Common questions about Fultech Services.
WHAT SEPARATES FULTECH FROM OTHER INTEGRATOR'S OR DEALERS?
FulTech was founded in 1995, by a trained computer scientist (B.S. in computer science) with an engineering minor, so unlike many other companies, FulTech was built and based on cutting-edge technology and home automation more than a decade ago. The necessary experience to design, install and program a truly custom and fully functional system takes years to develop and the FulTech team possesses that experience.
FulTech didn’t start off in home theater or security and later migrate to this industry; founder Dan Fulmer is a pioneer in the home automation and systems integration industry. From beta testing products for many manufacturers in the mid-90’s, to sitting on consumer electronic committees to develop industry standards, to publishing articles on home automation, structured cabling and quality controls, Dan is an internationally recognized expert in this field. His recent involvement included sitting on the Board of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) TechHome Division, and representing the United States and CEA at the First Annual Home Networking Global Summit in Seoul, South Korea.
In addition, FulTech developed its own structured cabling system called the Universal Cabling System (UCS), which is patent-pending and holds almost 10 years of real-world application and use to prove its superiority in the marketplace.
MY BUILDER SAYS "HIS SUB" CAN WIRE FOR HALF THE PRICE OF FULTECH; IS THIS TRUE AND IF SO, WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?
Anyone can wire your home for as little or as much as you or they like. But what are you getting for your money and how long will it provide solutions for you? With structured cabling being such a broad term, you can be told you are getting a smart house and just simply not be getting much more than a house built 20 years ago.
Just because you are getting Cat5 in your house, does NOT mean you’re wired for everything! On the contrary, our FulTech Team often must inform homeowners, who were wired by various “cabling” firms, that they were barely wired for today’s technologies, much less anything into the near future. The homeowner thinks they have Cat5 everywhere, but on closer inspection, we’re able to find only one Cat5 and one coaxial cable per room. This configuration simply doesn’t offer any more functionality than a home built 20 years ago: you just have better wire. You need the proper cabling for each sub-system you want to control (audio, video, touchscreens and keypads, lights, pool/spa, HD video, and more) in each room and location that requires it. The industry standard price for structured cabling spans a wide range, but typically you’ll see $1 to $2 per square foot as the nominal cost for wiring a home including trim-out and panels. See below for cabling explanation.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE IN CABLING? I HAVE CAT5, DOESN'T THAT MEAN I'M READY FOR THE FUTURE?
Two big variables exist in structured cabling. First, the type and ratings of the wires and cables used, and second, the method and quantity of cables pulled throughout the house. So simply putting Cat5 in each room is not sufficient. Several types of cabling are used in today’s homes, RG6 coaxial for video, Cat5 and Cat6 for phone, network, control and more, 16/4 and 16/2 wire for audio to speakers, and 18/4 shielded for other control applications such as gates, sensors, locks, etc. The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the home automation industry’s association, established standards for cabling, and even enacted a quantitative system to rate a homes technical abilities, called the TechHome Rating System. For more information, visit or
The CEA states that a 1 x1 configuration, with all cables home run in a star configuration, is the minimum starting point to be called a structured cabling system. This arrangement offers basically 1 Cat5 and 1 Coax to each room or location, and gives you little or no more functionality than putting cable and phone in each room. Or if you forego having a phone in that room, you can use the Cat5 for networking, but not both at the same time (a common misconception).
The next level is 2 x 2, that is 2 Cat5s and 2 Coaxial cables per room. This configuration provides a few variations, but it primarily gives you a phone outlet, a network outlet and 2 cable outlets per room. This set-up is considered entry level structured cabling (the BASIC starting point for home automation), as it’s the first level to offer any variability as well as new connectivity.
From here you begin adding the cable needed for whole-house audio, control of equipment and components, lighting control, keypads, distributed HD video, home automation and more. You can add on in one of two basic ways: you or the company you hire determine exactly what it is that you want and install the necessary cabling for those items in those specific locations. As you can imagine, this method is not using much forward thinking. This configuration means that, in addition to the 2 x 2 cabling in the specified rooms, you decide where you want speakers, keypads, touchscreens, TVs on the walls, which TVs will have HD and where its applicable equipment will be located, and whether you want gates, garage doors, pools, spas controlled, etc. Once you’re wired for these choices, you’re wired for only the systems you purchased at the time you made these decisions. Since adding new devices, components or a later emerging technology will most likely require additional cabling, you won’t have that cabling in place.
The BETTER way to achieve your wired home that allows for new, expanding technologies is to hire a professional systems integrator to design a system and discuss growth and expansion options that you may be interested in later. This discussion will likely cover most of what you may want to do later. You should hire an integrator who is familiar enough with emerging products and technologies to foresee what you cannot and the necessary wiring needed to facilitate this growth.
