SAV Digital Environments designs, manages and installs innovative home & business automation solutions: Audio-Video Systems, Home Theater & Entertainment, Lighting Control, Shades & Blinds, Security & Surveillance, Life Safety, Networking & IT, Climate Control & Energy Management and more, all backed by our 24/7 reliable customer service.
Our roots started to take form in 2005 as a fast-paced dynamic systems integration firm named Studio AV, when entrepreneur and owner Cory Reistad had a vision – A vision to create the best audio video environments possible. Having begun his career in the field as a technician-owner in 1999, Cory has since built a team of unique, creative and innovative individuals over the years who not only exemplify technique and design, but also understand the importance of unyielding client service. The result is a 60+ member team spread throughout Bozeman & Big Sky, MT as well as Jackson, WY.
As technologies and partnerships progressed, so did the company's name. Advancements in technologies, along with years of extensive industry experience and the gathering and retention of knowledge, Studio AV evolved. From the life and legacy of Studio AV, SAV (pronounced /es-ā-vē/) Digital Environments has emerged.
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Custom Speakers & Support Differentiate James Loudspeaker & its Dealers
by Robert Archer - August 7, 2018
SAV Digital Environments is able to meet a range of customer demands through the custom speakers and support provided by James Loudspeaker.
A few years ago the naysayers had the vultures circling the consumer audio category. According to these so-called experts, the glory days of audio had passed, and in their place were new pastimes such as gaming, which represent the present and future of home entertainment.
What the so-called experts didn’t know was that streaming media was about to revolutionize how the public consumed content. Fueling a new era of stereo music and home theater, the current home audio market is driven by streaming music services and object-based surround sound.
Today’s modern era of home entertainment is flourishing and now electronics professionals have more product choices then ever before. Rising above this competitive marketplace, the California-based manufacturer James Loudspeaker is helping a new generation of integrators that includes SAV Digital Environments to thrive in a world dominated by digital media unique customer demands.
James Loudspeaker’s Custom Speaker Options Meet Specific Requirements
Derek Flikkema, sales and design consultant at SAV, says we chose James Loudspeaker as a vendor because of the manufacturer’s willingness to do whatever was necessary to meet the objectives set forth by the client.
“We believe it is very critical to have a partner that can help set us apart from typical audio/video installation [companies]. James Loudspeaker is willing and even excited to help us create custom entertainment products for our clients, enabling SAV Digital Environments to provide outstanding solutions for challenging, unique installations.” – Derek Flikkema
One aspect of SAV's relationship with James Loudspeaker that is easy to overlook is how the speaker company is able to apply its experience to find the right solution for a client, which in some cases means not adding the cost of a custom speaker design to the job. From a dealer perspective beyond the cost and application of a custom product, Flikkema points out that custom speakers can also be time consuming to develop, and not every manufacturer is interested in the commitment it takes to make a custom speaker.
He says that James Loudspeaker however, will recommend a custom product only when it is appropriate, and when it does, it enters into a custom project fully commited to the design of the product.
“In many cases the easy way of out of a difficult design challenge is to eliminate features versus finding a custom or one-off solution. Customizations can be time consuming and frustrating because you need to locate and approach a manufacturer, determine who can help and then in most cases try and convince them to design a custom product,” he explains.
“It can be frustrating because many vendors treat custom solutions as a burden, something they will invest a ton of time into and then never reuse again. So there isn’t much return on their investment of design and manufacturing. James Loudspeaker approaches these situations in a different way. When requesting a custom solution from them, the process is easy and exciting. You are connected to someone right away who will help brainstorm new ideas or show you some custom options created in the past from their database. Once an idea is established, it is usually only a few days before you have a drawing from the engineers in hand … not weeks or months. The entire experience is rewarding because a partnership with James Loudspeaker allows SAV to provide solutions that are not typically available from other AV dealers that aren’t familiar with the benefits a partnership like this offers.”
Once a project is completed Flikkema emphasizes that customers are usually thrilled with the results his company provides through James’ custom engineering capabilities.
“A typical response from the client would be, ‘wow, everything just fits perfectly,’” meaning that all of the room’s décor, furniture and electronic components complement one another,” he notes.
The result of James Loudspeaker’s ability to discreetly integrate its products into a range of home environments means that his company can complement the interior designs of the most challenging homes.
James Loudspeaker Provides More Than Custom Speakers
Elaborating on the support that James provides beyond its custom speaker engineering, Flikkema says the California speaker company helps his installation business differentiate its services from the competition.
Through the support services and custom speaker products Flikkema stresses that SAV Digital Environments is able to work with disciplines such as homebuilders, architects and team managers on a level that other installation companies can’t.
“Clients that select this team know they are getting something that is just for them, and not something mass produced,” emphasizes Flikkema. It’s personal and unique to their project. Working with James Loudspeaker allows SAV to provide custom solutions that sets a standard with its own identity.”
In addition meeting customer demands through unique custom products, James is also helping SAV Digital Environments stay in tune with the latest market trends. Flikkema says that some of the trends SAV is addressing through James Loudspeaker’s standard product line include the ability to break down traditional barriers to deliver a range of entertainment experiences.
