In this Issue: We are taking you to Las Vegas to encounter a grande expression of technology and sustainable design at Savant Systems’ Experience Center. See how art and technology can intermingle in our Designer Spotlight by Leon Speakers, and learn about the importance of partnership between integrators and designers. Take a trip overseas in our special collaboration with Germany’s Arcade magazine and immerse yourself in a circadian wellness haven. And don’t leave without checking out the science-based technology at a luxury waterfront home.


Recently we’ve all been well acquainted with changeboth good and bad. I’ve been fortunate enough that most of the change in my life has been positive: all in the past year and a half I’ve moved from city to country, had my first baby and stepped into the role of Chief Editor of Connected Design.

I have big shoes to fill, and it’s an incredibly excitingand constantly evolving time to be a part of this industry. Full credit for the large majority of this issue goes to senior managing editor Stephanie Adamow, who worked behind the scenes cultivating a rich set of in-depth installs, business stories and interviews from integrators, architects and designers.

We’re particularly excited about our cover story on the Savant home in Las Vegas, and you can’t miss HEDsouth’s waterfront, wellness oasis. Connect with the people making technology beautiful in our spotlight on the Ente Soundtile Collection from Leon Speakers, and check out trends in our collaboration with Germany’s Arcade Magazine.

I might be new around here, but don’t hesitate to reach out to me with your installs, ideas and questions. It’s a crazy time, but we’re here for you!

Erinn Loucks, Chief Editor, Connected Design


By Chris Smith, TheCoTeam

How to stand out
to potential partners

Project: Ocean Front;
Architect: Dan Brunn Architecture; Integrator: OneButton;
Photo: Brandon Shigeta

As I work with integrators, there is a recurring theme regarding how to best partner with the architecture community. When a potential client hires an architect, they likely will conduct a large-scale project, the structure will be built from the ground up or completely opened for a gut renovation; budgets tend to be larger, and there is a dream/vision that is trying to be realized. This is the ideal time to be front of mind with a potential referral source who can connect you to several high-quality projects each year.

However, those relationships seem to be illusive for most integration firms. Begin by reviewing what is important to architects and make sure your company provides what they need. Here are a few approaches that work well.


Project: Dumbo Waterfront;
Architect: ABN Design;

Comprehensive Planning

Architect – If a general contractor were simply asked to “build a house,” the results would be disastrous. They need to know mass and scale, materials, layout and alignment to the user; and all issues must be resolved prior to project commencement. The architect provides this and charges accordingly.

Integrator – How can we best fold in the technology solution to this design process? Mirror it! Begin each project with a design and engineering phase. The process takes the plan set (usually floor plan and the reflected ceiling plan [RCP]) and overlays the various subsystems in a comprehensive document set.

Lighting, shading, audio, video, network, control, climate integration, etc. are all resolved in the space before a project begins. Rack elevations and other details are provided before a contractor is ever chosen. Charge for this service; the architect does! This level of execution is required to create accurate proposals and inform the project team from project managers and technicians to programmers and service technicians. Begin with it.

Remove Headaches

Architect – There are certain aspects of projects that consistently present architects with challenges, and most are not interested in having them on their plates. They have seen the issue on other projects and know it is likely to occur on others. They would love for someone to help them.

Integrator – Ask them! I found that lighting design was a massive headache for most architects. They might be happy to help pick the fixture style, but they really didn’t want to think about the fixture itself, drivers, wiring type, dimming modules, circuiting, load calculations, etc. Align all elements or we will have an unhappy client.

As project changes occur, the ripple effect of one element to the next is nearly impossible for the architect to manage (in addition to all other project details) and the implications are massive. When asked, architects are happy to have the additional resources available. Have a conversation with each firm to find where they need help and offer that service suite.


Project: Bridge House;
Architect: Dan Brunn Architecture;
Integrator: OneButton;
Photographer: Brandon Shigeta

Design Forward

Architect – They are concerned with aesthetics, functionality and blending the client’s lifestyle with the physical space. This is not about brands, products, technology or “cool factor.”

Integrator – This focus on look and feel allows for so many opportunities to present unique solutions to common problems. Avoid the temptation to name-drop your preferred vendor in favor of handing them an amazing sample for them to touch, feel, use and allow them to imagine their client using it every day in the space. Lighting/shading keypads are a great example. Fewer, larger buttons with larger fonts allow for easy use and are available in glass, metals and high-quality plastic finishes that can be matched to the design palette of the space. Further, the actual tactile sensation and audible “click” are part of the experience and vary widely. Present a premium solution that becomes a part of the design rather than taking away from it.


Architect – As members of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), architects are required to attend sessions every year and must receive Continuing Education Units (CEUs). In New York, the requirement is 18 hours per year with 12 hours being a specific type of health, safety or welfare (HSW) course. This makes great sense! It keeps architects at the top of their game while building spaces that are not just beautiful but keep occupants safe to promote quality of life.

Integrator – Respect their time. Audit courses (both the material and the presenter) before offering to a firm. Is it visually stunning? Does it have great information regarding common problems? Is it accessible rather than highly technical? Does the presenter truly know the material while being personable and engaging? Have we avoided the temptation to make it a thinly veiled sales attempt? If the answer to any of these is anything other than “Hell, yes!” we have missed the mark, and you are wasting their (and your) time.

Even better, create your own content and provide high-value, visually stunning, compelling presentations not offered by others. The bar, set by others, is quite low – stand out!

Following these simple steps will create meaningful lasting “annuity relationships” with architecture firms that will provide mutual benefit for decades to come.

Project: The Glass Farm House;
Integrator/Photographer: OneButton

Chris Smith is the Principal and Founder of TheCoTeam. Bringing 20 years of industry experience to the custom installation space, they Coach |  Consult | Collaborate with integrators and manufacturers to solve problems and run a more efficient business. TheCoTeam.com


Savant Systems assembles the ultimate in smart lighting, design, wellness and energy efficiency in new Las Vegas Experience Center.

There is no shortage of gorgeous homes around the world that speak to our senses, epitomize exquisite design, and captivate our souls; but rare is the home that delivers all of this plus advanced technology and sustainable elements at its core.

In what is being called the “ultimate expression of modern living,” Savant Systems has brought to life a new experience center — overlooking the Las Vegas Strip — called Vegas Modern 001. And while there are numerous smart home stories to tell, this one was designed to illustrate the highest level of sophisticated technology, most of which is hidden in plain sight. Visitors will experience advanced tunable lighting, luxury entertainment and energy management including a fully automated microgrid and sustainable design, to name just a few highlights.

Vegas Modern 001 is the perfect West Coast complement to the company’s original Experience Center located in SoHo, New York City.

“Unlike New York City, where we were limited by a smaller, stacked living space, the expansive Vegas location features abundant sunlight radiating throughout the home, making it a natural fit for our Daylight Mode technology and lighting solutions from our partner USAI Lighting,” noted Savant’s Director of Marketing and Communications Adrian Eiben.

It was clear from the start that the home’s design would be a dominant factor. While tech was requested to be hidden, you will be hard-pressed to find a space in the home that is not touched by the Savant ecosystem.

The “ultimate expression of modern living,” Vegas Modern 001 provides a magnificent view of the Las Vegas strip.


The dining room features two arrays of troughs close together, which house lights running Daylight Mode and Savant architectural speakers.

Savant and Vegas-based and design-led development firm Blue Heron began the project with the intentions of creating a smart home. The project exploded from there. According to Aaron Gutin, specification development director at Savant, the goal was to provide a premium experience; do what was best to ensure that the texture, finish, color and view were the stars of the space.

“Blue Heron was eager to build a statement piece and incorporate technology,” said Gutin. “Once we introduced the architectural approach of biophilic design and revealed the energy-efficiency focus, [we took it to the next level].”

