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What Are the Benefits of Installing a Central Vacuum?

blog-central-vacuum-benefitsEmbrace a More Efficient, Convenient Way to Clean Your Home

Prepare for 2017 with technology that can make it easier to keep your Woodbury, MN home clean and your family healthy. The key is upgrading your traditional vacuum cleaner for a central vacuum that ensures all dirty and debris are removed from your home while making it easier for you to get to hard-to-reach areas. A central vacuum cleaner is composed of multiple parts. The engine goes in the garage or basement, separate from the primary home unit, with the collection container located right next to it. This power unit connects to hoses leading to individual vacuum inlets in the home's interior rooms. These inlets will then contain the accessories needed to do the actual cleaning. Though initially central vacuums were used primarily in commercial applications, by the 1990’s they began to gain traction in the luxury real estate market. The main impetus for the vacuum’s popularity was its efficient removal of allergens. Below we highlight how it does that as well as some of its other key benefits: Removing Allergens: A central vacuum immediately removes all dirt and debris from the home, as opposed to traditional vacuums where dirt and allergens recirculate throughout the space. This is what leads to that funky smell just after you’ve vacuumed. Powerful Motor: Most vacuums are forced to use smaller engines to be portable and easy to use. Since the engine is stored separately in a central vacuum, homeowners can invest in larger motors or even dual-motor systems. This makes it easier to remove larger debris including broken glass. Increased Durability: For one, central vacuums don’t experience the decrease in power caused by diminishing batteries or overfilled bags. You also eliminate the risk of damaging the motor by bumping into walls or furniture. Pet-Friendly: Not only will it be better at picking up your dog's fur, but your central vacuum is also less likely to spook it. Without the motor being physically present, it is very quiet when being used. Ease-of-Use: With no heavy motor to carry around, it’s easier to get hard-to-reach areas whether you're trying to run the vacuum on the stairs or in a corner behind the bed. Quick Maintenance: With a larger disposal container, you can go much longer without having to empty out your vacuum’s bag. Your central container is still similar to the bags used by traditional vacuums, just larger, so it’s easy to remove. Ease of Access: Instead of having your vacuum stored in a distant utility closet and having to lug it into each room, it’s already waiting for you when you get there. Simply pull out the hose and necessary accessories from your vacuum inlet to get started. Aesthetic Benefits: When not in use, your vacuum hose is cleanly hidden away within its respective inlet which blends in perfectly with the surrounding wall. Want to bring the benefits of a central vacuum into your home? Contact Lelch AV to learn more about the installation process.

How to Make Homes More Stylish With Motorized Shades

blog-motorized-window-shades-styleEnhance Your Client’s Interior Décor with Smart Shading Options