“Live/live-out spaces have increased in popularity and there is demand for audio systems that can adapt just as your living space adapts,” comments Flikkema.
James Loudspeaker provides a wide assortment of products that allow for example, the expansion of a media room out to a patio. When the patio doors are closed the media room can operate in a typical 7.1 surround sound format. When the client opens the doors the room expands out to the patio and adjusts to a Dolby Atmos configured surround sound format. For this application we can use an assortment of under eave wedge speakers for the height channels and Omni planter-based decor speakers for the side and surround channels. James Loudspeaker uses materials and finishes that are engineered to last even in harsh environments.”
– Derek Flikkema, SAV Digital Environments
Innovators & Innovations: Sifting Through Technologies
What changes can we anticipate in the future about how we will live?
Some people have the ability to take a different look at important problems and to break beyond conventional wisdom to introduce new thinking and products that ultimately will affect how we will live. Meet three very different kinds of trailblazers and explore their ideas.
SAV DIGITAL ENVIRONMENTS
The biggest shifts in how we live come from technology, and frankly, it can be overwhelming to keep up with all that’s available and to make it work in a home. Cory Reistad, founder and owner of SAV Digital Environments, which has experience centers in Bozeman and Big Sky, takes on that challenge. “We create reliable and intelligent solutions to simplify lives. It’s our job at SAV to discern from all the technologies out there and narrow down what really works. Keep in mind that a large percentage of new technologies fail. By sorting through technologies, we protect our clients’ interests and their pockets.” With a background in the industry, Reistad founded Studio AV in 2005, and over time Studio AV evolved to SAV Digital Environments and it has grown to over 60 team members.
As the eyes and ears of so many in Montana, what are Reistad’s recommendations for technology that really can enhance people’s lives? This question acknowledges not only that SAV Digital Environments designs, manages, and installs systems, but also speaks to the range of its expertise in home automation: AV systems; home theaters and entertainment; lighting controls; automated shades and blinds; security and surveillance; life safety; networking and IT; climate control; energy management and more.
“We create reliable and intelligent solutions to simplify lives. It’s our job at SAV to discern from all the technologies out there and narrow down what really works.” –Cory Reistad, Founder/Owner, SAV Digital Environments
Reistad adds, “We assemble, manage, and make it useful. We manage technology so clients are not overwhelmed and find simplicity in the complexity. It requires anticipating someone’s lifestyle.” One of the first suggestions he offers to make peoples’ lives easier is based on the experience of his own busy family with three kids ranging in ages from 10 to 14. “I recommend an “all off” button. When I leave the house I have assurances that everything is off and the home temperature goes to the dormant setting. It gets you out the door fast.” Similar to this is a vacation setting. Reistad describes it as putting the home in a dormant status for energy savings with the shades down and the lights off. Programming can also mimic that the home is occupied by setting lights to go on or off or shades to go up or down at certain times.
Like many others, Reistad is concerned with using energy responsibly. “One of the ways we reduce energy without affecting lifestyle is to set the software throughout the home to dim the lights by 11 percent. It’s not noticeable and it saves energy.” Similarly, the controls on the heating and cooling systems can be programmed for energy savings and convenience. “When we are involved early, we can enhance the user interface, and as we become better known as designers, these collaborations are happening earlier.”
Voice and gesture control is also catching a lot of attention. Reistad predicts it will change how we live. In the example he gives, the platform for voice control is built into the automation system. With the “wake up” command, the system turns on the lights, adjusts the heat, activates the espresso machine, and CNN displays through the bathroom mirror display. “For the things you do day in and day out, technology can add efficiency and make life a little easier.”
Reistad finds that clients are increasingly sophisticated about technology. “They are used to looking at screens and they adapt quickly. It’s important that we make technology as intuitive and fast as possible.” However, as more people in a household use technology, the network is taxed like never before.
“We’re installing enterprise networks as part of all our jobs,” Reistad ads. “Networks are the backbone of everything. Systems are networked-based, and we depend upon the network to deliver content. With multiple devices streaming, a network can become overloaded. The enterprise network is business class and allows multiple users the ability to access content, and I feel it is necessary to give homes reliability and the power to handle all that’s required.”
“Networks are the backbone of everything. Systems are networked-based, and we depend upon the network to deliver content. With multiple devices streaming, a network can become overloaded. The enterprise network is business class and allows multiple users the ability to access content.” – Cory Reistad
Television displays are becoming increasingly large and dominant in a room, and they are often positioned in a focal point such as over the fireplace, which further draws attention. Reistad has found an interesting solution. “When the television is not in use, instead of a black dark screen, we can display an art piece, or even a slideshow of family photos. While not quite one-of-a-kind, the art has a limited license, and there are sufficient selections to find something that really works with the room’s décor. And, unlike a painting, it doesn’t take a lot to change it out. It can be displayed sufficiently large enough for an 85-inch screen. There are many developing options for this, like a new wallpaper TV by LG, and Samsung even has a TV with a frame around the screen display to present the art appropriately. Turn the TV on, and it ceases to be art and functions fully as a television.”
