Improvement Upon Improvement

Bethesda Sytems is changing…for the better of course. With over 10 years of providing services in the area, we have grown and expanded to offer more than just audio/video and lighting control systems for our clients. Our services now include, security cameras with web access, wired and wireless network solutions, residential and commercial LED lighting installation in both new and existing homes and businesses, Nest thermostats and smoke detectors. 


To help us be more responsive and better equipped to provide solutions, we have created and filled the following positions:

·        Customer Care Coordinator

·        Sales Coordinator

·        Internal Salesperson

·        Financial Controller

Our general manager, Mark Pettis sat down to discuss all of the new positions and how we are improving to serve you better.

How are we improving our service and sales departments? 

These new positions along with our Network Engineer, System Designer, Master Electrician, LED lighting specialist, audio video technicians, and programmers allow us to be experts in the always changing world of electronics integration.

Karen Booker is our Client Care Coordinator and is responsible for all scheduling of services,project installations and LED lighting visits. She is also the coordinator for all of the Nest product installations and service visits.
Laura Cromer is our Sales Coordinator and is responsible for communicating with new clients. She is also the point of contact and source of status updates for ongoing work. This gives our clients a dedicated point of contact if they should have any questions about their ongoing installations.
Jim O’Brien is our Internal Salesperson and is responsible, along with Laura, for contacting all of our clients and potential clients quickly and asking about the new projects. He also travels to our client’s residence, and performs assessments prior to submitting proposal to make sure our proposal are good faith estimates and not guesses.
Christina McGrath is our Financial Controller and is responsible for keeping our financial house in order by coordinating the entire accounting process, which includes accounts receivable, payable and vendor relationships.

What can customers expect from us with these new changes?/How is our service team ready to assist? 

New customers will find the process of engaging Bethesda Systems simple and straight forward. Their inquiries will be answered quickly and professionally.  Service requests are being analyzed and scheduled as quickly as possible. Follow up for service visits are being done daily and billing for service work is being completed accurately and quickly. Our existing customers will find our new process, refreshing, easy to use, and more responsive. 

We are excited about being able to provide the quality of products and service our clients expect along with meeting the new and ever changing needs of our existing and new customers. Whether a client needs a system for their entire home or just one room, Bethesda Systems is the one and only call they need to make.

“ECO!” Made Simple


Soon, you’ll be seeing a new logo around the area: the Bethesda Systems mark—but with a leaf.

Over the past couple of years, co-founder Jonathan Stovall had a growing interest in the green technology market.

Throughout the past year, Bethesda Systems had several green accomplishments under its belt.

At the end of summer 2012, a popular Bethesda sports bar realized huge reductions in energy usage, and maintenance, with an LED retrofit performed by Bethesda Systems.

Before the retrofit, the bar went through 10–15 bulbs per week, and their lights were on for at least 14 hours per day. Also, half of their old lights would not dim due to overheating issues on the circuit.

Management of the sports bar now deals with less maintenance, a greener business, and lower energy costs due to PEPCO utility rebates Bethesda Systems helped the bar become eligible for.

On October 31, and December 28 respectively, Bethesda Systems received news of its official acceptance in becoming a PEPCO Trade Ally and a Delmarva Power Trade Ally.

As trade allies, Bethesda Systems is able to assist PEPCO and Delmarva Power customers with increasing awareness of, and meeting their energy efficiency goals. In addition, as a trade ally, Bethesda systems acts as an advisor to these utilities’ customers, instructing and applying ways customers can take advantage of the energy saving incentives the utilities offer.

Now, with another, eco-friendly logo, Bethesda Systems will be able to promote its commitment to a greener environment.

By the start of the New Year, Bethesda Systems has already built new relationships with restaurants and other commercial business throughout Montgomery County.

Bethesda Systems plans on spreading the word on energy-efficiency in residences, offices, retail establishments, strip-malls, condominiums, parking garages and more.

With its commitment to always provide the highest quality and most cutting-edge consumer electronics available, Bethesda Systems wants to ensure that their customers will also be able to integrate the latest green tech products, without having to compromise their lifestyles while doing so.

Bethesda Systems to Sell High-Quality, Energy-Efficient Lighting

With new regulations phasing out incandescent light bulbs across the United States, Jonathan Stovall, co-founder of Bethesda Systems, felt it would best to begin serving both current and future clients with the highest quality and most energy efficient lighting products available.

