Some history and a facelift for sbsmarthomes.com

pkoslow

Active Member
For those who don't know me (or my story), I'm gearing up a Home Automation integrations business in central California. I'm a long time IT guy by trade. Started with PC & printer repairs in the late 80's, then started with networking shortly after. Did lots of cabling back in the Coax Ethernet & IBM Token Ring days and have kept up to speed since with fiber and the ever evolving twisted-pair Ethernet.

Sometime by the mid-90's I'd worked through Netware and MSCE training and found myself employed in the manufacturing world where I've been ever since. Over the years I've managed various size IT groups and have worked for manufacturing companies that tend to do lots of acquisitions and have global locations. While this has been hugely challenging and a bunch of fun, I'm finding myself getting burned out after all those years of being on-call 24x7 and attending conference calls in the middle of the night due to working in different time zones.

My current employer (Agility) was acquired by JDSU last fall. They'll be shutting down our existing locations, and my unwillingness to re-locate means the end of my employment in March. Santa Barbara's a relatively small place, so IT management jobs don't come around everyday... with this in mind, I've decided to take a leap of faith and break from IT altogether and start Santa Barbara Smarthomes!

I've been involved with home automation for nearly 10yrs now. My first exposure to HA came while trying to figure out how to assist a quadriplegic colleague with some of his day-to-day activities. I found X10 and after setting up some basic lighting automation for him, thought I might give it a try at my place too! In 2000 I came across HomeSeer and that's what really started my passion for all things HA.

At this point I've got a couple more months of gainful employment and will be in the financial position to allow pursuing my own business. I've been working slowly at this for more than 6 months, but still have lots of responsibility and long hours at the day job which will keep me from really diving in until April. I've been working contacts with local architects, builders, and contractors and have given a number of HA tours at my house. Because of CA requirements, I won't be licensed to do high or low voltage wiring and have already made arrangements to sub this work out. I've done a few small simple installs and have started doing sales of Russound gear to a few on the message boards I frequent.

This weekend was spent nailing down a new web site to replace what was previously a personal HA page. It was fine for that, but made a poor statement for the business!

If you're interested, please take a look and provide comment... I only had time to do photography and get the home page and contacts page finished. Additional pages will be added to detail products and services soon.

www.sbsmarthomes.com

Cheers,
Paul
 

electron

Administrator
Staff member
Looks great Paul! As you know, there are several people in the CA area which are looking for help, so you might want to jump on those opportunities. You are doing what most of us want to do, so I Can't help but feel a little jealous <_< Good luck, and if there is anything we can do, don't hesitate to post!
 

Spanky

Senior Member
Nice job. Good luck on your business. Let us know if you need any pics for your website.
 

Steve

Senior Member
I'm sure you will do great Paul. Let us know if any of us can help and good luck (not that you need luck anyway). <_<
 

pkoslow

Active Member
electron said:
Looks great Paul! As you know, there are several people in the CA area which are looking for help, so you might want to jump on those opportunities. You are doing what most of us want to do, so I Can't help but feel a little jealous <_< Good luck, and if there is anything we can do, don't hesitate to post!
Electron,

I'm already in touch with a few people from the board directly. My time is still quite limited for the next 2 months and I'm still far geographically from them.

I'll be on the phone with one this week providing some free advice to help him get started in the right direction...

Thanks to everyone for the compliments on the new web site!

Cheers,
Paul
 

pkoslow

Active Member
Spanky said:
Nice job. Good luck on your business. Let us know if you need any pics for your website.
Spanky,

Thank you. I would appreciate if you could provide a contact at Elk that I can get in touch with for product images, logos, artwork, etc.

Cheers,
Paul
 

pkoslow

Active Member
tech-home said:
Very Professional looking website.

Just curious what kind of lighting control do you plan to install?
Brian,

Lighting... that is a good question! To answer, I'm not quite sure yet.

I've had X10 Switchlincs installed in my house for a number of years and have recently installed a dozen or so Insteon devices. I'm also evaluating some UPB switches. I considered looking into Lutron RA. For some reason, I've never considered Z-Wave. Not sure why... seems I have some adversion to them due to the inital reports of faulty devices and the lower wattage ratings?

In a perfect world, it would be nice to standardize, but in reality I may find that I need to offer a good, better, best product line-up for customers depending on needs and budget.

Right how this would probably be:

Good = Insteon
Better = UPB
Best = Lutron RA

I know there's been lots of discussion about all this in the past, but with the new products available maybe it's time to start a new lighting thread here in the professionals forum to see what other installers are doing?

Cheers,
Paul
 

MarkT

Member
Paul,

I have to agree. Your getting ready to do what a lot of us would like to do. I for one will be interested in tracking your progress. I wish you ALL the luck.

By the way. I looked at your web site. It looks great. I see you are going to do Telephone Systems. If you have any questions I have 27 yrs doing telephones. I would be more than happy to answer any questions you might have.
 

pkoslow

Active Member
Hi Mark,

Thanks! I've been involved with phones in one way or another for a number of years too being in IT. The last 5yrs have been with VoIP using Cisco AVVID systems that are tied together all over the world and intergrated with AD and Exchange.

The low-voltage cabling company that I've partnered with for my wiring carries and installs a few different phone systems for home and small business... my involvement will probably be learning the features enough that I can recommend to customers and then hand off for the install & config.

Is your experience from working with corporate PBX or key systems, or from the telco side?

Cheers,
Paul
 

MarkT

Member
Paul,

My experience has been with companies that have sold business phones system. I've been installing and servicing various brands. For the last 10 yrs I've worked for a company that manufactures a name brand system.

Mark
 

Squintz

Senior Member
Love the site paul. Like other have already said it's very professional looking. I do have one suggestion and that is that you make the link to you contact page a little bigger somewhere else besides the bottom of your site. I am sure you want people to be able to easily find your contact info. Keep up the good work.
 
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