The Future of PoE Lighting

Think of all the lights in your house that are currently powered by thick yellow ‘ROMEX’ that can electrocute you and which run to big power panels with breakers that pop and need to be reset. That is the past.

Now think of a data network. Managed by an intelligent network switch that puts out power – Power Over Ethernet – enough to light up your house! Energy-efficiency has driven the evolution of the light bulb, but the next iteration of the light bulb will launch it into the era of the Internet of Things (IoT). As LED lights slowly replace compact fluorescent lights (CFL’s) due to greater energy efficiency, businesses have been exploring the profitability of replacing LED lights’ electrical power source with an alternate but common power source found in the networking world — Power Over Ethernet (PoE).

PoE enables IT personnel and even end-users to install additional LED light sources at nearly any location. With traditional light sources that rely on the power grid of a building, users need to contract a professional electrician and follow extensive conduit rules and regulations. PoE lighting eliminates the need for a costly electrical contractor.

But PoE accomplishes more than simplifying deployment. PoE connects LED light sources to the internet and gives users access to “Smart Lighting.” Smart Lighting enables users to remotely control their lighting systems via a mobile client device using the internet.

There are several advantages to PoE lighting, including automation, remote control, and the cost-efficiency of Cat5 Cable. Haustech notes that “Ethernet cables cost very little compared to heavy duty copper wire and conduit used for traditional lighting.” Cost, mobility, and ease of installation are some of the factors that will attract users to invest in these next generation lighting options.

A New Way Forward for Your Residential Phone System

We all know that residential landline phones are going away. Many clients these days are opting for cellular throughout. However, in larger residences where intercommunications between rooms and house-to-gates access is very important, traditional phone systems like Panasonic are still quite prevalent. My proposition to you today is that there is a better way!

We’ve all heard about Ring doorbells and more recently, Nest Hello has come on the scene. These are fabulous. Seeing who’s at your door, talking to them, recording the interaction has been revolutionary for our modern lifestyle. But what if you have an electric lock? Or a gate that needs to open? Ring and Nest don’t fit the bill.

Enter DoorBird – the cloud based entry phone that can ALSO open locks and gates – and with potential keypad or RFID access to boot. It’s a great option for people who need more from their access system but also appreciate the ability to communicate and record from anywhere. There are other fine brands out there offering a similar solution but we will focus on Doorbird today.

So here you are – Doorbird installed, accessible by cell phone local and remotely – great right? Indeed! Spare one caveat. Doorbird doesn’t work with traditional phone systems like the Panasonic and many people don’t always want to rely on their mobile device once they are at home. This is why so many people still utilize Panasonic for in-house intercom and house-to-gate communications.

Luckily in the recent years, especially commercially, VOIP (Voice Over IP) phone systems have arrived. Most companies use the Polycom phone tied to a month-to-month service plan ‘rented’ from cloud-based service companies like 8×8, RIngCentral or Vonage but these plans often have a hefty monthly fees and don’t make sense residentially.

What these companies ‘rent’ to you is essentially a cloud based phone line and a PBX system (Private Brand Exchange) which is the ‘brains’ of your phone system extensions/voicemail/call forwarding. To set this up residentially is neither cost effective or desirable due to the over-functionality of the offering.

But what if there was a simple PBX ‘brain’ that could reside locally and with minimal programming offer all the functionality of everything combined! Imagine if you had a phone system that cost less than Panasonic with the ability to:

  • Answer the door with video using DoorBird, Nest or Ring
  • Open the door or gate from said phone
  • Control a system like Savant, Crestron, Control4
  • Scan cameras on Camera app for ICRealtime, Hikvision, or others
  • Control Sonos Music players
  • And more!

What these PBX phone systems can be is an Android device masking as a telephone. We recently started using Grandstream systems.

The Brain comes in the form of the UCM series which accept either the traditional POTS lines OR Voice over IP (VOIP) lines rented from a provider. You can ‘rent’ a custom VOIP line from Ring Central for $20/month. The model is determined by the number of incoming lines and outgoing extensions. Typically the smallest – i.e. Grandstream UCM6202 can handle two analog lines (POTS or via cable company), two VOIP Lines and up to 500 Extensions which for the most part will be plenty for any residential system.

The Phones:
Desktop Android Phone has the ability to run apps, speak and see door station etc.

