It sounds like Alexa and Cortana could soon be on talking terms, with the two powerhouses in tech announcing a partnership to integrate their voice control systems. This cross-platform integration will also allow Mircrosoft’s Cortana to access some of the more unique aspects of Amazon’s Alexa; from shopping on amazon to controlling smart home devices such as Rako. Whilst Alexa will be able to use Cortana for features such as Microsoft’s Office products, which is built directly into the programs.

As these ladies move into more and more homes, so is smart home integration, with Rako leading the charge. Designed and manufactured in the UK, this fifteen year old company has a wealth of experience in lighting controls, backed by an extensive product range. Rako’s innovative ideas and continuous product development has lead them to become a market leader in the wireless field.

If you say the words “smart integration” to many electricians unfortunately you won’t always get a welcome response. The daunting task of learning a new installation method and some basic programming puts many contractors off providing this service. Here at Opulous, our expertise is very frequently called upon to install Rako following a standard electrical installation. Our team can help you plan your project with your existing electrician or we can install the entire system from the very beginning. Due to the way Rako has been designed the cost of an installation may be more attractive than you think.

London Electricians: Rako

Rako produce wired and wireless solutions for new builds and retrofit projects, with both systems able to integrate with each other seamlessly. The RMT500 is a clever and compact 500W RF dimmer designed to fit through a standard down-light cut-out. Once programmed this device can dim GU10 LED lamps, tungsten, low voltage halogen and other trailing edge dimmable loads. For new builds, a rack mounted dimming solution may be more suitable, as these are designed to be wall mounted in an electrical cupboard. Devices such as the RMT-PILL makes retro fitting this system even easier. This crafty device is small enough to fit inside a back box, meaning that it can be installed into an existing circuit whilst leavening room for a Rako control panel to cover it. This innovation and ingenuity makes installations quicker for the engineer and less messy for the client, preventing the need for more holes to be made.

Dimming is one side of a Rako lighting install, but how you control it is another. There are three different methods to controlling your light; control panel, phone app or Amazon’s Alexa. Wireless control panels can be both flush or surface mounted, neither need wires and surface mounting eliminates the need for a back-box. Wired panels connect using a cat5 network with LED tell-back indicators. Using Rako’s plate designer you have the option of 13 finishes and up to 10 custom buttons. In contrast via a WTC Bridge your system can be connected to the internet for app control via smartphones as well as time clock feature allowing advanced programming, timed events, and holiday mode control.

London Electricians: Rako

The latest release from the Kent based company is the Cloud Gateway, this genius piece of kit allows Alexa to dim your lighting on command, without the use of a control panel or phone. Due to the new partnership Cortana will also be able to assist with turning off your Rako lighting system before bed. Rest assured that support for the Google Play system are also on the horizon. In addition, you can utilise the Apple Homekit app on your iPhone as this can also be used to control the system. By installing a Cloud Gateway and registering an account online, home automation devices can talk to Rako products over the internet. The system must include a Bridge connected to the same network as the Cloud Gateway. Controlling your system doesn’t just stop at a mobile phone, you can now download the official app to your Apple watch or ipad and play with the RGB colour wheel.

Home integration doesn’t just stop at smart lighting, Rako also produce a range of products giving comprehensive control of motorised curtains and blinds with options for mains and low voltage motor types. Systems can be stand-alone or integrated with lighting and have full app control from smart devices. The RACUB is a compact dual relay radio frequency switching module designed to fit local to a motor. Ideal for integrating motorised curtains, blinds and projector screens with the lighting control system. Combined with the lighting system these products are especially popular with the growing number of home cinemas. You can also use a host of other third party systems such as Control4, Crestron and Demopad via any of the Rako bridges. By connecting to the Ethernet integration is achieved using IP control.

This company really have thought of everything when it comes to lighting, long gone are the old fashioned mechanical socket timers, with a Rako system you can enable “holiday mode”. This automatic lighting and curtain function provides the impression that someone is home, giving the owner invaluable security when they are away from home. The lighting system can also be linked with the fire and burglar detection, allowing the lights to react by coming on when the sirens are sounded, turning your system into the ultimate alarm.

From one room to your entire house, Rako is suitable for many different applications, domestic and commercial. If you’ve got a project coming up or in production our team are on hand to help you plan the perfect system to meet your needs and requirements. All engineers at Opulous are all trained in wireless lighting installation, with the technical staff taking on the programming side. Get in touch if to find out more!

