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Is There an Electronics Specialist in the House?

Written by Karen Marley
Imagery by Couresty of Sound & Theater

Ten years ago, home electronics may have referred to a single home computer plugged into the internet and perhaps a cell phone. How times have changed! Today, technology has become irreversibly woven into our homes and lifestyles. Thoughtful, well-planned installation can maximize the joy you get from your home. Conversely, a haphazard approach will result in headache, and frustration.
    Shawn Lemay, owner of Sound & Theater, specializes in home audio and visual, home theaters, security, and commercial installations. We asked him what a homeowner should know about their technology.

Q:    Let’s start with the basics. What are home electronics?
SL:    Home electronics are anything and everything related to electronics in the home. Your computers, tablets, cell phones, television, appliances, home sound system, heating and cooling, lighting, video surveillance, garage door, automated window shades.
Q:    When should a homeowner of a new build or a remodel begin to think about the electronics for the new space?
SL:    The time to think about it is in the early stages! In this day and age, you really need to have an electronics specialist working side-by-side with your architect, builder, contractor, and electrician. There are easily several dozen devices that you’ll want to use in your house that are capable of interacting with you and the network. Think about it: you have thermostats, televisions, sound systems, fridges, washing machines, doorbells, smoke detectors, phones, lighting, even crock pots, all talking to apps and integrating with each other. Proper planning assures that they will work correctly as intended. You need someone who understands the technology and is trained to plan these things.
Q:    Can you provide a specific example?
SL:    Absolutely! With electronics, people often say,  “I just want …” without realizing all the caveats for even a simple request. Something as straightforward as a television is an excellent example. Bookshelves might be where a homeowner wants a television. If the electronics specialist was part of the design process, the shelves would be built to accommodate a television on an arm. Or, the carpenter would build adequate bracing for the television, or build adequate ventilation for a TV to be mounted over the fireplace mantle. You need correct cables to support the higher definition televisions. If you want the technology to work with your life the way it’s supposed to, and disappear when not in use, you must design for it. It’s the only way.
Q:    You’ve mentioned an electronics specialist a few times. Can you elaborate?
SL: Think of electronic specialists as the interior designers of the AV industry. Make sure that the individual is CEDIA certified. CEDIA stands for Custom Electronic Dealer Installation Association. You don’t want a member, but someone with the actual certification.
Q:    Last thoughts?
SL:    Just that I cannot stress enough the importance of bringing in the electronics specialist at the design phase. The earlier you bring that person in, the more likely your home dreams can be realized. 

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