With such a large and growing firm, Reistad is determined to stay connected with clients and to remain in front of technology. “I’m the chief strategist at SAV Digital Environments, and I insist on working directly with all my clients. Technology is booming, but we’re also becoming more robust in our skills and up for any challenge.”
Case Study: A Safe Environment for Patients, Staff & Visitors
According to the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety (IAHSS) the healthcare industry was the largest employer in the world as of 2004 with over 13.5 million people employed. Additionally, every person in the civilized world will enter a health care facility on numerous occasions in just a typical year.
"Healthcare security departments create a sense of security so that patients and visitors find the facility to be open and inviting and choose it for their healthcare. As well, security focuses on the needs and concerns of workers so the workforce finds the institution to be an employer/workplace of choice." – Source IAHSS fact sheet
With so many people involved in this industry (patients, health care providers, employees), it's important that a surveillance solution be powerful and yet easy to use for the masses. The exacqVision video management system takes advantage of today's state-of-the art, high definition megapixel network cameras to reveal stunning detail. In addition, exacqVision incorporates video from existing analog cameras—all in one place (i.e. a single exacqVision server).
Multiple servers can be accessed simultaneously from the free client software, available for Windows, Macintosh or Linux based computers. The client software is instantly familiar. Users with minimal computer experience can typically view live video and recorded video with little to no training. Furthermore, specific audio and video can be exported to a CD or DVD with the push of a single button or mouse click via the exacqRecall feature.
SAV, provided complete design and installation services of the exacqVision VMS software, IP cameras, switches and servers for the Montana State Hospital.
exacqVision video management software (VMS) was installed to help Montana State Hospital’s staff monitor patient behavior and to provide a safe environment for patients, staff and visitors. exacqVision was installed on three industry standard server that manage a total of 135 IP cameras located throughout the Main hospital facility and the Sprat building to provide an orderly environment in which all patients have an opportunity to realize their potential. The exacqVision client software is installed on a PC in the Administration building and on six (6) nurse stations located through each wing of the hospital. When an incident is reported the staff will search for the video recorded on the server to investigate and support their findings. Video can be easily exported to a DVD or USB flash.
- exacqVision client & server software
- Microsoft XP Pro
- 3 Commercial Servers
- 137 IP Cameras (13 ACTi ACM7411 outdoor, 26 ACTi ACM741 indoor and 96 Vivotek MD7560)
- Hospital buildings are connected with fiber optic cable and PoE switches
- Client PC’s
Purpose/Benefits of the system:
- Keep patient, staff & visitors safe
- Identify behavior or cause of incident
- Ensure public trust through personal and professional integrity
- Treat people with respect, trust, and dignity
"The Montana State Hospital staff is ecstatic about the new security monitoring system. It has made patient care much more efficient and brings peace of mind to the administrators of the facility." – SAV Digital Environments, Director of Security
SAV Digital Environments New Bozeman Showroom
For over a dozen years SAV Digital Environments flagship office at 618 North Wallace in Bozeman has been the central hub for housing employees, meeting with partners and clients, parking the fleet, vetting and testing the latest and greatest technologies, building racks and so much more.
As SAV grew over the years, we opened 2 new locations; a showroom in Big Sky and an office space in Four Corners. Inspired by the new showroom in Big Sky, our eclectic Bozeman space was recently transformed into an additional SAV showroom where visitors are able to walk through the front door and immediately experience some incredible examples of audio/video systems, automation, lighting and shade control, security and more.
Explore Big Sky: On May 10, the innovative automation technology company SAV Digital Environments welcomed Earth Elements, a multi-faceted interior design and supply company, into their N. Wallace location with a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the grand opening of their new Design & Technology Showroom, a collaborative space at 618 N. Wallace St. in Bozeman.
“It just made sense,” said Cory Reistad, president of SAV. “We share some of the same clientele, and this location is convenient for the Bozeman community.”
“I’m pleased with how it all turned out,” said Steve Taylor, owner of Earth Elements. “This will end up saving our employees and our customers time and fuel.”
Audiophiles were treated to an extremely rare Steinway Lyngdorf Model B loudspeaker demonstration as they explored the new showroom and collaborative space enjoying hors d’oeuvres, refreshments and conversation.
Case Study: Seamless Mountain Smart Home Installation Project
D-Tools helps Montana integrator SAV manage a mountain smart home installation seamlessly, from design to post-install service
What if you could reduce design time on even the most complicated smart home projects, increase efficiency, and scale your integration firm knowing you had the tools in place to accommodate rapid growth? Montana-based custom integration firm SAV Digital Environments – previously known as Studio AV – with offices in Bozeman and Big Sky, did just that by adopting D-Tools in 2016. A relative newcomer to the System Integrator software platform, SAV is already reporting a 75 percent reduction in design time, and the ability to tackle much larger projects with ease.
