Friday, September 25, 2020
 HTA's Best in the U.S. Award

Each awarded technology integration firm is the best in their tier. Black is not better than Platinum or Gold, for example. The technology integration firms at the various levels are simply adept at different levels of project.

Black – This tier is for those firms who have clientele with projects that are extremely custom, very complex, demanding, and often “cost-no-object.” These firms must be at the top of their game to survive in that environment. They must also have a significant percentage of their business experience come from larger and more complex technology systems.

Platinum – The luxury homes that these firms work in typically have a notable interior designer or architect involved. The demands of these projects are typically not as extreme as the Black Level, though that does not mean the expectations are not very, very high. These firms typically have to deliver top-flight systems to discerning clients without the luxury of “cost-no-object” budgets.

Gold – This tier are the warriors of the custom installation industry. They deliver value-oriented systems and excellent customer service to the biggest swath of the population of North America. There is generally less customization and complexity in the systems they offer, though these companies have to excel at technical skills and customer service to handle a wider range of clientele and projects.

About the HTA

The Home Technology Association built a standard of excellence for home technology integration firms. The HTA gives the best-qualified integrators a certification and endorsement developed to differentiate these exceptional firms. HTA Certification is a badge of quality, designed to help homeowners get first-rate technology experiences. Homeowners, builders, architects, and interior designers that hire HTA Certified integrators have peace of mind knowing they are working with truly professional firms that have passed the HTA’s rigorous, 60-point HTA certification process. These stringent criteria were developed by industry veterans and HTA’s Board of Advisors, including top executives from Lutron, Crestron, Control4, Savant, and others.

The HTA also educates architects, designers, and builders about the importance of technology design, emphasizing the need for it early. Every home needs technology. Even the most basic homes will have network/Wi-Fi and security needs, so where should these items be placed, and where does the wiring go? Many other technologies, such as video displays, speakers, cameras, access controls, control keypads and touchscreens, may need to be selected. The goal is to have it all look good and integrate with the rest of the home’s design. The best integrators create design and engineering documentation that clearly define where all of the parts and pieces will go. The information shared may often impact framing, electrical, and HVAC proposals. Therefore, technology design should be one of the first items determined on a home.

Additionally, the HTA launched a Resource Guide this year, highlighting some of the top manufacturers and service providers that serve the home technology industry and are aligned with the HTA’s mission of excellence. This program was designed to create a central resource directory that offers quick information about many of the products and additional services that integrators specify. Categories include smart home, audio/video, home theater, lighting, motorized shades, wellness/healthy home, networks/Wi-Fi, energy management, Digital/New Media Art, and more.

