The Best Christmas Gift for the Techie: Amazon’s Alexa


Enjoy Voice Control Technology with Alexa
In search of the best Christmas Gift for the Techie? The holidays can be quite hectic, especially if you’re hosting a lot of family and friends at your house. Aside from the festive parties, you have a lot of shopping to do. So what is the best gift for the techie? If your family member or friend loves smart home automation, Amazon’s Alexa is the perfect choice. Not only would it be great for your modern family, but you can also benefit from the technology yourself right now. In this blog, we’ll explain the newest trend – voice control – and how you can add it to your home in the Lafayette, LA area.

What is Alexa?
Developed by Amazon, Alexa is the smart home automation software that allows you to perform all kinds of tasks through voice commands. It runs on the Echo, Dot, and Tap – smart speakers that connect to your smart home and listen to your voice commands to start or stop tasks. Previously seen as a standalone product for DIY-type home automation products, now Alexa can be integrated into your Control4 smart home. You can simply ask Alexa to turn the heat on or give you the weather report, and it will perform your request instantly. It even gives you a confirmation response of “OK” to re-affirm it heard your command.

Hands-free Automation
If you’re planning on getting a lot of shopping done on Black Friday, you may come home with your hands full. Imagine walking into your house and saying, “Alexa, turn on the lights,” and instantly your living room is illuminated. Voice control technology can be used in a variety of situations like this when you want to quickly change your environment. Not only can you ask the device to perform standalone tasks, but you can also activate saved scenes as well, like “Good Morning,” “Welcome Home,” or “Dinner.” All you have to do is say, “Alexa, turn on Welcome” and right when you step through the front door, your house lights will turn on, the shades will rise, your favorite album will start to play, and the HVAC system will turn on the air conditioning or heat.

Here are a few other examples of what Alexa can do:
• You need to start preparing the turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. You say, “Alexa, turn on ‘cooking’ and the kitchen dimmers make the room brighter, the TV turns on the Food Network, and the in-ceiling speakers turn up the volume so you can follow The Pioneer Woman’s recipe.
• After a long day of wrapping gifts, from the comfort of your own bed, say, “Alexa, turn off the house” and the lights will turn off, the shades will close, the doors will lock, and the security system will arm.
To control individual devices say commands like this:
• Alexa, turn on the dining room chandelier
• Alexa, dim the bedside lamp to 40%
• Alexa, adjust the temperature to 75 degrees

These are just a few examples of the ways you can use Alexa in your smart home. Whether you decide to add voice control now to help you out around the holidays, or wrap it as a gift for someone else at Christmas, Alexa is the perfect addition to any connected home.

To add Alexa to your house, fill out this online form.
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3 Ways to Prevent Burglaries

Protect Your Louisiana Home 24/7 with Security and Surveillance TechnologyAccording to the FBI, burglaries dropped about 8 percent in 2015. While that is encouraging news to hear, thousands of burglaries are still happening all over the country, including Lafayette, Louisiana. Last year there were about 1,500,000 break-ins and three-quarters of them happened in residential neighborhoods. While we certainly do not aim to create fear and anxiety among homeowners, this reality should cause families to consider how effective their security systems really are. Continue reading to discover three ways to prevent break-ins with security and surveillance systems.

Secure All EntrancesBurglars first look for unsecured entrances like open doors or windows. One in three residential burglaries is simply an unlawful entry, meaning the person has entered the home through an unsecured window, door, or other opening. While many of us do our best to make sure every door is locked, there are times when we simply forget. A smart security system, smart locks, and sensors can help prevent these errors. Firstly, by installing a sophisticated security system in your smart home, you’ll receive alerts on your phone if a door is left open or unlocked. With smart locks in place, you can then immediately fix the problem by locking the door via an app on your mobile device. If the door is wide open, you’ll at least know it so you can rush home and close it. Additionally, window sensors alert you if someone smashes it or if it’s left open as well.

