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Home Tech: Walking the Walk, Talking the Talk

Home-tech expert Joe Whitaker discusses smart-home integration, the CEDIA Design Connection Tour and KBIS 2019. By Danielle Karr, Control4

Home Tech: Walking the Walk, Talking the Talk

An active member of the Custom Electronics Design and Installation Association (CEDIA) and the smart-tech community, Joe Whitaker is one of the brightest minds in the home-technology business. Whitaker’s integration company, The Thoughtful Home, located in both the St. Louis and Dallas areas, provides smart-home solutions that encompass the client’s needs, budget, and time in a way that sets him apart in the industry.

Whitaker was one of the hosts for the inaugural Design Connection Tour at the 2018 CEDIA Expo, a tour that brought top interior designers from the NKBA to the CEDIA show floor to connect them with home-technology experts and products. There will be similar booth toursat the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) next month.

Here, Joe discusses his overall experience leading the CEDIA Design Connection Tour last year, how smart-home professionals can help designers enhance their projects, and what he’s most looking forward to at KBIS 2019.

AN INTEGRATED VISION: JOE WHITAKER ON LEADING THE CEDIA DESIGN TOUR

An active member of the CEDIA and the smart tech community, Joe Whitaker is one of the brightest minds in the home technology business.

AN INTEGRATED VISION: JOE WHITAKER ON LEADING THE CEDIA DESIGN TOUR

His in-depth knowledge paired with his friendly, upbeat personality makes Joe a smart home force to be reckoned with. Recently, he was one of the two hosts for the inaugural Design Connection Tour at the 2018 CEDIA Expo, a tour that brought top interior designers to the CEDIA show floor to connect them with smart home experts and brands in the technology industry. He led the second day of the tour and wowed designers with ideas on how to take their projects to the next level with home automation. Whitaker's integration company, The Thoughtful Home, located in both the St. Louis and Dallas areas, provides smart home solutions that encompass the client’s needs, budget, and time in a way that sets him apart in the industry. With over 20 years of experience in custom systems integration and the design industry, he also writes for CE Pro, Electronic House, and TecHome Builder and is a frequent guest on The AV Life podcast.

We sat down with Joe to ask him about how he became a top integrator, what his experience was like leading the Control4 CEDIA Design Connection Tour, and his overall thoughts on smart home technology.

Top Three Home Technology Trends To Watch Now (CEDIA 2018 Preview)

What are the hottest trends in home technology?

Top Three Home Technology Trends To Watch Now (CEDIA 2018 Preview)
Builders, remodelers, designers and technologists will be gathering at the San Diego Convention Center next week at the CEDIA Expo to find out. If you’re going to be one of the 20,000 home technology enthusiasts expected to attend, you’ll get to see these concepts displayed in real life. If you’re not, St. Louis-based CEDIA Board of Directors member Joe Whitaker of The Thoughtful Home and San Diego-based home technology consultant Terry Morton of Land & Sea Entertainment offer this preview of three top three home technology trends worth following in the year ahead.

Joe Whitaker Proves Valet Voice Control ‘Concept’ in Dallas Model Home

Realtors are Impressed with Technology That Embeds Amazon Echo Dots into In-Ceiling Speaker Brackets for Invisible Multi-Room Audio Control

Joe Whitaker Proves Valet Voice Control ‘Concept’ in Dallas Model Home

The Thoughtful Home by JWhitaker Designs is working with J. Anthony Custom Homes of Lucas, TX, to integrate Origin Acoustics’ Valet amplifier technology into a new custom home development in the Dallas area. Thoughtful Home owner Joe Whitaker, who has custom integration firms locations in St. Louis, MO, and Dallas, TX, partnered with Origin to create the Valet product line.

The Valet product line, which launched at CEDIA 2017 in September, embeds Amazon Echo Dots into in-ceiling speaker brackets for a nearly invisible voice-controlled multi-room audio distribution system.

Origin’s Dave Donald was on site at the builder’s show home open house last week to help Whitaker demo the system for visitors comprised mostly of area realtors experiencing voice control for the first time. Tony Prutch, owner of J. Anthony Custom Homes, hosted the open house.

Cheap Echo Dot Meets Premium Multiroom Audio: The Genius of Origin Acoustics’ Valet Amp

Debuting at CEDIA 2017, Valet Amp from Origin Acoustics delivers premium whole-house audio, Alexa voice control, and a host of Amazon services with about $200 worth of Echo Dots.

Origin Acoustics’ new Valet audio amplifier, debuting at CEDIA 2017, is all kinds of WOW. It takes a bunch of cheap Amazon Echo Dots and turns them into elegant sources for a premium whole-house music experience. The solution is unique. There’s nothing like it … today.

If you think about melding a $50 Dot with a high-performance sound system, it seems a little absurd; however, Origin founder and CEO Jeremy Burkhardt says the Dot’s role in the whole set-up is pretty simple: “We’re using it as a mic and an Internet device.”

And when he says “we,” he means long-time integrator Joe Whitaker, who co-developed the system with Burkhardt and team.