Home of the Year
Being There
A high-def telepresence system puts this faraway business owner in the boardroom.
image
Silver Winner: Whole Home $50,000+
May 03, 2011 by Steven Castle

It’s the ultimate dream, and we’re not just talking about having the money to afford a luxurious spread in the desert. This homeowner runs his business from his home, thanks to a high-definition telepresence system that enables him to videoconference with his executives like he’s right there in the boardroom.

And there are plenty of other high-tech goodies that enable him to work from this inspiring desert retreat.

“It’s the ultimate dream, and we’re not just talking about having the money to afford a luxurious spread in the desert. This homeowner runs his business from his home, thanks to a high-definition telepresence system that enables him to videoconference with his executives like he’s right there in the boardroom. And there are plenty of other high-tech goodies that enable him to work from this inspiring desert retreat.

“He felt that he had to get away from the day-to-day and focus on business development,” says Jim Miller, president of electronics installation company Desert Sound & Security in Phoenix, Ariz. “He wanted to stay in touch with his executive team and employees, and he envisioned being able to do a podcast while sitting at his desk. Employees could come into work in the morning and get a message from the president of the company.”

But why settle for a podcast, when he can sit at his conference table in suburban Phoenix and talk to his employees in Bellevue, Ill.—live?

This homeowner’s commute may only be a walk across a courtyard, but it starts when he wakes, presses a button and a TV in the bedroom turns on to the morning news. He can catch up on more of the news on a 26-inch TV in the master bath, and when he’s done preparing for some time in the office, a door from the master bath senses his approach and automatically opens. He descends the stairway, crosses the courtyard, enters his office wing and presses a button on an AMX touchpanel to start the Cisco telepresence system, then initiates the call on his Panasonic phone. Within minutes he’s talking live to people in his Illinois office.

Deconstructing Telepresence

Although it looks simple when he conducts a videoconference, several different pieces have to work in unison to transmit quality high-definition images across 1,500 miles and allow all the participants to feel as if they’re in the same room.

Desert Sound & Security had to deal with a host of lighting and audio/video issues to pull this off. A 65-inch plasma screen was originally planned for the conference room space, but a Cisco TV was required to properly integrate with the telepresence system. Only Cisco didn’t have a screen that size—until the company made this one.

Miller’s company had to dismantle the pedestal system the TV came on to mount the display above the fireplace, where homeowner wanted it. Small speakers that fire from the bottom bezel were swapped for better-quality custom-made speakers from Triad. Desert Sound also disassembled the side panels and rebuilt them so they shine light from slots, and the crew worked with a lighting designer to get just the right amount of light on the subject.

Proper lighting levels and fixture locations are crucial to having a quality telepresence experience, because without proper illumination the subject can appear washed out or with dark shadows covering portions of his face, or the background can look poor. For additional lighting, Desert Sound added some fixtures to a leg of the chandelier and pointed them down. Lights in the ceiling also adjust to different levels, depending on what is being done in the room.

To tame sound reflections in the room, Miller and his crew added motorized draperies that close when it’s videoconferencing time. All of it can be controlled by a 10-inch AMX in-wall touchpanel.

System Design & Installation
Desert Sound & Security, Phoenix, Ariz.
www.desertsound.com
Builder
Salcito Custom Homes, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Architect
Dale Gardon Design, Scottsdale, Ariz.
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The homeowner or a visitor can also show presentations on the TV from a laptop, by plugging into jacks mounted underneath the conference table.

For impromptu face time with his employees, the homeowner can also access the telepresence system on a second, smaller screen that rises out of his desk in an adjacent space.

More Work and Play

Our busy homeowner isn’t tied to working in his office and conference room. He can work anywhere in the home or by the pool. “He has multiple computers, and wanted spaces outside where he could go and work,” says Miller. “He wanted a document to be available on different laptops in different areas.” So seven T-1 high-speed data lines, some of which are redundant and used for backup, several Cisco switches, and about 15 wireless access points were installed. He can be on a document on one computer and simply go to another and continue to work on the same file, says Miller.

