The Lone Survivor Foundation’s Crystal Beach Retreat Facility is the first permanent, Foundation-owned retreat where service members, veterans, and their families can relax in a serene environment while participating in LSF’s therapeutic and educational programs. The goal was to make the facility’s control as simple as possible in order to meet the accessibility requirements of recovering veterans. Customized systems from RTI give guests and staff simple, intuitive control throughout the facility.
2 - XP-6 control processors
2 - KX7 in-wall touchpanels
4 - ESC-2 Ethernet-to-serial converters
2 - SURFiR remotes
2 - RM-433 antennas
12 - vIRsa Mouse emitters
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The Lone Survivor Foundation (LSF) was established to help service members and their families adjust to the difficulties of post-combat life in a supportive, holistic way that goes beyond standard government programs. Healing retreats are one of The Foundation’s therapeutic tools. Ordinarily held at facilities around the country, LSF envisioned its own permanent retreat facility in Crystal Beach, Texas.
Thanks to an outpouring of donated materials, money, time, and expertise, that vision became a reality. Opened in April 2015, the 5,089-square-foot, two-building Crystal Beach Retreat Facility is the first permanent, Foundation-owned retreat where service members, veterans, and their families can relax in a serene environment while participating in LSF’s therapeutic and educational programs.
One of the key challenges with the facility was to make the electronic systems incredibly user-friendly; not only for retreat staff but also for the constant flow of new guests. Customization and the potential for future upgrades were also critical. Furthermore, reliability was paramount because with the integrator more than five hours away, waiting for someone to come and fix a problem was not a practical option.
“Our goal was to make control within the LSF facility as simple as possible in order to meet the accessibility requirements of recovering veterans, and nothing matches RTI for ease of use,” said Luke Dixon, owner of Imagine That Audio & Video Design, the system integrator that designed and installed the facility’s hybrid commercial/residential automation system. “The customized system from RTI allows staff members and retreat attendees to select and control a wide range of electronics at the touch of a button.”
The LSF control system consists of two identical RTI automation solutions, which include XP-6 control processors, KX7 in-wall touchpanels, and SURFiR handheld remotes. A system is installed at each end of the facility — one in the Soldier Bunk House and one in the Conference Center/Staff House.
Using RTI’s Integration Designer® programming software, Dixon was able to customize the KX7 panels in order to create a user-friendly GUI that would accommodate the needs of recovering service members. Users can press a single “welcome” button on the touchpanel to start the system. Beyond that, the rest of the buttons are custom shapes and sizes, making it incredibly easy for anyone to discern and operate the facility’s HVAC, lighting systems, streaming music, Laser Shot simulation system, and long list of A/V equipment.
RTI also controls the security cameras located around the exterior of the building along with a single camera in the facility’s equipment closet. The camera in the equipment closet is an innovative pre-emptive measure designed to mitigate the distance between Dixon and the facility. If there is ever a mechanical problem, Dixon can log in to the system remotely and activate the camera. From there an LSF staff member can point the camera at the equipment in question so that Dixon can diagnose the problem and potentially repair it remotely.
The retreat facility integrates technology donations from leading manufacturers including RTI (control system), Access Networks (network infrastructure), Snap AV, (video screens, projectors, cameras, and audio equipment); Kaleidescape (media streaming services), Venstar (thermostats), Middle Atlantic (rack equipment), Digital Projection (projectors), Denon and Marantz (AV equipment), and more. Pat Johnson and the team at UltraMedia in Richardson, Texas, also assisted in the installation alongside Dixon, and Paul Ostrin and the team at Unlimited Integration in Houston, Texas, help provide ongoing support. In addition, Dixon, who donated 100% of his time and expertise to this project, was recognized with the 2015 CEDIA Humanitarian Award.