Biophilic design is an architectural approach that involves closely linking building occupants with the outside world through nature and natural light. A few of the ways Savant and Blue Heron worked together to bring this concept to life include the open-air breezeways and reflection pool that act as the “connective tissue” between the public and private spaces. Walking through, one is surrounded with water, pristine landscapes and natural light, which is amplified throughout the home. This feature is thanks to Savant’s Daylight Mode, which was integrated with the help of USAI Lighting. This technology from Savant features a circadian lighting schedule that brings the natural outdoor lighting curve indoors.

With more than 22 bi-folding doors— which open the entire rear of the house to the outdoors—it is often difficult to know when you are inside or outside the home. Ample natural light billows though, yet without Savant Daylight Mode amplifying this available light, it would fail to reach every nook and cranny. At night, the light temperature automatically shifts from cool midday white light to a warm yellow light.

“Design and tech have never been so elegantly blended,” Gutin proclaimed. “Everything to the eye seems to emanate from the natural world.”

From the guestroom and dining room to the sky suite and home office or casita, technology, design and lighting are beautifully interwoven. The dining room features two arrays of troughs close together, which houses lights running Daylight Mode and Savant architectural speakers. The sky suite is nestled above the pools and provides a floor-to-ceiling view of the strip, which can be gone from sight when the shades drop. The home office includes Savant’s Zoom Room integration, which prepares the room instantly for a meeting by shifting light temperature automatically.

“A lovely amount of thought when into making the best of everything,” Gutin noted.

Pillars of Excellence

There are certain core elements of the home that differentiate it from other smart homes: the seamless and elegant integration of design and technology, a health and wellness perspective and the crucial element of sustainable energy.

Lighting, shading (designed with J Geiger), entertainment, climate control, pool and spa integration and doorways are all powered by Savant and managed by its app.

Local technology integration company Eagle Sentry took on the installation. While it was not the company’s first go-round with Savant Systems, the project brought to life new opportunities on a grand scale.

“We believe emphatically in the benefits of an end-to-end Savant solution,” said Cory Reif, president, Eagle Sentry. “Vegas Modern 001 represents our largest Savant end-to-end solution to date, from AV distribution, panelized lighting control, motorized shades, environmental controls, lighting that includes RGB/tunable white fixtures and energy management, all working seamlessly in the Savant smart home ecosystem.”

This Savant solution showcased the power of their scalable smart home infrastructure, which excels in everything from a simple smart home implementation to something as complex and demanding as this project.

Ample natural light billows though, yet without Savant Daylight Mode amplifying this available light, it would fail to reach every nook and cranny.

The great room epitomizes hidden tech with four subwoofers and four integrated speakers, tucked away, including Savant’s Artison Surface 80 invisible speakers elegantly integrated in the ceiling to complement the 98-inch Planar display.

Hidden Tech

Throughout the home, you will find troughs in the ceilings, which encapsulate all of the technology: everything from speakers, lights, cameras to air returns, a sprinkler system and smoke detectors. Shades are also hidden in pockets in the ceiling, ready to drop on command.

The great room epitomizes hidden tech with four subwoofers and four integrated speakers, all tucked away; these include Savant’s Artison Surface 80 invisible speakers elegantly integrated in the ceiling to complement the 98 in. Planar display.

      “What is dominant to the eye is the beauty of the space—the use of light texture and color,” said Gutin. “But with every step, Savant is there to provide a premium listening and viewing experience.”

This concept extends throughout the home and to outdoor spaces with 43 zones of distributed audio and 19,000 watts of amplification. In fact, the only area of the home that features visible technology and exposed speakers is the Digital Den. This is the prime media space, which includes a 175 in. (13.5 ft.) LED display wall featuring Savant’s passive soundbar and custom grille. It also includes mezzanine architectural speakers, designed by Cary Christie; 8-in. diameter dedicated surround speakers in the ceiling with two super tweeters; two 3.5 in. carbon fiber woofers with lobing patterns to envelop the listener; and two 14 in. woofers housed behind acoustical panels in the bar.


What truly differentiates the home is the focus on energy efficiency and sustainability. The epitome of smart, energy-saving solutions, the residence features the largest residential solar array in the region (with 327 panels on the roof producing roughly 148MWh annually), a fully automated power panel, as well as Savant Power’s automated energy management and microgrid technology.

Savant manages the energy consumption of the home and understands loads from room to room. If and when needed—for a power shortage or outage—there is a fully powered Savant backup system for half of the house, with the option to add a second battery pack.

Another unique aspect of the home is Savant’s ability to create the concept of “modes.” The home can be placed in “Island Mode,” for example, which removes the connection from grid to battery and runs all prioritized rooms and appliances as selected by the homeowner.

Savant’s solution also introduces virtual subpanels to eliminate the need for a second subpanel.

The residence features the largest residential solar array in the region (with 327 panels on the roof producing roughly 148MWh annually), a fully automated power panel, as well as Savant Power’s automated energy management and microgrid technology.

“A Savant integrator sets threshold for dynamic load management,” said Gutin. “We start shaving off nonessential loads to maximize the use of stored energy. That can cascade down to many levels or subpanels until you are down to essential loads.”

Eagle Sentry’s Reif noted: “It was our first time working with Savant Power’s energy management and microgrid systems. It is just amazing how intuitive Savant can make a complicated process seem. It wasn’t plug and play, but it was pretty close. Viewing real-time energy consumption data within the Savant user experience is super cool. We are even more excited for the final implementation of the full microgrid system, which would allow for off-grid living powered by the region’s largest solar panel array.”

Similarly, the synergy between Savant and design-led development firm Blue Heron truly defined the partnership.

“The more Blue Heron learned about what we offer, the more [the project elevated]—from the shading solutions to the ability to have technology integrated in a cove so it is ready on command but not on display all the time,” Gutin said. “This, combined with ease of use, our industry-leading personalization suite, and the wellness and energy components, made it clear that we could deliver something for all parties that we couldn’t deliver on our own.”

Blue Heron CEO and Founder Tyler Jones added: “Vegas Modern 001 is a culmination of the 17 years of our design-led development firm and is redefining the definition of home. Our partnership with Savant allowed us to integrate smart home technology at the highest level throughout VM001.”

Contact Info:
Savant Systems
45 Perseverance Way
Hyannis, MA 02601

Technology Integrator:
Eagle Sentry

Development Firm
Blue Heron


How a chance meeting of two like-minded artists led to a new way to experience sound

“What I love about the vision and mission of Leon at this stage is that we’re really about enabling artists to tell their stories; we want people to be able to experience those stories in a new and different way,” said Noah Kaplan, founder and president of Leon Speakers, when asked about his company’s latest collaboration with artist Mike Han.

While speakers and art may not seem to be a likely pairing, to Kaplan, the two go hand in hand. An artist himself, art is infused in everything Leon does. The company’s vision has always been centered around mixing art with audio and design with technology.

With such strong roots in the art world, Kaplan is always looking to support artists both near and far. When he discovered the work of Mike Han earlier this year, he knew immediately that the potential to collaborate was there.

“I first came across Mike’s work through Playground Detroit, an art gallery and creative talent agency that supports many local up and coming Detroit artists. I ended up buying one of his pieces,” said Kaplan. “What I love about Mike is that he wanted to meet in person for me to pick it up. I went out to Detroit to meet him in his studio and I knew right away that there was a synergy between us.”

The feeling was mutual and the two began dreaming up a collaborative endeavor that day.

A Korean-Detroit artist, designer, and self-described “modern vandal,” Han’s artistry is bold, featuring thick black lines on a stark white background, influenced
by the work of Keith Haring, classic graffiti artist from the ‘80s and ‘90s, and Korean calligraphy—but with a contemporary and playful touch.

The Mike Han Artist Edition Collection for Ente SoundTile features what Han calls “Detroit Vibrations” triptych, which is artistry typically consisting of three sections hinged together.

“A lot of my work starts with a character, a small piece, one line that builds upon the next,” said Han. “I don’t predetermine the outcome, but I find it through the process of creation.”

