I spent 10 years in the software world, focussing mainly on web-based applications to provide solutions in a wide range of industries. Alongside this, I’ve been involved in the professional AV world, including live events and installations, which definitely keeps you on your toes and thinking fast. In many ways, it’s the convergence of technology from these industries which caught my interest at first and has allowed me to apply creative thinking and technical skills while also developing a passion for an interesting and growing industry.
When Epitome was still just an idea, I decided to do some research into the industry, so spent a week in Amsterdam at ISE (Integrated Systems Europe), which is like a large trade show for home technology. I committed to speaking to as many people as possible at the event to learn more about the industry and it has paid off. Loxone was already on my radar, but after speaking to some existing Loxone partners and being introduced to a couple of UK staff who were at ISE, that refocused my attention. After returning home and doing some final research, I made the commitment and booked on to their Expert Training course.
I have responsibility for the oversight of everything we do in Epitome Living as well as getting hands-on with some of the installation, looking after sales and customer handovers. I’m delighted to have such a great team working with me to make it all happen.
I take the customers’ ideas and dreams for their own smart home to create a plan for making it a reality by creating the cable plans and designs. I also work on-site when required, especially with networking, such as our whole house WiFi systems.
I get to have fun installing smart home systems to see the project through from panel build to final installation on site. I love making it intuitive and straight forward for the home owner, having the satisfaction of hard work paying off, then the simplicity of the system for the user.
I develop Epitome Living’s online marketing through the website and social media to connect with our customers and inspire them with ideas for making their home smart.
I deal with customer accounts and managing internal admin processes to support the wider team.
It’s quite simple – we’ve remained focussed on making sure clients have a home which works for them. The beauty of our Loxone installations is that they get exactly this, which in turn means it’s the natural choice for all our smart home projects. Great customer feedback gives us the confidence to keep using Loxone in future projects.
Biggest is difficult to say, as there are a couple of large projects currently in progress (and ever-growing!). I’d have to mention the recently completed “Automated Home” project here, however. That is a great example of a fully integrated smart home with lighting, heating, multi-room audio, access control and security all controlled and monitored through Loxone.
Beautiful control, yet seamlessly automated – the power to manually change lighting, music, shading etc when needed, but with all the benefits of your home working for you in the background. Heating controls which monitors and regulates itself which is much needed in our ‘four seasons in a day’ weather here in beautiful Northern Ireland.
We’re not here to complicate things. As long as a client engages with the processes, it’s a really simple journey for them. We also make it simple for other trades, to let them focus on what they do best. With our documentation and cable plan packs providing clear instruction and materials for first fix, our Loxone smart homes are delivered to spec, in budget and on time once we come in at second fix to carry out the installation.
Beyond lighting control which nearly every one of our projects includes, access control has to be one of the most popular “new” features people are asking for these days. Having key-free access to your own home, combined with the flexibility of giving temporary access to trades people or family members staying with you is so convenient.
For me, it’s about giving consistency to clients. The projects with the best end results are when a client gives free rein with integration to/control of other systems. I would love to work alongside a developer to create a ‘mini village’ type development of homes to make them all automated and functional for modern family living, combined with renewable energy sources.
First, don’t bite off more than you can chew… Whilst it might seem like a good idea to take on a lot of projects at once, running these concurrently without proper systems or resources in place is a recipe for disaster. This is something we’ve invested a lot of time doing over the years.
Part of that depends on how much time people like me invest in “education” for other sectors of the construction industry – a lot of architects and other specifiers don’t know of the advantages that a proper automation system can bring. Without that information, self-builders are often left confused due to all sorts of off-the-shelf gadgets and gimmicks being marketed to them, promising to deliver similar goals, yet often falling short.
However, I think people are becoming wise to that. They’re also becoming more aware that their own data is important, and not worth giving away to the big technology companies. There are lots of other reasons to consider a Loxone style system of course, but I think data privacy will become more and more important over the next 5 years.
We find that some clients initially think of smart homes as the physical technology or equipment, but I would say to not think of this as a bundle of equipment. You don’t just think of a house in terms of the number of blocks and quantity of mortar. Those are important, of course, but they are just one element in a much bigger picture.
First comes design. If a house isn’t designed, it’s not going to meet any kind of brief – how could it? In the same way, a smart home needs designed – each case is unique and bespoke. There are different levels of customisation and design resource. A lot are quite simple, but it still needs to be done regardless. This is all included in every one of our projects. And that’s before we even get started.
So, to answer your question – ensure you’re aligning yourself with a Loxone partner who can fully appreciate what you want to achieve in your project.