Tag Archive for: Automation

Do you have a Philips Dynalite lighting control system at home or in the office?

We have just completed a beautiful two way driver which gives you the ability to control your Dynalite system via touchscreen, app control, Siri or Alexa and can also control your AV equipment.

Philips Dynalite

Dynalite has been a very popular system over the past 30 years made its way into many commercial buildings, venues and large houses.  While Dynalite has been extremely robust and reliable it never seemed to get there in terms of intuitive touchscreen design, convenient app control, AV integration or voice control.

If you have a Philips or Signify Dynalite system at your home or office and would like to put a stunning new user interface on the front end complete with smart phone and tablet control that works while on or off site click here to get in touch or phone 09 377 3778 to talk to one of our friendly experts today.

Simplify Life.

Kristil is no longer manufactured and parts for Kristil systems are nearly impossible to come by but we can help!

We have replaced many Kristil systems with the Vantage Equinox System http://www.vantagecontrols.com/learn/product-overview.aspx which runs over the existing Kristil wiring.

The keypads will get a stylish update and you will be able to control your system from your phones and tablets!

Upgrading Kristil lighting and security systems takes around two days depending on the size of your system. Contact me on brendon@aa.net.nz anytime and I will come out and price it up for you.

We often get asked “Can you fix a Kristal system” or “Can you repair a Kristal system” unfortunately the answer is no – once the Black Triacs in your switchboard blow, that’s it, its time to replace your Kristil Automation system.

We replaced a broken Kristil system for our client Kris, in Campbells Bay, Auckland and here’s what he had to say about his experience:

“I have spent most of the last decade trying to keep my Kristil system running. Increasing failures and repairs, alongside a desire to stay abreast of evolving technologies caused me to search for a replacement and after lengthy evaluation chose a Vantage system from Automation Associates.

Since upgrading to Vantage I have finally achieved the vision I originally anticipated – a system that works reliably, can be controlled from anywhere, and that my family can use easily.

The AA crew are outstanding and truly know their stuff – I recommend them as seasoned professionals and only wish I had engaged them from the start.  “

Kris Boyd

If you have a broken Kristil system call me on 021 970785 – we are the experts at getting you up and running again!

We live in a fast-paced world and it’s becoming increasingly challenging to remain in control of everything. Home automation systems give you the opportunity to stay in control. You can be in two places at the same time or even make coffee from your bed. Sounds strange? Let us explain.

What is Home Automation?

Home automation uses wireless technology to control appliances, home theatre systems, lights, and security alarms in your home. You could also use an automated system to regulate the temperature in your home or control your solar systems. The possibilities are endless. Although people think it’s quite expensive to install a home automation system, the truth is that the systems reduce energy bills. For example, you can program your dishwasher to run a cycle when energy consumption rates are the lowest. You could also control your thermostat for lower energy consumption.

Benefits of Home Automation

  1. It Secures Your Home

The latest burglar alarm systems come with video recording, built-in speakers and unique motion detectors. They know to tell the difference between a person and a thing. You could be out of town and still know who’s standing outside your front door. You could even use the microphone and speaker system to ward off burglars.

  1. It Protects the Home from Accidental Fires

If you use a home automation system to control small appliances, you’ll be able to turn off ovens, curling irons and other electronics with the tap of a button. You’ll also be able to control the lights and HVAC units in your home. You could set up the system to automatically turn on/off lights at set times in the day/night. You can also program the system to leave the lights on when you’re not at home to keep thieves off your property.

  1. It Gives You Peace of Mind

When you have a home automation system in place, you know your home is secure at all times. You can travel in peace knowing you have access to all controls on your phone or tablet. You have one less thing to worry about in life.

  1. It Increases the Value of Your Home

If you’ve installed automated home theatre and lighting systems together with home security systems, your house will sell for much higher than the current market rate. Buyers will love the convenience and safety that the system offers.

  1. It Saves Time

You don’t have to wait for parcels to arrive at your doorstep. You don’t have to get up to greet the delivery person. You don’t even have to rush home to open the door for your children. With automation, you will have remote access to your home’s security system and you can also see who’s standing at your doorstep without opening the door.

Installing Automated Systems

If you want to reduce your energy consumption or secure your home with the latest technology, get in touch with Automation Associates.

We are the leading home automation installation company in the nation. Whatever your goals, we can help you achieve them through our smart wiring technology. Our expert technicians have licenses issued by the New Zealand Department of Justice.