“What I was connected to about Mike’s work is that it has a musicality to it,” said Kaplan. “His pieces have a movement and emotion to them, and when I saw that I thought they could be a great fit for our Ente SoundTiles.”

Leon’s Ente SoundTile transforms the stereo system from a speaker into a work of art. Two channels of reference-grade audio and an amplifier are concealed underneath a perforated metal speaker grille with an artwork screen printed on top. The sound tile mounts directly to the wall, appearing more like an art piece than an audio system.

“With the Ente SoundTile, I really want to challenge the way people think about sound,” said Kaplan. “What do you imagine a stereo system to look like? Ente is a new way to experience sound, reimagined through the lens of art and audio.”

While art for the tiles can be sourced from online art galleries like Rosentiels, a leading publisher of fine art prints, Leon also works with artists to curate and even create exclusive Artist Edition collections for the series. Initially debuting with a selection of iconic fine art photographs from music photographer Roberto Rabanne, the latest Artist Edition Collection for the Ente SoundTile is a series of three paintings that Han created exclusively for Leon.

“I created ‘Detroit Vibrations’ at Leon after connecting with Noah deeply at my studio in Detroit,” said Han. “I had an epiphany this year as I found balance in my work that was revealed by combining separate paintings. They were different yet somehow felt completely at home together. I captured this spirit with the ‘Detroit Vibrations’ triptych, as they work well together but are also complete and stand alone.”

The new Mike Han Artist Edition Collection for Ente SoundTile is now available to order for Leon dealers and will be on display at booth number 4344 at the 2021 CEDIA Expo in Indianapolis from Sept. 1-3.

“What I love about the way that Mike creates is that it’s spontaneous,” said Kaplan. “I think a lot of the feelings you get from music and art are spontaneous; they’re not things you think about; they move you without even trying. I think that’s especially important now when we’re all in need of a renaissance of spirit.”


Leon’s Ente SoundTile features two channels of reference-grade audio and an amplifier concealed underneath a perforated metal speaker grille with an artwork screen printed on top. The sound tile mounts directly to the wall, appearing more like an art piece than an audio system.

Mike Han admits that a lot of his work “starts with a character, a small piece, one line that builds upon the next.”

Visit www.leonspeakers.com to learn more about the Mike Han Artist Edition Collection for the Leon Ente SoundTile and go to www.thehouseofhan.com to see more of Mike Han’s work, or follow him on Instagram @mikehan_detroit


Propelling the Integration Industry

Why the Designer/Integrator Relationship is More Important Than Ever

Over the last year, both consumer demand and adoption of smart home technology have been on the rise. According to Parks Associates’ latest research, the number of U.S. consumers that now own at least one smart home device has doubled (17 percent in Q4 2015 to 34 percent in Q4 2020) over the last five years. The number of “Power Users”—which the market research firm defines as those that own between five and nine such devices—has also grown significantly, doubling in just the last two years.

As supply chain issues hit harder, the relationship between integrators and designers is even more important. Some experts estimate supply chain pressure will continue through 2022, while others already see it easing. As the industry responds to increased demand amidst supply issues, integrators have an opportunity to show their expertise and further demonstrate their value to industry partners.

There is no better time to start playing to these relationships: home renovation spending has grown 15 percent in the last year to a median $15,000, according to the tenth annual Houzz & Home survey of more than 70,000 U.S. respondents.

Jason Sayen, who teaches the CEDIA Outreach Instructor course and is also director of sales and business development at LK & Associates, offers a better understanding of the relationship between integrators and the design community and why this relationship is more important than ever.

How have you seen the relationship between integrators and designers evolve over the last two to three years? And how do you think it will continue to evolve? 

As technology has gotten less expensive and more DIY solutions have evolved, it’s created more awareness for technology products and for the home technology industry. It’s also created more confusion as to what the correct solutions are for end users.

In the past, architects and interior designers typically did not like working with integrators because they felt their products and solutions would interfere with the overall project design. With the increased awareness of and demand for technology by end users, designers have to collaborate with integrators and learn more about the various solutions they have to offer or risk being left behind. More importantly, designers are learning that integrators can hide technology or develop ways to integrate it seamlessly into the project without interfering with the overall design.

As technology continues to evolve and change at a rapid pace, I feel that designers are going to have to develop tighter relationships with integrators in order to keep up with both client demand and the products that are available.

What would you say to integrators who are hesitant to work with industry partners like designers and builders? 

I would say that they are making a big mistake by neglecting these partnerships. Word-of-mouth advertising with your existing client base is still a great way to get new customers but not something you can rely on to scale and grow your business. Designers and builders are involved very early in the client’s project. By partnering with them, you can be their resource as a technology consultant and be referred to the project if the client requests technology.

By forging these partnerships and joining the project early on, they can help make sure the client’s expectations are met with the right technology solutions. Too often, integrators are brought into the project near the end, and it’s too late or too expensive to make the correct changes to fulfill the client’s expectations.

What challenges has the last year brought to the relationship between designers and integrators? 

Lack of face-to-face meetings has been the biggest challenge. Face time is invaluable, whether it’s in the form of a job-site visit, office visit, product demonstration or CEU (continued education unit) course. We sell solutions and experiences, which are much easier to demonstrate in a face-to-face environment.

Some integrators have gotten creative this year by offering virtual CEU courses, allowing them to forge new relationships with designers while marketing their company as the source of education for technology and integration to the design-build community.

Supply chain challenges are affecting the technology industry. How can integrators explain this to clients and partners and continue to be the valued resource?

Our clients have high expectations. Unfortunately, they also often think big decisions can be held off until the end of the project. I think the best way to address supply chain challenges is to get in front of them as soon as possible. Likely, the client’s own business has been affected by these issues in some way. I would start with asking them that question, “Has your business been affected by supply chain issues?”

If the answer is yes, then it should be an easy transition into a discussion about why choosing the products early on and getting them ordered is important. It also may bring up a discussion about the different options out there and why they should look at other brands that are more readily available.

What new categories do you think have the most appeal to designers? 

The technology in the lighting fixture category is really exciting. Designers have recognized the value of quality lighting design and fixtures for their projects in the past, but now we have technology at the bulb and fixture level that can complement the overall design with either natural lighting or customizable colors. We have the ability to saturate walls with a wash of a color, which can totally transform the space from a design perspective. I’m really excited to see where things go in this space.

         “Problem solvers” are another key category for designers. As integrators, we are accustomed to selling high-performance solutions or the latest technology features. Sometimes though, clients are interested in using technology to solve a problem versus having the latest and greatest gadget or cutting-edge technology.

For example, years ago, trying to hide or camouflage a product on a project was a science experiment for the integrator. Today, we have fully engineered solutions that are turnkey for the integrator to install. We truly have solutions to problems that don’t sacrifice design or performance.

Final Thoughts

The more that designers and integrators can work together and help educate each other, the more we can meet and exceed clients’ expectations. That leads to a great experience, which helps us grow our industry. For anyone interested in learning how they can connect with designers, architects, and builders in their local community, check out the CEDIA Outreach Instructor course. This program will equip you with the skills and tools you need to present courses with CEUs to these groups.


By Katye McGregor Bennett

Destination: Certification

Elevate your business by expanding your education

Are you differentiating through certification? CEDIA Expo is a great place to start networking with the brands and associations that provide certifications, as well as get some education under your belt.

So how does the integrator ensure that he or she is making the most of the trip to CEDIA EXPO and not wasting time?

      We recommend visiting and attending those booths and sessions that work toward a certification. Because certification, in short, means differentiation. (See the Certifications Resource Guide sidebar.)

CEDIA Certification

      First, there is the obvious choice of CEDIA certification. Integrators often ask: “Why should I get a certification? I can’t charge for it. My clients don’t ask for it. Why spend money on it?” We polled a few industry influencers and CEDIA education experts for the answers:

Amanda Wildman, CDO & CXO of TruMedia, Director-CEDIA, CEDIA Certification Commission

      “Most other careers and trades have specific education paths, degrees or certifications, but we seem content as an industry to be one that learns through trial and error. I’m not discounting hands-on experience but putting in the time and effort to work toward a specific body of knowledge shows dedication to your trade.