Home interior designers have often clashed with custom integrators, fighting with them for important space both in the client’s budget and their home. Realizing that technology could enhance, not impede, a home’s unique style, interior designers have embraced their technology partners in recent years. The relationship has blossomed primarily through the use of motorized window shades. With intuitive control of shades, blinds and drapes, designers can take their projects to entirely new frontiers. SEE MORE: Installation Guide: Bringing Motorized Shades Into Your Home Embrace Your Favorite Models With motorized window treatments, homeowners can control shades through remotes, touchpads or smartphones. How can this expand their stylistic choices? In the past, they may have been reluctant to install elegant drapes in the living room because they’d be too difficult to close when the family wanted to watch TV. While wooden blinds might look great in the kitchen, they might find it too cumbersome to adjust the amount of light coming in throughout the day. Now they can do that easily with the press of a button or a swipe on their phone, opening up new possibilities when choosing designs and styles for their window treatments. Eliminate Unnecessary Clutter By centralizing control of all the home’s shades onto a dedicated touchpad or mobile app, you can also get rid of some of the clutter that’s involved with manual control. There’s no longer a need for clunky chords or sticks that not only become an eye sore but can also pose safety hazards. You can also choose to group certain shades together, so you don’t need individual remotes for each one—which can create a whole new clutter problem in and of itself. Create the Perfect Lighting No interior décor is complete without the right lighting. You can aim light in certain directions to highlight specific features or adjust the color temperature to bring out the color of the walls and furnishings. While much of this light staging is done via artificial light, you can also give your home a cool glow by making it easy to bring in natural light throughout the day. Schedule shades to open when natural light is available and close as soon as it gets dark. Protect Vulnerable Items Another constraint that interior designers often face is dealing with vulnerable furnishings or artwork that may be damaged by sunlight. In the past, these items had to be hidden away in corners far from windows for their own protection. Motorized shades let you give them a more prominent setting. Simply link up photo sensors to your shades so that they close as soon as they’re hit by direct sunlight. Cover Hard-to-Reach Areas Many modern homes include windows that can pose serious challenges both for designers and end users. For floor to ceiling windows or those that are out of reach due to their placement, manual shades become more of a nuisance than a stylistic accent. By having remote control of these fixtures, you can choose the fabrics and designs you want without having to worry about how you’d manage them on a day-to-day basis. Want to learn more about how you can enhance your next interior design project with the use of motorized shades? Call us at (612) 353-5087 or schedule a consultation online.

5 Benefits of a Smart Security App

home-security-appControl of Your Home’s Security in the Palm of Your Hand

Holiday season hopefully means a long vacation with the family. What can you do to get peace of mind that everything's going well back home while you lay out on a beach in the Bahamas? The answer is a mobile app that gives you access to your home security system from anywhere in the world as long as you have an internet connection. In this blog we highlight some of the top benefits of having a home security app: SEE MORE: Protect Your Home and Family With a Home Security System Watch Surveillance from Anywhere One of the things our clients love about their security app is the ability to look in on their home at any time. From a smartphone or tablet, you can pull up live surveillance footage. During the holidays, it's an excellent way to make sure your home is just as you left it. During the rest of the year, you can use it to check in on your pets or see what the kids are up to if they make it home before you. Make Adjustments to Your Home Remotely What if, as you're looking through your surveillance, you notice something is off? A light was left on in the kids' room, or the back door wasn't locked. From the same app you used to check your surveillance, you can adjust lighting, lock the doors, and set the alarm. There’s no need to watch all day to stay connected either; you can receive a notification if lights were left on or doors unlocked when you left the house. Make it Easy to Let People In There's also no need to hide a key under the mat so your pup sitter can get into the house while you're away. Get a notification when they're at the front door, so you can use your phone to let them in. Look at your surveillance first to make sure it’s them then use your app to disarm the security system and unlock the front door. Receive Notifications When Sensors Go Off Certain areas of your home may be especially off limits. You can receive notifications on your phone when someone sets off motion sensors near your property’s perimeter, your gun safe, or liquor cabinet. You can then use your app to look in on live surveillance footage to see who it was that set off the alarm. Depending on where the sensor is located, authorities can also be notified immediately of suspicious activity. Don’t worry about leaving your home alone during long stretches of time, with a smart security app you stay connected to what’s happening there at all times. Want to take advantage of this technology in your Minnesota home? Contact US  

4 Unique Ways to Boost Your Company’s Digital Signage

blog-commercial-av-digital-signageCreate Engaging Content to Enhance Your Marketing Strategy