Company Name City State
Bravas DFW The Colony Texas
Echo Systems Olathe Kansas
One Touch Living San Diego California
Home Automation Hawaii, LLC. Honolulu Hawaii
ETC Palm Beach, LLC West Palm Beach Florida
AVC Technologies Tampa Florida
Amplified Lifestyles Hayward California
WOW Media Inc. Fall River Massachusetts
Sound Components South Miami Florida
Maverick Integration Nashua New Hampshire
HEDsouth Hollywood Florida
Cyber Technology Group, Inc. Scottsdale Arizona
DSI Los Angeles California
Lifestyle Electronics Park City Utah
Paragon Systems Integration Basalt Colorado
Cloud 9 Integrated Systems, LLC Steamboat Springs Colorado
Bekins Coopersville Michigan
Metro Eighteen Inc. - Los Angeles Los Angeles California
AHT Global Miami Florida
Vision and Sound Manhattan Beach California
Innerspace Electronics, Inc. Port Chester New York
Tech Superpowers, LLC Cambridge Massachusetts
Audio Video Systems Plainview New York
HomeTronics Dallas Texas
Metro Eighteen Inc. - San Francisco San Francisco California
DC Home Systems Portsmouth New Hampshire
Man Caves Plus Inc. Holtsville New York
Premiere Systems (Naples, FL) Naples Florida
Futurehome Systems & Design Inc. Fresno California
Premiere Systems (Chicago, IL) Chicago Illinois
Audio Video Design Westwood Massachusetts
e-home inc. Ridgefield New Jersey
eInteractive New Milford New Jersey
Boca Theater and Automation, Inc. Boca Raton Florida
Residential Systems, Inc. Littleton Colorado
Big Picture Solutions, Inc. Jupiter Florida
Spire Integrated Systems Inc Troy Michigan
KP Audio & Video INC. Calabasas California
Dallas Sight and Sound, Inc. Dallas Texas
Unlimited Integration Stafford Texas
Audio Command Systems - South Boca Raton Florida
Media Systems, Inc Houston Texas
Interseckt Corporation Coral Gables Florida
Osbee Industries, Inc. Harrison New York
Epic Smart Homes (Austin, TX) Austin Texas
A Shade Above Morgan Hill California
OPUS Audio/Video/Control North Haven Connecticut
OneButton Brooklyn New York
KOZI MEDIA DESIGN Pittsburgh Pennsylvania
REALM Norwalk Connecticut
Audio Command Systems - New York Westbury New York
Audio Video Systems, Inc. Murray Utah
Elevated Electronics Overland Park Kansas
SAV Digital Environments Bozeman Montana
Electronic Environments New York New York
Echo Systems (Nebraska) Omaha Nebraska
Audio Visual Design Group San Jose California
Modern Home Systems San Diego California
Bliss Home Theaters & Automation Westlake Village California
M2 Multimedia Reseda California
Hermary's LLC San Carlos California
AVX Design & Integration Los Angeles California
Audio Images Tustin California
Simply Home Entertainment Culver City California
Signals Audio Video El Segundo California
Cantara Costa Mesa California
Future Home Los Angeles California
Company Name City State
Home Theaters Etc. Inc. Omaha Nebraska
NuHome Tech, Inc. Van Nuys California
Walbrandt Technologies Saint Louis Missouri
Sphere Audio Video Birmingham Alabama
Evolve Technologies Dallas Texas
Definitive Sound Inc. Mississauga Ontario
Audio Video Integration San Rafael California
Focused AV Hillsdale New Jersey
Electronic Lifestyles Astoria New York
Tampa Bay Electronic Systems Tampa Florida
Atlanta Audio & Automation Atlanta Georgia
PLAY - Custom Home Technology Bluffton South Carolina
Electronic Home Atlanta Georgia
Smarter Homes Lakeway Texas
Echo Workshop Houston Texas
Garrett Integrated Systems Battleground Washington
Sage AVT NY New York
Stereo Types Charlottesville Virginia
All Metro Tech Murray Utah
Tech Automation Troy Michigan
Enhanced Home Port Chester New York
Vineyard Sound Integration Vineyard Haven Massachusetts
IGS Homeworks Magnolia Texas
Innovative Technologies & Associates East Quogue New York
Ardent Integrated Systems Sherman Oaks California
iQuarters Montgomery New York
Connect Consulting INC Woodland Park New Jersey
Easy Living with Technology Clearwater Florida
Technical Operations And Development Sagamore Massachusetts