We perform a wide variety of home installations like home theatre calibration, multi-room audio integration, burglar alarm installation and automated lighting.

Call us on 09 377 3778 if you want a smart home or visit us online to look up our projects.

Avoid a Technology Fail. 7 key Fails & How to Avoid Them

Technology Fail 1. Reliance on WiFi
Most of our clients devices will connect via WiFi, however we advise against relying on WiFi to feed such systems as the alarm system, streaming audio and Apple TV for reliability reasons.  We make sufficient allowance for hard-wire to ensure the reliability of your systems.

Technology Fail 2. App Roulette
Relying on the apps that come with the TV, home theatre receiver and Apple TV to provide control is an exercise in frustration for you.  We strongly suggest either a single handheld remote, such as RTI or single app to control everything from one place.

Technology Fail 3. Supplier Resources
Small AV companies or electricians often don’t have the resources to provide samples for you to select from or time to attend site coordination meetings.  Choose a company who has the capacity to ensure your job runs smoothly.  Ask to be introduced to your project manager and the head technician.

Technology Fail 4. Wall Acne
A music keypad next to the thermostat next to the light switch beside the alarm keypad – not a good look!  Specify a control system that cleans up the wall and provides an easy to use solution, such as Vantage Equinox.

Technology Fail 5. Beta Testers
Make sure you are not inadvertently a test site for unproven technology!  Beware of the phrase “this is the latest…” Ask for references from other clients who have the same combination of technologies up and running.

Technology Fail 6. Cost Overruns
A thorough needs analysis with you and your family at the beginning of the project will ensure everyone is happy at the end of the project . The words “I thought” from either you or your AV Integrator are red flags the job was not scoped correctly.

Technology Fail 7. Cowboy Installs
AV equipment should be in racks, wall mounted equipment should be in cans, the AV Integrator Company should be a member of a professional trade association such as CEDIA or BICSI.  If there are cables dangling anywhere you are dealing with someone from the “get in get out” camp.  You should be looking to engage the “do it right the first time camp”.  It may appear to cost a little more, but it will save you a headache, and further costs in the end.

Home automation, integrated building technology and smart homes

Home automation, integrated building technology or smart homes are umbrella terms for residential or commercial premises that mean different things depending on your budget, but loosely describe a combination of multi-room audio and visual, lighting control via a touch screen (or mobile device), structured cabling for phone and computer network flexibility, security (including alarms and cameras) and access control for remote vehicle and pedestrian gate release or proximity readers, and whole building control in commercial premises.

In a non-automated home you might use your remote to open the garage door, another remote to unset the alarm then find yourself feeling around for the light switches in the garage then hall, then again in the kitchen and lounge.  Now, because the lights are on you must close the blinds.  Turn the heating on, drop your bags and settle down on the couch to watch the News.  Realise you don’t have the remote for the TV so find that, and then adjust the lighting level for watching TV.

An automated, or smart home does all this for you.  Home automation allows one button press to simply unset the alarm, illuminate a path of light to the kitchen and turn the TV onto your favourite channel.  The beauty being that these scenarios are customisable to your family’s lifestyle.

And similar scenarios exist within commercial premises.  Where you might have had a building administrator booking rooms, setting up AV equipment and allocating resources this can now all be managed by a central automated building control system.  These clever systems not only go into presentation mode in preparation for room occupancy, but for any reason the meeting doesn’t go ahead, they will sense that no one is in the room and shut off the systems again conserving power.  And that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to making your commercial space work for you.

Brendon Reid, Director of Automation Associates comments “It’s said that 70 per cent of the energy used in the US goes into buildings and 50 per cent of that is wasted.  Good automation systems should not only be reliable and simple to use, but should also give you good control over your energy management thereby creating savings.”

For the technically wary these systems can seem daunting, however industry association CEDIA (the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association) can be a good place to start.  This international trade association was set up to promote high standards within the custom electronics industry by providing training, accreditation and recognition for members.  By engaging a CEDIA Certified professional you will have peace of mind and the finest in custom home automation electronic design and installation.

Home automation systems can be stand alone or fully integrated whereby you can control lighting, audio, heating, access, theatre and more in one tidy, simple user interface.  The beauty is that a good custom design and installation company is able to fully customise your system to your budget, needs and lifestyle.

