Holiday Tech 5 – top five technology gifts for the person on your list!

We know technology can be confusing and, since 2004, we have been here to simplify technology in your homes and businesses.  This holiday season, let us also simplify gift-giving with these top five technologies that are easy to give, implement, and expand upon.  Want a holiday tech item that won’t be obsolete as soon as it’s installed?  These functional gifts will also stand the test of time while making life easy and fun.

Let’s start with music!

We were the first SONOS dealer in St. Louis over 12 years ago and our first player STILL works (check it out)!  This company has created and re-created speakers and amplifiers that bring wireless music streaming to almost any room in the home.  With a good wifi system (read below), you can hear Pandora, Spotify, SiriusXM, your own music library, and more – in the kitchen, bathroom, kids’ room, almost anywhere!


With the new SONOS:ONE, use your voice to turn on your favorite music!  (More on voice control… keep reading!)

Whole-house wifi – and – parental controls?!

Oh yes.  This business was founded by Jeff and Jamie Briesemeister and even though we didn’t have kids at the time, we have a family now.  Parental controls that disable wifi, set timers, all while providing whole-house wifi – are life-savers for today’s families.  People work from home more, send homework via email, online schooling… it all adds to the need for solid wifi experience.  The EERO  is a great solution with a quick setup and house-wide range (in homes with 3-5 bedrooms).

Eero in the kitchen

Extenders are small so you can place them where you need them.

Let there be light!

Every day you touch your lighting: why not make it smarter?  Lutron offers a variety of products to address almost any lighting control need.  Entry-level systems are simple to setup on your own or you can hire a pro to do it for you.  For around $250, you can make lighting ‘smart’ through astronomical timers, app-controlled, aware of when you come home and more!  Consider Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge Pro, which is a functional and time-savings gift to give for that busy mother or professional in your life.

Image result for caseta app

Access your lights, shades, and more all from your smart phone or tablet – at home or when away from home.

“Alexa, start my car”

Voice control is here and you can do so many things with it.  Whether you are an Amazon Alexa user or prefer Google Home, voice control brings you information and access to the world using only your voice.  Hear about the weather, start your car, turn on/off your lights, and more!  We’ve been asked about voice control for years – now it’s here!

digital voice assistant

Voice control for your world from your favorite brands.

For that special someone…

The Frame television by Samsung is a luxurious gift that combines art and television for a special person on your gift list.  Available in 3 different sizes, this digital art screen is also a television when in use.  ‘Standby’ provides artistic images with matte options YOU control.  Select from the available gallery, download more, or upload your own family photography to customize this piece to your preference.  When you want to ‘Netflix and chill’, simply pick up the remote and change the display!

The Frame by Samsung

Upload your family photos to The Frame TV by Samsung

The Frame TV

Watching television is easy (and beautiful)!

How to purchase this holiday season

Yes, you can buy these products online, but Integration Controls can offer similar pricing and exceptional service while your purchase helps the local economy.  Call 314.475.3080 or send us an email

You will speak with someone who understands your unique needs and can purchase and deliver your wrapped gift item through our white-glove service this holiday season!  Setup and installation are also available for an additional fee.

We are your home technology professional.  Give us a call today to discuss technology – for gift-giving this holiday season, even if that gift is for yourself!


Solutions that Simplify

As technology professionals, we are often asked to simplify home electronics for our clients here in St. Louis.  The problems we hear… Too many buttons.  Too many wires.  Ugly boxes.  Multiple controls.

Normally because this is what the client sees…

Remote Hell

Pile of home controls

…all over the house…

Wall acne

‘Wall acne’ can be confusing and unsightly

This translates to problems we don’t always hear, but can ascertain…  Frustration.  Confusion.  Messiness.  Irritation.

These unspoken needs are heard loud and clear in our interview process.  When we hear feelings such as this, we discuss with our clients a number of solutions that simplify life and, as a team, we determine which is the best fit for individual wants, needs, priorities, and budget.

Let’s start with lighting control.

