February 12, 2013

Wired For Everything


An award-winning Coquitlam company integrates a home so that everything is controlled at the touch of a button.

BY SHAWN CONNER

They can let you dim the lights and lower the blinds with a touch. They can wire your home so there’s music coming from hidden speakers. And the staff at Graytek find that customers really appreciate a great audio/visual system. “That’s when you see the customer’s reaction,” Shawn Moran said. A sales, industry and product trainer with the company, Moran comes from a background in high-end audio equipment. “There’s an emotional connection with dedicated home theatre rooms.”

Working out of a 5,000-square-foot office space on Schoolhouse Street in Coquitlam, Graytek has grown to 13 employees from two. When owners James and Caroline Gray started the company 10 years ago, the former brought his business, technology and construction experience. Caroline came from a business and finance management background. In September of 2012, the company brought home three international awards for its mantel. At the 2012 CEDIA (Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association) Awards in Indianapolis, the company won gold, silver and bronze awards for Best Integrated Home at different price levels. In 2009, Graytek also won CEDIA awards for Home Theatre Design and Best Integrated Home.

Just a couple of minutes away from Graytek’s industrial park HQ, the Jetsons’, er, the Grays’, three-storey home demonstrates what can be done with the latest integration technology. During our visit to the house, a couple of workmen, visible through french doors off the kitchen, were wiring the patio for the addition of an outdoor TV. From speakers overhead, the sounds of Diana Krall wafted into the open-plan kitchen.

A tablet-size panel perched on the island counter. With an easy-to-use interface, the panel lets the user control indoor lighting, house temperature, outdoor lighting via blinds and curtains, and sound. (All of this can be done remotely via smartphone and tablet as well.) Besides the overhead speakers, sound can also be accessed via “stealth” or Bay Audio Live Wall speakers behind the drywall (the speakers’ frequencies are adjusted to make up for the baffling).

Lights can be adjusted to various presets, such as “entertaining,” “meeting,” “TV,” or “away.” The panel can also be used as an HD TV or to view images from security cams. These images can also be accessed remotely – when parents are away on business or vacation they can check if the kids are having a party, as Moran pointed out. The Grays’ panel settings include access to real-time images of Vancouver highways as well as Whistler Village – ideal for checking on ski conditions. “The whole point of this is creating a lifestyle,” Moran said.

Located in a room just off the kitchen is the Grays’ den, which doubles as a home theatre. A 65-inch plasma TV is the centrepiece, while underneath, a panel hides three speakers. Hidden roller blinds and the lights are, of course, adjustable – by wall keypad, touch panel, smartphone or remote. “A lot of the time what sparks a project is the AV,” Moran said. “Clients want good video and good audio.”

A typical job will take about two weeks, some can take as little as a couple of days, while others can last months, depending on the client’s availability and demand for detail. Moran said that an integrated home with four zones of audio, a media room with a large TV, surround sound and lighting control, and security integration – all controllable on Android/Apple smartphone and tablets – could be done for about $30,000. Then there are those clients who have a slightly higher budget, such as one Graytek client who has a budget of $250,000 for his home theatre. “He really likes his movies,” Moran said.

www.graytek.ca, phone 604-529-1034 l

 

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