The high-quality lighting solution Bethesda Systems trusts is that of LEDs, and at the start of the New Year, Bethesda Systems officially added high-quality, energy efficient lighting products to their inventory.

Bethesda Systems will now be able to more easily perform LED retrofits for residences and commercial properties throughout the Washington, D.C. area, in addition to their high-quality integration services.

LED stands for light-emitting diode. These are small light sources that work when the movements of electrons illuminate semiconductor material. LED light bulbs last 50,000 hours on average, whereas incandescent bulbs last around 1,000 hours, and CFL bulbs last around 8,000 hours.

In addition to this, LEDs also produce better quality light. In the past, there was skepticism in regards to LED performance: whether it could dim, and what color light it gave off. While CFLs seem to be the easy go-to option for purchasing more efficient lighting, CFLs lack the quality LEDs have.

In recent years, LED manufacturers have made immense progress in improving the LED to make it not only a good incandescent alternative, but also a competitive choice.

From 2009 to 2010, the LED market doubled from $5.6 billion to $10.8 billion—a 93% growth rate. By 2010, general-purpose LED lights surpassed 100 lumens per watt.

In regards to color quality, LEDs are able to maintain the warm light effect.

With advances in product quality like the WarmDim technology from lighting brand Juno, the WarmDim lighting technology, the light turns yellow as it is dimmed.

LEDs are also 100% dimmable. LED bulbs have full range capability, whereas CFL bulb range capability is limited. CFLs tend to drop out by the time the dimmer reaches 20% of light—meaning it shuts off when it isn’t supposed to.

Bethesda Systems’ first commercial LED lighting retrofit took place this past summer of 2012. The resulting work reduced the business lighting energy consumption over 80%. No longer are their lights burning out and based on current usage, but their lighting maintenance costs have been eliminated for the next 8 years.

Gary Hefner, the project leader of the bar retrofit explained, “After the retrofit, there was a major heating difference. No more halogen or incandescent bulbs were being used, allowing the bar to no longer run their air-conditioning as hard, thus allowing them to save additional energy.”



Bethesda Systems Donates State of the Art Media System

On February 16, members of the Bethesda Green community enjoyed a TEDx Manhattan viewing event, “Changing the Way We Eat.”

Hosted at Bethesda Green on Cordell Avenue of Downtown Bethesda, attendees were able to view the live webcast of the event in Manhattan in-house at Bethesda Green’s newly upgraded conference room, a donation from Bethesda Systems.

Bethesda Systems, an on-going sponsor of Bethesda Green, donated a state-of-the-art conference room media system, digital signage system for the lobby, and a multimedia display for the learning center to the Bethesda Green office.

Bethesda Green is a local non-profit organization based in Bethesda, Md. With the support of major corporations, local business, and individuals throughout the community, Bethesda Green is able to communicate and promote Bethesda as a model for greener economic growth and more sustainable practices.

Jonathan Stovall, co-founder of Bethesda Systems, knows that supporting the smaller businesses and entrepreneurs will promote more sustainable living and business practices. He feels that organizations like Bethesda Green make it much easier for startups to thrive in their respective communities.

“The new system has given us a lot of possibilities,” said Dave Feldman, Executive Director of Bethesda Green. “Each area has its own distinct value.”

Before, Feldman said, the organization only had a desktop LCD projector along with two speakers, which were independent from the projector system.

Bethesda Systems integrated a projector and projection screen for their conference room. For their lobby, Bethesda Systems added a 55-inch LCD to Bethesda Green’s new Learning Center. The Learning Center will be a place for Bethesda Green to engage the community with videos on recent projects and innovations from all throughout the area.

The LCD also has the ability to mirror videos being shown in the conference room to the lobby—an ideal application when the conference room gets too full, said Nate Black, systems designer.

In addition to this, Bethesda Systems incorporated a 42-inch display for digital signage, which will be able to greet visitors. The screen is able to display any image or video that Bethesda Green programs into the player.

“We’re able to present photos on a daily basis, and play films in the lobby with a touch of a button,” Feldman said.

The solution for controlling the newly added technology to Bethesda Green lies within a Savant iPad control system, which allows for one-touch control over the entire system, Black said.

