How “Smart” can your home actually be?
Do you want a “Smart Home”? It sounds tempting yet also sounds expensive, doesn’t it?
About 5 years ago I started a project in Vancouver where the owner wanted a complete smart home system that included his home theater and lighting system. Back then, the smart home hardware itself cost approximately $30,000 plus all the wiring, programming, and installation which added up to around $80,000! So it was definitely a substantial investment and required a lot of professional knowledge to complete.
With technology growing so quickly, smart homes no longer have to be expensive or hard to use. In fact, the latest Google report indicates that 56% of Canadians now own and use a smart phone on a daily basis. The smart phone platforms are so friendly and that new companies are popping up and using the technology as a springboard to deliver their services to the consumer.
So, I’m back at it, pricing more “Smart Home” options out for my clients. Here’s a few interesting things I’ve discovered.
Let’s start with the entry way to our homes. Weiser Lock Company recently released a Bluetooth deadbolt system which allows iphone users to unlock their doors with a single press on their smart phones. It also comes with a key fob and a spare key so that you can still go home when your iphone battery is drained. This is way better than the good old password entry door locks.
This Wi-Fi controlled thermostat is another gadget that I’ve fallen in love with. You can simply adjust the room temperature with any computer or smart phone by connecting the device to the home Wi-Fi system. It is especially useful for homeowners who are travelling out of town and would like to monitor and control their home temperature in order to protect their valuable electronics and hardwood floors for instance.
Speaking of valuables at home, nothing beats this surveillance camera unit that can be connected thru Wi-Fi. These surveillance units also come with smart phone apps so you can be away from home, in your office, or even travelling, and be able to see if your pets are behaving at home, or if your property is safe.
Let’s talk about the smart home theater control systems. These systems let you control all your home theater components regardless of whether or not they are made by different manufacturers. All you need to do is program into the own software the units which audio components you are running. That’s it! Imagine all of the space you’re going to have on your coffee table where your plethora of remotes used to sit.
Next I’d like to introduce to you the iphone/ipad lighting control system. Again, this system is way more user friendly to install compared to the good old “central unit” smart lighting system. These new systems require less special wiring and can be installed by most licensed electricians. Oh, and they are a fraction of the cost of the old units.
Last but not least, is the smart phone controlled shade and blind system. Have you tried to take a nap on the couch in the afternoon but the blinding sunlight made it impossible? Yes, it happened to me before and I am definitely going to install this in my bedroom when I renovate soon. With a few flicks on the smartphone, the blinds or shades will now work with you so you can continue to enjoy your nap.
Well, that should give you a start to some smart home ideas. If you have an idea or problem that you’d like me to help find a solution to, email me at gary.kwong@FairTradeWorks.biz