Tree Ridge Enterprise Inc. Bristol Vermont
Integration Controls Saint Louis Missouri
HAAS Home Technologies Austin Texas
Sound Installation & Design Jacksonville Florida
Pacific Audio & Communications, Inc Lihue Hawaii
Lunar Audio Video, LLC. Pequannock New Jersey
Automated Environments Mesa Arizona
Kreative AV inc. Malden Massachusetts
Digitech Custom Audio & Video, Inc. Carmel Indiana
Apex Audio Video Austin Texas
Buday's Home Electronics Simplified Kalamazoo Michigan
Bravas Houston Houston Texas
Haas Entertainment Culver City California
Bethesda Systems Bethesda Maryland
RAC Advanced Control, Inc. Tahoe City California
Technology Design Associates Bend Oregon
Kelowna Custom AV Kelowna British Columbia
Creative Sound & Integration Scottsdale Arizona
Tune Street Great Barrington Massachusetts
Custom Home Sound Charleston South Carolina
World Wide Stereo Hatfield Pennsylvania
The Audiohouse Vero Beach Florida
OneAdvantEdge Miami Florida
The Premier Group Carmel Indiana
Harrison Home Systems Inc Golden Colorado
Personal Technology Alhambra California
Synergy CTS, LLC Naples Florida
Co-DA Indian Trail North Carolina
Stone Glidden King of Prussia Pennsylvania
Desert Sound & Security Phoenix Arizona
Cutting Edge Systems Corp Westford Massachusetts
Restrepo Innovations Wyckoff New Jersey
Lelch Audio Video Saint Louis Park Minnesota
ioty, inc. Doral Florida
Gilmore's Sound Advice, Inc. New York New York
Electronic Concepts Rochelle Park New Jersey
SilverGate Technology LLC Chicago Illinois
Electronic Home Environments Sterling Virginia
Rich AV Design, LLC. Stamford Connecticut
INI AV Leesburg Virginia
SmartTouchUSA Columbia Maryland
Mills Technologies Skokie Illinois
Millennium Systems Design. Inc Orlando Florida
Beyond Home Theater Santa Monica California
Refined Systems, LLC Spring Texas
One-Touch Automation, Inc. Westfield Indiana
The Integrated Home Charlotte North Carolina
@Home Audio Video Technology Knoxville Tennessee
Audio Warehouse Charleston South Carolina
mero concepts Cedar Park Texas
Brilliant AV Costa Mesa California
Adobe Cinema & Automation Mashpee Massachusetts
Atlantic Control Technologies, Inc. Annapolis Maryland
Precision Media Solutions, LLC Lakewood Colorado
Elevated Integration Armonk New York
System Integrators, Inc South Burlington Vermont
Aurum Denver Colorado
Symbio Lighting & Control Houston Texas
Audio Impact San Diego California
NXT AV Irvine California
Acoustic Evolution San Diego California
HiFi Club Santa Barbara California
Wilshire Media Systems Inc Westlake Village California
Legato Home Music and Theater Santa Monica California
Maxsystems Van Nuys California
Company Name City State
ZHiFi San Gabriel California
Martec Technologies Miami Florida
Cravtsman Englewood New Jersey
AV Squared Omaha Nebraska
AuVid Automation Salt Lake City Utah
AudioArt Sudbury Massachusetts
Teague iCtrl Lenexa Kansas
CH Automation & Theatre Systems Alhambra California
Automated Lifestyles of Texas, LLC Katy Texas
Northern Technology Solutions Anchorage Alaska
Harmonic Series Fort Collins Colorado
Swift Audio, LLC Elk Rapids Michigan
Integrated Tech Solutions New Providence New Jersey
Kustom Home Entertainment Murfreesboro Tennessee
Smart Home Worx Inc New York New York
Custom Theater and Audio Murrells Inlet South Carolina
Fuzion3 Las Vegas Nevada
MediaObsessions Cuyahoga Falls Ohio
frayednot Cranford New Jersey
Synergy Integrated Systems Raleigh North Carolina
InVision Home Theater Walnut Creek California
SmartHome Solutions, Inc. Kennebunk Maine
Buchan Consulting LLC Mt. Prospect Illinois
Modern Media Innovations LLC. Dayton Ohio
Pure Audio Video Systems Chatham New Jersey
Advanced Communication Technologies Norwell Massachusetts
Whitman Automation LLC North Canton Ohio
Bravo AV Bernardsville New Jersey
WAVE Designs Mountlake Terrace Washington
3D Smart Homes Springfield Missouri
Reference Audio Video & Security Davenport Iowa
AV Solution New Rochelle New York