Recent developments in technology—both in hardware and software—have made it easier to upgrade from traditional static advertising to digital signage. Once you have a commercial AV solution that offers high-resolution images and simple ways to alternate content on your displays, it’s about thinking outside the box. Making your company stand out involves more than just switching to digital—as most companies are now doing. This blog showcases some of the most creative uses of digital signage including examples from retail stores, restaurants, and bars. SEE MORE: Installation Guide: Optimizing Your Business’ Digital Signage Create Immersive Video Walls One of the easiest ways to take a digital display to the next level is to upgrade to a video wall. The simple boost in size will be enough to attract additional eyeballs, but the video wall format also gives you added versatility. You can cycle from one large image to multiple small images to highlight specific sales, services or information. Incorporate Content with Projectors A growing trend in digital signage is to include subtle displays. One way to create content that blends seamlessly into your business is to build projection-based digital signage. You can have images that appear on tables or against back walls. While there may be a small dip in image quality compared to using flat screens, it's an excellent way to incorporate displays in areas where there are size or style limitations. Take Clients or Customers on a Virtual Trip Some of the coolest forms of digital signage involve having displays that mimic windows. A great example is a popular bar in Madrid, the Passenger, which uses large video screens to give patrons the feeling that they're riding a train. These displays can also be used to recreate the feel of sky-bars popular in metropolitan areas. Once clients enter the bar, displays throughout the establishment let them look out onto a city landscape as if they’re on the 20th floor. Bring Users into Your Digital Display Through a combination of cameras, large screens, and augmented reality technology, viewers can become part of your display. One example that will likely become a staple in retail environments is the use of virtual dressing rooms. Hold up the shirt or skirt you want to try on in front of the mirror, and it will superimpose it onto your body, so you know how it looks. This type of augmented reality has also become popular when it comes to promoting shows or movies. A recent example was a FOX promotion for The Walking Dead. As fans stood in front of the FOX Billboard, the shows' characters and notorious walkers slowly appeared around them on a large display they were watching. As more companies switch from paper to digital, it's important to take extra steps to make your advertising stand out. Through our commercial AV solutions, we partner with your marketing department to come up with dynamic displays that will put you a step ahead of the competition. Contact Us

How to Improve Your Video Conferences with Boardroom Control

blog-boardroom-automationCreate the Perfect Atmosphere to Communicate With Clients and Employees

Whether you’re trying to connect with clients around the globe or keep in touch with remote employees, video conferencing has become an essential part of most businesses. Everything in your boardroom needs to be optimized for these types of virtual meetings. You can create the ultimate video conferencing environment with a boardroom control system that makes it easy to manage the AV equipment, lighting, and climate in the room. It’s time to embrace a form of communication that lets your Minnetonka, MN business cut travel costs, recruit talent, boost employee satisfaction and improve sales. SEE MORE: Save Your Company Money With Boardroom Control Get to Know Your Room’s Technology A video conference can quickly go sour if you find yourself struggling to adjust the volume, pull up content or add new participants. With a boardroom control system that gives you centralized access to all the technology in the room, you can focus on your subject matter and not your AV equipment. As part of your installation, your AV technicians will guide you on how you can quickly make any adjustments to create a favorable conferencing environment. Have Adaptable AV Equipment When conducting video conferences, you need to be able to adjust the audio and video settings in your room quickly. First, make sure you’re being heard clearly through expert microphone placement. Never resort to screaming when you realize audio is not going through as you wish, instead pull up your boardroom control system to adjust your microphone volume. The second most important part of a video conference is maintaining eye contact. Look directly into the camera as you speak. As you move around the room, you can use your tablet to pan the camera to where you are to maintain eye contact. You can also lower or raise the camera angle for employees of different heights, so it's easier for them to look into the camera. Adjust Your Room for Conferences Areas where you’re conducting your video conferences need to be free of distractions. Using your boardroom control system, close shades that face corridors so your clients or employees are not distracted by people walking by. Lower lights to make sure there’s no glare on the screen or raise them to spotlight the room’s speaker. Opt for Interactive Presentations If you are giving a presentation via video conference, it can be harder to keep your audience engaged. You want to avoid just reading off PowerPoint. Instead use interactive whiteboards that let you and other participants write directly on your presentation and save changes. This helps them feel more involved and less likely to lose focus. SEE MORE: Transform Your Boardroom With Interactive Whiteboards Check Your Network Connection A bad connection can ruin even the best-prepared presentation. With audio or video that keeps lagging or freezing, it's hard to keep the momentum going. You're forced to backtrack constantly to see where exactly your audience lost you. If you're conducting a more professional one-on-one meeting or interview, a bad connection can lead to misunderstandings and bad first impressions. For this reason, you want to make sure that your network is designed to handle the bandwidth needed to conduct conference calls. As part of your boardroom control installation, we strengthen your network to make sure it can handle high-definition video and high-resolution sound while letting you share presentations wirelessly. With video conferencing becoming so important for businesses throughout Minnesota, you need to have the right technology in place to conduct clear, powerful meetings and presentations. If you want to learn more about how your office could benefit from our boardroom control solutions, call us at 612-353-5087 or fill out our online contact form.