      “We are also working daily with professionals in the building, design and architecture industry that are certified and credentialed. If we want a seat at the table, we need to demonstrate that level of knowledge and expertise in our craft as well. Having an ANSI/ISO [American National Standards/International Organization for Standardization] accreditation on our new CEDIA certifications demonstrates that these certifications have been tried, tested and have gone through a rigorous process to receive that accreditation.”

Samantha Ventura, Senior Vice President Education and Training at CEDIA

        CEDIA is offering two new certifications, CEDIA Cabling and Infrastructure Technician (CIT) and the Integrated Systems Technician (IST).

     “These credentials are stackable! We develop our education using best practices for online and in-person learning. This means we look for pitfalls, inclusive language, diversity in pictures and representation, and we ask our subject matter experts to do the same when helping us write scenarios or illustrate things in the classes we design for the Academy (online learning).”

Joe Whitaker, CEDIA Board of Directors and Chairman of the Certification Committee, Founder/President, Thoughtful Integrations, Connected Design Contributing Editor

“Pathways for success and professional improvement are important in today’s job market. Even for myself having received my CIT, ready for the IST, and eyeballing advanced certifications, I see the oath is relevant for CEDIA professionals at all levels.

     “The pathway to success created by these certifications leaves no stone unturned. CEDIA can officially say that there is nowhere else in the world to find a complete body of knowledge along with globally accredited verifications. This is just one sign that our industry has finally matured to a level relevant to most economic situations and without borders.”

HTA Certification

With thousands of integrators in the CI channel, homeowners are confused as to who to hire. Home Technology Association (HTA) Certification changes the conversation from one about price to one about competence.

      It can be used in marketing to differentiate your business and level the playing field, allowing you to eliminate 90 percent of the competition (the 90 percent that are not certified). It also lets you raise the overall ticket price, increase your close ratio, become more visible to local builders, architects and designers, and enjoy perks of certification, such as ongoing education (much of it approved for CEDIA CEU credits), HTA Supporting Brand discounts and networking opportunities.

Manufacturer Certification & Training

Many manufacturers are offering education, training and certification. Savant, for example, is providing a full complement of design-focused education at CEDIA Expo 2021, empowering integrators to deliver the best of smart home, high-performance entertainment, dynamic lighting, wellness and sustainable energy solutions to clients. These sessions will highlight the latest technologies, expand partnerships and represent brand new categories of business for attendees.

      Control4 is also hot on education at CEDIA, with a room booked on 9/1-9/2, where they will teach eight classes each day, covering everything from Security to Audio to Doorbell to Video Distribution and beyond.

      Nathan Holmes, senior manager, training at Access Networks, says the company is actively working to add new content and additional certifications to its highly regarded ACE (Access Networks Certified Expert) training program.

     “The Access Networks ACE certification program is designed to provide strong IT fundamentals to integration professionals, further enabling them to design and deliver network installations capable of delivering the greatest client experiences,” he says.


To learn more, check https://cedia.net/certification for more details on CEDIA certification. Visit the “HTA Certification Defined” article on https://htacertified.org.

Certification Resource Guide

Current Individual Certifications
CEDIA (Custom Electronics Design and Installation Association)

New! CEDIA CIT (Cabling & Infrastructure Technician) Offered online and as a hybrid, featuring the opportunity for hands-on technical training. This is targeted to entry-level residential integration technicians, career changers, and even someone wanting to brush up their expertise in the industry.

New! CEDIA IST (Integrated Systems Technician) — For more experienced technicians, this certification will be launching at CEDIA Expo, but the classes are already offered online in the CEDIA Academy. This certification is for people who have already solidified their core technical skills through time on the job, and education programs, like the CIT. The CIT is a prerequisite for the IST certification. The IST will replace the ESC-T.

CEDIA Networking Certification (NEW) In process will replace ESC-N
CEDIA ESC-D (Electronic Systems Certified Designer)
CEDIA ESC-T (Electronic Systems Certified Technician)
Will be replaced by CEDIA IST
CEDIA ESC-N (Electronic Systems Certified Networking Specialist)
Will be replaced by CEDIA Networking Certification

ISF (Imaging Science Foundation)
ISF Level 1 (Available online through CEDIA Learning Management System)
ISF Level 2 (In person certification available at CEDIA Headquarters)
ISF Level 3 (In person certification available at CEDIA Headquarters)

HAA (Home Acoustics Alliance)
HAA HT1 (Available online through CEDIA Learning Management System)
HAA HT 2 (In person certification available at CEDIA Headquarters)
HAA HT 3 (In person certification available at CEDIA Headquarters)

AVIXA CTS (Certified Technology Specialist)
AVIXA CTS-D (Certified Technology Specialist Designer)
AVIXA CTS-I (Certified Technology Specialist Installer)

Current Company Certifications:
CEDIA  (Custom Electronics Design and Installation Association)
CEDIA Advance Member
CEDIA Member of Excellence

HTA (Home Technology Association)
HTA Foundation
HTA Luxury
HTA Estate


By Erinn Loucks

Lee Travis grows his Wipliance company by listening to the changing market and investing in people

Left: This outdoor space in Scottsdale, Ariz. designed by Wipliance includes a Nexus 21 Outdoor Motorized Mount. (Photo Credit: Cranor Media)

Top: The Wipliance Showroom in Bellevue, Wa. boasts a Ketra experience center, a Salamander design center and a Sony 8K/Dolby Atmos Display (Photo credit: Wipliance)

Since the 1980s, technology has evolved with breakneck speed; investing too much in one element could lead to a dead end within a few years. The only way an integration company can keep pace for so long is to evolve, which is exactly what Lee Travis of Seattle and Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Wipliance has done.

Growing up in Seattle, Travis was interested first in working on cars. This grew into a love for car audio systems, which birthed a nationally recognized car audio company. When the market inevitably shifted and car manufacturers improved their own technology, he moved on to doing home theater and surround sound. From there, the builders he had been working with wanted him to provide security and surveillance as well.

“I wanted to build an integration company that balanced between new construction, retrofit and commercial work, and I think we’ve accomplished that,” said Travis, who had bought the domain of Wipliance years before launching because he correctly guessed how big this field would grow.

The road to success did not come easily. The 2008 recession hit hard, but that is where the company’s focus on wireless and retrofit came into play. According to Travis, Wipliance was able to grow through the recession by honing in on direct-to-consumer wireless products. The company developed specialized groups, including a dedicated window treatment division, security division and MDU focus division. Today, they are also tackling large architectural projects, such as Seattle’s Spire tower.

“We try to identify these niches where we feel we can provide additional value,” said Travis, explaining that the best way to do this is through partnerships. “We aren’t looking for a hit and run; we are looking to develop a long-term relationship with the builders and developers.”

Residents’ units and amenities are showcased at the SPIRE residence sales center in downtown Seattle. (Photo credit: Cranor Media)

Even with a diverse portfolio, Travis says that some factors remain the same across Wipliance’s professional partnerships. Builders and developers want the integrator to service and take care of their client, but they also want to reduce costs, make money or both. Interior designers also want to keep the budget in check, but they also ask the integrator to enhance their overall design and not take away from it. All of these partnerships need quality communication.

“It’s about knowing your audience and what’s important to them,” said Travis. “You might be balancing multiple people, and if those people want different things, you’re the one to bring it to the table and please all parties.”

The company also cultivates long-term relationships with its clients – or even potential clients. Wipliance hosts a Smart Home Happy Hour twice in a typical year, where guests are invited to a finished spec or custom home with integration done by Wipliance. Invitation-only events, like an Evening of Technology, also spread the word about what the company does. The showrooms in Seattle and in Scottsdale, Ariz. show off a full array of smart solutions, like human centric lighting, Samsung Frame TVs and acoustical panels for clients to consider.

