensive grassy patch!  So whilst our son was enjoying the slide, I was able to reply to an urgent email.

But outdoor wi-fi is fun as well as useful.  The excellent summer weather we have been enjoying of late has meant regular family barbeques and paddling pool fun.  With outdoor wi-fi we can take the party outside, with our favourite playlist streamed by Sonos and app or voice controllable outdoor lighting setting the scene as dusk falls.  How would outdoor wi-fi benefit you and your family?

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Always in the office, even when at the beach!

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Always in the office, even when at the beach!

The next weapon in my armoury for tackling the working parent vs holiday battle is one of our favourites here at Customised.  I don’t need to wait in the office all day for a courier delivering a parcel this summer.  With the Ring video doorbell, I am always in the office, even when at the beach or hunting the GoGoHares in Norwich with our son!  I can speak directly to the courier and ask him to leave our parcel in a safe place or with a neighbour.  No more missed deliveries!  

On those rare occasions we are away from home, whether for a short break, a day out or even in the office, I can still keep an eye at home with a Ring video doorbell and Floodlight Cam.  With notifications direct to my phone when someone rings the bell or motion is sensed, I can answer the bell or check that its just the neighbours cat in the drive, not someone untoward.  It gives us great peace of mind and gives me the freedom to enjoy some of the summer holidays too!

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School’s out for Summer!

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School’s out for Summer!

Schools have broken up; the children cheer, the working parents inwardly groan!  Whilst we look forward to family fun on the beach, trips to museums and holidays, as a working parent, the next 6 weeks are a more complex juggling act than you’ll see when the circus comes to town.  So how do we manage the work/life balance over the summer holidays?

Technology is a major player in giving us the time and freedom to enjoy the summer with our children.  I am writing this sat in my living room, whilst our son does a jigsaw and we listen to a summer playlist from Spotify on Sonos.  I should be in the office, but with no childcare today and it being the first day of the holidays, I couldn’t bare to drag him to the office.  I want to enjoy the summer with him, but don't have the luxury of 6 weeks holiday.

The solution?  Awesome home wi-fi!  It allows me to log into our cloud based systems without setting foot in the office.  I can check and reply to emails, order materials, upload this blog to our website and share it to our social media channels!  It’s not a glamorous gadget, but a strong, secure and reliable home wi-fi is the one essential item in my summer holiday survival kit!

I’ll be featuring a few more essential home tech features that make my summer as a working parent that bit easier over the next few weeks.  Let me know what’s in your survival kit!

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