This better option, on a much larger scale and conveniently packaged, is precisely what FulTech invented: the Universal Cabling System or UCS. This system was designed with your immediate and future expansion needs in mind. With more than two decades’ formal education, electronics experience, beta testing emerging products, and helping to establish industry standards and guidelines, we designed a method for wiring today’s homes that holds a 10-year proven track record of expandability and growth potential. UCS contains the right number of the correct cables run to each room and location where you may want, for instance, speakers, keypads, touchscreens, HDTVs hanging on walls, pool/spa control, garage door control and more. Our system is non-proprietary to any one component, and works with virtually any manufacturer’s product on the market today, supporting all the major technologies, including ABus, Crestron Crestnet, AMX, RS232, RS485, Control4, HD video and more.
We aren’t just over-wiring your house: UCS is a specific method for wiring cables to and from each room and a central distribution point that covers all of the most recent home automation possibilities, including remote access to CCTV or your home’s systems, music servers and now even Bluetooth and RFID to control the home. Our clients from 10 years ago routinely call us and add a new device or component without changing any other components or add any wiring.
WHAT ARE THE TYPICAL FEATURES OF A FULHOUSE SYSTEM?
Our systems are built around your personal lifestyle and designed to improve your daily living. Our greatest features are ease of use, customization and personal attention to your needs — no two FulHouse homes are the same, and no “cookie cutter” system exists. We deliver these features through custom, high-end technology, encompassing all the areas of home systems integration. For starters the Universal Cabling System covers any phone, networking and video needs around the house, as this is all basic for today’s homes.
ALMOST ALL OF OUR BASIC SYSTEMS INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING:
- A lighting control system
- Whole-house audio distribution
- Home control system
- HD video distribution
- Home theaters – THX speakers, projectors on lifts or fixed, fixed or motorized screens, theater seating and furniture
- Pool/spa control
- HVAC control
- Security integration*
- iPod integration
- Music server
- Video/DVD server
- CCTV and camera DVR
- XM, Sirius, FM/AM distribution
- Keypads and or touchscreens around the home
- Remote access to all connected systems, including those mentioned above.
SOME ADVANCED OPTIONS INCLUDE:
- TV and video lifts
- Automated drapes, blinds and storm shutters
- Electronically-controlled water heaters
- Gate control
- Garage door control
- Residential access control systems (keyfob and chip based door locks)
- Driveway sensors
- Infrared beams and sensors
- RFID for control and access to the home
- Bluetooth cell phone control of the home
- Audio and video calibration services
WHAT ARE FULTECH'S QUALIFICATIONS AND CREDENTIALS?
FulTech Solutions is not a licensed electrical contractor. Some high voltage electronic components require a licensed electrician to install.
FulTech was started by college degreed computer scientist and engineer, so instead of being a retailer or sales organization, we began at the root level of designing and installing these systems specifically. In 1995, when FulTech was founded, there were few standards or quality control measures in place and no certifications to speak of. Since then, founder Dan Fulmer, has worked tirelessly within the industry to set standards and educational training to facilitate the growth of the industry.
In 1997, still with no formal training available and no labor pool to speak of, we began our own in-house training program to train our own installers. This effort eventually grew into the FulTech University and its College of Smart dealer training and licensing program. The College of Smart has been recognized in many industry publications and is listed in the CEPro Buyers Guide annually. Each of our installers passes rigorous in-house, on-site and hands-on training with a supervisor before ever installing a system.
Our senior technician and supervisor recently won the industry’s first ever Installer of the Year, as seen in CEPro November 2006. The issue profiled field technicians who exemplify high quality installations and possess the utmost in customer service.(need link to articles in our archives, pdf). Dan Fulmer is a respected and well-known speaker for industry events and currently trains several courses at the industry’s largest convention, the Electronic House EXPO. Fulmer teaches the Lighting Control Bootcamp, Z-wave technologies Class, Ultimate Business Bootcamp, and many more.
Currently no industry-wide, accepted training certifications or standards exist. However, Dan sits on the CEA TechHome Board, and he’s currently working with others on an educational tract for installers and integrators to follow. These standards will be available in mid-2007 and education and training from recent and future EHEXPO training events will become part of this training.
WHAT PRODUCTS/SYSTEMS DO YOU SELL AND ARE YOU AUTHORIZED TO SELL?
FulTech is a Crestron Authorized Dealer since 1998, a Lightolier Controls distributor, a Klipsch authorized dealer, a Vidikron/Runco authorized dealer, a Request Multimedia authorized dealer. We’re also authorized dealers for a variety of control and automation products, too many to list. FulTech also sells Denon, Harmon Kardon, Krell, Sonance, SpeakerCraft and many other lines that are available. FulTech staff and management are factory-trained in every product we sell and install.
WHAT OTHER SERVICES DO YOU OFFER?
FulTech offers a wide variety of services including consulting on systems integration, complete system design services including CAD and our own in-house plotter, installation services, and Crestron Certified Programming services as well as programming of many other systems. We also offer system calibration, troubleshooting and repairing of systems installed by others. FulTech is a TOP recommended integrator by all of our vendors from Crestron and Lightolier to Klipsch and Vidikron. This designation means when another installer has a problem, FulTech is called on to help troubleshoot or remedy the situation. FulTech also offers on-going service plans, maintenance agreements and extended warranties.
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