The Home Straight

Technology Keeps Auto Racing Legend In Touch With His Family While On the Road January 27, 2016

Scott Dixon relies on technology. In his job, a properly functioning computer system can make the difference between spraying celebratory champagne and careening into a wall in excess of 200 miles per hour.

For the quadruple (and reigning) IndyCar champion and 2008 Indy 500 winner, personal life is no less critical. A devoted family man whose racing career has him continuously away from home, technology allows for his two young daughters to be able to see and talk to him whenever they want. And with his new home in Indianapolis, IN, staying in touch with family is easier than ever before.

“They have a kids’ playroom that has a camera, and while he’s on the road, he wanted to be able to check in on the girls,” said Robert Haecker, president and founder of Triphase Technologies, the Carmel, IN-based integrator for the home. With that as one of the main goals, Haecker decided to equip the 7,000-square-foot residence around an ELAN gSC10 Entertainment and Control system.

Quadruple Indy Car champion Scott Dixon has complete control over his home’s entertainment systems via the ELAN app on his iPad.

With the all-new ELAN Intercom function, which was introduced in the system’s 7.2 software upgrade, the Dixons can be closer than ever. “From any of the touchpanels with ELAN, through the intercom feature, they can hit a ‘Daddy’ button, and it automatically dials his cell phone from the in-wall touchpanel, and then it’s essentially a FaceTime call from his phone to the touchpanel,” Haecker said. “And he thought that was cool for the girls to be able to do that, since they’re too young for a cellphone or things like that.” And Dixon really appreciates the ability to check in whenever he wants, “even if it’s just to make sure that the girls are keeping their rooms clean and brushing their teeth!” he told Core Brands.

Home security is another feature that Dixon can easily monitor from wherever he happens to be. From the ELAN app on his and his wife Emma’s mobile devices, they can monitor the home’s Wirepath and Panasonic security cameras that surveil the home’s exterior, front foyer, and driveway and gate, and can open the gate for guests with the tap of a button.

“Remote access to the security system control is one of the most important features of the system for me,” Dixon said. “I want to make sure that the home is secured and armed at all times, especially when I am not there.”

The home’s TP7 In-Wall touchpanels provide control of the home’s climate, security, lighting, and entertainment, and allow Dixon’s young daughters to video chat with him when he’s away from home.

When the family is home together, the ELAN system gives them complete control of all of their entertainment, as well. The home has roughly 10 rooms of music–including inside and outside–and six video zones, and all are easily controllable via ELAN TP7 in-wall touchpanels, HR200 handheld remotes, and mobile device applications. Music is handled through an Autonomic MMS-2 server, and distributed to Klipsch in-ceiling speakers in the home, as well as Niles Outdoor Landscape speakers and surface-mount patio speakers.

“They have Autonomic for all of their streaming sources, but it also ties in their iTunes and CD collection that Scott had,” Haecker said. “Before, where they might have had XM in the car, and radio, and maybe CDs at home and iTunes on the phone, with ELAN and Autonomic it pulls it all together, so now they have all of those options at their fingertips from within the home. It really cleaned up their collection of music.”

The home’s multi-room video system consists of two Comcast Xfinity receivers, an Apple TV, and an LG Blu-ray player, distributed by a Wyrestorm 4x4 HDMI HDBaseT matrix switcher. The sources are fed to four Vizio TVs–60-inch models in the master suite and exercise room, a 65-inch in the hearth room, and a 70-inch model in the basement media room–which were supplied to the Dixons at no cost through the company’s sponsorship of Dixon’s team, Chip Ganassi Racing.

Other entertainment amenities include the basement media room’s SpeakerCraft Aim Series 2 5.1 surround system and Sunfire HRS-10 sub, which are driven by an Integra DTR-40.7 receiver; Sonos Playbar and Subwoofer combos in the exercise room and master suite; and a site-built Future Automation Motorized TV lift in the hearth room.

The home’s media is distributed from a central rack, with Autonomic media servers, an Integra DTR 40.7 receiver, two Xfinity cable boxes, and more, all regulated by a Panamax M5300-PM power conditioner.

The entire home’s systems are built on the backbone of a Luxul network, with an XWR-150 router and two XAP-1500 access points. To ensure that the system continues to perform properly, Triphase installed a Panamax M5300-PM power conditioner with BlueBolt technology. “We have the entire system on BlueBolt, so we can view, diagnose, and reboot from a smartphone or from our command center,” Haecker said. “We’ve had to do remote reboots on the cable boxes and Apple TV, but other than that it’s all run smoothly.”

When specifying and designing the home’s systems, Haecker had some important factors to keep in mind. “This isn’t their only home,” he said. “This might be the primary residence… but he said from the beginning, ‘I want some cool automation, I want to be able to communicate with my family, I want to be able to manage my music, TVs; I want it to be easy to use; I want to control my gate; things like that.’ But he did say, ‘Listen, we have a nice budget, but I don’t want to go crazy with it.’

“With technology, you can go as basic or as elaborate as you want; you can spend a little or the sky’s the limit,” Haecker continued. “We felt like ELAN was the perfect fit to meet all of his needs, his wish list, give him a platform that he can add onto later, but also keep it within a reasonable budget.”

A home that’s high tech, extremely capable and powerful, but not extravagant: kind of like a racecar.

Matt Pruznick is associate editor for Residential Systems and Systems Contractor News. Follow him on Twitter @Pruznick.

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