Thursday, October 1, 2020
  Building Trust: Eagle Sentry  

Jaw-dropping. Really, those are the only two words that come to mind when walking through Eagle Sentry’s latest integration project in the Seven Hills neighborhood a few miles south of the Las Vegas Strip.

The project isn’t new to us—we had the opportunity to walk through a skeleton version of the 30,000-square-foot property a little over a year ago. But considering how awe-inspiring it was then, a return trip to the nearly complete property some months later was an absolute must.

Taking in the sheer size and scope of the home is almost a bit overwhelming, but then you get into the nitty-gritty details with Eagle Sentry Sales Manager Cory Reif, and you start to feel yourself fold up into a tiny little ball. This home, once fully completed, will feature nine home theaters, more than a dozen control panels throughout the home dedicated to just lighting, over 1,000 color-changing light fixtures, a car lift, a rock climbing wall, an insane wine cellar, an incredible waterfall feature in the middle of the entryway—the list goes on.

“This is our largest project to date,” Reif told Connected Design. “We have had a few jobs similar in size, but our Colorbeam RGB lighting fixtures, nine home theaters, four Barco/Stewart projection systems, and our three rooms of Fortress furniture put us over the top with this one.”

The success of a project like this is absolutely reliant on clear and constant communication between all of the professional parties involved. But just as important, as Reif stressed, is the relationship between an integrator, or builder, or designer, and the client. In the case of this project, Reif said the relationship between his firm and the owner of this home-in-the-making is what really allowed the build to flourish.

“It is rare that we get a client that is as passionate or maybe even more passionate about what we do as we are,” he said. “Our client came up with many of the ideas that are now really unique features including the 25-foot projection screen on the patio. He would dream it up and our job was to make it happen.”

Reif explained that he met this client during a custom integration project around six years ago, and they developed a trust with one another that saw the two continue to work together on several other projects. Ultimately, that relationship is what led to Reif and Eagle Sentry landing this massive project.

The benefits to Eagle Sentry’s business portfolio as a result of this relationship need no explanation. But there have been some added benefits elsewhere as well. Because the client has a passion for the work that Reif and his team do, they’re able to brainstorm concepts, dream up big ideas, and push the in-home technologies to unthinkable limits. “We trust each other, and I think that is imperative when attempting a project of this size and scope. We are certainly implementing some bleeding-edge technologies in this home,” he said.

A perfect example of the level of trust is how the client prepped himself for the move into this new home. Though he’s passionate about technology, Reif explained that the complex systems implemented into this new build would be a challenge for this client to just jump right into. So, as a sort of practice run, the client had Eagle Sentry upgrade his current home with similar systems so he could work with them and get used to them ahead of time.
Additionally, Eagle Sentry will continue to be of service to this client through the Parasol home monitoring service. The recently launched company—a joint venture that was cofounded by Eagle Sentry co-owner Greg Simmons—will provide the homeowner around-the-clock support via a program that is based on the SnapAV OvrC remote management platform.

And though the level of passion that this client exhibits towards this stuff could be perceived as perhaps overly aggressive or frustrating for the integrator or other parties involved in the build, Reif said he viewed it as an asset.

“Our client doesn’t have to sweat the details and doesn’t have to micro-manage the project. He shares with us his design goals, we come up with a solution, he approves our design and we deploy it,” Reif said. “He knows what he wants and he doesn’t take long to give us his decision. Sure, we do have to be flexible and ready to modify our designs at any time. But this is what we do and we enjoy it.”

  Leveraging Expertise  

Equally as important for Reif and Eagle Sentry when completing this massive project were the relationships the company maintains with its manufacturer’s reps. Though, like any good integrator, Eagle Sentry typically leans on them for input and guidance in their projects, this Seven Hills home was a special kind of animal for everyone involved.

“We had several site visits with Joaquin Rivera, owner of By Design, Barco’s Daniel Nilson, and the guys and gals from Colorbeam, Lutron, Crestron, and Origin Acoustics,” Reif siad. “I think many of them were just interested in seeing the project, but we took full advantage of their insight. Our reps specialize in the products they represent, so it’s important to get their input. I am big believer in getting a second set of eyes on a design.”

That belief, he said, extends internally with the Eagle Sentry team as well. The company compartmentalizes its staff into various product categories, like lighting, shading, audio/video, automation, and security. And each specific department head specializes in that particular field. Each has played a significant role in the progression of work on this particular home.

“There is no substitute for experience, and our experience in the field of low-voltage system design and integration is second to none,” Reif said. “Eagle Sentry has been in business for over 30 years and most of our team members have been with us for 10 to 20 years. I have always personally believed in looking forward at what new technologies are becoming available. We are never satisfied with our current designs and are always looking to do more and to do better.”

Eagle Sentry put that expertise to the test with this project. The team created some exquisitely unique home theater designs that blend perfectly into their particular spaces in the home. They also pushed Colorbeam’s team to new levels, implementing one of the largest and most complex systems the company has ever been tasked with. And all of this had to be integrated into multiple control platforms that required an extraordinary amount of custom code writing. Reif and his team leaned hard on their partners, including Colorbeam, Lutron, and Crestron’s programming firm Pulse Group, but they all delivered, he said.

In fact, the only regret that Reif could think of with this project is something most integrators can probably relate to: the size of the rack room. Just off of a garage entryway, the room—which has its own dedicated air conditioning system—is roughly 50 percent of the size the Eagle Sentry team requested. But even to that end, Reif said his team was able to work through that challenge and make the space work.

The result of all of this is a home that truly reflects the very best of what Eagle Sentry and its manufacturer partners have to offer. And its implemented in a way that allows the client’s personality to shine through in every square inch of this home.

At the time of publication, Reif and Eagle Sentry were still working through the last few phases of this project. They plan to have everything wrapped up by the end of October.