Lighting control allows you to adjust the lights in your space without having to interact with each switch, individually.  Given that most people interact with their lights every day, in very consistent ways, lighting control provides the ability to do so with one button press.  Imagine selecting ‘away’ from a button on a nearby keypad that adjusts all of your home’s lights, just as you want them, when you leave for the day.  For busy families, those who travel a lot, or high-level executives – this simple step gives back a ton of time to the homeowner and adds peace of mind, knowing lights are set just the way the client wants them.  House already built?  No worries: wireless options are possible!

Lutron keypad

One button for ‘all off’ – imagine the convenience!

Design-friendly entertainment products simplify aesthetics.

Long-gone are console televisions (thank you design gods!), yet flat-panel televisions haven’t solved every design dilemma either.  The boxes you watch pile up somewhere near your television (complete with a wiring mess).  Add to this that nearly everyone wants to have a TV mounted above a fireplace mantle that’s too high, in a room that’s too big, or in a spot where one member of the house despises seeing it.  Thankfully, solutions exist for nearly every television design dilemma – from simple and hidden, to in-your-face extreme!

Seura mirror TVs

Purpose-built, design-friendly televisions offer custom elegance

Wrapping it up with home automation.

For many, the term ‘home automation’ still sounds robotic and futuristic.  Well – like it or not, the future is now!  According to the June 2015 Houzz & Home report, nearly 25% of those who are considering renovating find integrating smart technology very important and the trend is rising.  Bringing lights, audio/visual systems, security systems, and more – together – makes life SO much more simple when implemented properly.  One button that literally does it all!

So – would you use home automation?  Consider these real-world scenarios and your quality of life when:

One device on the nightstand does everything you need to rest with peace of mind, knowing your home is just as you want it.

Put your home to ‘SLEEP’ and rest with peace of mind, knowing your home is just as you want it.

  • you are sick – your ‘off’ button can turn off lights and lower shades so you can rest.
  • you have children – ‘the-kids-did-it-again’ button can shut off the television and lights.
  • leaving for the day – ‘away’ might turn off your lights, audio/visual systems, and arm your security system.
  • going to bed – your custom ‘sleep’ button can lock your door, arm your security system, shut off the lights, lower your HVAC, close the shades – whatever YOU do at night, the ‘sleep’ button does it for you.  Talk about time savings!

Essentially, you can reap the benefits of a connected home – daily.


These solutions that simplify are real, they are tangible, and they can be beautiful.  If you find frustration, confusion, or irritation in your life – and feel these solutions can benefit you – consider looking for a CEDIA professional – or look no further and give us a call: 314.475.3080.


Case Study: Award Winning Home Theater

The Challenge:

Our client was building a new home and wanted to integrate a home theater experience that would trump that of traditional commercial movie megaplex. There’s just one problem, there is an underwater mural in the entertainment room that absolutely cannot be changed.

The Solution:

We worked with the room’s overall design to facilitate the best acoustic properties possible. Sidewalls were angled in toward the screen and an asymmetrical ceiling was built to reduce standing waves and add an aesthetic element to the room, while the thick-pile carpet and pad were used to absorb errant sound energy. The screen floats on three custom-made quarter inch steal brackets attached to the back wall, creating a floating screen effect and furthering the ocean theme.


The Technology:

The audio system features drivers with high sensitivity, allowing them to play with clean precision at any volume level. And the video system includes a massive 160-inch, 2.40:1, high-gain screen and anamorphic lens. Accent lighting radiates behind the screen and spills from the ceiling to the walls from dimmable LED strip lights, all controlled from the theater’s handheld remote.


Above & Beyond:Best_Technical_Design_2010h6> We used our design expertise to make the most of the technology we were bringing into the room. We leverage the ocean theme to create a full experience in the room, leaving no piece of coral unturned when finding ways to optimize the audio and visual experience in the space. Ultimately, ElectronicLiving agreed with us and awarded us a 2011 technical design award for our efforts.

Download the full Case Study here.

CEDIA: What is it?

We’re incredibly proud to be able to say that we’ve been a member of CEDIA since 2005. It means a lot to us, to be a part of this outstanding community, but what does it mean for you? We’d like to answer some of the common questions we get about our CEDIA certification and help show you how working with a CEDIA member directly benefits you as a client.

What’s CEDIA?

CEDIA is an international trade association of companies that specialize in designing and installing electronic systems for homes. They are the leading global authority on the home technology industry and represent 3,500 member companies and 22,000 industry professionals worldwide.