Outsmart Your EnemyBurglars also wait for the house to be empty before they strike. To reduce their chances of being detected, they work similar hours as you. Therefore, most break-ins occur during daytime hours when homes are vacant and most vulnerable. One way to confront this is to create a mockupancy setting that makes it seem as if someone is home when in reality no one is there. Create a scene using your Control4 smart home system to make the shades rise at various times, the lights turn on and off and even leave the TV or music running to make it sound like people are inside. If the perpetrator still makes an attempt at robbery, you’ll still be able to catch him or her in the act with your surveillance cameras. Those smart cameras will also immediately let you know that someone is inside because they detect movement.

Look IntimidatingMany animals use an intimidation strategy to protect themselves. For example, the porcupine raises its quills to make itself look bigger and more deadly. You can use this tactic as well by sending the message to intruders that they are being watched. Sixty percent of burglars will go elsewhere if they see a security system is in place. Studies report that if burglars discover a security system even during a break-in, they will leave immediately. Just having a security and surveillance system in place will help protect your valuables and loved ones.

To stay safe during this holiday season and all year long, contact us online for a smart security installation.

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Smart Home Scenes for Every Occasion

How to Customize Your Baton Rouge Home with Smart Home AutomationYou may think that having a smart home is all about the convenience factor—controlling your house with a mobile device so you can focus on the important parts of your life. While that’s true, smart home automation is also about creating unique experiences. Yes, it’s quite nice to be able to turn the lights on and off with your phone. However, how do you create the right environment for an important dinner party with your boss using smart controls? In this blog, we’ll explain the concept of ‘smart home scenes’ and how you can use them for different events in your Baton Rouge, LA home.

What is a smart home scene?A ‘scene’ is a combination of smart home controls saved under a unique name for a specific time and date, or action. Scenes can be programmed by an integrator or created by a homeowner. Scenes allow you to customize the sequences of technology in your home and tie them together to create an experience. Our partner Control4 allows you to create scenes using a sleek and easy-to-use interface via the app. Scenes can also be created by our team and engraved in your in-wall keypads. So you’ll be able to hit a ‘Welcome’ or ‘Away’ scene using your smartphone or a button on the wall. Continue reading for a few examples.

Welcome HomeA very useful scene you can benefit from every day is a “Welcome” scene. As soon as you get home, all the lights in the common areas will turn on (like the kitchen and living room), your favorite songs will play, the thermostat will begin cooling or warming your house (depending on the season), and the TV will turn the news on. You can customize this scene any way you like it.

AwayAnother scene that is helpful for your everyday lifestyle is “Away”. A typical scenario in an American household is running around in the morning turning off lights, setting the alarm system, and adjusting the thermostat before you rush out the door to work. A smart scene saves you time so all you have to do is touch a button at the front door and your home shuts down. All of the doors lock and the security system turns on so that it’s secure while you’re away, and the lights turn off and the thermostat adjusts so your home is wasting energy while no one is there.

EntertainingPlanning a party can be stressful, but our technology can help make things easier for you. It’s up to you to hand pick the songs you want to play, but once that hard work is done all you have to do is go into your smart home system and set the day, time and location for it to play. For example, if you are planning a New Year’s Eve bash, create your playlist and then set it to stream the songs at 9 p.m. when people begin to arrive. Then when it’s almost midnight, set a different list of songs to play and usher in the New Year. Every song can be timed to play exactly when you want it with a whole house music system. If you have a large home, you could even play different styles of music in various parts of your property so that everyone can pick which style they want to dance to—such as salsa in the main room, and jazz outside. Pick your lighting level, shade setting, and more to create a fun environment to host your friends.

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5 perks of using professional surveillance cameras

Update Your Covington Property with Smart Surveillance & Security Many families in the Covington, Louisiana area travel around the holidays, which means empty houses and abundant opportunities for break-ins. So how do you keep your home safe while you are away? Today’s surveillance cameras give you a lot of options for monitoring your home. You may be surprised by all of the advanced features security and surveillance systems offer your family. In this blog, we’ll cover some of those finer details on what you can do with security cameras. With a lot of knowledge at your side, you’ll be confident in protecting your home and can also find new ways to use them for everyday activities.