“We were forecasting a large increase in work over the next year and beyond, including projects that were bigger than any we had ever done before,” says SAV Technical Director Ben Williams. “To succeed, we needed a solution to centralize the design process. This solution needed to fit everything from a small standalone media room to a $2m+ system.”
Technological Magic in the Mountains
SAV had the opportunity to stretch their capabilities and their expertise on the D-Tools platform with a multi-year project to design and install smart home systems in a 10,000-square-foot modern residence in Big Sky, Montana. SAV’s higher-end projects can cost an upwards of half a million dollars or more on their custom integration homes. The D-Tools platform makes it easier to manage all the moving parts of such a project more efficiently, saving time and reducing costs for the integrator.
A technological masterpiece tucked away in the Rocky Mountains, the house combines modern décor with technology that virtually disappears within the exquisite, yet rustic, architecture.
Before implementing the D-Tools platform, SAV created parts and labor line items directly in QuickBooks estimates and used independent programs and parallel databases for other design documentation. On a project this size, the integration firm would have wasted days — and risked errors — transferring information. “Creating estimates through D-Tools wizard drastically reduces the potential for human error,” says Williams.
Just as important, D-Tools enabled SAV to deliver a professionally produced proposal that painted a clear vision of the smart home systems and the lifestyle they would help create for the homeowner.
When the home’s residents aren’t hitting the ski trails or enjoying the community’s many amenities, they have plenty of entertainment options right at home. For SAV, meeting the client’s needs meant providing full network infrastructure across the property using BlueBOLT networking and a Ruckus wireless system, along with distributed AV, a private home theater, pool and spa, and a custom Lutron lighting and shading system, all controlled via Savant. The house also includes fully integrated life safety and surveillance equipment for the owner’s peace-of-mind.
“D-Tools was central to the project, from creating the preliminary design to tracking extensive change orders over the multi-year process, to creating and maintaining accurate IO documentation,” says Williams.
Likewise, D-Tools helps SAV eliminate redundancies to save time on every project, from design and installation through service. “We use the product database to manage information about each product, such as dimensions, weight, power consumption, heat dissipation, along with cost, price, and labor. When we need information about something on the job, D-Tools is the place to look,” he asserts.
Tracking Large-scale Designs and Multiple Change Orders with Ease
The ability to track every input/output, audio/video zone, and rack elevation change during the design process and also after the fact were crucial to a successful installation at Big Sky. The project includes 32 audio zones with 15 separate audio sources and eight video locations each with its own source. “By linking our Visio drawing schematics to the D-Tools project, we cut the time required to draw a full IO diagram by 75 percent,” explains Williams.
Not only did this save time at the beginning of the project, but it enabled SAV to process and track change orders easily. “By tracking change orders through project revisions, we can not only preserve a record of the history of the project but also have an always up-to-date working copy that lists exactly what we need for the whole job,” he says. “If documentation ever gets messed up or lost, D-Tools is the way we correct it. If changes need to be made after an IO schematic and rack elevation have been drawn, the link between D-Tools parts and the Visio shapes feature guarantees that all documents are consistent with each other.”
Hiding the Technology
As with most new construction projects, the Big Sky installation involved many change orders as the SAV team worked with the architect to hide the technology – sometimes blending the AV components with the home’s design, and other times, hiding them completely.
For instance, SAV chose small aperture Sonance DOS speakers and subwoofers for distributed audio within the home. The pool, hot tub, and sauna areas use exterior-rated Sonance speakers. Specific rooms called for Sonance Invisible Series speakers installed behind the drywall, creating ambient music that emanates from the surroundings with no technology visible.
Even the video screen in the family room disappears from view, thanks to a Future Automation Split Panel System. Chosen because it is both quiet and reliable, Williams says, “This lift is designed to reveal a hidden 75-inch TV screen, by moving a panel and filling its place with a TV, while keeping the surface of the wall completely flush.”
Glass and wood dominate the design in this spacious mountain home, which created both acoustic and ambient light challenges in the space. To darken the primary living area, providing privacy and optimal media viewing conditions, SAV specified what Williams calls “the largest curtain track we’ve ever installed.” Built by Bradley Collections, the track is approximately 38 feet long and 15 feet tall, featuring custom-designed curtains and integrated with the Lutron lighting system for control from the same keypad that controls the lights.
D-Tools Helps SAV Design a Dedicated Home Theater
While the family room TV is used for streaming Netflix and central sources such as DirectTV, Apple TV, and an Oppo Blue-ray player, the home’s residents often gather in the dedicated 10-seat home theater when they want a true cinema experience, which is delivered by a Sony VPL-VW675ESprojector and Da-Lite custom 129-inch drop down screen.
SAV selected a Meyer Sound UP-4XP speaker and JBL S4S subwoofers in a 5.1 surround sound configuration for the space, hiding the front speakers with an acoustically transparent fabric from Gilford & Main.
The theater has been through several revisions, and the final design, as it stands, came as a change-order months after the original contract. “D-Tools allowed us to make extensive and continuous changes as the project was in progress without having to worry about details falling through the cracks,” says Williams.