While lasting relationships with partners and clients and the varied portfolio allow the company to thrive, Travis says that Wipliance stands out from the crowd because of its people. Some of his employees have been with him for more than a decade, and that is because he invests in them through training, education and continual opportunities. He thoughtfully pushes his employees to move up the ladder and encourages them to be thinking of how they can continue growing in his company.

“There is a lot of expertise that goes into what we do,” said Travis. “It’s really about investing and building in our people, and that’s why we continue to attract employees.”

Photography by Jodi Lynn

Photo: Jodi Lynn

Contact Info:

Lee Travis
2020 124th Avenue Northeast
Suite C-105
Bellevue, WA 98005



Photography by Brad & Greg Montgomery

A ‘dream home’ that enables its occupants’ well-being — and fun

The Herriman, Utah-based firm TYM Home Technology Design was sought out by a tech-savvy professional who had been researching technology options for his new home located in the vicinity of Boca Raton, Fla.’s exclusive Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club.

      The client “wanted a dream home, purpose-built,” that would enable rejuvenation and recovery from a fast-paced business lifestyle while offering sanctuary, refuge and an all-around atmosphere of wellness. The icing on the cake would be that the tech design would also provide a place for fun with friends and family.

USAI Lighting’s Color Select Series works perfectly with Savant’s app. It provides tunable white light as well as RGBW color-changing illumination, which is displayed at the home’s resort-style pool area.

A tech-savvy professional sought TYM Home Technology Design for his new home located in the vicinity of Boca Raton, Fla.’s exclusive Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club.

      The client was familiar with residential automation and its capabilities, having had a smart system in an earlier home, according to Greg Montgomery, TYM co-owner.

     “One thing that was really interesting about this client was that he actually knew about circadian rhythm,” said Montgomery. “He had a friend who was a lighting distributor and was extremely excited about the health benefits of the lighting,” and he had thoroughly researched tunable white lighting for wellness.

      So USAI Lighting’s Color Select Series, which works hand in glove with Savant’s app, was selected as the home’s solution, as it provides not only tunable white light but also RGBW color-changing illumination.

      “Savant has a great interface for working with colored lighting,” Montgomery pointed out.

      This choice enables the owner to enjoy color-changing LED lighting throughout the property, including in the backyard’s resort-style pool area. The selection of this tech platform also allows users to easily pick a color and brightness level for any space, even producing subtle candelight effects without needing real candles.

The overall ambience of the tech transformation of this home is embodied in a term coined by TYM Co-Founder Matt Montgomery: “Automagical.” This catchphrase, Montgomery says, “represents an ethos, of sorts, when it comes to TYM’s home technology experience. Tech needs to be capable, easy to use, and it should also be a little fun, too… the use of a home’s system should be ‘Automagical.’”

The client requested elements for the home that offered sanctuary, refuge and an all-around atmosphere of wellness.

The choice of Joshi.ai came about during the design process as well, when voice control was discussed at length. Josh.ai Micros are used in each room, including in the master bathroom, in the butler’s pantry and at the outdoor pool bar.

The ‘Hidden Home Cinema’

During an early draft of the installation plan, TYM recommended a “hidden home cinema.” The client had been torn about whether to put a projector or a TV in the club room. But the team showed him in the design that the club room could be made into a dual-purpose media room – a space the client was excited about. It also has a wet bar and all the features of a media room: a couch, a game table and fully automated blackout shades. Day or night, whenever he wants to, he can have a cinema experience — and it can be easily tucked away at other times.

     ‘OK, Josh, turn on movie time,’ is the command that brings down the room-darkening shades over the floor-to-ceiling window banks. A Wolf Cinema laser projector descends from the ceiling via a Future Automation lift, and the Draper screen lowers into place from its recessed ceiling position.

      Video distribution capability was also a priority for this client. “He liked all sports, and if he had friends over for a party, wanted to have TVs with that sports-viewing capability available everywhere — to turn the game on in all the rooms and have everyone enjoy it at the same time,” said Montgomery.

A Creative Approach to Lighting

Aside from hurricane-related hurdles and the global pandemic, one tough installation strategy had to do with the lighting placement.

      “We had to get a bit creative because the mounts were made to be hung, as they were made for a more commercial environment with drop-down ceilings,” said Montgomery. “To do the smaller-opening USAI lights, we had to use a remote driver, which had to be stored within 100 feet of the lights – in the attic and garages.”  Some pre-wiring tweaking solved the issue neatly.

       These workarounds, along with the invaluable support the TYM team received from the electricians and general contractor Compson Luxury Homes — “some of the best partners we’ve ever worked with,” according to Montgomery — made for a tremendously successful end result.

      The client was over the moon about the finished product and had TYM work on his Aspen home as well – and nurtured a friendship with the Montgomery brothers that now extends beyond their business relationship.

TYM integrated a hidden home cinema with a Wolf Cinema laser projector that descends from the ceiling via a Future Automation lift, while a Draper screen lowers into place from its recessed ceiling position.

Josh.ai Micros are used in each room, including in the master bathroom, in the butler’s pantry and at the outdoor pool bar.

TYM brought the “Automagical” elements outside to the pool area with SunBrite TVs and TruAudio Landscape speakers.

Contact Info:

TYM Home Technology Design
5526 W. 13400 S. #215
Herriman, UT 84096

Matt Montgomery,
Greg Montgomery,
Brad Montgomery, Principals

(801) 783-1958


Access Networks
Enterprise-grade Home
Network and Wi-Fi

AudioControl Amplifiers
(home audio)

Draper Dropdown
Projection Screen

Future Automation Projector Lift

Hikivision Video
Surveillance System

Josh.ai Micros

Paradigm CI Elite Architectural Speakers (home cinema,
family room & master
bedroom surround sound)

Paradigm Decor Soundbar

Savant Smart Host
Savant Thermostats
Savant Touchscreen
Savant Pro Remotes

Sony 4K TVs

SunBright Outdoor TV

TruAudio Architectural Speakers (home audio)
TruAudio Landscape Speakers

USAI Lighting Color Select® Tunable White Light LED Downlights

Wall-Smart Flush Wall Mounts

Wolf Cinema Laser Video Projector



Compson Luxury Homes


Randall Stofft Architects


By Nancy Klosek

The main client criteria for this no-holds-barred cinema emporium: Make it cool, and make it fun

The Wyckoff, N.J.-based Restrepo Innovations installation team was the expert of choice for this home theater design, executed for a professional sports executive. It was the crowning achievement in a home that Restrepo owner Mike Restrepo said his company had outfitted with a full roster of tech gear. The firm was originally brought in to fix an issue with the pool system not connecting online with the Wi-Fi setup — but the project morphed into much more than that. Tech upgrades were affected in other areas, including control systems, audio and video distribution, HVAC and lighting, as well in the fully tricked-out pool and bar areas.

“The client was very open to suggestions,” Restrepo told Connected Design. “I’d say, ‘How about we take this wall down?’ and he was OK with it. He told the contractors, ‘Do whatever Mike says.’”

  Crestron’s best-in-class gear was mixed into the installation equation “to make complex things simple” for the owner. “He wanted a Ferrari system — but it needed to be simple, easy to use and stable. We’d worked with this client for years, and the theater just shows how his appetite for technology was growing and how we could satisfy that.”

Restrepo Innovations’ clients had two important requests for their theater—that it be awesome and fun.

Crestron’s systems are integrated to comply with high tech and ease of use.

Rounding out the luxurious theater is an Epic Sky Star Ceiling, a Severtson screen and Wolf projector, with ProAudio Technology behind the scenes. The team also employed a master carpenter to line up all the finished woodworking.

Restrepo partnered with Digital Sales Group (DSG), the New York-based rep firm, which helped to quarterback some of the equipment for the project. Since the theater build happened during the pandemic, DSG “helped make things happen,” acting as a bridge for some of the products used.