Cordless Phones come in Wifi or traditional RF DECT Style:

RF:  Wifi: 

This system includes all the features you could ever want – VoiceMail / Call Forwarding / Paging / Intercom/ Out-of-office Assistant and so many more. All for less than you would spend on a traditional Panasonic System. For example, a priced out Panasonic Phone system installed and programmed with Voice Mail System, Caller ID – 4 Desktop corded phones and 2 cordless hand-sets comes to right around $8700. A similarly specified Grandstream system with Android phones capable of so much more comes to $4300. Less than half!!

So there you have it. We have entered the future and can never go back. It’s been nice knowing you Panasonic!

Surveillance with Dome Cameras

We love surveillance – and dome cameras make it easy.

There are few things more of a deterrent to potential robbers than the site of cameras to catch their every move. Not only are dome cameras highly functional with infrared ‘night vision’ reaching up to 100 feet, some of them have automatic zoom and focus which can be adjusted from your smart phone.

Aside from function, our clients want the cameras to look great as well. A small white or painted dome on the surface of the wall does not intrude too much with the general exterior aesthetic and it gets the point across – to the intruders! Cameras in this featured photo are from Hikvision.

Do you have questions about adding surveillance to your home? Leave a comment here or come ask us on Facebook.

Haustech (formerly called CBA Technology) has been involved in hundreds of home automation and audio/video projects throughout the Los Angeles area and we bring years of high-end AV/Automation expertise to each project. Contact us today!

DIY in Home Technology

My name is Michael Fehmers and I am a technology valueist, standing at a precipice in home technology!

Technology is changing rapidly. Moore’s law just keeps proving itself over any over – and it’s true in the home too. Whereas we have traditionally held many hands wiring and installing systems in large residential and commercial spaces, the times are changing. Our team is excited to now offer assistance in the DIY landscape.

Retrofit installations for music (Sonos), HVAC (Savant, Nest, Honeywell), Lighting (Savant, Lutron), Networking (Araknis, Ubiquiti, Eero), Security (Schlage) make anything possible for anyone with a few extra dollars to spend.

Heard of Apple HomeKit? I’d like to say that it’s an APP, but it’s not. It’s a platform built ‘behind’ the Apple IOS front that works with a select group of quality products that will allow for natural integration.

For example, Haustech comes and helps you install a Honeywell Lyric Thermostat, some Lutron Caseta Wireless Lighting, and the Schlage Sense Lock – and we get them all configured as separate apps on your IOS or Android Device. THEN, in the case of the iPhone, you are natively able to tell Siri what to do. Press your little button and say “Siri, turn on family room overheads” or  “Siri, lock the door” or “Siri, turn the cool the house to 60 degrees (I like it cold).” All at your own fingertips!

As much as “DIY” means Do It Yourself – sometimes it’s not that easy. Changing light switches, updating thermostats, setting up a wireless music system, programming remotes, installing smart locks… the list continues to grow. Though much simpler to do these kind of updates then in the past, you may still need some assistance. That’s the future and Haustech is here to help you help yourself.

I believe what scares many people about home automation, even those that can afford the super expensive systems, is the reliance on a company to manage their technology needs. Technology has issues – don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Haustech can help anyone be in command of their technological future at a value never before seen.

Do you have questions about the DIY Smart Home? Leave a comment here or come tell us on Facebook.

Haustech (formerly called CBA Technology) has been involved in hundreds of home automation and audio/video projects throughout the Los Angeles area and we bring years of high-end AV/Automation expertise to each project. Contact us today!


A Knack for Racks

We pride ourselves on building an organized head-end rack, which is the brain in any smart home.

When possible, we deliver pre-configured racks with tails ready to be connected to the finished wall terminations. Our method of terminating all of the pre-wire on the wall can save much time in a very tight construction schedule.

In that each wire is labeled, service is also affected in a very positive manner. Gone are the days when only the technician who designed the “beast” knows what is what.

Working out appropriate cooling and wire management makes everything work that much better. Every time.

Plus it’s equally imperative to know where the brain will live in your house. It’s amazing how often this is overlooked in the process, especially for new construction.

Check out some of our recent racks below.

Haustech West LA Rack

Hautech Bel AirHaustech Bel Air Rack

Haustech_Pacific_Palisades_RackRack Hidden

Haustech (formerly called CBA Technology) has been involved in hundreds of home automation and audio/video projects throughout the Los Angeles area and we bring years of high-end AV/Automation expertise to each project. Contact us today!