Let There Be Light
For its latest luxury condominium, Lightstone tasked New York City-based integrator House Systems with creating an interactive exhibit of the property for prospective buyers. The exhibit’s centerpiece is a model that can be illuminated to showcase various features of the project. To provide simple control over the model’s lighting via a touchscreen monitor, which also serves as a platform for presentations on the building, House Systems relied on control solutions from RTI.
1 x XP-8v Advanced Control Processors
1 x RTI Virtual Panel
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Based in New York City, integrator House Systems is known for delivering luxury, whether it’s private IMAX theaters for the home or multimedia automation in amenity spaces for buildings. Earlier this year, the company was contacted by Lightstone — one of the largest and most diversified privately held real estate companies in the United States — with a unique request. For its latest luxury condominium, currently under construction, the company wanted to offer an interactive exhibit of the future property in the sales office to enhance the experience for prospective buyers.
The highlight of the exhibit would be an intricate model of the finished building that could be illuminated to showcase various features of the project and individual apartments, while offering a “lived-in” look — with random apartment lights going on and off — when not in use. Lightstone wanted simple control over the model’s lighting via a touchscreen monitor, which would also serve as a platform to present prospective buyers with more information on the building, its amenities, and each unit for sale.
The building model was created by Myles Burke Architectural Models Inc. and features 1,800 small LEDs controlled by a Raspberry Pi computer. However, to deliver the lived-in look that Lightstone wanted, a lighting processor was required to create automated scenes. For this, House Systems chose the Lutron HomeWorks® HQP6-2. To provide sales staff and buyers with an intuitive touchscreen interface, the company relied on control solutions from RTI.
“We utilize RTI in all of our commercial installations, because the control platform is robust yet exceptionally easy to use,” says Dana Saide, project manager at House Systems. “However, creating a control system for this project was a little more challenging than most, because neither RTI nor Lutron solutions are designed to interface with a Raspberry Pi; providing communication between all three was uncharted territory. To address this issue, we worked with the mode maker’s Raspberry Pi programmers to develop custom ASCII codes and then relied on trial and error until communication was solid.”
Control over the Lutron system and Raspberry Pi is provided by RTI’s XP-8v control processor. Staff and potential buyers interact with the exhibit via RTI’s Virtual Panel interface using a Planar® Helium™ PCT2435 24-inch touchscreen monitor located next to the building model. The interface’s home page shows all apartments available for sale. When one is tapped, its floor plan is displayed on the screen and the corresponding apartment in the architectural model is illuminated.
To the right of the floor plan are tabs for residential, neighborhood, and building views, each of which features over 10 hidden pictures that are revealed as the user scrolls left to right. Tap on a different apartment and the lights are automatically turned off in the previous one and turned on in the current selection. When the exhibit is not in use, the lived-in look is automatically displayed until another apartment is selected.
“This is the first time we’ve made a building model interactive, and the results have been incredible with RTI driving the control experience,” adds Saide. “When prospective buyers go and see this building, the exhibit provides them with a unique experience that you just can’t achieve with a film or photo. When they simply tap an icon and something happens inside the model, it really draws them into the project. I’ve no doubt this will prove to be an extremely effective tool in selling all of these residences.”
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