There are plenty of techno-goodies for quality down time, too. More than 20 zones of audio/video deliver entertainment content to Runco and LG displays from a Kaleidescape media server, DirecTV receivers with DVRs, Blu-ray and HD DVD players. There are his and her iPod docks that play through Sonance’s Invisible Series in-wall speakers that fire from behind thin coats of plaster, and the lady of the house can stream music to the speaker in the Kohler shower, which features multiple jets with preset soaking scenes. And when it’s time to relax at the end of the day, a motorized door opens to an outdoor family room equipped with a TV and speakers. EH

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Steven Castle - Contributing Writer
Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates.

Products
ADI: SR-2315AL
ADI: SR-2315AL
ALTINEX: CM11301
ALTINEX: CM11341
ALTINEX: CM11351
ALTINEX: CM1140
ALTINEX: CM11404
ALTINEX: TM1278
ALTRONIX: AL624
AMSECO INC.: SSX51-SL1B
AMX: ACCESSORIES: ABS
AMX: ACCESSORIES: AC-RK
AMX: ACCESSORIES: AC-RK
AMX: Axcess: Axcess Touchpanels Accosories: CB-TP7
AMX: Axcess: Axcess Touchpanels Accosories: CB-TP7
AMX: CSG: CSG-500
AMX: HDMI: AVS-OP-0808-JD0
AMX: NetLinx: NetLinx Control Cards: NXC-COM2
AMX: NetLinx: Netlinx Master Controlers: NI-3100
AMX: NetLinx: Netlinx Master Controlers: NI-3100
AMX: NetLinx: Netlinx Master Controlers: NI-3101-SIG
AMX: NetLinx: Netlinx Master Controlers: NI-4100
AMX: NetLinx: Netlinx Master Controlers: NI-700
AMX: NetLinx: NetLinx System Packages: DAS-AHS-04W
AMX: NetLinx: NetLinx System Packages: EXP-8431
AMX: NetLinx: NetLinx Touchpanels Accosories: FG2258-46
AMX: NetLinx: NetLinx Touchpanels Accosories: FG2258-46
AMX: NetLinx: NetLinx Touchpanels Accosories: MVP-TCS-52-G
AMX: NetLinx: NetLinx Touchpanels Accosories: MVP-TCS-52-GB
AMX: NetLinx: NetLinx Touchpanels Accosories: MVP-TCS-52-G
AMX: NetLinx: NetLinx Touchpanels Accosories: NXA-700CF1G
AMX: NetLinx: NetLinx Touchpanels Accosories: NXA-CF2NI
AMX: NetLinx: NetLinx Touchpanels Accosories: NXA-CV10CF1G
AMX: NetLinx: NetLinx Touchpanels Accosories: NXA-CV10CF1G
AMX: NetLinx: NetLinx Touchpanels: MVP-5200i
AMX: NetLinx: NetLinx Touchpanels: NXD-1000Vi
AMX: NetLinx: NetLinx Touchpanels: NXD-1000Vi
AMX: NetLinx: NetLinx Touchpanels: NXD-500i
AMX: NetLinx: NetLinx Touchpanels: NXD-500i
AMX: NetLinx: NetLinx Touchpanels: NXD-700Vi
AMX: NetLinx: ViewStat Communicating Thermost: ENV-VST-C
AMX: NetLinx: ViewStat Communicating Thermost: ENV-VST-C
AMX: NetLinx: ViewStat Communicating Thermost: ENV-VST-C
AMX: NetLinx: ViewStat Communicating Thermost: ENV-VST-TSF
AMX: NSS-RMSACL
