At FIBARO, we really like people who represent out of the box approach and like to share their achievements with other people. I reached out to James Bragg at A1 SmartHome from Canada who will tell us a bit more about his last three installations that made us totally impressed with smart home solutions applied and a customer experience approach worth to follow.

Przemysław Kaczorowski: Hello James, hope you are fine and ready to share with us a bit more about your last work. Please tell me and our FIBARO Newsroom readers, where you work, what are the locations of those houses that you carried smart-home-revolutions in?

James Bragg: Hello, thank you so much for this opportunity to share with your audience all of the things I’ve done lately. Coming back to your question, I am from Alberta, Canada and this is (in majority) an area of my work. I would like to tell you about three locations. First of them is in Bridlewood – amazing house of 2000sq/ft, the second is located in Briar Hill – 3200sq/ft and the last but not least, the biggest 3800sq/ft house in Mahogany. All of these locations are in Calgary, Alberta.

PK: That’s impressive! Could you tell us more about the owners? Who lives in those houses? What were their needs that FIBARO smart home was supposed to meet?

JB: In the first case, in Bridlewood, it is a family of 4. Their main needs were security, access control, surveillance (4 cameras with NVR), indoor and outdoor lighting control, total HVAC, garage door control and theatre room with full entertainment system. Everything there will now be controlled via voice assistant (Amazon Alexa), mobile app and A1 custom built 7inch in wall tablets.

PK: And the another two projects – in Briar Hill and Mahogany?

JB: Briar Hill house is a residence taken up by a family of 4 as well, while in Mahogany there lives a family of 5. The first family required a smart home system comparable to Control4 for their pre-wired house with price point below $65 000 (Control 4 installation quote >$90K). They wanted a full home security system with 4 keypads along with the second partition for the detached garage. Of course, they wanted a full home lighting control (indoor and outdoor), HVAC control equipped with 2 thermostats, 7 zone audio distribution system – which I am a huge fan of, 8×8 HDbaseT video distribution system, 8 camera video surveillance, scene controllers and a 11.2 Dolby Atmos theatre room with 4K projector and complete home network with 3 POE wireless access point with management and home office – just to name a few.

PK: That’s a lot of work, I am truly impressed. How about a home in Mahogany?

JB: There lives a family of 5, as I said before. Their main need was a multi display theatre room, 8 zone audio distribution system, access control for main entry and attached triple car garage alongside with video door intercom and security system with 4 keypads as a priority. The house was pre-wired and the owners were looking for a system similar to Control4 and Elan with budget estimated at below $50 000.

PK: Which devices from FIBARO were installed in those houses?

JB: There was a lot of that, really. To start with – everything is managed by FIBARO Home Center 2. Each house is equipped with dozens of different sensors, like: Flood Sensor, Motion Sensor, Universal Binary Sensor, Door/Window Sensor, RGBW Controllers, smart plugs and Smoke Sensor. Those houses can be controlled not only by a mobile app but also by FIBARO The Button and Amazon Alexa.

PK: FIBARO System is known as an open one that allows to connect with third party devices, did you do something with that?

JB: Of course, I connected FIBARO devices with Aeotec and GoControl recessed door contact sensors, thermostats by Honeywell, HIKVISION cameras/NVR’s, Logitech Harmony Pro remotes, DoorBird IP door stations or Nexia Doorbell sensor, Leviton and GE light switches and DSC Power Series wired/wireless security systems. Distributed audio systems were equipped with Russound multi room controllers and Sonos one connect amps. Theatre rooms were equipped with Yamaha, Marantz, Panasonic, PlayStation 4, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV to list just a few. And of course voice assistant – Amazon Alexa, that I mentioned before.

PK: How long did those installations last?

JB: Smart home installation in Bridlewood lasted for 2 days, while in Briar Hill and Mahogany 7-10 days respectively.

PK: James, are you able to present a “typical” customizations?

JB: All installations were specifically customized for each unique application, but in every house the inhabitants wanted a good morning scene, where the lights in the kitchen are turned on, as well as HVAC set to the designed temperature. There is no doubt that starting a day with good music is essential, hence those smart houses are filled with music from the very beginning of the day. At the end of the day all devices, lights etc. are turning off, HVAC is meant to lower the temperature, and security alarm is set. Theatre rooms work with a movie time and party time scenarios, thanks to that entertainment system is set to correct display, during watching movies and party’s volume and lighting is set to the desired level.

PK: Do you have some feedback from the owners? How do they find a true FIBARO smart home ?

JB: They really like it! I got a few calls from them and the smart home really helps with their day-to-day routines and really saves time! They absolutely love the user interfaces and automations that are tailored to their own unique needs and schedules without any hidden fees. The most common feedback we receive from investors and other installers is the possibility to provide our clients with ability to further customize their system without any special software or advanced programming skills.

PK: Thank you so much James for such a detailed and inspiring conversation, wish you all the best!

JB: The pleasure is mine, thanks so much for letting me share with you and all the readers my experiences 😊

Smart home can be installed in the house or apartment, regardless of its size. The houses presented in the article are examples of installations carried out with all-encompassing  approach. Their residents had very specific needs, such a theatre rooms, HVAC etc. However, it is worth to remember that the journey with smart home can be started from several thousand dollars, and your home will still be a truly smart!