Room Reconfiguration

To accommodate Restrepo’s realization of the client’s vision for the theater, the entire room design needed to be re-imagined. 

“We ended up gutting it and moving walls around to make enough seating available for the family,” Restrepo explained. This entailed upgrading the original design from just one row of seating, including the addition of custom-made circular chairs, for two. The room’s seating was customized to adhere to the client’s fabric design and color choices.

“The sight lines from anywhere in the room are amazing,” said Restrepo, noting that feature as one of the results of the redesign of the room’s parameters. “We re-made it with an emphasis on being for their family and how they would use it not just as a generic ‘theater.’”

Soundproofing was also added to accommodate the extra audio wattage in the room, and to insulate the sound from reaching the owner’s home office, located just above the theater.

      To maintain symmetry, the team worked with the contractor — also a master carpenter — to line up all the finished woodworking. The shape of the room factored crucially into the precise, careful placement of the patterned stretch fabric that covered the walls.

      “It just all came together, and the best thing is that it doesn’t feel like seperate parts, but works as a whole,” said Restrepo. “The project took time, and COVID made it challenging, but we got to the other end of it, and the owner is extremely proud and happy with it.”

A Collaborative Effort

       Restrepo credits the combined cooperative efforts of all involved disciplines with this installation’s success.

       “At this level, you need master craftsmen and that shows right away in this project,” said Restrepo. “The fact that the woodworking was done by a second-generation carpenter—you can see that result immediately. The HVAC contractor put in his two cents about how to arrange the vents. When we took out a wall, we didn’t just arbitrarily take it out; we engaged the architect.

      “Knowing your edges as a business—and not being afraid to bring in other disciplines who are masters at what they do—is why the project came out so awesome,” he added. “It was a team of companies that came together to do amazing things.”

To accommodate the vision for the theater, the entire room was reimagined, which included upgrading from one row of seating to two.


Restrepo Innovations, HTA Certified Integrator
825 Windham Court N
Wyckoff, NJ 07481

Mike Restrepo, Owner
Jaime Restrepo, Operations Manager



Acoustic Innovations
Custom Chairs
AudioControl Maestro X9
Crestron CP3, HR-310, D30
Custom Paneling
Epic Sky Star Ceiling
Loxone Lighting (DSG)
Pro Audio Technology (DSG)
Severtson Screen (DSG)
Wolf Projector (DSG)


Chayka Design and Build


Photography by Mark Malec Photography

One integrator relays his experience of truly making a home smart and simple.

Luma surveillance cameras were installed along with a Control4 Chime doorbell because this ‘smart home’ lacked even a standard doorbell.

Bryan Koutsky of Mequon, Wis.-based Sound Designs walked into a familiar scenario on a recent project. A homeowner called and was interested in technology after a remodel project on his residence. It was deemed a smart home, but “nothing talked to each other and the wiring was limited,” Koutsky found upon review. There were closed walls galore; no storage areas to fish wires; no speaker wires to be found; and only two ethernet cables for all TVs in the house. Top that all off with the homeowner’s staunch stance on hidden tech everywhere, and there are obstacles coming from every direction.

       This local businessman and audio aficionado had some specific needs for his home on the edge of Lake Michigan, according to Koutsky. These included great-looking video with equally great audio, all without being seen.

“One of our lead installers, Cody Alvey, walked the project after my initial meeting,” said Koutsky. “Then he and I strategized on all of the pieces of the project, like controlling the TV lift in his bathroom and getting Zigbee coverage to her bathroom outlet receptacles.

Sound Designs installed a custom-matching Triad soundbar to match the width of the television set in the great room, mounted it to the primary articulating mount, and then used a Blue Sound wireless sub, which is ‘hidden’ in an open cabinet.

The clients requested that most technology be hidden. So Sound Designs met this request, even in the bathroom with a “secret” spot for the TV.

  “As a Control4 dealer, we went with a video distribution system HDBaseT with Control4 with one remote and touch panels throughout,” Koutsky added. “He didn’t want lighting control in the home yet, so we extended ZigBee by using Control4 in wall receptacles. We replaced the network within an Araknis system, placing an outdoor access point in the home, along with an indoor access point. We also installed Luma surveillance cameras and a Control4 Chime doorbell because ironically, this ‘smart home’ was not equipped with even a standard doorbell!”

        There were quite a few curve balls thrown into the mix for the Sound Designs team, which compounded with supply chain challenges known all too well these days, made for some innovative decision-making. Knowing that the homeowner desired exceptional sound to match his 77-in. Sony OLED but also navigating the scarcity of product, Koutsky turned to Triad for a soundbar and a new-to-him manufacturer, Blue Sound, for audio amplification and a wireless sub.

        “We did a custom-matching Triad soundbar to match the width of the television set, mounted it to the primary articulating mount, and then used the Blue Sound wireless sub to get bass into the room,” said Koutsky. “The sub is ‘hidden’ in an open cabinet, but it’s on a shelf, essentially. And it sounds amazing! The living room just opened up. As he sat on the couch, playing music, he says, ‘This sounds amazing for a soundbar. And so we matched that downstairs, [where he has another 77-in. Sony OLED.]”

         The next challenge presented itself in fire and water elements. Koutsky was introduced to a fire pit in the back of the property and a fountain in the front that were not functioning. The client turned to Sound Designs to remedy that.

The Sound Designs team went above and beyond to not only bring to life a fire bowl and fountain on the property but also integrated them into the Control4 system so they are easily operated by tapping the custom icons.


Sound Designs
Bryan Koutsky
President & Co-Owner
6310 W Donges Bay Rd.
Mequon, WI 53092

(262) 242-5599

Cody Alvey – Lead installer on project
Rick Bonlender – PCNA Certified – Network configuration
Matt McEvilly – Installer


Control4 (Control, Video Matrix, wireless outlets,
control over fire bowl & fountain)
Triad custom sound bars
Coastal Source outdoor audio
BlueSound local amps and wireless subs
Araknis networking
Hunter Douglas PowerView shades
Samsung Frame (for breakfast nook)


John Mikkelson
Mikkelson Builders


Amber McCoy
Amy Carman Design

Hunter Douglas Installer

Dawson Laethier (HDIS)


By Stephanie M. Adamow

Selling ‘wellness’ should be based on science and clients’ needs.

South Florida’s Boca Beach House is situated between Lake Boca Raton and the Atlantic Ocean. It has been dubbed an “oasis of sophistication.”

Hugged snugly between Lake Boca Raton and the Atlantic Ocean, South Florida’s Boca Beach House is described as an “oasis of sophistication.” Development of this luxurious waterfront property, the last of which to be constructed in East Boca Raton, is well underway. Expected to be completed by 2023, the glamorous complex features 32 one- to four-bedroom units, including up to 10-ft. ceilings and private outdoor spaces. There is access to a private pool for ground-floor residences, and of course, the best of the best in smart home technology.

        Tapped for technology integration in this massive endeavor was Jan Vitrofsky and his team at HEDsouth. Vitrofsky founded his systems integration business in the early ’80s in New York, focusing on home entertainment (audio/video), then evolving to home automation. By the late ’80s and ‘90s, as his business name suggests, he headed south. He has since worked with builders, developers, interior designers and architects in the South Florida market. HEDsouth is a technology integration company that provides clients with planned solutions involving entertainment, health and wellness, lighting, shades and smart home control.

     His involvement in the Boca Beach House project began with one such connection: a personal phone call from a builder, who introduced him to the boutique project. Selling for $4.5 million a unit, Vitrofsky knew the customer would be accustomed to luxury service and amenities.

       “It was a luxury customer who understood not so much the commoditized products we offer but was focused on being handled at a concierge, white glove level,” Vitrofsky explained.

        Vitrofsky — who admits being selected for the job as a result of his visionary qualities combined with a quirky personality — says that the “human aspect” of this project cannot be understated. In fact, Vitrofsky met with each of the new owners personally in a dedicated space within the building’s development center to interact and discuss the level of technology planned for each unit. At the heart of each space was integration systems designed to enhance and promote health and well-being.

