Today’s smart home technology makes it possible to enjoy a theater-grade movie screen at home. To pipe music and adjust the lighting in every room in the house, to place camera surveillance around a property and even to improve a home’s air and water quality is also possible.
But the tangle of wires, bulky equipment and multiple remotes that once accompanied such technology proved confusing and cumbersome for consumers.
Which is exactly why Barrett’s Technology Solutions practices “the art of hidden technology,” according to company president and owner Joe Barrett. The company “blends design and technology together, so technology doesn’t get in the way of a beautiful home,” he says.
Consider the variety of ways that Barrett’s Technology Solutions can hide a video screen: in a panel behind the wall in a media or theater room, with a custom mirror— or even a stunning piece of artwork— that turns into a TV with the touch of a button.
Television is just the beginning. Barrett’s installs sound systems so that music can be played throughout a home, individualized by room, or concentrated in a music listening room. The company can also move the party outdoors with stylish, all-weather landscape speakers and weatherproof TVs for patio viewing.
To improve a home’s ambiance and the wellness of its inhabitants, Barrett’s can install a circadian lighting system that follows a person’s 24-hour internal clock, a system to filter the water coming in through the main line of the house, or air purification technology. Additionally, motorized window shades in a wide choice of styles and colors are available.
“There are energy benefits to having a Smart Home,” Barrett says, noting that it’s important, “to be in touch with how much energy you’re using.”
For peace of mind, Barrett’s also installs camera surveillance and home security alarms that a homeowner can monitor even while away.
Barrett’s tailors the devices that control this technology to each customer and family with touchscreens and remotes. The company works with architects and homebuilders to integrate controls within a home’s design.
In fact, 95 percent of the company’s clients are residential customers, many of whom are looking to update and retrofit old systems. Country clubs and corporate boardrooms make up the next largest share of clients.
When a new client comes to Barrett’s, the first step is sitting down with one of their representatives who can outline all of the possibilities and benefits of the services the company offers.
“Our clients look to us as the experts,” Barrett says. “We help them make decisions and provide technology that enhances their lifestyle.”
After the initial meeting, clients are presented with a one-sheet budget estimate to make sure that the company and client are on the right track. After that, Barrett’s puts together a full proposal. The design and engineering department gives the proposal a detailed look, to confirm that everything can be done.
For each job, Barrett’s does as much set-up as possible in the company’s own facility to avoid disruption in the home. After installation, Barrett’s sends out a quality control inspector to check all the work and educate the client on the system while providing ongoing guidance and support. The company offers an Advanced Support Plan for clients who want 24/7 support from the experts.
Despite being a company that specializes in cutting-edge technology, Barrett’s has the comfortable feel of a family-owned business. Barrett’s father, James R. Barrett, opened Barrett Magnavox in Chicago’s Western suburbs in 1966. The store sold and serviced color TVs and console stereos. The business survived through the 1970s and 1980s by selling specialty and premium products: turntables, big-screen TVs, VCRs and audio-video cabinets. They also offered the first installation services.
Today, Barrett’s employs just under 30 people with headquarters in Lombard, Illinois, and an additional location in Williams Bay. To keep up with rapidly advancing technology, the company collaborates with other dealers in non-competitive markets.
“For over 20 years, we’ve been members of the Home Technology Specialists of America,” Barrett says. “The group is committed to providing exceptional service and overall experience for their clients, shares best practices and helps each other stay abreast of technology.”
“We always try to over-deliver,” Barrett says.“Most of our business is from referrals from satisfied clients.”
Barrett’s Technology Solutions
Chicago 312.879.9990 | Lombard 630.898.2850 | Lake Geneva 262.374.5522 | barretts.tv
By Susan Murray