Staying a Step Ahead

Cape Cod Home  /  Winter 2020 /

Writer: Julie Craven Wagner

Staying a Step Ahead


Cape Cod Home  /  Winter 2020 /

Writer: Julie Craven Wagner

The future is now. Our homes have the ability to anticipate what we don’t know.

Shelter. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the term as, “a position or state of being covered and protected.” In recent times, our homes have offered exactly that: a place where we feel safe, protected and secure to live our best lives possible. But our homes are so much more than building materials and elements of comfort. They are also conduits for communication, entertainment, warmth, illumination and general wellbeing. Whether we realize it or not, today’s homes have evolved to become very sophisticated entities, and that is just scratching the surface of the awe-inspiring potential they possess.

Smart Home Dashboard

Brad Smith, president of Audio Video Design (AVD), with offices in Westwood and Osterville, and whose mission calls for making technology fun and easy, says the possibilities for technology to enhance our lives have never been greater. 

“If we examine just the evolution of lighting, the very real effect of the type of lighting fixtures available in a residential application allows for benefits we may have never considered before,” Smith explains. He says the most impactful lighting innovation is the use of light-emitting diodes (LED). LED lights are considered to be 80% more energy-efficient than traditional lighting like incandescent bulbs and fluorescent lights. In addition, most of the energy (95 percent) is concentrated on delivering light and very little (5 percent) emits heat.

Remote Learning

Smith says the benefits go far beyond LED’s inherent efficiency. “The range of output with LEDs allows you to provide a range of lighting that can have a direct effect on the wellness of the home’s inhabitants,” Smith explains. “Lighting can be programmed to mimic the natural world so that your day begins with a soft evolution not unlike the sunrise and early morning. As the day progresses, the light becomes brighter and whiter. And as the afternoon takes hold it again becomes a softer, more yellow light, just as the sun moves across the sky outside of the home.” Smith says the positive effects on a homeowner’s Circadian Rhythm or Seasonal Affective Disorder are profound and sublime at the same time. Popular manufacturers of world class lighting products like these are Lutron and lesser known Kestra, not to mention the Cape’s very own Savant in Osterville.

Working Remotely

Other wellness applications involve colored lighting. Think: a massage room for some lucky homeowner. Their sensory experience can be enhanced by the scents of essential oils, the soothing aural sensation of soft music and the calming influence of soft hues of lighting. Or, in a stylish and modern wine cellar display behind a wall of glass, imagine a backlit tone of deep blue. Even art installations can be accented and enhanced by the right lighting, which may involve color tones, and Smith says his team works with homeowners, architects and designers on a regular basis to achieve all of these applications.

Technology at the touch of a finger.

Automated window treatments are another area Smith says used to be reserved for high-end construction but are now readily available and advisable for any homeowner. “Imagine being able to control your shades and sleep a bit later by just pressing a button,” Smith offers. “Or, protect the value of your investment in your upholstery, art and flooring by closing the shades for the time of day that sun will do its most damage. An automated system will also extend the life of your window treatments merely by reducing the human interaction that often results in harming delicate cords and slats.”

Smith says shade automation does not have to be part of a new construction program, but is a popular choice for existing homes, as are audio installations. “Sonos has been a phenomenal product to add to luxury homes because the interface is fantastic and instead of using their little box speakers, we connect it to high quality built-in speakers through powerful and pure amplifiers.”

Home Security

Homeowners have a variety of security features available from a number of outlets: cable providers, telephone providers, local big box stores and traditional alarm vendors. Security cameras have never been more affordable or easier to self-install, but like anything, you will always get what you pay for. AVD has built a reputation for delivering high-quality and secure networks for their clients’ computer, security and entertainment needs for more than 30 years. As families gather together and combine everyone’s needs under one roof, Smith cautions that what a home needs today (particularly one previously used on a seasonal basis), is quite different from a year ago. Professionals are trying to maintain the same levels of productivity they have become accustomed to in a traditional office environment, secondary and college students are trying to stay connected to remote learning parameters while still enjoying a wide-range appetite for digital entertainment, and everyone in the household is trying to stay connected to, well, everything. Smith advises guest networks be established in a busy home in order to keep critical information and data secure while still providing enough bandwidth for other members of the home. Virtual private network connections to established business servers that enable businesses small and large to function are critical to today’s work-from-home population. 

Color lighting makes a difference in mood.

For a company whose name seems to describe what they provide, Smith says his company has become so much more, due in part to the entire team’s insatiable curiosity and appetite to discover new technology, and in part to the wave of innovation and life-improving products available to homeowners today. Smith underscores the subliminal effect on a homeowner’s ability to “choose a scene” from pre-sets established in their telephone as they are only miles from home. That scene will adjust the climate in the home, appropriately light the interior, informatively light the exterior, and provide a truly welcoming experience for a homeowner. That may seem like a luxurious or indulgent set of demands that some may deem to be unnecessary. But harken back to another time, when the world was a bit slower and a bit quieter; remember seeing your home at the end of the street and your parents had put the outside lights on for you? Inside, the house glowed with a warmth that immediately reminded you that this night was the night of your favorite dinner. Those were calmer, seemingly more secure, times. Today’s technology can provide those same secure feelings of home, and so much more.

Visit AVD online here!

For more on what AVD can do in your house, check out our article about working from home here!

Julie Craven Wagner

Julie Craven Wagner began her experience with Cape Cod Life in 2010 when she joined the sales team after 10 years of working with local businesses on the Cape and Islands with WMVY. In addition to sales, she is the Associate Publisher/Editor of Cape Cod LIFE, Cape Cod HOME, and Cape Cod ART. Growing up on the Outer Cape has given her a unique perspective of life on Cape Cod, from tip to bridge, and that is reflected in her appreciation and presentation of stories found within the pages of our publications. Julie lives in North Falmouth with her husband, Eric, and their yellow lab, Enzo. When she finds free time, she enjoys her Cape Cod life sailing on Buzzards Bay, spending time on the beach in Wellfleet, or exploring Martha’s Vineyard.