D-Tools Aids in Security System Design
Security and surveillance are important, yet sometimes forgotten, aspects of a smart home installation. Especially in the case of multi-acre luxury estates, the ability to expertly design and integrate home security and other life safety systems provides an additional revenue stream for the integrator and puts the integration firm at the center of all the home’s technology systems. The ability to design and track network infrastructure, security and surveillance systems in D-Tools gives SAV an advantage on large-scale projects like the Big Sky home.
SAV specified and installed Axis cameras across the property, which Williams says are “high-quality and hardy enough to withstand the mountain weather of Big Sky.”
He adds, “The internal cameras are low profile, which allows them to remain mostly unseen. Especially in a discreet, modern home, what we want to accomplish is to have a fully functional system that doesn’t detract from the aesthetic of the home – which we were able to accomplish successfully.”
The home’s life safety and security systems alert local authorities not just in the case of an intruder or fire, but also floods. Bosch smoke detectors are recessed so the ceiling-to-floor door doesn’t run into them when opened, and water sensors in the toe kicks provide flood detection for not just a single location, but the surrounding area.
D-Tools and Domotz Integration Simplifies Ongoing Service
Even after the installation is complete, a home of this size and stature requires ongoing service after the sale to maintain SAV’s stellar reputation as a smart home integrator of choice in the Big Sky / Bozeman region.
SAV uses Domotz for ongoing remote network monitoring and management. “As an early adopter of Domotz, we quickly realized the boundless capabilities this device has to remotely monitor and manage issues that may arise within our customers’ environments – often before they ever know they have a problem,” says Jake Tomlinson, SAV Systems Designer.
From Sales to Service, D-Tools Streamlines Processes for Increased Efficiency and Profitability
The recent D-Tools / Domotz integration enables D-Tools to take custom integration firms like SAV through a complete cycle, from sales to service, providing an outstanding experience for their customers.
Like many D-Tools users, Williams is hard-pressed to put an exact number on the positive impact the System Integrator platform has had on the company’s business. “It is difficult to quantify the effect D-Tools has had on SAV,” he says.
Regardless of the size of the project, D-Tools helps create an efficient, repeatable process that enables SAV to grow profitably. “The type of work we do is awesome, but it’s only awesome if it all works perfectly. To achieve that, we use D-Tools,” Williams concludes.
Additional information on the D-Tools SI platform can be obtained by signing up for a free personal tour by visiting https://d-tools.com/live-demo-webinar/ or a free 30-day trial, which can be downloaded by visiting https://d-tools.com/hosted-free-trial-signup/.
Integrating Technology Into The Montana Lifestyle
Published Apr 12, 2018
By Erin Turner, Big Sky Journal Home
Imagine you’re in Bali and your cell phone rings. Your neighbor back home in Montana has just gone into your house to feed the fish and check the mail, and she is calling to let you know that there is a large puddle of water on your kitchen floor — and it seems to be seeping out from under your dishwasher. Two words immediately leap to mind: vacation ruined.
Picture another scenario. You’re on Kuta Beach in Bali, drinking your favorite tropical beverage, and your cell phone gives a discreet beep. SAV Digital Environments has just sent you a text to let you know that a valve broke under your dishwasher — some sort of weak spot in the appliance’s infrastructure perhaps — and their remote water alert system immediately detected it and shut off the water. Totally different words spring to mind: So glad we installed that remote monitoring service.
Over the past 20 years, the concept of a “smart house” that knows when to turn your lights on and off, rolls window shades up and down at the sound of your voice, sends you a text if your front door is left open, and responds to remote commands from your phone, has become a relatively affordable reality — a far cry from portrayals in science-fiction and space-age cartoons. SAV Digital Environments (pronounced /es-ā-vē/), a home and business technology firm that originated in Bozeman, Montana, and now has more than 60 employees spread throughout Bozeman, Big Sky, and Jackson Hole, Wyoming, has evolved from the audio-visual installation company Studio AV founded by Cory Reistad in 2005, to a company that not only designs the best available audio and visual entertainment for homeowners, but also integrates those components into whole-house systems. SAV has created teams of experts in their fields who know how to capitalize on the potential of new technology, solve old problems, and anticipate new scenarios, helping to modernize home and business environments.
When the construction boom of the early 2000s was still at its height — particularly the explosion of higher-end construction in Montana’s resort areas — professional, high quality home audio and video systems were requisite in new construction, and increasingly were being retrofitted for use in remodeled homes. Reistad recognized that there was an opportunity for a company that embraced emerging higher-end technologies to design and install these systems, blending them with the home environment. Home theaters with surround sound and high-quality pictures were just the beginning. Automated whole-house sound and lighting systems were becoming increasingly common — a real business opportunity for a technology-savvy company.
