The RED Group manages the whole technology side of the building process from an integration standpoint. By Ann Zimmerman
Home construction has changed dramatically for today’s smarter and electronically integrated homes. Now, a design for the system is needed by the framing phase to anticipate systems and wiring. Compare this to a decade or two ago when the customer bought basic electronic components from a retail outlet and the general contractor made everything work at the end of the job. For this new way of doing business, the RED Group joins the project early for conceptual selections and design and stays with the job through wiring, equipment procurement, installation, programming, and warrantee, plus troubleshooting and upgrading systems so everything works together for an extended time.
“The RED Group offers the technical expertise to ensure that a homeowner can enjoy seamless operation of audio and video, home theater, lighting, HVAC, security, gate control, and all the sizzle of the rapidly changing field of electronics,” explains Kirk MacKay, founder and chief technical designer with the RED Group. MacKay has been in the electronics industry since 2003. The detailed books of schematics and specifications that he prepares demonstrate the seriousness with which he approaches each project, as do the letters from clients and contractors praising his service and products.
respecting clients’ time
MacKay agrees that the need for an integrated electronics design early in the process is a big change, and it adds another layer to the busy design process. “For the homeowners and general contractors, it is one more thing to deal with at a time when they are already overloaded with decisions.” He adds, “In recognition of this, we try to create some options for making the homeowners’ role in the design process quick, easy, and enjoyable.”
MacKay explains that his approach varies, but streamlining is important for all homeowners. “For clients with an interest in electronics, we have developed a questionnaire and an organized interview that delivers the needed decisions for the system’s technology and budget direction often in just a single meeting. For less enthusiastic clients, we innovated the core package approach. Based on our experience with past projects, we have an understanding of the electronic features the majority of the people want. So, by using the square footage of the home and these assumptions, we lay out what the core package system can do and the budget. Clients can then upgrade or downgrade elements, and we accordingly revise cost estimates on the spot. Usually we have sufficient information within an hour meeting to design the system using the core package approach.”
Once the decisions are made, the RED Group provides weekly updates as to the project’s progress. “Relationships and good communications are centric to our business,” MacKay sums up.
Builder Steve Luczak of Kodiak America comments, “One of the reasons we use Kirk and the RED Group is that they have been very knowledgeable about the products and educating our clients. We need to know what the client exactly wants in the home, whether it’s cameras, security, stereo components, or theater. It’s a lengthy process to go through and it’s essential to get the right components. Kirk and the RED Group are the best at what they do.”
not tied to product lines
While some home electronic designers have showrooms and specific products they represent, Kirk MacKay shakes his head no to this approach. “I really don’t like to lock myself into just one platform or product. There are too many changes in this industry, and I like to remain flexible. After all, my goal is client satisfaction, and I want access to the full range of products so that I can service my clients to achieve their intentions.”
“Another comment I want to make about products is future-proofing. As a designer, the challenge is just not staying on top of technology, but also to anticipate it.” MacKay clarifies, “We wire for the future, anticipating that technology will evolve. It is important to understand how the future will affect the way we live and interact with our homes so that we are not stuck where we can’t move forward.”
support beyond completion
For Kirk MacKay, the highpoint of any job is when he walks the homeowner through the system and demonstrates what it can do. “That’s the moment that makes it all worthwhile for me. I love seeing my clients’ faces filled with pleasure.”
Dale Muir of Bountiful used the RED Group to design and install a theater system, music distribution, whole-house networking, and automated lighting in his new home, and he comments about his satisfaction, “Their customer service after the sale has been great, and having them out to make tweaks and adjustments has been no problem.”
Another happy Utah client agrees. “Kirk at the RED Group was outstanding in the installation of my whole-house audio system, home theater, and security system. His attention to detail and reliability was second to none. The service I received was phenomenal.”
To ensure that the system continues to please clients, the RED Group provides an all-inclusive warranty for the system from conception to one year or more after installation and offers 24/7 support. “We can also enter the system remotely and if necessary reprogram or update the system without a service call. We also design self-healing systems that can monitor system performance and can automatically make corrections, if needed, such as rebooting a cable modem that is locked up. This aids reliability and reduces downtime.”
If the homeowner wants to upgrade or add something, the RED Group is there to advise, to ensure system compatibility, and to integrate operation into the control.
For an introduction and initial consultation, find the RED Group on the web at www.redgrp.com, or call them at 801.448.7370.