Boldly going where no homes has ever been before.

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Boldly going where no home has ever been before

 

The building housing the first floor premises of BC Digital Solutions (A.K.A Panavision) in Kramerville is completely unassuming – like any other you’d expect to find in a light-industrial area. But step into their show-space, and suddenly you’re transported to another plant – one convenience and luxury.

The area has been decorated in the fashion of a contemporary apartment with every audio-visual device and gizmo that the modern bachelor could desire. This is not to say, of course, that this business is feared to single men alone. Home automation, while forming a great part of the lone wolf’s seduction armoury, is brining convenience and security to tech-savvy families throughout the work – and Panavision is one of those companies at the forefront of this revolution in South Africa.

Claude and Barry Jardim, the company’s founders, had a vision ten years ago; a vision that was bolstered by the participation of Ricky Dos Santos, who joined the company as a partner in 1999. They wanted to change the way people lived; to adapt living environments to their residents, rather than the other way around.

This involves taking the “schelp” out of daily living, and maximising time and movement utilisation by having technology anticipate, and then perform, various daily routines. Of course there’s also the fun stuff, which doesn’t necessarily invoice essential duties, but makes life a lot more entertaining – services such as music disruption throughout your home, home entertainment systems, and such.

 

Just the way you like it

Imagine this: as you pull into your driveway in the evening, you touch a remote control button. This opens your age and garage door. Obviously, that’s no big deal…but wait; there’s more! The lights from the entrance hall through to your bedroom have also been turned on, allowing you to walk straight through the climb out of our work clothes, without having to fumble for a light switch with hands that are already clutching a laptop, briefcase and two newspapers. The spa bath on your terrace has also been tuned on automatically – as has the sound system, which is already playing your favourite chill music.

How? Because all the necessary control mechanisms are in place, it was programmed that way! Later on, when you settle down to watch a movie in your home theatre, a couple of jabs to your hand-held control panel will dim the appropriate lights and start the movie for you. Unfortunely, the process of raiding the fridge for a beer has yet to be automated, but the lads assure me they’re working at it…

Panavision opened their new showroom in July this year, with the view to showing clients how home technology looks and works in practice. From the bathroom which lights p as you enter it, to a curtained-off home theatre room, to a dining area and open-plan bedroom; this efficiently laid out pseudo-home allows you to imagine what you could achieve in your own home space. And, because, they guys at Panavision done represent any particular manufacturing company, they have no agenda other than that of meeting their client’s needs. That way, they can present prospective clients with a wide range of potential home control solutions.

If you’re building a new home, the team will consult with or architect in order to ensure, amongst other considerations, that all cabling and equipment is as unobtrusively incorporated into the structure as possible.

Panavision’s new offices also incorporate an interior design company and IT company, which completes their holistic approach to your living space solutions. Obviously, if you choose to work with your own interior designer, the Panavision team will consult with him or her.

The big question is: What do you want to achieve with each space? That will lead you towards what technology is appropriate; what kind of furniture is required; where this furniture should be placed; what the lighting layout should be; where speakers (if any) should be positioned; and where plug points, TV points and security sensors should be situated.

The tea is prepared to project-manage the whole process, from the ground up, in consultation with builders, architects, and other experts that the client has on his or her team.

By way of example of Panavision’s ground-up approach, we were whisked off to a newly-completed dream home up on a hill in Linksfield. A Crestron CP2E control processor helms the entire operation here, while the dimmers and relays which execute the commands come from Clipsal and C-Bus. The head of security, so to speak, is a Caddyx NX8E control panel.

 

Fun all the way

The house boasts three home theatre set-ups: one in the playroom which adjoins the pool deck (on the bottom of the structure’s three levels), one in the family room, and one in the main bedroom. All of them run Panasonic plasma screens with Yamaha surround amps and 5.1 speaker arrays, from either Jamo or Tru Audio.

A -5disc DVD player supports the piped music system, which, courtesy of a six channel stereo Tru Audio amp, sends music, as required, to the master bathroom, study, formal lounge, dining room and outside entertainment area. A DSTV PVR decoder provides two simultaneous satellite TV outputs to the Karmer VS162AV 16×16 composite video and balanced stereo audio matrix switcher. Naturally, the entire lighting system is hooked up to the control network, so occupants or their guest never have to stagger around in the dark upon arriving I the evening.

Three CT1000 Crestron touchscreens, fourteen CNS-B12B-12 button touch panels with stainless steel architectural faceplates (also from Crestron), and three wireless Siemens PDA’s, ensure that control is never far away from the occupants. As far as homeowners are concerned, a brave new world has already arrived. Whether you choose to embrace it or not depends on factors such as your eagerness to streamline your lifestyle, your tendencies to be what technologists term an “Early Adopter” and your budget at hand – although home automation and control isn’t half as expensive as many imagine it to be.

Whatever your reasons, companies such as Panavision stand out as pioneers in this field, keen to identify your needs, and eager to propose solutions to your problems. So, why dine on the Titanic when you could be soaring in the Starship Enterprise?