In the little over a decade since SAV started, however, the technology available to homebuilders and business owners has exploded. In addition to audio, video, and theater systems, SAV provides water system monitoring, low-profile, surveillance-type security, lighting control, automated window coverings, computer networking, wireless systems, and more. After installation, home and business owners can count on the support they need, when they need it through ‘round the clock customer service. SAV recognizes how critical it is that technology be smoothly integrated into everyday life — and how frustrating it is when something doesn’t work properly. Eric Knez, SAV Director of Client Services, puts their customer service goals plainly:
“Our primary goal is to prevent inconvenience and frustration when devices stop working. If an issue does arise, we do whatever it takes to resolve the matter promptly.”
SAV also tries to create a working environment that reflects their commitment to their employees, their communities, and to their clients. A whole division of the company is dedicated to ensuring that client issues are resolved quickly and efficiently, whether remotely or through a home visit. It is easy to see how these systems give homeowners peace of mind while they are away, but their experiences are enhanced while at home as well. Throughout the West, where residents value time spent on hiking trails, ski slopes, and golf courses, it’s appealing to come home at the end of a day to a gently lit living room, with shades at just the right angle; or enjoy the long light of summer evenings on the deck while sipping wine and listening to music.
SAV supports its workforce, and the communities where it is based. For employees, this means their creativity is valued, and rewarded. In addition to a benefits package, SAV offers ski days and celebrations that range from impromptu pizza parties and happy hours, to an annual holiday party and summer picnic. Within the community, SAV supports groups like the Big Sky Community Organization, Big Sky Youth Empowerment, the Bozeman Cancer Center, and many other worthwhile causes. In 2017, SAV was voted the second Best New Business — new to Big Sky — in the Best of Big Sky Awards.
From low-profile smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, to inconspicuous surveillance systems that don’t interfere with the architectural details of a home, to discretely placed surround-sound speakers, and strategically placed TVs — hidden behind artwork or inside the ceiling or wall — SAV’s systems are designed for their clients’ enjoyment. Whatever the next new trend in property owner comfort, security, and convenience may be, the SAV team will aim to explore creative ways to integrate it.
Best of Big Sky 2017
With more than 3,000 votes cast, locals and visitors recognized the restaurants, retailers, artists, architects, nonprofits, builders and bartenders that make this place we know and love tick. Some of our readers may be visiting from afar, and others might be lucky enough to have called Big Sky home for a decade or more, but we can all agree that this is a pretty special spot. Dig into the write-ups that follow as we celebrate the finest Big Sky has to offer.
"SAV is a newcomer to the Big Sky business scene but has history in the Bozeman area dating to 2004. Cory Reistad and his team offer the most cutting-edge technology and service for Big Sky homes. From AV systems and lighting to home controls and energy management, SAV is a welcome addition to the Big Sky landscape." – Explore Big Sky
We are humbled and excited to have taken 2nd place in Best of Big Sky 2017 "Best New Business." Thank you to everyone who voted for us and we look forward to continuing to help Big Sky grow.
We’ve previously talked about how remote monitoring and management (RMM) can be used as a platform on which to base services that generate recurring revenue, while also enhancing the customer experience. Today, I would like to tell you about an integration company that is using RMM as a core component of their business strategy and has been very successful in doing so.
The region in and around Yellowstone National Park is world-renowned for its natural beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities. People flock to Yellowstone, Jackson Hole, and the Grand Tetons to escape their busy daily lives and immerse themselves in a wonderland of skiing, snowmobiling, hunting, fishing, hiking, horseback riding and more. Yet, even in this outdoor playground, people still love to come home to the modern convenience and entertainment experiences delivered by custom installation professionals like SAV Digital Environments. With three offices in the area, SAV specializes in offering their customers the best of these experiences.
As you might imagine, taking care of customers scattered across a region of wilderness about the size of Rhode Island can present a few challenges — especially when those customers have such high expectations when it comes to the investments made into home technology. SAV has built their business around addressing these challenges, and nobody understands them better than SAV’s Client Services Director, Eric Knez. I recently had the opportunity to learn more about SAV’s business from Eric and wanted to share some of the insights he provided from that discussion.
Clark Roundy: How does SAV use RMM to improve their business?
Eric Knez: Given the nature and complexity of the technology and systems we install in clients’ homes, inevitably something is going to fail and need to be reset or restarted. RMM helps the team at SAV get ahead of those kinds of problems. RMM allows us to take a far more proactive approach to servicing our clients. If all goes well, we can remedy a problem before the customer realizes there was a problem. How cool is that?
CR: Can you share any specific examples or cost savings data related to how RMM has helped improve your operational efficiencies?
EK: We all know it’s inconvenient when equipment stops working. But, how about when it’s the client’s whole-house lighting processor and the customer is 40 miles from the office? This is an actual scenario we recently faced. Normally, that would create a full-blown panic situation. We would pull a tech off another project, drop everything and drive out to the house. Unnecessary truck-rolls cost real money and valuable time. Fortunately, it doesn’t always have to be that way. Once we received a notice from our RMM system that the client’s lighting system had gone offline, we could immediately address the problem – remotely, from our office. Right from my desk, I was able to see what processor was down, power-cycle it, and within five minutes I had the client’s lighting back online and working. Our customer was especially happy because nobody had to visit the house and the problem was resolved in minutes, not hours.
