By Jackson Strom, Principle Architect at Strom Architecture
Photos by J Alan Paul Photography
Architect Jackson Strom of Strom Architecture dives into a different, important design discussion each month. This month, Strom conversed with home technology expert, Jamie DeJean of Smart Home Technologies, to share insight into the current trends in home, audio and video technology.
ABOUT SMART HOME TECHNOLOGIES
Smart Home Technologies was founded in 2014. Their team is driven by a shared passion for all things technology. With more than 80 years of combined experience, their team handles all aspects of home technology, regardless of the size or scope of a project. They apply this same standard of excellence to commercial projects that include restaurants/bars, business and medical offices and conference rooms. Owner Jamie DeJean and his team’s love of this industry pushes them to create the absolute best experience for all of their clients.
Whether watching movies, listening to music or catching up on the news, you’ve most likely been consuming more media during the current pandemic. You may prefer to watch on a small television in your kitchen or maybe dream of lounging out in a home theater. Everyone has a preferred way to experience their media, and in this month’s Form & Function, we had the opportunity to discuss the ever-changing world of home and commercial technology with Jamie DeJean, owner of Smart Home Technologies in West Fargo. With over 25 years of experience in home, audio and video technology, DeJean provides an overview of the current trends in televisions, home automation and “smart homes.”
If you have looked for a new television recently, you have probably noticed that prices have steadily reduced over the past few years. “A quality 85” TV from a reputable brand can be found for around $2,500 and lower-end model TVs for even less,” said Jamie DeJean. “As many companies race to find ways to make TVs less expensive, others have been innovating with new technologies.”
OLED (organic light-emitting diode) televisions are not new technology, however, they have recently come down in price to become a viable alternative to LED TVs. “OLED TVs are perfect for shoppers who want the absolute best picture available today,” said DeJean. “They offer accurate color reproduction, extremely high contrast ratios and perfect viewing even when the television is located in a less than ideal location, such as in a corner or above a fireplace.”
Even with affordable, large flat-panel televisions readily available, projectors remain an excellent choice for many projects. “In the past, projectors were mostly used in dedicated theater rooms and used almost exclusively when the lights were off,” said DeJean. “While home theaters remain popular, multipurpose rooms such as family rooms and media rooms have become increasingly trendy.” These rooms replace the tiered or rowed seating of a theater with more traditional furniture such as large sectionals with enough seating for the whole family. DeJean added, “When a projector with higher light output is combined with a high contrast screen, a stunning picture can be achieved even with lights on in the room.” This versatility allows a family to gather for movie night, but also works great for watching television, playing video games and being social.
Home Automation for All
Over the past five years, we have seen an explosion in the number of consumer-grade smart thermostats, doorbells, cameras and music systems available. These products are typically inexpensive and many can be installed by a homeowner themselves. It is great to see so many homes include these technologies, but often the homeowners are left with a screen full of different apps and an experience that is far from the promise of having a “smart home.”
“For almost two decades, my team has specialized in providing our clients with integrated home technology systems,” said DeJean. “In these integrated homes, we work closely with other building trades to help the various parts of a home (such as the heating-cooling system, motorized shades, lighting, and audio/video) and allow them to work together as a single cohesive system.”
Although cost had been a limiting factor in the past, Smart Home Technologies is now able to offer a starter automation package that is comparable to the price of a universal remote control and receiver. “For a little over $1,000, we can provide a system that allows our clients to use their phone or iPads to control their TVs and allow them to expand their system to include lighting, thermostats, cameras, door locks, motorized shades and much more,” said DeJean. “Clients are then able to use one simple app that allows the technology in the home to work together.”
In a fully integrated home, the possibilities are endless. “We can provide an ‘away’ or ‘all off’ button at the mudroom door that turns all of the home’s lights and audio/video equipment off as you leave,” said DeJean. “We can also use sensors to allow lighting, heating and cooling, and window treatments to work together as a cohesive system.”
These sensors can be used to turn lights on or off based on what areas are being used. They can also ensure lights are set to appropriate levels by monitoring the ambient light present in a room. “This measurement can then be used to determine how much additional light is needed to provide adequate illumination in a work area,” says DeJean. “Motorized window treatments with sensors can also work in conjunction with heating and cooling systems to allow or reject thermal gain based on the sun’s position and if the building is in a heating or cooling mode.” All of this results in homeowners and businesses reducing energy costs as well as promoting a more comfortable and productive environment.
Technology for Everyone
Home technology is for everyone. “We help our clients identify what areas of technology best meet their family or business needs,” said DeJean. “We enjoy working on all projects, big or small.” Whether you’re a long-time technology maven, a cautions late-adopter or simply want to keep up on the cutting edge, the ever-changing advancements in technology can make your life that much simpler. To learn more about how to include technology into your home, reach out to Smart Home Technologies for more information.
With over a decade of experience, Strom’s passion for the architectural profession led him to found Strom Architecture in 2019. Within his new firm, Strom Architecture strives to elevate the ordinary elements that exist in all projects.