HEDsouth took on the technology integration for the 30-plus units, personalizing each, with a focus on enhancing their quality of life through technology.

Jan Vitrofsky, HEDsouth founder, had the opportunity to demonstrate how lighting and circadian rhythm is related to quality of sleep, which plays a major role in health and well-being.

For HEDsouth, this was an ideal project to speak to clients about the benefits of clean water, air, and light.

Heath & Wellness at the Forefront

Vitrofsky was instrumental in introducing global wellness company Delos to home automation companies such as Crestron, Lutron and more. As such, he strives to introduce these technologies to prospective customers as well.

      Delos “develops products, programs and solutions that transform environments into vehicles for health, well-being, performance and resilience.” The company pioneered the WELL Building Standard, which is now the global benchmark used to promote health and well-being in   buildings.

     “The purpose of this development was initially to look at commercial spaces and figure out how to make the environment in these spaces healthy for human beings, as we are inside 90 percent of time,”  said Vitrofsky.

    This eventually converged into the residential space. Delos also introduced the DARWIN Home Wellness Intelligence, a wellness intelligence solution that helps enhance energy, sleep and overall well-being, while reducing indoor contaminants through air, water, light, comfort and sound solutions.

     “DARWIN’s purpose was to take algorithms and information from the research that they had done with the Mayo Clinic and other companies and put it into a box,” said Vitrofsky. “So that in the residential space, via sensors and other technologies, different environmental conditions, [involving water, air, light and comfort] are managed or monitored to optimize health and well-being inside a space.

     “For me, owning HEDsouth and being involved in this wellness narrative, I was more interested in educating the [future owners] on this new technology.”

       In private discussions, Vitrofsky demonstrated the possibilities available to each client, from the basic package to all the additional options. For example, each unit was equipped with a lighting control system from Lutron. With technology available from Lutron’s acquisition of Ketra, the solutions were boundless. From detecting circadian rhythm to changing tones to mimic the time of day to highlighting artwork the owner wishes to display, the demonstrations helped Vitrofsky showcase the possibilities of a connected home.

       “During the demo, we did something called ‘Day in the Life,’ meaning that we showed them what the lights will do from the time you get up in the morning until the time you go to bed at night,” Vitrofsky explained.

       To that end, Vitrofsky had the opportunity to talk about how lighting and circadian rhythm is related to quality of sleep, which plays a major      role in health and well-being.

     “Sleep is at the forefront of health and well-being,” Vitrofsky emphasized. “Everyone understands that if you don’t get a good night’s sleep, it’s going to affect your performance. The clientele purchasing these properties are performance-based people, or were at one point in their lives, so they understand the value of [this element].”

From there, the discussion would move to options such as audio/video, motorized shades and control technology — all customized for each owner.

       “The builder gave me carte blanche to design the engineering; he knew that we were the experts in this field,” said Vitrofsky. “We were brought in as a team player to handle the subsystems. We always look at network first, which is the foundation — the digital plumbing of the house. It’s very important that we lay the foundation for connectivity to be as good as possible. We use enterprise-grade solutions. If the people that are buying these units are business-oriented people, their livelihoods are based upon being connected.”

The ‘Human Aspect’

Having grown his business from home entertainment to now home automation and wellness, Vitrofsky’s focus for his business has shifted and is evident in this expansive project.

      “I wanted to share how these homeowners could embrace the latest technology to enhance the quality of their lives when they’re at home,” he said. “This was an ideal larger project where we could talk to clients about the benefits of clean water, air and light, and how we could deliver a passive solution for them. A system where they don’t even have to think about it yet can enjoy newfound wellness every day.

      “So that was what I saw as an opportunity—to be in front of 30-plus successful people that had the means and ability of having this in their lives and exposing them to it,” said Vitrofsky. “That was what I got more pleasure out of than anything.”


HEDsouth, HTA Certified Integrator
Jan Vitrofsky, Founder
2010 Thomas St
Hollywood, FL 33020



Sieger Suarez


Key International

Interior Designer

Linda Ruderman Interiors




Photography by Next Door Photography Grand Rapids

Blueprint for Success

How one integrator navigated meeting unique client needs

Poised lakeside, this home’s project started as a remodel and morphed into a full rebuild with plenty of unique, custom characteristics.

Picture this: You are 15 months into a renovation project, ready to install final equipment on the install—a remodel job where you’ve partnered with a builder to install a lighting control system and rewiring infrastructure—when you receive a call that the home has been destroyed by a fire. Thankfully, there were no injuries or loss of sentimental items; however, the work, once set to finish in a matter of days, is now tangled in a months-long insurance red-tape debacle.

This was the scenario for Amanda Wildman, CIT, COI, owner of TruMedia, based in Ada, Mich. Situated lakeside on a cul-de-sac, surrounded by their children and grandchildren, a Nonna and Pop looked on as their former home sat in rubble until the trades were permitted back to work. And when the time did come, the original builder TruMedia had worked with was replaced by another, one who was hesitant initially to work with certain technologies.

Wildman, a member of the CEDIA Certification Commission and Board of Directors, however used this as opportunity to educate her new partner on the validity of the tech and manufacturers she works with. In fact, it wasn’t all that long ago that Wildman and her company were questioned. TruMedia entered the custom technology integration realm in 2015 after years of serving the satellite industry. When troubles arose in this sector, Wildman knew a decision needed to be made. After intense research, the company stepped into the CEDIA market in order to flourish. Today, TruMedia provides home automation systems, home theater systems and custom integration services throughout Western Michigan.

The homeowners were not interested in a whole-home automation system currently. TruMedia complied, but also future-proofed the home, complete with full wiring infrastructure in the ceiling, for the time when they want to upgrade.

Unconventional Install

If you think that starting from scratch after an inferno demolishes a home is difficult, TruMedia’s next challenge almost sent this custom integrator’s head up in flames. It seems Nonna and Pop were firmly set on keeping with their Alexa-controlled integration system as opposed to a more turnkey home automation system.

As Wildman came to learn throughout this process, the project was much more about meeting the clients’ needs and building a true partnership rather than pushing the latest technology. And through this, TruMedia was still afforded the opportunity to showcase their talents in addition to forging relationships with trade partners.

For example, Wildman integrated Lutron’s HomeWorks solution for lighting and motorized shading. This involved working closely with the builder’s electrician. Since working on this project, TruMedia has hired a master electrician, but the company still partners frequently with those appointed to their projects from builders.

“We build a good relationship and a good partnership [with electricians]. We do all of the design and layout. We’ll get the wiring that we need; they get the wiring that they need. And then we take care of all the programming. In our experience, a lot of electricians are most nervous about creating the scenes because this can be time-consuming,” Wildman explained.

Wildman will personally take this task off the electrician’s hands. She was tasked particularly with creating the scene for the outdoor fountain and working closely on landscape lighting. She performs lighting programming and lighting design as a technician in the field. As a small business with only eight on staff, Wildman is accustomed to field work as well as contributing to marketing in the office as well.

“On this project, we worked with a landscaper who had never worked lighting control before,” Wildman explained. “We installed low-voltage LED landscape lighting and educated him on what needed to be done and what would work. I definitely think we will be doing more work with them. Our job is to be good solution people and use tech to come up with solutions.”

The homeowner especially loves her Samsung FrameTVs with custom Media Edge Frames from Leon Speakers because she displays her grandchildren’s photos.


While TruMedia was not able to install a home automation/control system they knew would be perfect for the homeowners, they did the next best thing. They listened to what the homeowners felt was a perfect situation for them—being able to converse quickly and easily with their family. And perhaps even more importantly, they future-proofed the home for when they are ready for an upgrade.

Wildman introduced technology to incorporate their

primary interests with other elements in the home. The Samsung Frame TVs are Nonna’s favorite features of the home, Wildman said, because it is where she displays her family portraits.

