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Joe Whitaker Proves Valet Voice Control ‘Concept’ in Dallas Model Home

Realtors are Impressed with Technology That Embeds Amazon Echo Dots into In-Ceiling Speaker Brackets for Invisible Multi-Room Audio Control

The Thoughtful Home by JWhitaker Designs is working with J. Anthony Custom Homes of Lucas, TX, to integrate Origin Acoustics’ Valet amplifier technology into a new custom home development in the Dallas area. Thoughtful Home owner Joe Whitaker, who has custom integration firms locations in St. Louis, MO, and Dallas, TX, partnered with Origin to create the Valet product line.

The Valet product line, which launched at CEDIA 2017 in September, embeds Amazon Echo Dots into in-ceiling speaker brackets for a nearly invisible voice-controlled multi-room audio distribution system.

Origin’s Dave Donald was on site at the builder’s show home open house last week to help Whitaker demo the system for visitors comprised mostly of area realtors experiencing voice control for the first time. Tony Prutch, owner of J. Anthony Custom Homes, hosted the open house.

The goal of the show home system, Whitaker told me in a FaceTime tour of the space, was to create a fully automated customer experience for potential homebuyers. The homebuyer could essentially walk into the model home’s kitchen, for example, and say, “Alexa, tell me about my custom countertop options,” and Alexa is programmed to respond with those specific details. Same thing for the other rooms of the home.

At the open house, the goal was to showcase the user friendliness and “invisibility” of the AV system, as well. For those particular demos, the Echo Dots were trained to respond to the word “Computer,” instead of “Alexa,” to avoid unintended reactions when simply explaining (human to human) what “Alexa” is.

Donald noted that many of the realtors at the open house had no previous experience with voice control and were stunned by its effectiveness in the model home. They were initially concerned about being put out of a job by such efficient home automation, but were assured that the system was an enhancement to their role, not a replacement.

There’s no one better at hosting product demos and providing voiceover work in the custom integration business than Dave Donald, so let’s let him take it from here. Check out this video demonstration of the Valet product line in the master bedroom of J. Anthony Custom Homes’ model home.