Within the Savant-powered conference room, Bethesda Green has a cable box, Blu-ray player, Mac Mini (equipped with a wireless keyboard and mouse), and Apple TV. The upgraded conference room is also HDMI or VGA cable ready, if presenters use their own laptops for presentations in the room.

“The conference room lacked integration,” Feldman said. “Now, it’s a lot nicer. It’s cleaner—better.”

Feldman is excited to provide the Bethesda Green incubator companies with a high-end facility to use.

“We love it—it’s awesome!” said Feldman. “It’s exactly what we’re looking for. From service and integration, to support and sponsorship, we’re so grateful for what Bethesda Systems has done for us.”

Bethesda Systems becomes Delmarva Power Trade Ally

BETHESDA, Md.–On December 28, Bethesda Systems received news of its official acceptance in becoming a Delmarva Power Maryland Service Territory Trade Ally.

A Delmarva Power trade ally is a technical partner to Maryland’s Eastern Shore Delmarva Power service territory. As a trade ally, Bethesda Systems will be able to assist Delmarva customers with increasing awareness of, and meeting their energy efficiency goals. In addition, as a trade ally, Bethesda systems acts as an advisor to Maryland Delmarva Power customers and instructs and applies ways customers can take advantage of the energy saving incentives Delmarva Power offers.

Catering to both residential and commercial projects, Bethesda Systems offers a multitude of different products and services to help customers throughout Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia cut down on energy loads and save on energy bills.

The integrators are well-versed in energy-saving practices that involve energy automation systems, installing LED lighting, and offering energy storage products.

Bethesda Systems Upgrades Children’s Inn at NIH

The Children’s Inn at NIH has an all-purpose room for their residents, where the children can watch movies and hang out. In addition, this room serves as a conference room for board meetings. Earlier this summer, the Inn reached out to us seeking a much-needed renovation of this room.

Reaching Out

Bethesda Systems was happy to help. We provided an all-in-one solution, featuring a new projector and a new server for the room. In addition, we transformed each child’s room into smart media room, where they are now able to stream movies, and use the internet right from their own televisions. With several donations set up by Bethesda Systems, the Children’s Inn paid less than half of what the initial renovation costs were.

Andy Cabrera, Bethesda Systems: “The room looked like a school cafeteria before. It was plain, and not livable. When we took on the project, we wanted to create a warmer atmosphere where these kids can really relax on a Friday night.”


We were able to partner up with Runco, a home theater projector manufacturer, and Kaleidescape, another business focused on home entertainment, to provide the Children’s Inn with free new products. Runco donated an LS 7 projector, and Kaleidescape donated a Cinema One movie server.

With the Cinema One movie server, the Children’s Inn was able to upload and store over 25 DVDs for children to watch on the theater system, or in their own rooms. Also featured in the all-purpose room is Apple TV.

In addition, Cuddlebag also donated four of their products to the Children’s Inn too!

Smart Media Rooms

In each room, we incorporated the Google TV interface using Verizon FiOS. Samsung flat panels were installed as well, on an evo wall system.


How A Small Home Audio System Can Make Such a Big Difference

Home Theater Audio Visual by Bethesda Systems – A Testimonial

NFL Football in surround sound. Movie theater quality surround sound from a home theater system. It was that simple…that’s what our customer, John Leary in Chevy Chase, MD wanted to add to his home theater experience.

We had a tight budget to work with but knew we could find just the solution John was looking for. John’s existing audio system was fairly advanced; after doing a quick survey of his environment, we determined that with just a few configuration changes and minimal component enhancements that we could really make his sound system sing. We started by adding some “audio color” to his Integra DTR 40.2 receiver by adding an REL T-5 Sub-woofer to bring out the lower Hz frequencies that have become more prevalent in blue-ray formatted DVD’s. The power of the REL-5 also allows the room to become “Audio Pressurized” so every crash, explosion and thump is not only heard, but distinctly felt. This is also enhances to some of those lagging lower bit-rate MP3’s that are constantly streaming across most web-based audio transmissions. YouTube, Pandora Radio, Slacker and other popular media outlets typically run higher end audio/video transmissions but other sources like news channels, corporate webcasts or smaller video venues typically run varying bit rate transmissions.  This poorly encoded media transmission will then produce an increasingly weaker sound output over a system that has been poorly configured, but the REL-5 fixes that.

