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Case study – SMC and AMX control oasis of cool in Kuwait

Andrew Brister 22 August 2012

With its arid climate, 46 degree temperatures and frequent dust storms, Kuwait city is an extreme environment in which to construct a cool, contemporary and high-tech family home. Rising to the challenge, leading systems integrator SMC has designed and installed a home automation solution for this remarkable property, based around a robust AMX infrastructure, which will withstand not only the rigours of the climate but also the high expectations of its technophile owner. Measuring an impressive 16,000 sq.ft and of glass and concrete construction, Villa Al-Bahar is uncompromisingly contemporary. The property features glass, steel and concrete wings which have been built around a central courtyard and its walls, which are constructed of a series of glass panels and operable louvres, allow for abundant natural light while preserving cultural traditions of privacy and separation.
 Into this challenging environment SMCwas given the task of installing a fully-comprehensive and centralised automation solution which would incorporate the integration of audio visual systems, lighting control, access control, CCTV and security, data and telephony, external shutters, and even the villa’s weather station.@page_break@ These disparate systems were to be fully integrated so that they could be controlled from the one place, but on a number of different levels. The client, for example, was to have full and often remote access to all the advanced system settings that he wanted, whilst others in the property were to be given only the functionality that they needed. All systems were to be extremely robust, with fail-safe operation, back-up generation and as much remote diagnostics and repair as possible. Finally, the technology was to be seamlessly integrated for maximum technological effect but with minimum aesthetic impact on the clean, modern interior.  SMC responded with an all-encompassing home automation system, built around core AMX technology. Providing the technological backbone behind the entire solution, AMX ensures that the various systems communicate effectively throughout the villa, allowing its occupants to benefit from integrated security, energy management and a flexible, future-ready entertainment and communications system. The simplicity of touchscreen control, combined with the reliability of the AMX system made it the perfect choice for this challenging installation. 

No fewer than sixteen AMX touchscreens, including nine MVP 5200i panels, provide fingertip control of the automation elements of which there are many. From an audio-visual perspective, there is an impressive multi-room entertainment system featuring a Kaleidescape music and movie server and Apple TV. Amina IPTV set top boxes have also been integrated and linked to digital and analogue Arab and European satellite receivers, whilst a Slingbox allows the client to watch programmes from the United States, where he also owns a property.@page_break@

Any source can be played in any room in the villa or, by simply grouping rooms on the AMX touchscreen, entertainment zones can be easily created. The AMX system also allows for the simple control of temperature, lighting and shades; effectively communicating with the villa’s built-in systems to give occupants the environment they want, when they need it. The extensive use of glass meant that control of direct sunlight and heat was paramount, as was privacy. The AMX system interfaces seamlessly with the villa’s Lutron Homeworks and Lutron shading solutions which ensure that the blinds automatically close with the movement of the sun and provide privacy for the family throughout the day. The property’s rooftop weather station has also been fully integrated into the system. In addition to the usual meteorological monitoring such as temperature, humidity and wind speed, the weather station also detects the presence of sand storms. As soon as a sand storm is detected, the house has been programmed to respond accordingly with the louvres and shutters around the outside of the building closing automatically.  Also outside the property, AMX Metreau VOIP enabled communicators provide a robust door entry interface, withstanding both the extreme temperatures and dusty environment to enable one-way visual and two- way audio conversation with visitors. Behind the scenes, no fewer than nine AMX Central Controllers provide the brains behind this comprehensive automation solution, ensuring that all Villa Al-Bahar’s disparate technologies and operating platforms are fully integrated as part of the central control system.
  By harnessing the power of AMX technology, SMC has ensured that sophisticated control of Villa Al-Bahar’s complex systems is made as straightforward as possible, not only for its technology-loving client but for all those living within it.  "SMC has managed to make a complex house system so easy for users that my family felt at home immediately and in full control in a house that was simple and easy to manage," remarked the owner.  www.amx.com/eu  

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