AMX: Power Devices: PSN2.4
AMX: Power Devices: PSN4.4
AMX: Power Devices: PS4.4
AMX: Power Devices: PSN
AMX: Power Devices: PSN6.5
AMX: Remotes 2010: MIO-R4
AMX: Transmitters and Recievers: MIO-R-4-ZGW
AMX: Transmitters and Recievers: MIO-R-4-ZGWPRO
APC: AP9631
APC: APC AV: C2
APC: SUA1500RM2U
Aprilaire: 8061
Aprilaire: 8061
Aprilaire: 8870
Arlington: LV1
Arlington: LV2
Audio Authority: 1362
Audio Authority: 1362
Audio Control
Audio Control: Architect Models: Architect 100
Audio Control: Architect Models: Director Model D3200
Audio Control: Balanced Extender Analog Audio: BLD-10
Audio Control: Balanced Extender Analog Audio: BLR-10
Audio Control: Balanced Extenders Video/Audio: BVD-20
Audio Control: Balanced Extenders Video/Audio: BVR-20
Audio Control: Receivers: Concert AVR-1
Audio Control: Receivers: Concert AVR-1
Audio Control: Theater Amplifiers: Director Model D3200
AVAD: MIDLBP1A
AVAD: MIDLBP2A
Brown Wholesale: 22/4 Stranded
Brown Wholesale: 22/4 Stranded
Brown Wholesale: 22/4 Stranded
Brown Wholesale: 22/4 Stranded
CARLON: SC100A
COLEMAN: 14/4 Speaker Wire
CONDUIT: 1 -1/2' PVC Conduit
CONDUIT: 1 -1/2' PVC Conduit
CONDUIT: 1 -1/2' PVC Conduit: 1-1/2' 45 PVC Sweep
CONDUIT: 1 -1/2' PVC Conduit: 1-1/2' 90 PVC Sweep
CONDUIT: 1 -1/2' PVC Conduit: 1-1/2' 90 PVC Sweep
CONDUIT: 1 -1/2' PVC Conduit: 1-1/2' PVC Coupling
Custom Install Supply: CIS415003ALM
Custom Install Supply: CIS415004ALM
Custom Install Supply: CIS417001ALM
Custom Install Supply: CIS417002ALM
Custom Install Supply: CIS417003ALM
Custom Install Supply: CIS441001ALM
Custom Install Supply: CIS441002ALM
Custom Install Supply: CIS445003
DirecTV: HR21 PRO HD DVR
DirecTV: HR21Pro
DirecTV: PI2
DirecTV: SL5S
DirecTV: SL5S
DirecTV: SLSPF
DirecTV: Splitte
ESL: ES-449CST
Extron: A/V Matrix: MAV Plus 3232 A
Extron: Adaptors: CSR 6
Extron: Adaptors: CSR 6
Extron: Distribution Amplifiers: RSU 129
Extron: MGP 464
Extron: MTP T 15HD RS
Extron: PS 124
Extron: SYM BNCM/3
Extron: SYM BNCM/3
Extron: Video Matrix: MAV Plus 1616 HD
Extron: Video Matrix: MAV Plus 88 HD
GE: NX-148E
GE: NX-148E
GE: NX-148E
GE: NX-320E
GE: NX-592E-GSM
GE: NX-8E
GE: P-0003
GE: P-0003
GRI: Pool Alarms: 289-3
GRI: Rare Earth Magnets: GI-MM400
GRI: Rare Earth Magnets: MM-25
Holovision: 200BB
Holovision: 200BB
Holovision: 200-PAN-CC
Holovision: PNS-10
Honeywell: 944T-BR
Honeywell: 944T-BR
Honeywell: 945T-
Honeywell: 997
iPort: iPort IW Accessories: FS-22
iPort: iPort IW Accessories: FS-22
Isotec: 164BA19-06BOX
Isotec: 22/4 STR. 1M WB
Kaleidescape: KDISK-2000-L
Kaleidescape: KMUSIC-4000
Kaleidescape: KPLAYER-300
Kaleidescape: KPLAYER-6000
Kaleidescape: KPLAYER-6000