What exactly does CEDIA stand for?

Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association.

Cedia Logo

What does it mean to be a member?

Being a member of CEDIA means that we have access to a full network of professionals, training, tools, and research that aren’t available to non-members. This means we have a wider breadth of knowledge that can be leverage to create EVEN BETTER tailored solutions for our clients. The awesome thing is that we aren’t just members, we’re also CEDIA Certified.

What is CEDIA Certified?

This means we’ve taken classes and been tested on our home technology knowledge. Think of it like we’ve gotten our masters in electronic home systems and customer service. In fact, we have such an excellent reputation within our own industry that Jeff, or co-owner, currently teaches upper level CEDIA Certification classes to other professionals.

What sorts of things do you have to know to be CEDIA Certified?

All sorts of different things, but some of the highlights include: rough-in and trim-out tasks; retrofit installation; component installation and troubleshooting; selecting the appropriate products and materials to be used in integrated residential systems, including alarm, telephone, data audio, video, home theater, HVAC, and lighting control; designing, installing, and configuring a network in a home;  and residential cabling assessments.


What certifications do you all hold at Integration Controls?

Electronic Systems Technician II (1)
Electronic Systems Technician III (1)
Residential Networking Specialist (1)
CEDIA Outreach Instructor (COI) (1)

What are the benefits of working with a CEDIA Certified Professional?

There are specific standards of excellence that you have to uphold in order to be associated with CEDIA. The requirements range from customer service guidelines, to technical knowledge principles and a professional code of ethics.

How can I, personally, learn more about this stuff?

CEDIA actually has a client facing website that doubles as has a huge resource center where you can follow along with the latest news, trends, and ideas of our industry. You can check it out here.

Anything else I should know?

Actually, yes! We’re glad you asked. CEDIA also gives awards to top performing companies. We’ve won awards in 2010, 2011, 2013, and 2014. You can check out the Case Studies section of our blog to see these awards in action.

Still have more questions? Just ask. That’s what we’re here for.

Case Study: Integration Controls Wins 2013 Best Integrated Home Award

It’s absolutely true what they say about loving your work: If you’re passionate about what you are doing, it’ll show in the final product.

One of our favorite projects received a silver award in technical design in 2013. You can download the full case study here or read the highlights below:

The first round of this project, technologically enhancing a 5,000-square-foot-lodge, was completed in 2011 and in 2012 the client reached back out to us for phase two.

The Challenge:

This time, our job was to turn two remote rural cabins into a technological haven for the owners who, wanted a retreat, but didn’t want to sacrifice their favorite creature comforts like music, television, and security.


Our Solution:

The first step was security. We leveraged a fiber backbone that was the foundation of the original lodge to create a full network infrastructure that opened up a world of possibilities. We installed cameras around each individual cabin, that were able to record on the DVR in the lodge. Additionally, each cabin was also outfitted with its own alarm system that could be accessed remotely.

We also worked with the local wireless Internet service provider to enhance the bandwidth needed to support our creation.

Then came the focus on entertainment. AMX handheld MIO R4 remotes were used in each TV area for easy control. Dedicated satellite receivers fed each viewing area, as well as a dedicated Blu-ray in the master suite and shared Blu-ray in the living area. All of these sources switch through an HDMI distribution matrix and an audio matrix switcher. Audio was made available in several other areas using a Sonos Connect,  one of the satellites, or the shared Blu-ray player. The crown jewel was an iPad using AMX app that allowed for whole-house control of any area, as well as “party modes” for presets to listen to several rooms at once.

Here’s a snapshot of all the tech we packed into this wilderness respite:



Going Above & Beyond




If you take a closer look at the cabin, you’ll notice something: Even with that long list of different pieces of equipment listed above, you really don’t see any of it. All of our wires and widgets are hidden away, redirecting attention to the parts of the cabin that the inhabitants truly want to enjoy, the ambiance.





2013_HoursYou’re probably wondering what sort of time and expertise went into the finished product. Well, we’ve got an answer for that:


After 516.33 hours spent 3 hours away from our Rock Hill office, we completed a project that our clients, our team, and ElectronicLifestyle thought was truly award winning!