Kramer Electronics Products Make Life in A Beach in Smart Home Community
Hampton, NJ, December 2004 – Kramer Electronics products will be integrated into some of the world’s smartest homes in Papagayo, Costa Rica, making two-way communication with home technology systems an immediate reality for home owners.
In cooperation with Home & Office Technologies (HOT), headed by former ophthalmologist Jorge Fatjo, Kramer brings the big picture in audio/video switching and connectors to a 2,000-home community, called Project Grupo Residencial Papagayo. Featuring seaside escapes where owners can operate their lighting, climate, irrigation and home entertainment systems from any room in the house or from anywhere in the world, the homes will use Kramer equipment coupled with sophisticated programming and innovative design.
“There are plenty of ‘houses on the beach,’” said Fatjo. “We provide a true home away from home that includes a technological building in a natural environment, where owners can have all the comforts of home at their fingertips, no matter where they are.”
The 1500-acre development features homes ranging in price from $1.4 million to $14 million. Owners have a choice of several different floor plans and a series of “smart home upgrades” that efficiently use natural resources, protect the environment and find harmony between architecture and technology. The houses offer controllers for internal two-way communication, and they link both to the central control center and to any other homes the owner may have around the world. The systems perform routine tasks automatically, and make repetitive tasks a one-time program for the homeowner. The systems can be accessed from remote locations and are “smart” enough to act depending on the circumstances. For instance, the sprinklers know not to turn on if it rains, the lights remain off in the day time, and the air conditioner switches off when the last person exits the house. Every design is created for environmental harmony with the use of underground wiring.
The project will use Kramer equipment in both commercial and residential applications. “Because of Kramer’s flexibility and technology, we were able to meet the needs of the entire project with our commercial product – from the control center to the home entertainment center,” said Clint Hoffman, vice president of International Marketing at Kramer Electronics.
The central control room monitors the Smart Home systems and uses Kramer signal distribution amplifiers to provide RF to all TVs both inside the homes and at the center. They also provide composite video signals from in-home security cameras to control room monitors. Kramer signal converters, video opto-isolators, base band correctors and color equalizers all contribute to the crystal clear pictures that are seen on the screens for home monitoring.
Inside each of the Smart Homes, multi-zone audio and lighting control is enabled by Kramer audio switchers and volume controllers. Kramer video switchers and signal converters are coupled with the audio switchers for whole-house distribution of crystal clear images, regardless of format. They distribute RF signals to all televisions without clarity loss and provide component sources to different plasmas or projectors throughout the house. Signal distribution amplifiers also offer co-axial digital connections to several receivers, along with XVGA to CAT5 conversion.
HOT’s unique touch panels use Kramer signal converters to convert component to composite video while operating the system. The converters also allow the change from S-video to composite for picture-in-picture (PIP) functions, which are integral to the Smart Homes. For example, images from any security camera in the home can be viewed in PIP. The function can also be used as a character generator for caller ID, or to view computer images on the home theater screen or vice versa. The Kramer signal converters enable display of various VGA sources on multiple types of monitors – from VGA panels to consumer televisions.
In choosing switching products for the Smart Home project, Fatjo says he looked for a company whose products demonstrated reliability in every way. “The equipment has to work every time in every situation – it has to work with the system protocol, we have to be able to rely on consistent inventory and delivery, and it has to work every time the owner pushes the buttons,” Fatjo said. “We chose Kramer because of its reliability and performance, its value for the money, and its on-time delivery.”
Kramer’s serial connections on every switcher were also a primary factor in the selection, Fatjo said. They allow an easy hook-up to the HOT touchpad. “We wanted a single touchpad that did everything and looked nice,” he said. The HOT touchpad connects to every source and displays information on the entire house.
“The Smart Homes offer comfort, simple operation and maintenance, security and entertainment that can be accessed from anywhere in the world,” Fatjo said. “We think that the concept is appealing to the market, and the top-of-the-line equipment that we’ve integrated makes the concept a reality.”