When Dr. Robert Herman and his wife Krista Herman bought their three-story Tulsa, Oklahoma home, their top concern was security. With three children under the age of six and a house staff that came and went at varying intervals, they needed home automation that would secure the premises and make things easy.
Posing the challenge to Ryan Sullivan, founder of BlueSpeed, the couple hoped to accomplish the retrofit within a reasonable price range. No less than 11 Kwikset smart locks later, the Herman Residence is an illustration of what is possible at the intersection of technology, security and convenience.
In all, the system included no less than 155 light switches, eight thermostats, 35 six-button keypads, four fireplace switches, 15 outlet dimmers, three card-access garage-door kits, four card-access motion-sensors, 15 zones of video, 17 zones of audio and 16 cameras.
Robert and Krista are able to control everything—from blinds, locks, TVs, audio, lights, HVAC, intercom, garage doors, security system and cameras—using their iPad, iPhone or one of eight touchpanels strategically located around the house. “We were able to install full video distribution for 14 displays, complete lighting control, HVAC, security, intercom, door locks and a theater room,” boasted Ryan.
By integrating the security controls and cameras into the system, Robert and Krista can now monitor whatever room their children are in: If motion is detected, a video camera will broadcast to the parents’ bedroom TV if their child has wandered outside or is simply going to the bathroom.
Similarly, when an alarm goes off, all the TVs turn on broadcast the area that triggered the alarm—as do all the lights, scaring off would-be intruders. However, if it is a smoke alarm that is activated, the doors automatically unlock.
The Hermans can also keep track of the house staff’s hours much easier: The six-button keypads on the smart locks are programmed to email time-stamps for each staff member as they come and go from their shifts. Additionally, any door can be remotely unlocked for any reason from an iPad or iPhone.
As Krista points out, the smaller conveniences make a big difference, too. “We also love having the same control for every TV in the house. We don’t have to spend two hours showing guests how to use our system, they can just pick it up and go.”
“We love the simplicity of pushing one button and having our house do everything we want. For example, when we push ‘goodnight,’ all of the lights turn off; the doors locks; the security system arms; garage doors close if they were open; and the thermostats change to the temperature we want.”
- Robert Herman, homeowner
When Kim and Scott started planning for their new home technology was the last thing on their list.
BlueSpeed educated the clients on their options and planned a pre-wire plan for their home so it could grow with future technology.
“I was a hard sell,” shared Scott. “Home automation was the last piece in our build, and we had already gone over in our budget. I didn’t realize at the time how much I would use and come to love the technology. It was the single best budget overage that we made.”
We eliminated all the separate switches and now lighting is based on how the family flows through the house. They can control the light how they want. The lighting is even programmed to respond to Scott and Kim’s individual morning routines, and Kim can control the lighting and audio in her children’s rooms from an iPad, to act as a sort of morning alarm clock.
The home features outdoor TV and speakers, a theater room with 3D projector and acoustic screen, a centralized AV rack to keep wires and equipment out of sight, discreet security cameras, and an iPad docking station for easy control of the technology.
“I love that I get a text message when my doorbell rings, and I can use my phone or television to see who is at my front door,” shared Scott. “Plus, I can pull up an app on my phone to adjust all the audio, video, and lighting in my home and on the outdoor patio area.”
Now, family time in the home goes hand in hand with technology, including listening to music by the pool, watching movies and popping popcorn in the theater room and much much more.
“Ryan truly wants you to experience the technology because he knows how much it will benefit your family and your life,” explained Scott. “They made it a point to connect with each member of the family. A year and a half later, I do use the technology as much as they said I would. I feel like this is going to be a long term friendship.”
Since then, Scott has brought BlueSpeed on for work in his property management company, setting up the media in apartment clubhouses and models.
“Before, I was using Best Buy Business to integrate all the AV in our apartments, but through my home’s experience I learned that BlueSpeed was more capable, and their customer service far exceeded anyone I had met.” - Scott
- Scott Case
What do you do when a building that holds a historical preservation status requires smart technology to accommodate high-end clientele? This is where BlueSpeed came on the scene at the Aloft Hotel in downtown Tulsa. The hotel was in the City Hall building, and retrofitting a space that was originally never meant to house smart technology was a welcomed challenge to the team!
“We didn’t let the building’s unique challenges sacrifice any of the technology solutions the project required. Ultimately, we were able to deliver great results due to the flexibility of the control system and our team’s design and installation techniques,” explained Ryan, owner at BlueSpeed.
The hotel's design features include an eclectic mix of classic architecture paired with modern elements, and is designed for global travelers who love vibrant social spaces. So the project desired a clean installation, with all of the components integrated into the visual design of the penthouse surroundings, along with an user-friendly interface for guests.
