Best Practices: House of Worship Automated Controls

09 Feb

church interior

Control systems in a church or other sorts of houses of worship can be a very effective way to help automate arduous and complicated tasks that must be performed every day.  While many in the world of automation and audio tend to stick to residential or light commercial work, there is a very large and lucrative market in performing similar projects for churches and religious organizations.

Finding a Niche

One of the best ways of ensuring the lasting success of your business is to find a particular niche, and then become the best company in the world at servicing that niche.  Twist Technology of Birmingham, Alabama is just that type of company.  While part of their business still caters to the residential market including home theaters, whole house audio, and home automation systems, they have made their name by helping churches conquer difficult lighting, acoustical, and equipment challenges.  As a result church sound system design has turned into their biggest source of revenue.

Their business has grown into a worldwide operation.  They have performed projects all over the world in a wide range of buildings.  No two churches are the same.  Because of their unique architectural designs and features, they are often incredibly difficult to work in from an acoustical standpoint.  But sometimes an even bigger challenge is educating and training the staff on how to work with all of the complicated equipment.  This is an area where home automation controls have been an enormous help.

Selling Automation as Money Saver

One of the most difficult tasks in selling large home automation systems is justifying the cost to the client.  While the technology certainly has a wow factor, for those that aren’t big fans of technology it just looks like a large line item on a budget.  This is most definitely not the case when it comes to houses of worship.

Many of these systems are incredibly complicated.  Turning on multiple components and setting them to the proper inputs takes  a significant amount of training.  Then having to make adjustments to sound boards and lighting based on what is happening onstage also requires a great deal of knowledge.

All of these things can be simplified to a button press with a properly configured automation system.  This works for a wide variety of situations.

  • during sermons
  • during presentations of materials or videos
  • songs or performances on-stage

And it allows the church to save money on a professional engineer and just use someone from the congregation that has an interest in such things.  Of course there are always issues that come up.  But for the most part someone with just a small amount of training should be able to handle all of the day-to-day functions.

Lighting Controls

One of the more important functions that Twist implements on each of their projects is a lighting control system.  These have several benefits both long-term and short-term.  From an aesthetics standpoint a lighting control system can help eliminate massive banks of wall switches that are needed to control so many circuits.  These can all be consolidated into a lighting panel and then controlled from a touch panel or keypad.

They can also benefit over the long run in improved energy efficiency.  While lighting control systems in homes are not always cost effective since it takes 10+ years to realize cost savings, the same isn’t true in a church.  Some of these buildings use massive amounts of power to properly light all their rooms.  Some of these systems can pay themselves off in as little as 5 years.

Bringing It All Together

Providing this complete package is what has helped Twist develop an extremely long resume of loyal and happy customers.  And it’s a great example of what can be accomplished outside of the traditional markets for AV dealers.