Four years in the making, this attractive new 1,300 square foot showcase features innovative technology solutions for today’s modern homes.
BY GORDON VAN ZUIDEN
AS A TECHNOLOGY DESIGNER, I invest a great deal of time educating my design-build colleagues. Let me share with you one of my passions, our recently completed cyberManor New Home Technology Center (NHTC) which is located in downtown Los Gatos, California. Our experience center is unlike any other. Four years in the making, this attractive, contemporary new 1,300 square foot two-story home features innovative technology solutions for today’s modern homes.
One of the goals of this showroom home is to give clients who are building or remodeling their home, as well as our builder partners, a hands-on, real-world interaction with smart home features and solutions. The other goal is that we use our home technology center as an R&D lab to test and vet new home technology products as they come to market. This real-world operating experience gives cyberManor the confidence and expertise to design home technology solutions for our clients that are reliable, current and scalable for tomorrow’s smart home needs.
“Our hands-on experience center showcases well over
a hundred networked, home technology devices—all
controlled by voice, touchscreen, button, gesture, or
Gordon Van Zuiden
For many years cyberManor provided home technology solutions for Sunset’s Dream Homes in the San Francisco Bay Area. These homes emphasized architecture, design and building material ideas over integrated, home technology solutions. Home technology was often overshadowed by the attention given to the visual aesthetics of these beautiful new homes.
One of the primary goals of the NHTC is to highlight the importance of seamlessly integrating well-designed home technology solutions into beautiful, newly constructed homes — technology solutions that enhance the entertainment, comfort, security and value of all new home construction. Our hands-on experience center showcases well over a hundred networked, home technology devices — all controlled by voice, touchscreen, button, gesture, or keypad. This modern home, like the latest generation of intelligent automobiles, can be personalized for the needs and wants of every homeowner by time of day — from their favorite music, ideal temperature and lighting settings, and even a preferred shower temperature.
All of these networked connected products have an intelligent software layer for control, either using Control4 or the manufacturer’s own native application. This software layer communicates with the home’s network and the internet at all times. As a result, whenever Control4 or the hardware manufacturer releases a feature enhancement update for their product, it is automatically installed on their hardware platform. We emphasize to our clients and partners that we “wake up to a better showcase home” almost every day. Part of cyberManor’s future concierge service offerings will be to notify our customers how their home’s entertainment, comfort, security, kitchen, bath and control systems automatically improve in their home over time at no additional cost to them.
The first technology you discover when you tour the home is the beautiful brass Control4 entry station at the front door that provides a ring notification that someone is at the front door to all the touchscreens in the home as well as mobile devices outside of the home. A camera at this front door entry station allows anyone inside the home or with a remote phone to see and talk to the person at the door. An electronic keypad wirelessly connected to a Baldwin Evolve intelligent door lock allows the homeowner to assign time-dependent access codes for entry into the home, eliminating the need for a physical key.
Once you walk into the home, a simple voice command saying “Alexa, I’m home” or “Okay Josh, I’m home” will turn on the living room and kitchen lights, open the living room shade and kitchen curtain, turn on the music to a preferred listening station, turn the heating or air conditioning system on if needed, and turn off the security system. From the flush-mounted 10-inch Control4 touchscreen near the front door you can easily close the garage door, turn on the landscaping lights and fountain, start the irrigation system, or view the performance of the home’s solar backup battery system.
In this solar powered intelligent home, when the interior summer temperature is above 75 degrees the Velux skylights automatically open and the Haiku smart ceiling fan turns on to provide convection cooling prior to turning on the more energy intensive AC system, thereby preserving and extending the solar battery life. The home’s energy management system is even intelligent enough to know if the local weather forecast predicts cloudy days ahead, because the battery should be charged during the lower electrical rate off peak hours so that inexpensive stored electricity is available to the home during the more expensive daytime hours. We’ve also installed Schneider Electric smart circuit breakers that can intelligently turn off and on circuits in the home during power outages — further extending the life of the battery for all the electrical needs of the home.
Walk into the kitchen from the living room and the latest connected kitchen technology solutions from Bosch and Thermador are on display. The coffee machine can deliver up to eight personalized beverages so family members and houseguests can program their own favorite drinks—from a single shot espresso, to tea, to extra-large cappuccinos. These drinks can be initiated by voice command for the ultimate coffee making experience. The Thermador oven can also be turned on to a specific temperature by voice command or even remotely from a Josh.ai total home control portal on a Tesla touchscreen.
In the morning you can push a Fibaro Z-Wave connected button on the night stand that invokes an “I’m awake” scene that raises the master bathroom shades, turns on the desired music or the flat screen monitor hidden behind the Electric Mirror to current news or local weather information, and even starts the Kohler Intelligent Shower to the homeowner’s preferred shower temperature and spa setting.
The home was built so that a visitor can not only see the design and beauty of these integrated home technologies working seamlessly together, but also understand what is required to make all these solutions work by “looking under the hood”. Tours of the home include the mechanical room where the home’s centralized lighting panel, networking wiring and hardware, solar battery/inverter, and master bathroom shower controls are located. Inside the family room an AV rack can be pulled out and rotated to show how all the home’s AV gear is connected and integrated into the network design.
The New Home Technology Center investment is the centerpiece and culmination of cyberManor’s 20-plus years of expertise designing and installing home technology solutions for clients in the San Francisco Bay Area. It was designed to be educational for our clients, builder partners, and vendors and serves as a working lab to prove and test the integration of the best-of-breed manufacturers that we recommend and install in our clients’ homes every day.
Please visit us next time you find yourself in the Bay Area. We’re here to educate and inform. Technology should be in the background of our lives, but integrated properly, it can enhance any lifestyle and be designed for tomorrow’s needs and applications.in the background of our lives, but integrated properly, it can enhance any lifestyle and be designed for tomorrow’s needs and applications.
610 University Ave
Los Gatos, CA 95032
Gordon Van Zuiden, Founder