Kaleidescape: KSERVER-5000
Kaleidescape: KSHELF-30
Kaleidescape: KWARR-EXT-DISK
Leviton: 61110-RG6
Leviton: 61110-RL6
Leviton: 61110-RV6
Leviton: 61110-RW6
Leviton: 61110-RY6
Leviton: 80401A
Leviton: 80409A
Leviton: 82014
Leviton: 82014
Leviton: 86025
Leviton: Wall Plate: 40753
Leviton: Wall Plate: 4075
Leviton: Wall Plate: 40756
LG Electronics: 2010 DVD PLAYERS: DN898
LG Electronics: 2010 LCD's: 19LD35
LG Electronics: 2010 LCD's: 19LH20
LG Electronics: 2010 LCD's: 22LD350
LG Electronics: 2010 LCD's: 26LD350
LG Electronics: 2010 LCD's: 26LD35
LG Electronics: 2010 LCD's: 32LD52
LG Electronics: 2010 LCD's: 32LD520
LG Electronics: 2010 LCD's: 37LD450
LG Electronics: 2010 LCD's: 37LD450
LG Electronics: 2010 LCD's: 37LD450
LG Electronics: 2010 LCD's: 37LD450
LG Electronics: 2010 LCD's: 42LD520
LG Electronics: 2010 LCD's: 42LH55
LG Electronics: 2010 LCD's: 47LD520
LG Electronics: 2010 Plasma TV's: 60PK550
LG Electronics: DN899
Liberty Wire: AXLINK 22/18-1PSH/2C
Liberty Wire: AXLINK 22/18-1PSH/2C
Linksys: SGE2010P
Lutron: HomeWorks: Processors: H4P5-120
Lutron: HWI-Q9
Lutron: Power Supply: QED Roller: SVQ-10-PNL
Lutron: Power Supply: QED Roller: SVQ-10-PNL
Lutron: SI0VIA CABLES: SVQ-CBL-250
Lutron: VIMCO: Sivoia Drape
Macurco: GD-1S
Marantz: BD5004
Mid-Atlantic: BR1
Mid-Atlantic: -C
Mid-Atlantic: -C
Mid-Atlantic: CK-45C
Mid-Atlantic: HW500
Mid-Atlantic: HW500
Mid-Atlantic: Rack Shelves: RSH-4S2S
Mid-Atlantic: SH-DMP-EXT
Mid-Atlantic: SH-DMP-S
Mid-Atlantic: WRK-37-27
Mid-Atlantic: 2009WRK-37-32
Mid-Atlantic: AX-S: T542R
Mid-Atlantic: AX-S: TA40R
Mid-Atlantic: Caster Base: CBS-WRK-27R
Mid-Atlantic: Caster Base: CBS-WRK-32R
Mid-Atlantic: CK-45E
Mid-Atlantic: CLB
Mid-Atlantic: CLB-CSB-
Mid-Atlantic: CLH-5/8CHK-6
Mid-Atlantic: CLH-EC-12
Mid-Atlantic: CLH-WRS
Mid-Atlantic: CLH-WRS
Mid-Atlantic: CUSTOM RCKMNT: RSH-4S
Mid-Atlantic: CUSTOM RCKMNT: RSH-4S
Mid-Atlantic: CUSTOM RCKMNT: RSH-4S
Mid-Atlantic: CUSTOM RCKMNT: RSH-4S3M
Mid-Atlantic: FACEPLATES ONLY: SFACE
Mid-Atlantic: RL10-45
Mid-Atlantic: RL10-45: RL10-38
Mid-Atlantic: SB1-CP12
Mid-Atlantic: SB-1-CP12
Mid-Atlantic: TRACK25: Track50
Midlite WIREP
Midlite WIREP: 1GWH
Monster Cable: CP 14-4/500
Monster Cable: CP 14-4/500
Nexus21: L-27
Nexus21: L-39
Niles Audio: Cat5 Baluns: C5-HDDA
Niles Audio: Cat5 Baluns: C5-HDDA
Niles Audio: Cat5 Baluns: C5-HDDA
Niles Audio: CTA2
Nutone: CF380-8
Nutone: CF380-8
Nutone: CF382
Nutone: CF382-S
Nutone: CF382-S
Nutone: CF84
Nutone: CF385
Nutone: CF3
Nutone: CF385
Nutone: CF388
Omnimount: CL-L
Omnimount: Tilt Mounts: ULPT-LB
Omnimount: Tilt Mounts: ULPT-MB
Omnimount: U2 Tilt
Omnimount: U2 Tilt
Omnimount: UCL-L