Luma Surveillance CamerasAcadian uses Snap AV’s line of Luma surveillance cameras for a number of reasons. First, their analog and IP systems give you easy-to-use controls. When you have days’ worth of video footage, it can be difficult finding the image you are looking for. With the Luma user interface you can playback video, fast forward, snip pieces of video and capture screen shots with just a click or a tap. Initially the interface presents multiple camera views in a multi-window format. But you can easily change this and make one specific camera angle a full screen on your desktop or mobile device. A colored line in the timeline of the video at the bottom of the screen indicates a unique event. So if you arrived home at 5 p.m., the surveillance camera hanging above your garage will mark that event in the timeline. All you have to do is press “watch live video” to switch back to video streaming in real time. If you want to find even older recordings, click the search icon and choose from a list of entries organized by date and time.

Types of Surveillance CamerasWhen you hear the words NVR and DVR you might get confused, but they simply mean Network Video Recorder and Digital Video Recorder. The Network Video Recorder records IP cameras that are transmitted with a network cable just like your computer. The cameras connect with a network switch or router, whereas a DVR transmits video using a coax cable. Why does this matter? Analog cameras, or DVRs, can be beneficial for plug and play-type jobs where the home simply needs an update rather than a brand new installation. If you purchased a home with a wiring infrastructure in place or CCTVs this may be a beneficial and cost-effective solution. However, if you are installing a surveillance system for the first time in your house, a NVR may be a better choice. IP cameras allow for more flexibility as to how and where video footage is recorded since there’s no transfer between analog video to digital. IP cameras also offer higher resolution images.

Luma IP cameras give you a lot of quality features, like high-definition video and sending alerts via email or text. The Luma Surveillance 700 series IP outdoor camera for example offers an ultra-high resolution 4 MP digital image with motorized zoom and focus. They have cameras suited for wide angle views like monitoring a back yard, and for closer proximities, such as screening visitors at the front door. You can adjust the camera from your computer, using the zoom and focus controls on the interface.

The 700 series cameras also allow you to capture movement based on precise settings. For example, you can create an alert that gets triggered when a vehicle crosses a specific point on your driveway. These advanced features let you select up to eight target areas in a grid view using a click and drag of the mouse.

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4 Great Gift Ideas for Movie and Music Lovers

Would you like some expert advice on finding the perfect gift for the music or movie lover in your life? Here are four surefire options that are available now from Acadian Home Theater:

1 - Sonos music bundle - Play:3 or Play:5 with "Bridge" - $299 / $399

Everyone enjoys music. Give the gift of the music system that is not only easy to use, but takes just a couple of minutes to plug in and start enjoying. Plus, this music solution is portable (you just need an AC plug nearby).

The Sonos Play:5 resembles an ordinary table radio, but is much more because it is part of the world-famous Sonos multi-room music system. The Play:3 is its even smaller sibling. Simply put, the Sonos music system streams not only your current digital music library (iTunes, etc.), it has streaming access to many popular music services such as Pandora, Rhapsody, Spotify, MOG, Sirius/XM, and many more. As of just a few weeks ago you can now "push" the music on your iPhone or iPad wirelessly to the Sonos system...very cool!

You can add more rooms wirelessly, too. Simply add more Play:5's, the smaller Play:3, or if using your own speakers, you can add Sonos Connect and Connect:Amp units. If you want multiple rooms of music, you can opt to have them all play the same music source or independent music streams. It doesn't get easier or more convenient than that! Control is from a free app that is available for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, or Android devices. There is also free computer software for control from a PC or Mac. The price above includes the Sonos Bridge, which connects to your broadband Internet connection and establishes its own wireless connection with your Sonos components. The free Bridge offer is valid until January 3, 2013 and is only for new Sonos customers.

You can visit Sonos' website here > www.sonos.com.