CR: Clearly, RMM helps SAV solve problems more efficiently. But, how does it help improve the relationship with your customers?
EK: By being ahead of the service curve rather than behind it. We can identify and fix a problem immediately right from the office chair without the customer having to wait for an opening. Our approach isn’t just about delivering service. It’s also about delivering convenience and peace-of-mind to our customers.
CR: Even with RMM, you undoubtedly still need to roll a truck sometimes. Does RMM provide any benefit in those scenarios?
EK: Yes, even in those cases, our team and customers can often still benefit from RMM. RMM gives us the ability to provide the in-field tech more information, so he arrives onsite better prepared and can be more targeted on where to start troubleshooting, rather than just shooting in the dark.
CR: You guys certainly have built a nice business around RMM. What advice would you give to your fellow integrators who might be on the fence about whether or not to adopt RMM as part of a customer service program?
EK: Do it. Service is absolutely where the future of our industry resides. Now is the time to start setting your company apart from the ‘other guys’. If you don’t do it now, someone else will.
Clark Roundy – I couldn’t have said it better myself. Ultimately, RMM is just a tool, but it’s a tool everybody should be using to their advantage – to be more efficient and to deliver an unprecedented level of service to your customers.
Clark Roundy is CEO of Domotz, a leading provider of network monitoring and remote tech support systems for integration companies and IT professionals. Clark is a 25-year technology industry veteran with a broad range of sales, marketing and executive management experience. Prior to joining Domotz, he served as VP of Marketing and Product Management at Luxul Wireless.
2017 Parade of Homes People's Choice
Published September 26, 2017
SAV Digital Environments networked this gorgeous home by ST Custom Homes, fully automating it with Lutron Caséta Wireless solutions, Sonos throughout, media theater room with Revel surround and Sony 4k projector, 4k TVs around every corner, including an outdoor SunBrite, and more.
After 17 years of regular trips through Gallatin Canyon, SAV Digital Environments has set up shop here in Town Center, closer to the bulk of their Montana clientele.
SAV sets up integrated digital systems for homes and businesses. They design tailored audio and lighting systems, immersive video-viewing areas, and window treatments that can allow a pre-determined amount of natural light into a space. They also design climate control, security and surveillance systems.
At a July 28 ribbon cutting with the Big Sky Chamber of Commerce, Cory Reistad, president of SAV, said the new space in Big Sky makes sense.
“We’ve been in Bozeman for 17 years and we’ve been serving this community almost exclusively,” Reistad said, adding that SAV has new employees living in Big Sky. “[We wanted] to be at the forefront of the growth here.”
They’ll be joined in that space by Energy 1, an 8-year-old renewable energy solutions firm.
Energy 1 owner and co-founder Leo Crane said opening a space in Big Sky with SAV makes sense given that they’re both in the design/build industry and have many overlapping clients.
“We crossed paths enough on past projects that this was a very natural fit for us to have a space up here,” Crane said. Both SAV and Energy 1 also keep offices in Bozeman and Jackson, Wyoming.
Energy 1 works on mechanical, electrical and plumbing projects with a focus on renewable energy. They design solar and solar-electric systems for clients, as well as high-efficiency heating and cooling using smart thermostats and geothermal technology.
Crane said the bulk of Energy 1’s business in Big Sky focuses on geothermal systems, which take advantage of the more consistent temperature of the earth underneath a building for heating, cooling and hot water. But they also work on installations like oxygen enrichment to help people coming from lower altitudes acclimate to Big Sky’s elevation.
Crane added that Energy 1 is the only company in the state of Montana that has partnered with electric automaker and solar panel manufacturer Tesla on their charging stations. “That’s an exciting part of our business that we’ll be able to offer Montana clients—Tesla products,” he said.
Western Home Journal: Shop Talk
By Aaron Kampfe
SAV Digital Environments is dedicated to finding and vetting not only the smartest and the best technologies, but technologies that almost seem invisible. Many technologies can seem intimidating, unwieldy, and brazen; Cory seeks products that are subtle, intuitive, and behind-the-scenes. SAV’s expert team designs and installs digital systems that co-exist and complement people’s day-to-day existence. After all, even in this digital world, we still want a human touch.
“Our discerning clients and partners are looking for two things in their digital environment: simplicity and elegance.” – Cory Reistad, Owner, SAV Digital Environments
What services do you offer?
SAV is a comprehensive, process-driven firm that offers design and installation services for audio/video systems, home cinema, lighting and shade control, network and IT connectivity, security and surveillance, energy monitoring solutions and more.
What geographic areas do you service?
Our main regions are Bozeman and Big Sky, MT, as well as Jackson, WY. However, we have been known to serve various other locations, most within a 100–200 mile perimeter to our main regions.
What do you offer that is unique?
We offer unyielding commitment to client service. Very early in the business, I learned that establishing a commitment to our clients’ needs is our most important job. That is why SAV has dedicated an entire division of the company to focus on our clients’ systems after they have been installed.
