AJMAL JALEEL BUNGALOW
Posted on 26/07/2022
In some ways, automating a home is both the simplest task as well as the most complex thing we do. A home is an integral part of a family. It has specific requirements. Every room we automate has a personality defined by the family members’ individual and collective needs. When we showcase our solutions, our client isn’t just the architect or interior designer. It’s every member of the family. And this is true whether the project is a palatial villa or a small apartment. Whatever the size and scope of the project, it is the most important thing for our clients, and Messung ensures that we treat our residential installations with the same reverence. That’s what happened in this installation, where every family member contributed to functionality and design to make this bungalow their home.
The entire property was to be automated, including lighting (outdoor and indoor), climate (fans and ACs), entertainment (home theater), curtains, and security. Here’s the story.
Building the experience
Automating a 52,500 sq. ft. residence built on a 6-acre land is very different from automating an apartment. A lot of factors must be taken into account. The landscape is filled with trees, play areas for children, ample car parking space, and two shuttle courts (indoor and outdoor). Security is a major concern, as well as disparate controls. Controlling each zone from its operation space can be tedious and ineffective; dividing the home into zones makes sense. Every zone has a purpose and thus, requires unique functionality and an interplay of components that can be starkly different from other zones.
This means approaching controls from two points:
One, a central master control that can be used to control the entire property from a central point, avoiding the tedious chore of walking to each zone and manually controlling them. Imagine having to turn off the lights of different zones by going there and flipping off the switches.
Second, zone-specific controls specific to the zones like the home theater, outdoor area, or living room. The zone-specific controls are built with functionalities that are appropriate for that zone.
This zone-specific and central control were made possible by integrating our KNX solutions.
Now, what do these controls look like in implementation?
Let’s start with lighting. Outdoor lighting was on ON/OFF, but the indoor lighting was on Dali and dimmable. By using Dali and dimmable lights, the residents are able to create the desired ambiance for each occasion and different times of the day. The home theater lights work in coherence with audio-video and other setups to create a unified and intuitive experience. An example of this is lights turning on when the video is paused.
The outdoor lighting is scheduled to turn on in the evening and turn off in the morning. It ensures that every area is adequately lit, so no one (especially children and the elderly) has to walk in the dark, and there is always light when the residents come home from outside.
Every aspect of the home theater was designed to create an immersive experience and minimize interruptions. This involved some cleaning up. With so many devices like satellite, Blu-ray players, and streaming services come so many controllers. We brought those down to one—a single controller for everything in the home theater. And when we say everything, we mean it. Not only can the residents control the audio-video setup, but also the lighting, climate, and curtains.
“A simple shift in the functionality can be a dramatic shift in experience. By reducing the number of devices required to control a space, you are elevating the experience of that space.”
Apart from simplifying the controls, we implemented some logical and valuable modifications to the UI. Most played channels’ presets were created with their logos. A simple user interface was built to help anyone navigate and play what they want. The controls were extended to smartphones by designing an app that is responsive and intuitive to use. The viewing experience was optimized by creating personalized scenes where lights, curtains, and climate worked with the audio-video to create the perfect environment for residents to enjoy their favorite shows.
So far, we have covered lighting and entertainment; now, let’s move on to another critical aspect of ginormous homes—curtains. Palatial bungalows come with prodigious curtains.
We advised the client to use motorized curtains everywhere. It helped us bring all the curtains to automation. The client highly appreciated this. Here’s why: the residence was built with many glass walls and many curtains (varying sizes). To manually open and close every curtain would mean much work, especially when opening and closing the 25-feet curtains. By automating the opening and closing, not only is much energy saved, but it also helps elevate the experience. Like in the morning, the curtains in the room open at a predefined time. It is also designed to work with various scenes, like the maid scene where the curtains open, fans switch off, and lighting is adjusted as per natural light.
A home is incomplete without a proper climate setup. No matter how beautiful you’ve made any space without a comfortable climate, it will always be an unsatisfactory experience. So, we were very clear on perfecting the climate. Our touchscreen keypads have inbuilt temperature probes and thermostats that keep track of the temperature and display it on its home screen. Both fans and ACs are brought to automation. An elegant UI makes regulating the temperature or speed both fun and effortless. The sensors track presence and maintain the preset desired temperature. All elements work together to improve energy efficiency. Curtains and windows close to avoid temperature rise when ACs are on. Every little detail has been addressed to ensure that every space feels comfortable and fulfills its function.
Touchscreen designer keypads were used across the home to operate all the functionalities we discussed. The keypads were personalized to match the interiors and improve the overall aesthetics. Specific scenes were created on different keypads to control the various elements together and enhance comfort. For example, on the arrival of the guest, the client presses the guest scene, and it sends a command to:
- open the gate,
- switch on the water body,
- switch on the fountain,
- switch in the pathway lights and the landscape lights,
- finally, turn on the fans in the common area.
To make life even easier, all these functionalities are made available using voice commands. So, there is no need to walk to the keypad to change the temperature or switch off the fan. All the family needs to do is say, “Alexa, lower the temperature by 2 degrees,” and continue cooking, watching the match, or hosting their guest.
The client was thrilled to see their desired functionalities come to life. After three years of installation, the client has reported no issues or problems with any devices and performance.