“I showed her, and she can do it all herself from her phone,” Wildman explained. “So she changes it all the time with the grandkids’ artwork.”

Wildman also introduced the homeowners to local legend Leon Speakers to provide Edge Media Frames for their Sonos Arc soundbars, which pleased interior designer Studio M to have “hidden” tech. Everyone appreciated the opportunity to support a local manufacturer. Plus, it was an easy pickup of materials!

Contact Info:
Amanda Wildman, CIT, COI, Owner
(616) 777-5225

Project Partners:

Brad Douglas Design


Jeff Sherwood at Sherwood Custom Homes


Studio M Interiors
Missy Walters & Team


Next Door Photography Grand Rapids


Lutron Homeworks System

Samsung – 2-75” FrameTVs, additional 7 Samsung TVs

Leon Speakers – 2 Media Edge Frames for FrameTVs

Sonos – Sonos Arcs, Subs and Amps for 2 – 5.1 Surround Systems; Distributed Audio throughout the property (8 zones); 2 Sonos beams

Origin Acoustics – D-61 in ceiling speakers in the house, OS65 Outdoor speakers

Amazon – Echo Shows

Delta – Voice IQ faucets

Simple Human – Wall-Mounted Sensor Mirror

Pentair – InteliCenter Control System for the Pool & Spa


Content brought to you through a partnership with Germany’s Arcade Magazine, in cooperation with Ferdinand Holzmann Publishing

Sustainable Design for the Modern Home

Good From the Ground Up

There has never been a better time to rethink construction methods and bring more sustainability, healthy living, well-being and authenticity into private and public living spaces. For example, floor coverings that are Cradle to Cradle certified, recyclable, CO2-neutral—or, most recently, even CO2-negative—are now the most important basis in interior design for protecting the environment, conserving resources and leaving a positive environmental footprint. Our showcase examples score points not only for their inner values but also for their individual look and high performance.

WINEO: Even more resilient – the “Purline Bioboden” collection “Wineo 1200” is the new healthy living line especially for the upscale demands of families who value a modern and sustainable lifestyle.


CORETEC: A new service enables the return of used floors to give them a second chance. Cleaned with organic products, the second-life floors “Nearly New Coretec” hardly differ from new ones and are to be made available to non-profit organizations and youth clubs, among others.


MODULYSS: The “Grind” carpet tile is made of 100 percent Econyl yarn and is now including the “EcoBack” backing.

NORA SYSTEMS: The design of the new rubber flooring “Norament Castello” is convincing with its two-tone design based on concrete and limestone and, like all Nora floors, free of PVC, phthalate plasticizers and halogens


INTERFACE: With beautiful Japanese aesthetics, the “Embodied Beauty” carpet tiles help reduce the carbon footprint in rooms. Some products in the new collection are not only CO2-neutral, but even CO2-negative.


MAFI uses only wood from sustainably managed Central European forests for its real wood floors. Treated with natural oils alone, they can filter pollutants from the air, regulate the humidity in the room and even have an antistatic and antibacterial effect.

HyperFocal: 0

OBJECT CARPET: Tested for healthy living – in cooperation with the Sentinel Haus Institut and other partners, proof was provided that laying the “Smoozy” design carpet does not impair the quality of indoor air, neither odors nor relevant pollutants.


DESSO: The “Grezzo” carpet tiles are not only visually inspired by nature, but also carry the “Cradle to Cradle Silver” certificate and are 100% recyclable in the company’s own recycling center.


Content brought to you through a partnership with Germany’s Arcade Magazine, in cooperation with Ferdinand Holzmann Publishing

Healthy Living Choices
for the Home

From hypoallergenic to pollutant-free, wise options abound.

Closely linked to the sustainability megatrend is the issue of healthy living. For many manufacturers, taking more responsibility for the environment and climate now goes hand in hand with taking responsibility for the health of users and employees. In addition to processing natural and low-pollutant or pollutant-free materials, this also includes aspects such as acoustics and—reinforced by the pandemic—hygienic properties.

JAB ANSTOETZ: All carpets in the “Calma” collection are woven fairly and sustainably by hand from natural materials, free of pollutants and allergenic substances.


CARPET CONCEPT I EGE CARPETS: “Eco Iqu S” invites you to walk on it barefoot, is extremely durable and is produced as resource-conserving as possible.


TARKETT: Free of phthalates, the new Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVT) “ID Inspiration” also fall well below the legal maximum values for VOC emissions. In addition, visual authenticity through a precise digital printing process, format diversity and sustainability play key roles.

TRETFORD: carpet with cashmere goat hair also promotes a good indoor climate in the contract sector (here at Akzo Nobel) thanks to its natural materials, reduces impact noise and is easy on the joints.


AMORIM: “Wise” is a healthy living PVC-free floor covering, which consists of 100 percent cork and is therefore naturally hypoallergenic. Sustainably produced, the flooring also sequesters more climate-damaging CO2 than it releases.


MARAZZI: Hygiene and durability in the porcelain stoneware series “Oltre” offer a refined wood look, which also has antibacterial properties thanks to “Puro Marazzi Antibacterial.”


One Amazing Reunion: CEDIA Expo 2021

It’s been nearly two years since the smart home industry convened for the annual CEDIA Expo in Indianapolis. As preparations begin heating up for the event set for September 1-3, 2021, at the Indiana Convention Center, the common thread among hosts, exhibitors and attendees has been an overall feeling of excitement—even more so than usual, that is.

In addition to the 15,000 home technology professionals expected to be in the crowd, 300 exhibitors will be lining the show floor—50 of which are new exhibitors this year. For some of these newcomers that have been in business less than three years, like Orro, PerListen, Monitoreal and Autoslide, CEDIA Expo is offering them an even greater opportunity to boost their business as part of the show’s Launchpad feature, formerly known as Innovation Alley.

Launchpad exhibitors will also be entered into the TechStarter program, where five brands will have the opportunity to pitch their business and technology strategies to three VIP industry veterans, participate in a panel discussion on the CEDIA Expo Smart Stage, interview with members of the media, and compete to receive a $5,000 prize package.

CEDIA Expo veterans are also ready to show up armed with their best. In fact, CEDIA reports that more than 70 percent of exhibitors launch products exclusively at CEDIA Expo.

Some of these products may even earn a few accolades for their exceptional design and innovation, including one of our very own Connected Design Awards, which will be presented at the show.

To kick off this jam-packed agenda, acclaimed Dolby Scientist Dr. Poppy Crum will open CEDIA Expo with a keynote address, inspiring smart home integrators to think about how technology and products can create new human experiences and ways of storytelling.

   “Dr. Crum’s remarks about technology-driven innovation and human evolution will resonate with smart home integrators who are already exploring how tech supports their clients’ well-being,” said CEDIA Interim Co-CEO Giles Sutton. “Her keynote address, ’The Future of Storytelling,’ supports our ongoing efforts to offer relevant, inspiring industry professional development opportunities, both in-person and on-demand, at CEDIA Expo this year. Whether you’re looking to find a new line of business or expand your understanding of what it takes to thoughtfully deliver the technology your customers demand, CEDIA Expo will provide a lively and safe platform for you to grow.”

Of course, CEDIA has also prepared a health and safety plan, which requires attendees who are not fully vaccinated to wear a face mask throughout the duration of the event, and encourages those who are vaccinated to wear one as well.

“The pandemic has shifted homeowner perceptions of how critical technology is to support a home design that enables you to work, relax and play,” said Sutton. “Now more than ever, integrators are central to all facets of how technology supports and enhances a homeowner’s life. CEDIA Expo will mirror these trends and you will notice a renewed focus on wellness, lighting and work-from-home technology (or resimercial). These will be supported by a robust education and training offering, including more than 100 CEDIA Education courses in-person and half will be available on-demand for learners one month after Expo, so the opportunities to boost your skillset don’t have to end at the show.”

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