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Home Automation: Easier Than You'd Think, Better Than You'd Imagine

A Home's Style Now Includes Home Automation

Article by Erick Olech & Michael Beightol

Photography by Stephen Neilson

Originally published in SW Lake Lifestyle

SW Lake: What’s your experience in home automation?

Erick Olech: ECO Automated Designs was founded in 2015 to serve the home technology needs of Chicagoland families. We are a full-service company offering design, product sales, installation and system maintenance. We are a Control4 premier dealer, and never sub-contract work to other vendors. I got my start in 2003 at Tweeter Home Entertainment. I learned a lot until they went out-of-business in 2008. Then I worked for other local integrators before starting ECO.

SWL: What's the typical starting point for a relationship between you and a homeowner?

EO: Sometimes we get a call from someone who's tried a DIY approach using Alexa, a Nest thermostat or some smart lights. In those cases, the customer has interest but needs to make all the devices “talk” to one another. Other customers call when remodeling or building a new home. For those, we get involved to give them something they might never thought was possible. Frequently, we get calls from homeowners with a system that’s under-utilized or needs updating. We’ll “take over” those systems to deliver the full value of home automation.

SWL: Why does somebody decide that home automation is for them?

EO: There are three main disciplines—Security, Entertainment and Comfort. Security is self-evident by integrating security systems, as well as devices like video doorbells, automatic garage openers and cameras. Entertainment not only includes TV and home theaters, but also a wide variety of audio systems, wired and wireless. Comfort includes HVAC, as well as smart lighting, automated window treatments, irrigation systems, and more. Having all this integrated into a single home automation platform provides the end user a very simple-to-use experience.

SWL: So let's say a family decides to work with you. How does that look?

EO: It can start with a free in-home consultation; call it a fact-finding mission. We’ll survey the home and discuss with the client their needs so we can provide the best option to suit their lifestyle. It can also start with a visit to our showroom where you can experience firsthand what home automation can do. Either in your home or at the showroom, we have a general topology we review to design the proper system. We start with the home’s wiring, then move on to a wired and wireless home network, which by far is the most critical part of the project. Then we discuss core products, such as audiovisual, security, surveillance and control. Lastly, we wrap things up by reviewing the bells-and-whistles that add a "wow factor" to a home.

After we complete the consultation, we generate a preliminary assessment for their requests and provide a general scope-of-work and often a budgetary number. This will prompt a showroom visit or a review of what we have proposed. We then produce a set of line drawings, itemized pricing and a very detailed scope of work. Once we're all on the same page we schedule the installation, which may take a few hours or several days based on the project size.

Once installed, we fully educate customers on their automated home. We teach them how the system works and help them with customizations and programming. After a few weeks we do a follow-up visit to see how things are running. We also offer a maintenance program that provides proactive monitoring, remote service and system updates to ensure their home automation experience is the best one possible.

Learn more about ECO Automated Designs at To schedule a visit to the showroom or a no-obligation home consult call 847.475.4442.