What project are you most excited about right now?
Though we get excited about all of the work we do, right now our commercial security division is our most exciting. We are seeing increased demand for asset protection. Advancements in facial recognition and artificial intelligence related to human behavior are absolutely astonishing.
Describe your process and how you work with clients.
Our work with our clients generally starts early in the design phase of the project. Because the end goal is to incorporate technology into the home in such a way that it blends into the architectural environment, it’s necessary to incorporate those details and collaborate with the owner in order to succeed. Once the design is complete, we work closely with the general contractor, interior designer, and other trades to deliver a seamless system.
What are some of the tricks of the trade?
In the wake of ever-changing technology, I’d advise to be patient with innovative products and make sure they are properly vetted before placing them in clients’ homes. With our commitment to simplicity and usability, it is vital that we do not use our clients’ homes as technology test beds.
Dwelling Closer to Nature
By Anne Zimmerman
Setting the Scene with Electronics:
As we move outside, it makes sense we’ll want music, entertainment, and convenience to be part of the experience of living outdoors. “When designing systems, I like to ask: Where do people like to spend time? Then I populate the area with immersive audio and/or video,” explains Cory Reistad, founder/president of SAV Digital Environments in Bozeman, Big Sky, and Jackson.
He continues, “We all have such busy lives, and it’s hard to find a time and place to sit down and really enjoy ourselves. However, most of us make a point of relaxing when we are outside. Outdoor living first became prominent in coastal areas, and its acceptance in the mountains was slower, but at last it has arrived.”
New products are making what was once unheard of outside now possible. Reistad reports that SAV carries thermally insulated televisions for cold climates. “Also, music is a big part of life,” he muses, “and should be part of outdoor dining, sitting by the fireplace, and backyard sports.”
“For audio, we used to be limited to positioning speakers under eaves and close to the house for connections, but now, I prefer to design systems with speakers that surround the perimeter. More sound comes back to you, and it doesn’t project out to the neighbors. The outdoor speakers are durable and have a ten-year warranty.”
“We pride ourselves in solutions made easy. Our design goal is immersive audio using performance-based technology where the equipment is not an obstruction. Rather, we weave it into the environment.” – Cory Reistad, Founder/President, SAV Digital Environments
The idea of watching movies in the backyard with friends, family, and refreshments sounds hilariously fun. Reistad says that developments in electronics make it completely possible. “We secure drop screens to eaves on the deck, provide a mobile projector, and make use of the perimeter speaker system for great theater sound.”
SAV has been in business since 2005. A staff of 62 provides service, and according to Reistad, “This allows us to be specialized in all facets of electronics and low voltage controls: networks, IT, acoustics, lighting, home theater design, window treatments, and home security & surveillance, and more. We offer design and engineering, project management, and, of course, product sales. However, I think our client services truly distinguishes us and provides our clients complete confidence in us.”
SAV’s concept for serving clients is immediate concierge service, meaning they are on call 24 hours a day, and 365 days per year to assist and make service calls. SAV’s technicians can also run remote diagnostics and program new equipment without having to come to the home.
“We pride ourselves in solutions made easy,” says Reistad. “Our design goal is immersive audio using performance-based technology where the equipment is not an obstruction. Rather, we weave it into the environment.”
He also explains that while technology can be very complex, the goal of system engineering and design is to control operations through a user-friendly device with the convenience and ease of end users in mind.
SAV’s headquarters are in Bozeman, where they’re excited to show anybody and everybody what’s possible. However, in order to enhance customer service and to reach out to clients with even more convenience, SAV is opening their “Living Design Center” this summer in Big Sky. “It’ll be a very modern, cutting edge one-room snapshot of all SAV does—everything. It’ll be staffed by designers who can show the best in lighting, shades, board room automation, audio, and more,” says Reistad, who extends an invitation to stop by.
Outdoor spaces are so much more than they were in the past, but also our lives are so much busier. They are the perfect place to unwind, relax, and appreciate the natural world.
Western Home Journal
A quaint guest escape with rustic character and modern details.
The fusion of glass, metal and timber in this mountain guest cabin evokes a rustic elegance with a modern twist. A true blend of past and present with views that bring the outdoors into this intimate space.
“As architects and builders we are storytellers, like artists. The storyline of Camp Run-a-muck is based on the concept of an old buried and dilapidated Forest Service cabin, a remnant of something that pre-existed on the property. Then we took that shell and mixed a little history with modernity. The result was a hybrid of a simple stone structure with an infill of hewn timber and glass. By infusing the old and new, we created a contemporary expression of a classic Montana cabin.” – Greg Matthews, Pearson Design Group
Innovative process, material, and technology.
SAV Digital Environments designed and installed the technology including the lighting controls, sound system, video displays, and window shades.
“Architects like Pearson and builders like Highline are looking for two things: simplicity and elegance. We work together so the digital environment blends so well with the home that is it not immediately detectable. The automation is highly sophisticated but almost invisible.” – Cory Reistad, SAV Digital Environments
June 1, 2017