Everybody is familiar with the green stickers covering plugs in offices and public places across the UK, New Zealand and Australia. With retailers such as Harrods and Selfridges requiring all electrical items to be tested before the installation of a pop up store, Opulous has never tested more in a year. PAT testing is an important part of any health & safety policy and essential to avoiding electrical incidents. This blog will help to bust the many myths and misunderstandings surrounding portable appliance testing – who should do it, how often, why it is done, and whether it is the law.

What is PAT testing?

Portable appliance testing is the term used to describe the examination, inspection and testing of electrical appliances and equipment to ensure they’re safe to be used. If it is electrical and has a plug on it, whether it is in regular use or not, then it must be maintained safely. Most electrical safety defects can be found by visual examination from a competent person, however internal defects can only be found by testing with a PAT test meter. A simple user check by the person using an appliance can be a very useful part of the appliance’s maintenance regime, ensuring that damaged to items can be reported, repaired or replaced. Although the green stickers are not essential, they make the job of identifying an item that have passed the testing easier, they also indicate when the next pat testing is due.


Should I PAT test every year?

The common myth is that portable appliance testing should be carried out annually. The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 require that any electrical equipment that has the potential to cause injury is maintained in a safe condition. Whilst, there is no regulation surrounding what needs to be done, by whom or how frequently, it is common places for insurance companies to set boundaries regarding this. For example, equipment that is used regularly should be tested more frequently. The type of equipment is another major factor in determining PAT testing frequency as hand held appliances are more likely to become damaged than those that are stationary. Class one appliances such as irons and kettles, carry the greatest risk of danger and should be tested more often.


Who should carry out PAT testing?

Whilst the visual inspection can be carried out by a competent member of staff in low risk environments. When undertaking a combined inspection and testing, a greater level of knowledge and experience is required. To carry out a portable appliance examination the electrician will need to have the correct equipment and understanding of how to carry out the testing correctly. In addition, they will need to be able to decipher the results, to ensure that the appliance has passed the testing.


What does Opulous offer?

Here at Opulous, PAT testing is one of the many services that we offer for retailers across London, our aim is to fit in around your stores schedule. Get in touch with our team to book an onsite visit.

In a world where big brother is watching and cameras capture our every move, the CCTV market is booming. With electrical contractors installing four million systems in the UK since the 1960’s, everything we do is now being recorded. This quantity equates to one camera for every fourteen people, making us one of the most watched nations in the world. This sudden increase in surveillance has led to a technological evolution in all things security related.

The first commercial use of CCTV was by the Metropolitan Police, to help monitor crowds in Trafalgar Square during the Thai Royal Family’s visit to London. More government installed cameras continued to be installed across the decade used for police surveillance. The London Underground is home to over 15000 cameras, with over 400 in King’s Cross station alone. The soon to be opened Elizabeth Line will have two cameras embedded behind each display screen on-board. A recent estimate suggests that there are over half a million cameras in the capital city alone, making up 12.5% of the countries closed circuit television cameras.

CCTV has come a long way from a fuzzy image on a VCR, as technology advances and camera become smaller, the possibilities are endless. From nanny cams to drain inspection the applications for cameras are becoming more mainstream and affordable. Electricians and plumbers are using telescopic tools to diagnose faults in hard to reach places such as wall cavities.

Electrical contractors have two options when it comes to installing a CCTV system; IP and AHD. IP systems are run on CAT 5 or 6 cables, they produce a higher quality image that the traditional AHD method. The biggest bonus of using data  cable is the ability to transmit power, video and data over a single cable, ideal for a fresh installation. An AHD system is run in the more conventional co-ax cable, ideal for if a system is being updated as the existing cable can be reused. Both systems have the capability of remote monitoring with the addition of an internet connection.

Retail Maintenance and electrical contractors

With a variety of different systems on the market, there is a CCTV camera to fit all requirements and budgets; residential and commercial. From bullet to dome cameras can come in all shapes sizes and colours, depending on your electrical contractor. Some bullet cameras are capable of capturing a number plate from a car traveling at 70mph from 15m away, whilst other have infra-red night vision abilities. Whatever your circumstances there is a camera out there for you.

Opulous has installed many temporary camera systems into high end pop up stores. Although department stores such as Selfridges and Harrods have their own systems, it can be a requirement of the brands’ insurance to have an independent system. Our engineers work alongside the brands such as Bulgari; to ensure the CCTV is as discreet as possible, this includes bespoke painting the cameras to match the surrounding display for a pop up store.


If you’ve got a project that requires some extras eyes, get in touch with our team for a site survey.