Tag Archive for: Vantage

Kiwis have a real “can do” attitude and our number 8 wire mentality has seen a lot of creativity spawn new products in the NZ Home Automation industry.

Clever Kiwi inventors have created products such as Smart Wires, (also known as Eboss) Kristal based in Auckland and recently Ata Touch from Hamilton –  even Cbus and Dynalite from across the ditch started as a home grown idea.

Recently I was contacted by a person in Te Awamutu that had a local sparky install a cowshed washdown control system in their house – it probably seemed like a great idea at the time but after a year it was driving the family mad when they couldn’t get some lights on and some would not turn off.  Some systems work well and give years of great service, but some are plagued with issues.

Sometimes the issues are caused by the system itself, but commonly they are caused by either stretching the system to do something it was not designed for or that the installer did not install it properly, either because they didn’t have the skills or experience to do it correctly or because corners were cut – usually to save costs.  Comments like “The system hasn’t worked since day one” or “The installer is lovely and tries but it still has faults” or “He just won’t answer the phone anymore” are common in these cases.

If this has happened to you, we can get you sorted out.  Automation Associates are one of NZ’s oldest and most experienced full service home automation companies with a nationwide team dedicated to “simplifying lives through technology”

We will come and look at the system, give you a frank appraisal of what is wrong and provide a plan to sort it out.  Whether the solution is working with a certified integrator for the system you have or replacing the system with one that works – you will soon be enjoying a simple home automation system that enhances your life.

Check out what Kris has to say about the work we did for him on his broken Kristal system:

“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 – Campbells Bay.

Email me at brendon@aa.net.nz and we’ll get your system sorted out 😊

Voice control has been around for 20 years, but it’s always been frustrating to use.  I wish it would hurry up and work because there’s some stuff I need it to do.

Back in the days when your car ignition key actually went into your ignition at least you always knew where your remote control fob was. Now your car keys can be anywhere from your back pocket to under the potting mix in the boot.

I open my gate and garage door with the Vantage app on my phone, but it requires briefly looking at my phone while driving and that’s something I’d rather avoid, especially since the nice old lady at the end of the street has a disturbing habit of backing out of her driveway before stopping across the middle of the road to see if anyone is coming. What I really want is to be able to talk to my car and ask him/her/it(?) to open my gate.

My first brief experience with Voice Recognition was around 15 years ago “Voice Control your home with ‘HAL’ for only $10,000” the signs read.

Brendon “Lights on”
HAL “I’m sorry, can you repeat that”
Brendon “Liiights on”
HAL “I’m sorry can you repeat that”
Brendon “Liiiightttsss Ooonnn”
HAL “Opening Front Door”

Yeah, nah.

A few years later and I was working with a product called Dragon Naturally Speaking.  It was a dictation system that I was integrating for a wheelchair bound motor neuron patient to give him control of his home, turn on lights, change the sky channel and most specifically the ability to lock and unlock his front door to keep his troublesome sister out.  The system cost around $1,000 from memory and after a solid 8 hours of training had an accuracy of around 60%.  After another day it was at around 63%.

About 5 years ago Siri turned up on iPhones.  It was free, and terrible.  I found that if you talked with a strangled American accent you would get the odd win but it wasn’t worth the hassle.  It was at this time that the phrase “Shut-up Siri” entered our lexicon that something radical also changed; the processing was not done locally on the device (which had to be made as cheaply as possible), instead it was sent to a data centre in Singapore and processed on a supercomputer worth more than all the European cars in Omaha on New Years Eve combined.

Fast forward to August 2016 and “Alexa” from Amazon arrived in our office, snuck into the country by faking a US account. I spent an afternoon chatting with her and I have to say she was pretty good, with accuracy around 85%. Then something interesting happened.  About two months later when talking to her again, the accuracy was vastly better, well over 90% and I believe this is a direct result of the AI work Amazon are doing behind the scenes, plowing cash into a system that at the end of the day is a front end for their massive online retail operation (yes the same Amazon who are now buying fruit and vegetable shops).

So, when will I be able to talk to my AI and get him/her/it to repeatably do something useful?  At the current rate of improvement, I would say you will be able to order two bottles of Blue Powerade and packet of Nurofen from Alexa by voice only on New Years day 2018.

In the meantime if you are still rooting around under the potting mix for your keys and want a slick way of opening the gate and garage door, take a look at the ceiling of your car next to the rear view mirror and if you see three home link buttons up there give me a call – I have a secret to tell you.

Alexa, where did I put my keys…

Brendon Reid is the Managing Director at Automation Associates.  He and his team of friendly consultants are experts in their field and are happy to talk tech’ any time.  If you have questions about technology for your home or business, then call Automation Associates on 09 377 3778 or email sales@aa.net.nz

Hotel Guests Enjoy Luxury with Vantage Commercial Automation

The world’s finest hotels and resorts turn to Vantage commercial automation systems to deliver a one-of-a-kind luxury experience for their guests.

Customised state-of-the-art automation systems, giving guests all the comforts of home at the touch of a button. Vantage’s InFusion controller allows for future expansion, an important component for the owner as additional upgrades are planned.

Vantage offers flexibility through automatic and automated control over the lighting, right through to full AV and mechanical integration. Vantage is the most powerful system in the high end custom install market to deliver complete automation. It provides fully integrated, intelligent control over both the dimming and switching of lighting, and other solutions such as AV, heating and security. Its intuitive software is quicker and easier to programme than any other system and the results are breathtaking; allowing a property to be shaped to specific tastes and expectations with the touch of a button.

You’ll find Vantage controls all over the world in the finest hotels and resorts.  If you are looking for a scale-able solution for your hotel – whether it be boutique or large scale Vantage has a customiseable solution offering multiple languages for your guests.

Call Automation Associates today for more information. Phone 09 377 3778