2 - Control4 one-room remote control system with 3 lighting dimmers = $1700 including installation (plus tax)

Is a deserving loved one frustrated at a coffee table full of remote controls to watch TV or control their media room or home theater? Give the gift of an intuitive remote control that not only controls audio/video systems, but will serve as the base of a home control automation system in the future. To give you a taste of how great a lighting control system is, this package includes three lighting dimmers. The handheld remote control included in this package is the handheld remote to the left in the above picture. Control4 is a popular control system company that not only makes a very nice centralized remote control, this advanced control system will serve as the basis of a full-blown home automation system that can grow to control your alarm system, climate, lighting, pool/spa, motorized shades/drapes, you get the idea. As with most other home control manufacturers (Crestron, Savant, AMX, etc.), you can use apps on your iPhone, iPad, or Android device to control your Control4 system.

3 - Sonance Landscape Series Outdoor Speaker System = $6,700 + installation

Outdoor living is alive and well in the Gulf Coast area, even in the winter (yes, braving that "freezing" 50 degree winter can get a little tough sometimes ;-) ). We've been installing outdoor audio systems for years (outdoor TV's and outdoor theaters, too), though the outdoor speaker category has really become popular lately due to a huge increase in both sound quality and "stealthiness". To sum it up, these speakers sound incredible and easily hide within your landscape / greenscape. The package price above includes eight "satellite" speakers and one subwoofer. The subwoofer is buried and the sound exits a "mushroom" top (conventional above-ground subwoofer option available), and the eight satellite speakers mount throughout your yard to give a wide, even area of sound coverage. No more "hot spots" of sound, just excellent quality sound seemingly "floating" throughout your yard.

4 - PRIMA Cinema First-Run Movie Machine = $35,000 + installation

The PRIMA Cinema is one of the biggest news items to hit the high-end home theater world in a long time. In a nutshell, the PRIMA Cinema movie player is a sophisticated component that downloads first-run movies automatically and allows you to watch them in better-than-Blu-ray picture quality in the comfort of your own home, while the movie is still in theatrical release! To read more details on this product, please be sure to see a review here: PRIMA Cinema for your home theater.

by Bryan Naquin.  Follow Bryan on Twitter @ACIexperts.  And you can always contact him at 225.906.2589 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Bryan Naquin is president of Acadian Home Theater and Automation based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  CEPro Magazine has ranked Acadian in the top 100 consumer electronic companies in the U.S. for the third year in a row.

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Adding Streaming Internet to Your TV

If you want to add streaming internet to your TV (or switching altogether from cable or satellite) there are at least two units to consider.  One is the AppleTV which is quite familiar to most while the other is Roku, a newer device which may be more suitable for many users.  So we thought we'd take a moment to consider both.

Let's start first with WHY you might want to consider streaming TV.  More and more, people no longer hurry to their TVs to catch their favorite program in real time.  Instead, they will record the programming to view later at their convenience.  VCRs and, later, DVRs made that possible and popular.  Now however, with so many downloading their programming via streaming internet, the DVR may become less and less relevant.

Roku's head, Anthony Wood, forecasts, "Within four years I would say that the majority of TVs will stream over the Internet versus cable and satellite.... It is inevitable that all TV is going to be delivered over the Internet."

If that is true, then let's consider two such streaming devices currently making waves.

We'll start with AppleTV, an Editor's Choice from CNet.com.  The Apple TV is a tiny streaming box for $99 that lets you stream all of the movies and TV shows available in the iTunes Store to your HDTV on a rental or purchase basis, with purchases stored in the cloud. Netflix, MLB.TV, Hulu Plus, and a handful of other online media services are available, plus music, videos, and photos can be streamed from iOS devices (iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch) using AirPlay.  Those who've already invested in iTunes content and Apple hardware will find the Apple TV to be an indispensable living-room companion, and it's an excellent streaming-video box for non-Apple folks as well.

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acadian

10552 Perkins Rd.
Baton Rouge, LA 70810

(225) 906-2589

Acadian Home Theater & Automation is rated 4.9 out of 5 based on 44 reviews from around the Web.


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