How to Choose a Screen for Your Home Theater System

Finding the Right Size and Fabric Can Make All the Differencelelchnov1 Designing a home theater system is no easy task. In most of our jobs, we find the most common mistakes have to do with the screen. Generally those problems have to do with display size, but we also find screens that aren't prepared to handle ambient lighting or that clash with the rest of the room’s décor. In this blog, we look into the two most important factors you need to take into account when choosing a screen for your home theater. SEE MORE: 5 Things to Consider When Choosing Home Theater Projector Size Often the main reason our clients opt for home theaters systems is for the big-screen experience. We can't blame them; the bigger the screen, the easier it is to immerse yourselves in your favorite movie. But if your screen ends up being too big for the room, it’s going to end up ruining your view. Your size will come down to the room’s height and length. When it comes to height, you can’t just measure from the floor to the ceiling to see how big your screen should be. Your screen will have to be at eye level for optimal viewing, so it has to be small enough to be raised a few feet off the ground. Your room’s length will come into play when deciding how far you should sit from the screen. A general rule of thumb is that you should multiply your screen’s diagonal measurement by 1.6 to figure out your viewing distance. If you have a 74-inch screen, you need to be sitting at least 9 feet from the screen to avoid pixelation or having to strain your eyes to follow the action. Fabric The second thing you need to consider when choosing a screen is the type of material. This primarily has to do with the amount of ambient lighting in the room. White screens are ideal for theaters that can be completely isolated from light. If your theater is in a room where ambient lighting is inevitable, you should opt for black or gray screens like the Slate from Screen Innovations. These screens are designed to deflect light not coming directly towards them. You should also decide whether your room could benefit from a perforated screen. Don’t worry; that doesn’t mean it has actual rips. Perforated screens have tiny holes, which don't affect image quality, so you can place speakers behind them. This is a great option for theaters with size or design limitations. Hide speakers behind the screen to get quality surround sound without the bulky equipment. Are you wondering which screen would be the best option for your theater? The experts at Lelch AV not only help you choose the best option but can also help you figure out if your space could benefit from a multi-screen installation. If you want to learn more about the best screens on the market or home theater design in general, don't hesitate to call us at (612) 353-5087 or fill out our online contact form.

