Ho Ho Ho Smart Home! Enjoy your holidays more with your smart home!

Ho Ho Ho Smart Home! Enjoy your holidays more with your smart home!

Customized Holiday Lighting Inside and Out Whether or not you hang holiday lights during the holidays they are everywhere and are symbolic of the holiday season. Use your smart home to sync the lights and music on a smart timer, not only for time of day but also time of year to have them turn on annually. Entertaining during the holiday season? Tap a button to turn on a holiday party scene that controls specific lights to your preferred levels, music begins playing, and even starts the holiday fireplace. Holiday spirit in a matter of seconds! I have a friend who’s home plays “The Night Before Christmas,” audio story at bedtime Christmas eve every year for the kids…how cute is that? Voice Control That Ups The “Wow Factor” The holidays come faster and faster each year and with school, holiday planning and well…life.. the season can be breathtakingly busy! Now use your Echo or Alexa with voice control to turn on your lights, lock your door, or change the thermostat as temperatures drop all while cooking dinner, wrapping presents or writing those holiday cards. You can voice control with any command you design including “Alexa, turn on Holiday” or “Alexa, turn on Cooking” can drop the temperature in the kitchen, brighten lights, and turn on your favorite foodie podcast so you can get to work quickly. Holiday Music That Rings Through the Whole Home One of the best parts of the holiday season is undoubtedly the music. Listening to festive tunes is one of the best ways to get into the spirit, and with your smart home you can...
Top 6 Home Gadgets for your Outdoor BBQ

Top 6 Home Gadgets for your Outdoor BBQ

Today I want to take some time to give a little love to outdoor gadgets.  We often talk about smart technology inside the home but if you’re like me, you spend a lot of time outdoors in the Summer.  Of course, you could drag pricey speakers out to the pool or prop up your favorite flat-screen TV in the garden. However, gadgets and gear made for indoor play should really stay indoors. Otherwise, those burgers won’t be the only thing to get burned. There are many smart home gadgets that can not only bring some life into your party but are also actually made for outdoor use. Lynx SmartGrill Use your app and have the grill turn on or off from your smart phone.  Then you pick a recipe from their database or enter your own recipe and the SmartGrill will turn on the heat and heat it to the perfect temperature based on the degree of cook that you choose.  Then the SmartGrill walks you through the entire cooking process, learning your preferences as it goes.  Available in 30-, 36- and 42-inch sizes.   The best part is you can have the grill shut off remotely if you are entertaining and not able to constantly watch the food.  I am personally very accomplished at burning barbeque.  Lynx MiPow PlayBulb Garden Outdoor Lighting Once the late afternoon hits on the 4th of July I leave the beach or trail and go sit on my deck in my back yard.  I am very lucky to live a 3-minute walk from Incline Beach, so I have all my friends come and have...
Gearing Up for Spring Cleaning with Smart Home Automation

Gearing Up for Spring Cleaning with Smart Home Automation

Written by Guest on April 1, 2015- Control4 Website- “GEARING UP FOR SPRING CLEANING WITH HOME AUTOMATION” Spring cleaning is about more than just clearing out the garage or dusting the nooks and crannies you’ve neglected for the past several months. It’s about starting anew. It’s about re-organizing your home in a way that reflects a fresh outlook on life. It’s your opportunity to take your house (and all its furnishings and features) and align them with your goals. What better way to do some spring cleaning than with smart home automation?? ORGANIZE AND CONSOLIDATE YOUR MEDIA COLLECTION Let’s start spring cleaning in one of the most used rooms in the house – your home theater. Syncing up your media player with your home automation system adds another level of convenience to your entertainment choices. It also consolidates and organizes things in your home theater and throughout your entire house. For example, instead of multiple remotes for your DVD/Blu-ray player, TV, and sound system, control all this and more with a Control4 universal remote; in fact, you can control your entire home automation system, from lighting to security with it as well. And when you put all of your audio/video equipment on the Control4 platform, you can tuck away all of those black boxes into a closet or in the basement so they’re out of sight and out of mind, while still having complete control over it all. Reducing your arsenal of remotes down to one helps cut coffee table clutter, but Control4 can optimize your entertainment system even further. For example, it’s easy to store all your movies...

