A Smart Home Education

By May 11, 2015 Uncategorised No Comments

I’ve spoken to enough people to know that most people really don’t understand what smart home automation is and how it can really benefit them. Mass marketing tells us that it’s the latest and greatest, and that you can now control your thermostat from your smart phone. Or raise the blinds from your laptop but at the end of the day, who really cares about that?


The questions should revolve around what is meaningful for you in your actual everyday life. Of course I cannot cover all the bases but let me offer a few examples that might help you to discover what I refer to as the true magic of Smart Home Automation.



You listen to it constantly. Now you can stream it from your phone, the internet, your computer…to any room in your house that you want, even the deck or patio.

But your spouse or kids like music too…but they like different music…no problem. You can stream your music to one room while they stream their music to another. In fact if you add a programmable door lock to your system, when you come home your music can start playing as you walk in the door.



Nothing beats sports on a large screen TV or movies with surround sound. We can tie all that together with your smart home system so that you can enjoy it in any room. Crowded counter tops in your kitchen? We can mount a TV right into your backsplash so you never miss the game, or a great recipe and the best part is you don’t sacrifice your counter space and it looks better than a big bracket on the wall of your kitchen. Add a doorbell to your system and you can customize your ring tone. Then when the doorbell rings, your TV pauses and you can see who is at the door on your security camera. Return to your program or let them in right from your remote control!



If your kids are young, nothing is worse than being woken up on a Saturday morning at 5:30 am because they cannot figure out how to adjust the 3 remote controls you have so that they can watch their favorite show on Treehouse. We tie all that together with a simple wall button. The kids simply push the button and the lights adjust and their show comes on. Simple enough for a 3 year old and you get to sleep in!

But wait, you have teenagers?! You are out, they should be home, you want to know they are safe but you don’t want to be that parent that is constantly texting them asking where they are. With a door lock as part of your system, you can get a text alert when they punch in their code. Being in the know offers peace of mind. Now if the door opens 17 times in the next 10 minutes, I’m guessing there may be a party going on in your absence. Now you can call your neighbor and have them discretely check on the house to ensure everything is OK while you are out enjoying yourself because you are on top of the situation.



Read any design magazine and you’ll find that lighting a room is incredibly important to the way a room looks and feels. It’s about mood, ambiance, and even energy savings. A smart home system can be programed with different settings that not only change the lighting, it will tie in with the time of day and time of year. Set your kitchen lighting for cooking different than eating, have a mood setting for your dining room. Have your blinds open and close to block or let in light depending on the time of day, and have that automatically change in the winter months when the days get shorter. Override the settings with the touch of a button if things change. Have your lights dim up to save on energy and to go easier on your eyes. It’s easy, it can all be integrated and it makes our daily experience more pleasurable.



We all want to protect our family and our property. That’s why we have alarm systems and smoke detectors and CO detectors. In the event of a fire, a basic smoke detector will sound and if tied into your alarm system, it will alert the monitoring station who will then alert 9-1-1. A smart home system can take this a step further.

In the event of a fire, we can program your system to shut down the furnace fan. This is essential in order to stop the flow of air, which will ultimately feed and spread the fire causing more damage than necessary. We can also program your outdoor lights to flash on and off so that the Fire Department or EMS trucks have an easier time identifying which house is in crisis…instead of trying to locate the number on the house.



You have a nanny, a house cleaner, a nurse or a handyman. They can each have a door code that let’s them in and alerts you when they come and go. Security cameras will allow you to see what they are up to while in your house if you choose. But the nice thing is that you can be alerted to when they leave, then if they forgot to lock up your house, you can do that remotely from your phone. This can apply to a garage door as well. Now you are locked up, secure and from far away.



Going to the cottage is fantastic. But when you arrive to a dark, cold, empty place in the winter, it takes a while to set up and settle in. After all that driving, wouldn’t it be nice to activate a program as you leave the city that will welcome you? Imagine arriving to a well-lit driveway and entranceway. The temperature is perfect, the blinds are adjusted to whatever is appropriate for that time of day, the gas fireplace is roaring and your favorite music is playing. All you have to do now is pop open a bottle of wine and relax.



It’s nice to have flood detection so that you know if there is water accumulating in your basement from a broken pipe. But knowing is only half the battle. If you are far away and in the know…that only creates anxiety. If you have an automated shut off valve integrated to your system, then when the flood detectors find water on the floor, the valve shuts off your main water intake so that you stop the problem before it spreads and causes major damage. Knowing you are protected is a great feeling.


There is so much more to this and I can go on for a while but I wanted to give you a picture of what can be done with a properly integrated smart home system. You can spend as much or as little as you like on a system but it should be easy to use and hidden out of sight (the cheap off the shelf systems sold at big box stores are often clunky, unattractive an difficult to expand). Your system should easily grow with your needs and be easy to program so that you are able to change your settings yourself. There are many brands on the market, some are compatible, others are not. Retrofitting a home is just as easy as wiring a new build in many cases. If you are not sure what you need, ask a professional and have a system designed specifically for your lifestyle.


Smart Home Guru is a division of Home Guru Inc.



Leave a Reply