A custom integrators’ craftsmanship can be like magic. Though there’s no smoke and mirrors, thoughtfully designed audio and video systems can dazzle homeowners just as much as a top-tier illusionist. Although homeowners increasingly want more AV systems in their homes, they don’t always want them to be visible.
By incorporating automated concealment solutions, integrators can make AV in the room disappear — and reappear — as needed, pushing the wow factor even further. For architects and interior designers, they can be the magic wand to balancing room requirements, especially in the luxury market. Designers don’t want AV components to interfere with a room’s carefully considered aesthetics or to block breathtaking views. By artfully hiding components in the room, everyone can have the best of both worlds.
Unlike putting in a credenza or mounting equipment to the wall, the best concealment solutions are built into the home’s structure. This comes with many challenges that integrators need to be aware of to safeguard that projects are finished cleanly, ensuring customer satisfaction. Keep these best practices in mind:
- Communicate Early and Often. It’s one thing to envision a display making its grand entrance from the floor or ceiling, but, as integrators know, it takes something entirely different to see those plans come to fruition. The ultimate goal is to hide all the electronics while ensuring that the technology — whether it’s installed behind a motorized panel or within a lift that rises out of the ground or lowers from the ceiling — is installed to AV best practices so it functions reliably for every use. This is where communication is key. If everyone, from the architect and contractor to the design team, is working together from the very beginning, then installers are in a much better position to help realize the design and AV needs of the space.
- Trust But Verify Plans. AV integrators need to be resourceful, as plans can change at any moment. For example, a pipe or a duct might need to be moved for any number of plumbing, electrical, or structural reasons. These seemingly small changes at one end can cause larger issues down the line when an in-ceiling lift is specified. It is not only surprising to open a ceiling and discover that the install site is blocked, but also can require a substantial amount of time to remedy the problem. In addition, as flat panel displays become larger, it’s critical that the necessary infrastructure is there to support both the weight of the display and the lift mechanism. Making sure your team has the most up-to-date plans and is continually speaking with contractors will help to keep the surprises to a minimum during installation.
- Rely on Customization to Solve Special Requirements. New builds are “easier” when it comes to implementing AV, and that’s certainly true for specifying concealment solutions. They can be worked into the design from the beginning. When it comes to retrofitting a space, however, any number of issues can make for a tougher nut to crack. There is some good news: Many products can be customized, which allows integrators to work with the space they have and, in return, speed up the installation process. In cases where there isn’t enough space, alternatives such as hiding a wall-mounted display behind a motorized sliding panel or painting, can be just as inspiring.
- Manufacturers Make Problems Vanish. As technology becomes more sophisticated, ironing out all the installation details can be overwhelming. A chief benefit of customized concealment solutions is that integrators can leave the details with the manufacturers. Experienced lift manufacturers can be a fount of insight and ideas, helping to flesh out the vision to arrive at a solution that meets everyone’s requirements. A manufacturer will need the basic details: the type of equipment being installed such as a TV or projector, the weight of the equipment, the dimensions of the cavity, and how far the mechanism needs to travel when it is lifted up or dropped down. To help the manufacturer envision the space and design the best solution, a few cellphone shots can be helpful. From there, integrators can take the final drawing to finish out the design plan.
Concealment Is the Rolls-Royce of AV
Homeowners in the market for concealment solutions have very discerning tastes, and that extends into technology. The ability to reveal audio and video components at the touch of a button will lift the experience and luxury of any home to the next level. Armed with the right information, ample preparation, and open communication, concealment solutions can be the magic touch for an installer.