Words by Automation Associates.  Visit www.aa.net.nz  or email sales@aa.net.nz for more information.  Ph 0508 AUTOMATE

Crestron Pyng

Crestron Pyng ™ now enables set up and control of whole home audio distribution systems and touch screen integration right from the iPad®. Plus, the app makes smart homes even smarter by learning how the home is actually used. The data is collected in the cloud and graphically displayed on the iPad app.

Pyng all of your tunes in every room
The new version of the Crestron Pyng app makes it easy to set up audio distribution to every room of the house. Homeowners can enjoy popular streaming services, including Spotify®, PANDORA®, and Rhapsody® wirelessly via AirPlay®. In addition, they can play all of their iTunes® music and personal digital music libraries wirelessly or through USB.

Crestron gives you unparalleled flexibility to offer whole home audio systems and the Crestron Pyng app now pairs instantly with the Autonomic Mirage MMS 5a and 2a streaming media servers. An integral part of your home automation.

The ultimate learning system
Crestron Pyng now makes your smart home even smarter by learning how the home is actually used. By identifying trends and understanding how different rooms are used, when they are used, and how long each day, adjustments can be made to save energy and money. The cloud-based service collects data and then graphically displays the information on the iPad. Spikes in usage, can easily be seen. For example, lights may be left on in the basement during the day when no one is home, or after the housekeeper leaves. Inexpensive occupancy sensor could be added to significantly reduce waste. Now, that’s smart home automation!

Homeowner Adjustability
Once the initial set up is complete, anyone can easily modify settings or create new scenes right from the app. Homeowners can make changes themselves with the confidence that all their original settings are backed up in the cloud. Clients can modify lighting scenes, change daily scheduled events, or change button names whenever they are so-inclined.

What is Home Automation?

Home automation is the residential extension of building automation. It is automation of the home, housework or household activity. Home automation may include centralized control of lighting, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), appliances, security locks of gates and doors and other systems, to provide improved convenience, comfort, energy efficiency and security. Home automation for the elderly and disabled can provide increased quality of life for persons who might otherwise require caregivers or institutional care.

The popularity of home automation has been increasing greatly in recent years due to much higher affordability and simplicity through smartphone and tablet connectivity. The concept of the “Internet of Things” has tied in closely with the popularization of home automation.

A home automation system integrates electrical devices in a house with each other. The techniques employed in home automation include those in building automation as well as the control of domestic activities, such as home entertainment systems, houseplant and yard watering, pet feeding, changing the ambiance “scenes” for different events (such as dinners or parties),lighting control system, and the use of domestic robots. Devices may be connected through a home network to allow control by a personal computer, and may allow remote access from the internet. Through the integration of information technologies with the home environment, systems and appliances can communicate in an integrated manner which results in convenience, energy efficiency, and safety benefits.

Automated “homes of the future” have been staple exhibits for World’s Fairs and popular backgrounds in science fiction. Possibly the first “home computer” was an experimental home automation system in 1966.

Overview and benefits

Home automation refers to the use of computer and information technology to control home appliances and features (such as windows or lighting). Systems can range from simple remote control of lighting through to complex computer/micro-controller based networks with varying degrees of intelligence and automation. Home automation is adopted for reasons of ease, security and energy efficiency.

In modern construction in industrialized nations, most homes have been wired for electrical power, telephones, TV outlets (cable or antenna), and a doorbell. Many household tasks were automated by the development of specialized automated appliances. For instance, automatic washing machines were developed to reduce the manual labour of cleaning clothes, and water heaters reduced the labour necessary for bathing.

The use of gaseous or liquid fuels, and later the use of electricity enabled increased automation in heating, reducing the labour necessary to manually refuel heaters and stoves. Development of thermostats allowed more automated control of heating, and later cooling.

As the number of controllable devices in the home rises, interconnection and communication becomes a useful and desirable feature. For example, a furnace can send an alert message when it needs cleaning, or a refrigerator when it needs service. If no one is supposed to be home and the alarm system is set, the home automation system could call the owner, or the neighbours, or an emergency number if an intruder is detected.

In simple installations, automation may be as straightforward as turning on the lights when a person enters the room. In advanced installations, rooms can sense not only the presence of a person inside but know who that person is and perhaps set appropriate lighting, temperature, music levels or television channels, taking into account the day of the week, the time of day, and other factors.

