Solana Beach business offers cutting-edge technology for total home automation


By Claire Harlin

Imagine a state-of-the-art home that electronically greets guests upon arrival, has built-in speakers throughout, automatic shades, gates, showers, TVs and lighting, and security cameras that survey every inch with high detail — all controlled by an application on your iPad.

That’s not even half of what the techies at Southwest Audio Visual (SWAV) can do for your home, because when it comes to home automation, the sky’s the limit.

“The idea is to do the most you can with the least amount of human interaction,” said Jim Diez, co-owner of the Solana Beach-based business.

For example, SWAV had a client who automated his bathroom with motion sensors, so when he wakes up and walks in between 6 and 9 a.m., the lights and shower turn on, MSNBC comes on the TV and his favorite radio station starts playing. Other clients have designed home theaters or installed high-end audio visual equipment such as TV projectors and audio systems, all operated with one central device. For automated audio systems, the users also have basically every musical choice at their fingertips — they can hook it up to a record player or iTunes, or access a number of Internet platforms like Pandora or Rhapsody.

SWAV has also developed systems to save energy in the house by automating all things that use electricity. Along with that comes a customized energy monitoring system that shows every aspect of a home’s usage at the homeowners fingertips.

“The client tells me exactly what they want, and we design it,” Diez said.

Our lives are increasingly driven by technology and the Internet, and the functionality of a home is no different. When building or updating a home, it’s important to make audio-visual considerations early in the process, Diez said.

“A lot of people think what we do is an afterthought, and they think about technology after getting the electrician, designers and cabinet guys in there,” Diez said. “We are wiring your home for the technology of the future, and if you don’t make considerations early on you are doing yourself a disservice or you may have to go back and make changes to keep up with technology.”

For example, as more and more household necessities — such as TV, music, appliances and handheld devices — are powered by the Internet, it becomes more crucial to have a strong and reliable Internet connection throughout the home.

SWAV can produce best results in a home and prepare homeowners for technological advances by being part of the building and design process and wiring the home for a functional network. Diez said SWAV is also proficient in helping homes with poor Internet connection improve its connectivity.

“A lot of people don’t even know how to reset the modem, and they don’t need to,” he said. “That’s what people can pay us for.”

Diez and his business partner, Bill Kauzlarich, used to work as head technicians at a large company, but their passion for home automation had been brewing for a while. So when that company shut down, the two started SWAV the very next day.

“When we got into this business, home automation was just [beginning], but in the last couple of years it has really grown,” said Diez, who doubles as a guitarist in the local band Jesse LaMonaca and The Dime Novels.

Diez and Kauzlarich are also certified Apple technicians, and can serve as a local alternative to calling the support line or visiting the Apple store.

“We are certified to the gills,” said Diez. “We go through a lot of training, and that’s pretty much the only way we can stay on top of technology.”

For more information, visit SWAV’s website at