“We interpreted the space as a guest unit that needed all the functionality of high luxury, but keeping in mind a lot of people would be using it. So everything had to be elegantly simple,” shared Ryan.
Each penthouse environment is controlled with its own sleek keypad, where users can select from pre-programmed settings to enjoy the lighting, shades, audio, video and much more during their stay. One unique technology solution that may at first be overlooked, but really adds to the suites’ beauty, is the shade control feature. The building’s east and west exposure required detailed shade automation coordinated with sunrise and sunset times for guest comfort. Plus, it protects the furniture by managing the temperature and enhances the overall energy efficiency. Ultimately, the technology system and thoughtful installation delivers a sophisticated, consistent experience for every single guest who stays.
The Aloft project attracted national attention and BlueSpeed was given the Control4 prestigious dealer award for best project under $100,000!
"This project and award represents our team's commitment to excellence in implementing custom technology seamlessly into a commercial space. Typically, at least 85 percent of projects are under $100,000, so are proud to have won an award of the majority, not the minority.”
When you own a custom integration business you’re constantly being asked what kind of technology you have in your home. Ryan Sullivan, owner of BlueSpeed AV, gets questions like this all the time: What does your home theater look like? - How do you manage all of that technology? - Is it worth it?
Ryan doesn’t mind the questions. He actually welcomes the conversations because he understands incorporating technology, such as a smart home automation system, is an investment and a curiosity for prospective homeowners. Ryan has precisely designed his own smart home haven for him and his family to enjoy. He even gives private tours of his home to BlueSpeed clients planning a smart home and who want to get a feel for the technology in real life. “You can do anything you want with home automation technology, but because it is so feature-rich you have to see it in action to really get a feel for it. Implementing the technology in a way that makes sense to your life is important, and my family and I live with it every day,” explained Ryan.
Ryan recently installed a professional home automation system from Savant. Choosing the best system is absolutely essential because it serves as the brains of the entire home space. “I switched my home automation to Savant because the interface is more visual. It is more stable than other home automation systems on the market, and my family and guests can easily use it without needing assistance,” said Ryan.
Since making the switch, Ryan’s home technology is much easier to navigate. One feature in particular that he enjoys is the "Tile Display" function. “When watching sports on the big screen in my home theater, I can tile the display so I can watch multiple games on the screen all at once! Plus, I can drag a speaker icon across the screens to activate the audio for specific games. This gesture-based control of drag and drop makes navigating the technology extremely easy,” said Ryan.
The entire home automation product is backed by Apple’s iOS operating system, which gives Ryan’s home technology unparalleled usability and reliability. The remote looks and operates similarly to the user-friendly iPhone interface. Instead of conspicuous touch panels, iPads sit on sleek docking stations where they can charge or be easily picked up to control the home’s technology. If the doorbell rings, Ryan can see who is at the front door from his iPad or iPhone at any given point in the day. Plus, he can use the intercom feature to talk to his kids in other parts of the house through their iPads. This is especially helpful when they have their headphones plugged in, and it’s time to leave the house as a family.
The new home automation system from Savant is also saving Ryan tons of time on reduced maintenance. It takes longer to install than other control systems on the market, but its enhanced interface and reduced service issues makes it a prime choice. “This control system puts the power in the homeowner’s hands. There are less third-party integrations involved so the system environment is more controlled and less likely to have issues,” said Ryan.
The power Ryan is talking about is controlled from the Savant app. It has a new feature called “Capture”, so if you really like the lighting and media experience you are having in your room, you can tap one button from your smartphone and capture it as a new “Scene” to use again later. You can even schedule when that Scene goes into effect during the day. It’s this Capture programming and overall system stability that gives homeowners control over the settings in their smart home. “These features make our job easier and it makes the homeowner happier. Our professional integration provides the backbone of the smart home design, while the customer has the option to make their own changes to the technology when they want. In a way, it gives customers the best part of D.I.Y. without the headache,” said Ryan.
Ryan also switched the lighting control product in his home to Lutron - a best-in-class lighting control technology that works with any home automation control system. It gives Ryan the power to transform any room with lighting, at the touch of a button. He can control the lighting in a single room or throughout the entire home using his iPad or iPhone. Lutron motion sensors activate the lighting when he enters or leaves his home office so energy is saved and productivity boosted. When he is ready to leave the house, he hits the “Away” button and it powers down all the lighting. Plus, Lutron wallplates, dimmers, and controls come in a variety of colors and styles to match the room’s design, so if they decide to repaint or make other changes to the look and feel of the home, all of Lutron’s front facing access points can be easily customized to blend perfectly. Simply put, by choosing Lutron, it provides Ryan with all the lighting control and flexibility he will every need - even if he makes system changes down the road.
*Ryan recently moved his family to a new house with a fresh technology set up! Check back soon for updates on his new home automation systems!