Omnimount: UCL-L
Pakedge Device: WAP-W3
PANAMAX: M4-EX
PANAMAX: MOD-AT8110
PANAMAX: MOD-UTP
PANAMAX: MOD-UTP
Panasonic: CCTV Systems
Panasonic: CCTV Systems: BB-HCS301
Panasonic: NCP Systems: KX-NCP000
Panasonic: NCP Systems: KX-NCP10
Panasonic: NCP Systems: KX-NCP117
Panasonic: NCP Systems: KX-NCP1170
Panasonic: NCP Systems: KX-NCP1172
Panasonic: NCP Systems: KX-NCP1172
Panasonic: NCP Systems: KX-NCP1180
Panasonic: NCP Systems: KX-NCP1180
Panasonic: NCP Systems: KX-NCP1190
Panasonic: NCP Systems: KX-NCP1190
Panasonic: NCP Systems: KX-NCS3504
Panasonic: NCP Systems: KX-NCS3504
Panasonic: NCP Systems: KX-NCS3508
Panasonic: NCP Systems: KX-NCS3516
Panasonic: NCP Systems: KX-TDE0110Panasonic: NCP Systems: KX-TDE0110
Panasonic: NCP Systems: NCP-Phones: KX-NT343B
Panasonic: NCP Systems: NCP-Phones: KX-NT343B
Panasonic: NCP Systems: NCP-Phones: KX-NT343B
Panasonic: TDA DIGITAL PHONE SYSTEM: ACCESSORIES: KX-TDA0161
Panasonic: TDA DIGITAL PHONE SYSTEM: ACCESSORIES: KX-TDA0161
Panasonic: TDA DIGITAL PHONE SYSTEM: ACCESSORIES: KX-TDA0161
Panasonic: TDA PBX KSU Systems: TDA WIRELESS PHONES: KX-T0155
Panasonic: TDA PBX KSU Systems: TDA WIRELESS PHONES: KX-T0155
Panasonic: TDA PBX KSU Systems: TDA WIRELESS PHONES: KX-TD7696
Panasonic: TDA PBX KSU Systems: TDA WIRELESS PHONES: KX-TD7696
Panasonic: TDA PBX KSU Systems: TDA WIRELESS PHONES: KX-TD7696
Panasonic: TDA PBX KSU Systems: Voice Mail: KX-TVA50
Panasonic: TDA PBX KSU Systems: Voice Mail: KX-TVA594
Panasonic: TDA PBX KSU Systems: Voice Mail: KX-TVA594
PANDUIT
Peerless
Perfect Path Cables: Best: HDMI-1000-2
Perfect Path Cables: Best: HDMI-1000-4
Perfect Path Cables: Best: HDMI-1000-8
Perfect Path Cables: Better: HDMI-700-2
Perfect Path Cables: Better: HDMI-700-4
Planet Waves: Connectors: BNCP5
Planet Waves: Connectors: RCAP50
Planet Waves: Connectors: RCAP50
Planet Waves: Connectors: STBNCP10
Planet Waves: Connectors: STBNCP10
Planet Waves: Connectors: STRCAP50
Planet Waves: Connectors: STRCAP50
Planet Waves: Wire: CXSCHD250
Planet Waves: Wire: CXSCHD250B
Planet Waves: Wire: CXSCHD250D
Planet Waves: Wire: CXSCHD250G
Planet Waves: Wire: CXSCHD250R
Planet Waves: Wire: CXSCHD250W
Planet Waves: Wire: CXSCHD250Y
Rhino: Rhino Labels: 18054
Rhino: Rhino Labels: 18056
Rhino: Rhino Labels: 18057
Rhino: Rhino Labels: 18443
Richard Gray Power Products: Power House
Richard Gray Power Products: RGPC Extender IP
Rockustics: Econorock
RTI: RM-433
RTI: RM-433
RTI: U2
RTI: ZRP6
Runco: Crystal Portfolio LCD: CX-OPAL42
Runco: Crystal Portfolio LCD: CX-OPAL47
Runco: Crystal Portfolio LCD: CX-OPAL55
RUSSOUND: ST2-XM
SCP: 18/4FPLR-500
SCP: 18/4FPLR-500