4 Reasons to Invest in a Sound System for Your Restaurant

Promote Your Brand and Please Diners with a Professional installationlelchoct4 Dining out should be an unforgettable experience for all your customers. Every detail of your restaurant needs to be designed to create the right dining ambiance. While it’s the food quality that makes the biggest difference, having the right lighting, design, and music can put your Minnetonka, MN business over the top. Distributing music through a commercial AV system will help your business attract customers and keep them coming back time and again. SEE MORE: Enhance Your Business with a Professional AV System Enhance Your Company’s Brand With a commercial AV system, it's easy to pick out the type of music you want to play in your restaurant. You can play music off Pandora, a media server or even a CD-player. You want to ensure that you’re doing everything to display your unique style, and music can play a significant role. Imagine you’re trying to find an authentic Mexican restaurant to eat in. You’re more likely to trust one playing mariachi or regional Mexican music rather than one playing the latest radio hits. Keep Technology Hidden   A professional installation is also useful when you want your sound system to be hidden from view. A rustic restaurant design, for example, will include wooden tables, walls, and ceilings. In this type of environment, traditional speakers are going to stand out and take away from the décor. Instead, you can opt for in-ceiling speakers that offer consistent sound without intruding on the look and feel of your restaurant. You can also hide away the rest of your audio equipment ---like amplifiers or matrix switchers—in an AV closet, so they do not become an eyesore. Keep Customers Longer One of the reasons many restaurants provide background music is that it can encourage diners to stay longer. It's all about creating the right ambiance. This only works if you strike the right balance. If the audio is too low, it won't have much of an effect. Then again, loud music will have the opposite impact on your clientele; customers will feel uncomfortable and want to leave quickly once they're done eating. With smart control of your system, you can find the perfect volume settings for your space. Adjust Quickly Throughout the Day Once you’ve set your preferred volume settings, it’s still likely you’ll have to make adjustments throughout the day. As space fills up during peak hours, you may want to raise the volume to counteract background noise. It's then important that you have a quick way to lower it during slower times of the day, so you don't overwhelm the remaining diners. In these cases, you don’t want to waste time trying to find the remote to adjust the sound. Instead, you can use a dedicated touchpad or employee smartphones to adjust the volume as needed. Want to create the right ambiance for diners in your restaurant? A commercial AV solution can make all the difference. Contact Us  

How to Fix Common Boardroom Design Mistakes

shutterstock,istock brph

Simplifying the Technology in Your Room with Smart Control

Since your office boardroom is used for so many tasks –from video conferencing to product development—it can be hard to come up with a cohesive room design. Technology that works for one type of meeting may not work well for others. Often, this results in muddled designs and systems that are too difficult to manage. In this blog, we show you how a smart boardroom control system helps you resolve common design mistakes in your Woodbury, MN office. SEE MORE: How Boardroom Control Saves Your Company Money

1. Making the Room Too Hard to Manage

We encounter many clients that have flooded their boardrooms with all of the latest technology in an attempt to create a more efficient space. Unfortunately, this often results in rooms that are too complicated for the average employee, not only affecting meetings but wasting the time of the IT department as they keep getting called in to help. This is where a boardroom control system is most useful. You can still have all that technology, but it’s all managed from a tablet or touchpad. Through an intuitive menu, it's easy to choose the equipment you want to use and how you want to use it. You can also expand the system and add new features without needing extensive programming.

2. Unclear Content Sharing Solutions

One of the biggest problems that employees encounter is how to share content. With a smart boardroom control system in place, your menu has clearly marked buttons letting you choose whether you want to share content via HDMI cable or through your wireless network. It’s also easy to select whether you want to conduct a presentation or conference call.

3. Choosing the Wrong Screen Size

Finding the right size for your display can be difficult since certain tasks may require a different size than others. For example, a video conference may not need as big a screen as your PowerPoint presentation. Meanwhile, a large display can become a distraction when not in use. How can your boardroom control system help? One way is to go with a multi-screen installation. Have an LCD screen for video conferences and another screen that drops down when conducting a presentation. From your touchpad, you can easily choose which you want to use. Your retractable screen can also be hidden away when not in use, so it doesn't become a distraction.

4. Not Taking Lighting Into Account

Being able to adjust lighting in your boardroom is critical. With so many different functions, you need to ensure you're using the right lighting for each. You can even incorporate shading control to manage the amount of natural light in the room. For most meetings, natural light is preferable as it helps to make the room less stuffy and encourages communication. If you’re using the room for a conference call or multimedia presentation, use your boardroom touchpad to close the shades and dim the lights. You don't have to redesign your space completely to avoid common mistakes. Sometimes, incorporating a boardroom control system can make all the difference. Want to bring a custom solution into your office? Contact US