While homebuilders often depend on integrators to determine the best technologies worth implementing, integrators depend on the homebuilders to delegate subcontractors properly.
Such is the case with Bevilacqua Builders, which has been working with Elite Media Solutions, both based in Wellesley, Mass., for five years.
Bevilacqua Builders started out as a renovation company about 20 years ago. Today it builds five to six high-end custom homes a year on top of remodeling projects. The lay of the land is very different than it was two decades ago, however. Instead of just having typical audio solutions, builders now have the ability to offer buyers fully automated homes.
Bevilacqua depends on technology integration company Elite Media Solutions and its owner, Brian Gibson, to keep him up to date on current tech offerings. He also checks out trade magazines and showrooms to educate himself and his clients.
“Anything hands-on for homeowners and buyers to touch, see and feel is invaluable in the process of helping them making a decision, and certainly helps Brian qualify what their needs are,” Bevilacqua says.
Gibson agrees. “People have gotten away from the showroom. I’ve always been a believer in test driving.”
Before bringing Gibson into the fold, Bevilacqua talks with clients to determine the budget and give an overall review of what’s available. Then they get into the details with Gibson.
“What I like to do is bring Brian in for a specific meeting and he can tailor the house and automated system to the client’s needs,” he says. “I really feel like I’m more of a conduit for introducing them to what’s possible, and then Brian is really able to dive into the specifics.”
The sooner the integrator gets involved in the project, the better, Gibson says. During the design process, the builder, integrator and subcontractors meet to discuss the game plan, such as space needs, ventilation and temperature control. After the electricians and other subcontractors build out the infrastructure, Elite Media Solutions comes in.
But the integrator’s job does not end when the keys are handed over. Gibson’s company also continues to educate the client on the technology they’ve installed. Gibson’s team will check in with customers to make sure they completely understand the technology and answer any questions.
“We want people to really know how to get the most out of the systems that we are putting in,” Gibson says.
Bevilacqua Builders doesn’t have a standard technology offering, as each clients’ needs vary too widely. But when it comes to home automation, both Bevilacqua and Gibson recommend the Savant system. Elite Media Solutions is one of the original Savant dealers, and the company has seen its growth firsthand. The Apple iOS platform is well-known to clients, so they don’t usually have buyer’s remorse. As Savant comes out with new products and features, Elite staff members go to their facility for training.
A recent Bevilacqua-Gibson home project in Wellesley has a full Savant automation system. It has two setups with full media rooms, lighting control, 18 zones of music with hidden speakers, landscape speakers from Sonance, 10 different angles of IC Realtime security cameras that can record movement, and motorized shades.
“We were doing the construction part as Brian was also working, which can be challenging in and of itself, but I think it worked out well trying to coordinate how we both work together,” Bevilacqua says. “It could have gone in another direction a number of times.”
“With us, it’s always about building relationships and setting proper expectations,” adds Gibson.
In the near future, Bevilacqua and Gibson predict that a Siri-type app will allow the home to talk to the owner, the refrigerator will text when the milk is running low, and there will be more voice recognition all around.
“It’s an ever-changing world,” Gibson says.