SENTROL: 3040W
SENTROL: 3040W
SENTROL: 5820AW
SENTROL: 5820AW
SENTROL: 6255FM
SENTROL: 6351
SENTROL: 6351
SGI: BLOODHOUND
SGI: UBC-UB1280
SIEMON CO.: Z6A-SO2
SIEMON CO.: Z6A-SO3
SIEMON CO.: Z6A-SO4
SIEMON CO.: Z6A-SO5
SIEMON CO.: Z6A-SO6
SONANCE: 45068
SONANCE: PBB4
SONANCE: PBB4
SONANCE: PBB4
SONANCE: PBB4
SONANCE: SA2
SONANCE: SA2
Speakercraft: CRS 6' IN-CEILING SPEAKERS: CRS6 One
Speakercraft: CRS 6' IN-CEILING SPEAKERS: CRS6 One
Speakercraft: DT IN-CEILING SPEAKERS: 6.5 DT
Speakercraft: MT IN-WALL 6' SPEAKERS: MT6 One
Speakercraft: MT IN-WALL 6' SPEAKERS: MT6 One
Speakercraft: MT IN-WALL 8" SPEAKERS: MT8 One
Speakercraft: WS INDOOR/OUTDOOR SPEAKERS: OE6 One - B
Speakercraft: WS INDOOR/OUTDOOR SPEAKERS: OE6 One - B
SunBriteTV: Outdoor Covers: SB-DC322
SunBriteTV: Outdoor Covers: SB-DC46NA
SunBriteTV: SunBrite TV Mounts: SB-WM32NA
SunBriteTV: SunBrite TV Mounts: SB-WM46NA
SunBriteTV: SunBriteTV's: SB-3220HD
SunBriteTV: SunBriteTV's: SB-4610HD
SYSTEM SENSOR: BK5602
TiVo: TiVo: TiVo Premiere
TiVo: TiVo: TiVo Premiere
Tote Vision: LCD-1560HD
Triad Speaker: InRoom Spkrs: Fronts/LCR's: OnWall Mini LCR 3.0 SE
Triad Speaker: InRoom Spkrs: SubwoofersInRoom Mini OmniSub
Vacuflo: Attachment Kits: 8888
Vacuflo: Canisters: 7870
Vacuflo: Canisters: 7890
Vacuflo: Canisters: 8540
Vacuflo: Inlets: 1750-01
Velodyne: MINIVEE
VIKING
Vudu: Vudu XL
WHEEL LOCK: UTA-1
Winland: WB CONT
Winland: WB CONT
Winland: WB SENSOR
Winland: WB SENSOR
Wire: 16/2
Wire: 16/4 Shielded: 16/4 Shielded
Wire: 16/4 Shielded: 16/4 Shielded
Wire: 16/4 Shielded: 16/4 Shielded
Wire: CAT5E Wire: CAT5E - Yellow
Wire: CAT6 Shielded: CAT6 Shielded- Blue
Wire: CAT6 Shielded: CAT6 Shielded- Blue
Wire: CAT6 Shielded: CAT6 Shielded- Grey
Wire: CAT6 Shielded: CAT6 Shielded- Grey
Wire: CAT6 Shielded: CAT6 Shielded- Grey
Wire: CAT6 Shielded: CAT6 Shielded- Red
Wire: CAT6 Shielded: CAT6 Shielded-Green
Wire: CAT6 Shielded: CAT6 Shielded-white
Wire: CAT6 Shielded: CAT6 Shielded-white
Wire: CAT6 Shielded: CAT6 Shielded-Yellow
Wire: COAX Wire: COAX-Black
Wire: COAX Wire: COAX-Black
Wire: COAX Wire: COAX-White

Installation Info
Systems Design & Installation:
Desert Sound & Security, Phoenix, Ariz., http://desertsound.com
Builder:
Salcito Custom Homes, Scottsdale, Ariz., http://www.salcito.com
Architect:
Dale Gardon Design, Scottsdale, Ariz., http://www.dalegardondesign.com
Interior Design:
Tamm-Marlow Design Group, Scottsdale, Ariz., http://tm-studio.com

Project Details
Home Size: 8,500 square feet
Cost: $1.2 million (includes installation and labor)
Project Duration: 18 months
Construction: New

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