Many awards in the custom home electronics space are based on sales volume. But while sales volume can be a good indicator of success, it doesn’t necessarily indicate whether or not a company is “The Best,” according to The Home Technology Association (HTA). The recently released Home Technology Association’s “Best in the U.S.” awards take a different tack when recognizing home technology firms. “We take a holistic approach for the HTA Best in the U.S. Awards. You need to be HTA Certified — a well-rounded integration firm that excels at customer service, technical proficiency and business ethics. The HTA recognizes these firms, the ones consumers should be hiring for their projects, with certification and Best in the U.S. designation,” says HTA CEO Josh Christian.

What Being ‘The Best’ Looks Like

Customer Service – All of these firms are evaluated on how they handle customer service. Every company must submit details about their customer service policies and how they provide exceptional service to their client base. Do they have after-hours support? Do they have a dedicated service team? Do they offer remote monitoring to provide instant repairs to a system that is down? We look at all the details and then the HTA contacts a slew of references to verify that the firm’s reputation for customer service is exceptional. “There are plenty of companies that do a nice job at building and delivering a home technology system,” Christian says. “This is just the halfway point. Consumers need an integrator to provide responsive ongoing support to maintain and update their systems. If you are only capable of integrating technology but unable to support it, we can’t recognize your firm as one of the greats in our industry.”

Technical Proficiency – The custom installation industry has a bad reputation for using clients’ homes as test labs or learning centers. Too many homeowners have become frustrated with a programmer living on their sofa or in their basement for weeks or months as they “figure it out.” The HTA awards firms who have an exceptional level of technical expertise. “We look for firms that take the time to be trained on the products they sell before they deploy it in customer homes,” says Christian. “The firms on the Best in the U.S. list have very sharp personnel that really make a difference when it comes to the customer experience. These tech wizards save clients a lot of frustration by designing a system right the first time.” The HTA verifies technical proficiency by interviewing trade partners, manufacturers, and local rep firms. If a firm has a shaky track record of delivering flawed systems or clogging up the tech support lines with remedial questions, they are eliminated from contention. Christian adds, “Consumers pay for technical expertise; the firms that are awarded take the time to be experts at their craft.”
Business Ethics — Technology is confusing to most consumers. A typical homeowner feels vulnerable since they don’t have a full understanding of technology. They must rely on their integration firm to give them honest and accurate info to inform their purchasing decisions. When assessing a firm, a number-one concern is “Can I trust these people?” Part of the HTA process for submissions is doing a deep dive on the reputation of the firm. Do they treat clients fairly? Do they have a stellar track record of doing the right thing? For the most part, integration firms in North America are run by decent, hardworking folks, but there are more than enough charlatans and poor managers that allow bad apples to remain in their organization. The HTA does a diligent check to make sure these firms are good citizens, have the appropriate licenses and insurances, and do not have an excessive history of litigation.

Sandbox Skills

Another important criterion is a technology integrator’s ability to play well with others. The HTA wants to make sure that an integrator has an excellent ability to properly communicate and coordinate with a design/build team. It is vitally important that a firm can provide great documentation to their partners on the team so that all design considerations for technology are properly planned for. Are their project management skills meeting the expectations of the design and build teams? Do they handle problems well? Can they creatively problem-solve? Do they acquiesce when the importance of design trumps technology in a living space? The HTA realizes that a project’s success emerges from great working relationships amongst all stakeholders on the design/build team. To vet these skills, the HTA contacts interior designers, builders, and architects that have experience working with these firms to find out how they perform on a project.
Rounding out the criteria includes the firm’s ability to provide enterprise-grade home networks, a vitally important component of today’s connected home. Also, the HTA requires that an integration firm is able to provide design and engineering documentation at the Platinum and Black levels.

“We wanted to create a set of criteria that is meaningful to a homeowner and what they are looking for in a technology provider. We also want this award to be a seal of approval that a builder, interior designer, or architect can use as a benchmark to select a technology partner. HTA Certified dealers have to pass arguably the most comprehensive and stringent set of criteria of any program in the consumer electronics industry. The amount of verification that is done on these firms is simply unmatched,” adds Christian.