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Chicago Integrators Introduce the Convenience of Home Automation

Some clients are already aware of all the latest gadgets and tech available; they want it and just don’t have it yet. But there are still those for whom the specifics of home control are an unfamiliar realm, even if they have a vague concept of what can be done.

Digital Home Technologies’ client thought that having a TV in her bathroom mirror “was a little silly” until she got to experience it first hand. Photos courtesy of clients are already aware of all the latest gadgets and tech available; they want it and just don’t have it yet. But there are still those for whom the specifics of home control are an unfamiliar realm, even if they have a vague concept of what can be done.

John Goldenne, owner of Digital Home Technologies, recently installed an ELAN g! System for a couple living in Geneva, IL. The homeowners, who work in the HVAC business, did not even own iPads before the install, though they understood the benefits of having their HVAC system automated.

“They were both clueless as to what was available. Another contractor had presented them with a basic remote system that did not offer much room for growth,” Goldenne said. “We knew that if there was a solution to automate the HVAC, as well as their TVs, they would be interested. When we included the options for Apple TV, iPads, and downsizing the quantity of cable receivers; they started to get excited.”

Digital Home Technologies made a number of upgrades to the house, including eight zones of HDMI switching via an Atlona matrix, Lutron RA2 lighting, Ademco security, a Dakota driveway probe, and more, powered by an ELAN g! HC12 control system with ELAN TS7 and TS2 keypads. With a system spanning 16 zones of audio, the homeowners were soon able to deliver individualized music for each of their moods. And for the homeowner’s separate “his and hers” bathrooms, Digital Home Technologies installed LED TVs in each–also powered by g!–for fully personalized media enjoyment. This turn out to be a big hit with “the better half” of the client couple.

“The LED TVs in the bathrooms were the turning point for her,” Goldenne reported.

She also liked the idea that Digital Home Technologies eliminated equipment all over the home and provided a robust wireless network.

According to Digital Home Technologies owner John
Goldenne (pictured), after an initial
training session and a few weeks of the clients testing their system, they loved it.
“I thought having a TV in my bathroom mirror was a little silly, but I am really enjoying being able to watch a program while I am getting ready,” the client said. “And having a channel assigned to each of us so we won’t be changing each other’s channel has been wonderful,” she added.

After an initial training session and a few weeks of the clients testing their system, they loved it, according to Goldenne. “Though they didn’t own any iPads when we started, they’re now [considering them] the best tool or toy they’ve had,” he said. “They carry them everywhere they go. It’s exciting to see clients trust us and eager to learn new technology.”

According to the wife, her husband likes his new “toys” around their home. “He enjoys the cameras and Dakota driveway probe,” she said. “There was a break-in, and the cameras were able to get an image of the intruder.”

The clients like having a channel on the ELAN g! system
assigned to each member of the household, so they don’t
change each other’s channels. Photos courtesy of
Digital Home Technologies has been in business since 1989, and Goldenne believes that repeat business, responsiveness, and a willingness to tackle even small projects have enabled the company to remain successful in the competitive Chicago market.

“We listen very closely to our clients needs, offer them several solutions, then provide them with what they want, not what we want,” he stated. “The end result on 95 percent of our projects is an easy-to-use solution, whether it’s a simple all-in-one remote or a full house system.”

Goldenne said that his company frequently finds itself in the unfortunate, yet common, position of repairing competitors’ jobs. “There are a lot of trunk slammers in the Chicago market,” Goldenne said. “We are in the service business, and we stand behind our jobs, even if it means repeat visits to make it right.”

Goldenne also makes sure to always reply to emails and phone calls within 24 hours. “I never turn off my cell phone and am available almost 18 hours a day,” he said. “I don’t think you will get this kind of service from the big-box stores.”

Digital Home Technologies embraces extensive marketing–with snail mail, social media, and email newsletters. Goldenne believes that marketing–along with the company’s philosophy that “no job is too small”–has enabled the business to survive through the tough economic climate of the last four years.

“It’s amazing how many small projects have turned into large projects,” Goldenne said. “Many of our competitors will not touch a small project. They won’t call back. But even the simple one-hour projects end up being referrals or long term clients.”

Goldenne offers his praise to ELAN for making the big projects as simple as the small ones. “Once installed correctly with a robust network, you cannot beat the reliability and speed it offers,” he said. “No other system is so brilliantly entertaining and so well integrated. You have total control with one simple graphic interface. ELAN g! is the smartest of the smart home systems.”

Derek Dellinger is web editor for Residential Systems and