Other automated tasks may include reduced setting of the heating or air conditioning when the house is unoccupied, and restoring the normal setting when an occupant is about to return. More sophisticated systems can maintain an inventory of products, recording their usage through bar codes, or an RFID tag, and prepare a shopping list or even automatically order replacements.

Home automation can also provide a remote interface to home appliances or the automation system itself, to provide control and monitoring on a smartphone or web browser.

An example of remote monitoring in home automation could be triggered when a smoke detector detects a fire or smoke condition, causing all lights in the house to blink to alert any occupants of the house to the possible emergency. If the house is equipped with a home theatre, a home automation system can shut down all audio and video components to avoid distractions, or make an audible announcement. The system could also call the home owner on their mobile phone to alert them, or call the fire department or alarm monitoring company.


Home automation has been a feature of science fiction writing for many years, but has only become practical since the early 20th Century following the widespread introduction of electricity into the home, and the rapid advancement of information technology. Early remote control devices began to emerge in the late 1800s. For example, Nikola Tesla patented an idea for the remote control of vessels and vehicles in 1898.

The emergence of electrical home appliances began between 1915 and 1920; the decline in domestic servants meant that households needed cheap, mechanical replacements. Domestic electricity supply, however, was still in its infancy — meaning this luxury was afforded only the more affluent households.

Ideas similar to modern home automation systems originated during the World’s Fairs of the 1930s. Fairs in Chicago (1934) and New York (1939 and 1964–65) depicted electrified and automated homes. In 1966 Jim Sutherland, an engineer working for Westinghouse Electric, developed a home automation system called “ECHO IV”; this was a private project and never commercialized. The first “wired homes” were built by American hobbyists during the 1960s, but were limited by the technology of the times. The term “smart house” was first coined by the American Association of Housebuilders in 1984.

With the invention of the microcontroller, the cost of electronic control fell rapidly. Remote and intelligent control technologies were adopted by the building services industry and appliance manufacturers.

By the end of the 1990s, “domotics” was commonly used to describe any system in which informatics and telematics were combined to support activities in the home.2] The phrase is a neologism formed from domus (Latin, meaning house) and informatics, and refers to the application of computer and robot technologies to domestic appliances.The concept “Domotique” was initially introduced in France in the 1980s and was during the 1990s introduced in Spain and Italy as “Domótica”, and refers to home automation.

Constructed in 1998, the INTEGER Millennium House is a demonstration house built partially to showcase a variety of intelligent home automation technologies, including a building management system that could optimize the performance of the heating system, an automatic garden irrigation system that could sense soil humidity conditions and water accordingly, an intelligent security system, lighting that could be set to one of four predefined moods, and microchip-embedded programmable door keys. The house also featured advanced communication technologies such as a telephone service distributed via a local building exchange, digital satellite and terrestrial television available in every room, WebTV, and a closed-circuit television (CCTV) system.

While there is still much room for growth, according to ABI Research, 1.5 million home automation systems were installed in the US in 2012, and a sharp uptake could see shipments topping over 8 million in 2017.

System elements

Home automation systems include the following types of devices.

  • Sensors to measure or detect things like temperature, humidity, daylight or motion.
  • Controllers such as a PC or a dedicated home automation controller.
  • Actuators such as motorized valves, light switches and motors.
  • Buses for communication that can be wired or wireless.
  • Interfaces for human-machine and/or machine-to-machine interaction.

One or more human-machine and/or machine-to-machine interface devices are required, so that the residents of the home can interact with the system for monitoring and control; this may be a specialized terminal or, increasingly, may be an application running on a smart phone or tablet computer. Devices may communicate over dedicated wiring, or over a wired network, or wirelessly using one or more protocols. Building automation networks developed for institutional or commercial buildings may be adapted to control in individual residences. A centralized controller can be used, or multiple intelligent devices can be distributed around the home.[citation needed]


There have been many attempts to standardise the forms of hardware, electronic and communication interfaces needed to construct a home automation system. Some standards use additional communication and control wiring, some embed signals in the existing power circuit of the house, some use radio frequency (RF) signals, some can be installed wirelessly and some use a combination of several methods. Control wiring is hardest to retrofit into an existing house. Some appliances include a USB port that is used for control and connection to a domotics network. Protocol bridges translate information from one standard to another, for example, from X10 to European Installation Bus (EIB now KNX).


Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems can include temperature and humidity control, including fresh air heating and natural cooling. An Internet-controlled thermostat allows the homeowner to control the building’s heating and air conditioning systems remotely. The system may automatically open and close windows to cool the house. Today – there are also dedicated gateways that connect advanced VRV / VRF and Split HVAC Systems with Home Automation and BMS (Building Management Systems) controllers for centralized control and monitoring. In addition, such gateway solutions is capable of providing remote control operation of all HVAC indoor units over the internet incorporating a simple and friendly user interface.


Home automation products can be used for something as simple as adding Multiway switching to existing electric lighting circuits, or can include very complex interactions with other systems.

A Lighting control system can be used to switch lights based on a time cycle, or arranged to automatically go out when a room is unoccupied. Some electronically controlled lamps can be controlled for brightness or color to provide different light levels for different tasks. Lighting can be controlled remotely by a wireless control or over the Internet. Natural lighting (daylighting) can be used to automatically control window shades and draperies to make best use of natural light.


This category includes audio and video switching and distribution. Multiple audio or video sources can be selected and distributed to one or more rooms and can be linked with lighting and blinds to provide mood settings.


Automatic control of blinds and curtains can be used for:

  • Presence simulation
  • Privacy
  • Temperature control
  • Brightness control
  • Glare control
  • Security (in case of shutters)


A household security system integrated with a home automation system can provide additional services such as remote surveillance of security cameras over the Internet, or central locking of all perimeter doors and windows.

With home automation, the user can select and watch cameras live from an Internet source to their home or business. Security systems can include motion sensors that will detect any kind of unauthorized movement and notify the user through the security system or via cell phone.

The automation system can simulate the appearance of an occupied home by automatically adjusting lighting or window coverings. Detection systems such as fire alarm, gas leak, carbon monoxide, or water leaks can be integrated. Personal medical alarm systems allow an injured home occupant to summon help.


An intercom system allows communication via a microphone and loud speaker between multiple rooms. Integration of the intercom to the telephone, or of the video door entry system to the television set, allowing the residents to view the door camera automatically.

Other systems

Using special hardware, almost any household appliance can be monitored and controlled automatically or remotely, including cooking appliances, swimming pool systems, and others.


Costs mainly include equipment, components, furniture, and custom installation.

Ongoing costs include electricity to run the control systems, maintenance costs for the control and networking systems, including troubleshooting, and eventual cost of upgrading as standards change. Increased complexity may also increase maintenance costs for networked devices. Cloud-based services supporting an installation may also entail fees for setup, usage, or both.

Smart grid

Home automation technologies are viewed as integral additions to the smart grid. Communication between a home automation system and the grid would allow applications like load shedding during system peaks, or would allow the homeowner to automatically defer energy use to periods of low grid cost. Green automation or “demand response” are terms that refer to energy management strategies in home automation when data from smart grids is combined with home automation systems to use resources at either their lowest prices or highest availability, taking advantage, for instance, of high solar panel output in the middle of the day to automatically run washing machines.

Taken from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Negotiating Your Home in the Dark? An automation system provides solutions to everyday challenges and increases home safety.

Last week I was talking to a client, who has been living in an automated home we did for them 4-5 years ago, about an upgrade to the new Vantage Equinox system. He mentioned his wife had recently taken a tumble on the stairs. It turns out she often heads down to the kitchen in the night for a glass of water but never turns the lights on for fear of disturbing him in his sleep. We had a simple solution to improve their home safety!

We popped around and added a “sneak” button so she could turn on the lights to a dim level leading away from the bedroom and negotiate the stairs in her home safely to the kitchen. We thought this was a pretty good solution until the lady of the house pointed out she has no hope of reading the the buttons at night without her glasses – so I had our tech glow the LED so she can easily find it at night.

Double win, we improved our clients home safety and restored a little marital harmony at the same time.

The ability to change the homes functionality and programming as a clients needs change is something you just can’t do with a conventionally wired home – a great reason to have smart wiring.  A lighting control and automation system means you can do anything you like at any time in the future as clients needs change – including improvements to home safety!

Here’s her feedback on the sneak tweak:

“Hi…just a big vote of thanks for solving my problem negotiating my many stairs in the dark! Stepping off into space and landing in a heap is no fun. Your techie made it super easy by illuminating the words to a brighter lux between the hours of 10 pm and 5 am. Thanks!”