As a point of reference, the chart below covers typical bitrates and their outlets:

As a point of reference, the chart below covers typical bitrates and their outlets:

Sound Quality Table

To meet John’s need, after adding the REL T-5 Sub-woofer, we complimented the low frequency response gain / per Hz with some hi-output, mid range PSB Imagine Bookshelf Speakers.  We then took the complexity of our configuration and made it simple to operate with the Sonos controller that we set up for his Family room and Outdoor zones.  The result — an audio experience that is unmatched. Read below:

Great to hear from you!
There is not a single night that I sit down to watch TV that I am not struck by how incredible the experience is compared to what I had previously. Liz and I watched two football games on Sunday and it’s really like being there.
When we both have a minute, I will bring my iPad home and we can play with the music system.
I am telling everyone I know about the system!
Stay in touch.

Next up on our list for John: Setting up his iPad to control some devices. Similar to what we did with the IC realtime Camera system set-up and configuration.

Customer Service 2: Step by Step Instructions

Our lead tech does it again. Here is a step by step walkthrough on setting up the iPhone and/or iPad app for IC Realtime Camera Systems. The images and icons appeared in the original e-mail just as you see it below. Talk about clear and easy communication, right?

Dear Ms. Smith,

1. Make sure you have good 3G service or are connected to a network.
2. Go to the App  Store icon on the phone
3. Select the SEARCH option from the bottom menu choices.
4. In the search field at the top, type in “ICRSS” and select SEARCH from the bottom.
5. You should have one option, the IC Realtime LLC App for $29.99



6. Select that option, you will be prompted for your iTunes information to make the purchase. If this is your first purchase on this device you may have to verify your credit card information as well.

7. Once approved the app will begin to download on your device.

8. After download is complete, launch the app by selecting it from the face of your device.

9. From the main screen select the set up option





10. Select DEVICE LIST, EDIT and then ADD.

11. Fill in the fields as follows:

Name: I have called this location Norton, this can be named anything you want.
Address: Needs to be exactly as shown: XXXXXXXXXX
Port: Needs to be exactly as shown: XXXXXX
User Name: XXXXX
Password: XXXXX
Channels: This is automatically filled in

12. Installation is complete. Select DONE option and return to Device List. Make sure to select the new device you just added, go back to SETTINGS, select LIST VIEW.

13. Select anyone of the boxes and then a corresponding number from below. Once you have added a number to each box select the third option from the left at the bottom, the squares with the triangle (play).








14. Each screen will say Connected and the cameras will populate on the screen.

***Also if you select the set up option from the bottom choices (6th from the left) there is a HELP and ABOUT option that are pretty good to answer some of the questions regarding the icons.

Customer Service is Communication (and vice versa)

I don’t know about you but my favorite kind of customer service is the kind that comes from a real live person. Whether it’s over the phone or through e-mail, when a person you know and trust is on the other end of that communication, well, it just makes everyone happier.

We know that technology is one of the most confusing aspects of home upgrades and services. Bethesda Systems prides itself on its great reputation of high quality and personal service. Below is just one recent example of an e-mail from our lead technician to a customer following a recent installation of a Squeezebox music system by Logitech — which allows you to stream music directly from your computer to a Squeezbox anywhere in your home. The message is clear, informative, and friendly:

Hi Joe,

I just wanted to review the work I did yesterday and also give you some helpful tips regarding the Squeezebox™ and iTunes™.  I moved the Squeezebox server, the software that communicates with the Squeeze Touch, from the Mac Mini in the equipment rack to your office Mac.  Here is a little more information on what the server does and what it can do:

Having the server software running on computer will make it easier for you to sync your iTunes music to the Savant system.  As we discussed, in order for you to access your music, just like before,  you will need to make sure your office computer is on and both the Squeeze server and iTunes are running.  The server is set up to automatically start up every time your computer boots but something to keep in mind if you are experiencing some issues.

The server is set up to automatically check your iTunes account for any changes and then update the information on the Squeeze Touch.  Here is some more information on the squeeze server:

With regards to the Verizon cable box,  we are good to go for a Wednesday morning install. At the same time, we will install the fans for the equipment closet and bring down a new iPad dock for the master bathroom.

I hope this was helpful,  please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.