How to “Smartly” embrace Tech In the Bedroom

Did you know that most people spend a third of their life in the bedroom?  In bed mostly.  Which seems almost unreal when you talk to most adults who feel that they are sleep deprived.  With so much time spent in the bedroom it is still often overlooked as a place for your smart home technology to make it more convenient and comfortable.  Here are some smart ideas you can employ in your bedroom to improve your sleep, make waking up easier and more pleasant, and improve the overall convince of the bedroom.  Make getting up easier and more relaxing.  Even being a morning person not all mornings are easy for me to get out of bed.  If you live in the Tahoe area you know some mornings are freezing.  The most difficult mornings I typically have include sleepless nights and mornings after dinner parties when I may have had wine.  (Don’t judge!) I hit the snooze button, hate on my loud husband as he rises, and wait for my 4 year old to come tap on my eye lids to wake me up.  Ugh!  But for such days we have a “Scene” called Good morning.  When it’s almost time for me to rise the lights gradually turn on before my 6am playlist starts to play.  The music starts gradually and will build to make sure I get my butt out of bed.  The thermostat has adjusted so that I am not freezing in the morning and feel comfortable getting out of bed and starting my day.  The blinds begin to rise about 5 minutes after my playlist starts. ...

Dot Dot Dot??? What are these Control4 Remote buttons for?

Customizable Buttons A question I get a lot is…”What are these buttons with dots at the top of my Control4 remote?” My answer….they are for whatever you want them to be. The dot buttons are customizable. At our house they represent different lights of the most popular area of our house. We can fully control the lights from our Control4 remote by going to list and selecting lighting and choosing the light we want. This is great, but with some things I want a fast button without having to look at a screen. This is what we use our dot buttons for. The single dot represents the light above the couch which will inevitably be turned on and off as we watch TV in the evening but then get up to get a snack or need more light for my daughters play. We have 2 remotes in our home one for the living room and one for the bedroom. The bedroom remote also has customized dots to turn the bathroom and the main bedroom lights off. There is no limit to what you can program for those buttons. But my answer to the initial question is they are fast buttons for anything you want. I’d love to hear from some of our clients or anyone who has Control4 to see what they use them...

The “Smart” Device Market Rises 30% in 2018

The global sales of smart devices are on the rise. The market for these smart products is expected to grow 31% from last year. Wow! That’s a lot of units accounting for almost 100 million units and projected to be 230.5 million by 2022. The entire smart devise market is comprised of smart speakers, video entertainment products, connected lighting, smart thermostats, and home monitoring/security products. In the 2018 sales are we see a dramatic rise of smart speakers with built-in voice assistants such as Google Home or Amazon Echo. Though the 30% increase also consists of many new types of devises, made for both inside and outside of the home. Privacy and security for smart devices remains one of the key inhibitors to adoption. And frankly, if you have read many of my blogs you know that many of these devises are constantly data collecting on you and sending it to some corporation. It sometimes feels like tattling, when you consider that your Fitbit is probably selling your fitness level to your health and life insurance carriers. Some people don’t care if their devices are listening and selling information about them. If you are one of these people buying a smart devise and plugging it in and downloading the app may be your way to go. If security and privacy is a big concern to you, I encourage you to reach out to a smart home professional. I have many blogs on the difference, but I will review quickly here. Smart home professionals like Nexus Electric create an internal server to connect all your devises to. With an internal...
And…SCENE!  What is a smart home scene and what does it do?

And…SCENE! What is a smart home scene and what does it do?

At the door press the “Away” button and the shades close, the lights turn off and the thermostat lowers.  Want to watch a movie?  Press “Movie” and the lights dim, the shades lower and turns the projector and the TV on.  These designed buttons are called Scenes, when one button controls many different items to create a mood or activity.  We can create all kinds of scenes for people and we do it based on their habits and lifestyle.  My award for most innovative scene goes to one of our client’s whose scene is called “Namaste.” The “Namaste” scene turns on the meditation music, a water fountain and an oil diffuser, then dims the lights and turns on faux flickering candles in their reflection space.     The most popular scenes are typically “Away,” “Home,” and “Entertain.”  “Entertain” is the lights, heat, speakers, and anything else you can imagine for entertaining or throwing a party in your home.  As I write this blog it is currently 14 degrees outside.  My personal favorite scene is “Goodnight.”  Ever jump into bed and realized that you left the kitchen light on or wonder “did I remember to lock the door?”  That problem never happens to me anymore because of the “Good night” scene.  This button turns off any remaining lights in my house, locks the doors if not already locked, turns down the thermostat and closes the blinds.  I’m so...
Tiny Smart Home

Tiny Smart Home

Control4 unveils a tiny smart home at the Las Vegas Building Show. Have you seen the show Tiny homes?  My husband and I are always so fascinated by how every inch of the home is designed for functionality.  A 250 square foot home housing one or multiple people must be well thought out and maximized.  Then at the Last Vegas International Builders Show Control4 (one of our very favorite smart home control systems) rolled out a 250 square foot Tiny Smart Home and it peaked my interest.  Not just because Tiny homes are interesting, but I was wondering, could a smart tiny home increase the efficiency?  In other words, how would the home automation benefit a tiny home? The tiny smart home came with a fully-loaded smart home system that includes smart lighting, Wi-Fi connectivity, and smart appliances.  One of the more surprising aspects was how discreet the technology smart system was even in such a tiny home.  There was no compromise to the aesthetic.  This 250 square foot wonder boasted engraved wall keypads, handheld remotes, touch screens, mobile devices, and voice controls.  Smart lighting and shading, multi-room audio with speakers, Control4 Intercom Anywhere, video distribution, temperature control, security, and more.  Here is my tiny smart home analysis:  The smart home features do enhance the efficiency of the home.  If you live in 250 square feet of home, the last thing you need is several remotes and devices using up any of the square footage.  The devices were all built into the home and negated any use of the many remotes.  At most if you choose to have a...

Plug and Play vs. The Smart Home

Plug and Play vs. Smart Home I get a lot of questions about Smart Homes.  If you’re like me you think of the home of the Jetson’s where robots do everything for you.  Well sorry George, software has become king and while robots still exist the savvy home owner wants a digital army helping not a big clunky maid robot maid.  Most of the time the conversations I have break down into an understanding of what a smart home is verses what plug and play means.   Many products offer “Smart” services. So, is a Smart Home a home with many “Smart” devices? NO! The bulk of these “Smart” devices such as smart coffee pots, smart refrigerators’, thermostats, cameras, ect. are handy but they are considered plug and play devices.   What Is a Plug and Play Device? These Smart devices are independent from each other and do not work together.  These types of devices all have separate aps typically by different companies to be controlled on your smart phone or device and do not work with each other or communicate with each other.  These apps are all proprietary and work differently, look different and have different things to learn about each.  I am personally not a fan of having to learn seven different apps and how to maneuver them. The Plug and Play Devices do what they are designed to do.  If you read the instructions of a plug and play device, they will tell you exactly what they do.  You can expect them to do that, and not expect to change any aspect of this, they simply...

The Next Smart Frontier…Smart Irrigation

SKYDROP SMART IRRIGATION   As spring approaches what does every smart home need?  A Smart Lawn!  I love how intelligent water saving apps are getting and today I want to highlight a product that impressed me.  The product is Skydrop Smart Irrigation.    With the watering season just around the corner, the Skydrop Halo Smart Irrigation Controller uses hyper-local weather data to learn how much water a yard needs.  This amount is based on real-time precipitation, humidity, temperature, wind, solar radiation, slope, and soil condition and like a smart thermostat it intelligently adjusts itself. Nexus Electric and Smart Home can add Skydrop’s web interface to any Touch Screen or Smart remote control. This could revolutionize the water consumption not just from a residential perspective but commercial as well.  How many times have you passed by a commercial building and seen a sprinkler broken and flooding the sidewalk.  We have a client who put in a similar system and the system informed us that his water consumption went way up.  The system was broken and was leaking near the house.  Because we were aware of the water usage difference, we were able to find the leak before it caused any damage to the home.  Many of our clients are second home owners and do not live in Lake Tahoe full time, they do their best to remotely watch their home from other states.  I find this exciting not just from a water consumption point of view, but as water becomes more restricted it becomes more expensive.  This system makes dollars and sense! Smart Irrigation systems may be a smart solution to...