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...

Nexus Electric Awarded Best of Houzz 2018

Nexus Electric and Smart Home of Incline Village Awarded Best Of Houzz 2018  Over 40 Million Houzz Monthly Unique Users Nominated us the Best in Design!    Incline Village, NV, January 17, 2018 – Nexus Electric and Smart Home of Incline Village has won “Best Of Design and Customer Service” on Houzz®, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. For two decades Nexus Electric has been the leader in Electrical and home Automation Installation for the Truckee Lake Tahoe area.  Nexus Electric was chosen by the more than 40 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than one million active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals.   The Best Of Houzz is awarded annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 40 million monthly users on Houzz. Customer Service honors are based on several factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2017. Architecture and interior design photographers whose images were most popular are recognized with the Photography award. A “Best Of Houzz 2018” badge will appear on winners’ profiles, as a sign of their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.   “Our vision is to provide our clients electrical and home automation that offers convenience, piece of mind and brings added enjoyment.  Unmatched value followed up by extraordinary customer service and support is our goal,” -Jeremy Brown, President   “The Houzz community selected a phenomenal group of Best of Houzz...
Voice Control- My review on the Amazon Echo Dot

Voice Control- My review on the Amazon Echo Dot

Voice control used to be a novelty in the smart home arena, more of an aid or those with disabilities than the next hot thing. Well times are a changing. In 2016 Echo and Amazon Alexa speech engine have made voice control not only acceptable for the average home but an important part of everyday life. As owners of a smart home business; my husband and I try out new technology before a client wants to buy it and put it in their home. This allows us to live with it and understand the technology’s strengths and weaknesses to give our clients all the information to make an intelligent choice for their home. After using Siri for the last several years I was skeptic about using voice control.  Have you ever asked Siri somethign and she just didn’t understand and finally you realize you’ve wasted way too much time trying to get her to understand you and it’s faster to do it on your own?  Well I have and this is a few times a week situation for me.  I knew that voice control technology would either be a godsend or a nightmare.  So when my husband brought home the Echo dot (AKA Alexa) for us to try out I was not very excited. Now I’ve been living with voice control for the last several months and here are a few of my thoughts. Alexa seems to understand me quite well, in fact I believe that it should tutor Siri on voice recognition. I can connect Alexa to my amazon account and have it order things for me. I...

Voice Control Smart Home Systems

In the past, controlling your smart home boiled down to apps and automation.  You can program a lamp to turn on at sunset with a scene or using your phone, touch screen or remote to turn it off after you’ve climbed into bed. But the newest of technology you can tell your smart home to turn it off with a voice control smart home system. This always makes me think of “Star Trek” where they tell the computer what they want it to do.  But today speech recognition technology is a part of our every day lives, just ask Siri.  There are many new products now available that claim to make that “Star Trek” daydream a reality.  While some are still in the beta startup phase, some are from some pretty familiar companies we all know.  Here is a rundown on some of the newest products that CNET has reviewed.   Voice Control Product Reviews: The Amazon Echo “It started as a smart speaker capable of streaming whatever music you asked it to play, but it quickly became clear that Amazon Echo was capable of a whole lot more. Sync it up with your Belkin WeMo Switches , your Philips Hue Smart LEDs , or your Wink Hub-connected gadgets, and “Alexa,” the cloud-connected AI that powers Amazon Echo, will help you turn things on and off with simple voice commands. There’s also an Amazon Echo channel on IFTTT, the popular online automation service that’ll allow you to connect Alexa with Twitter, Facebook, or a whole host of compatible smart gadgets. Deeper smart home integrations are sure to follow, since...

5 Things to Know About Owning A Smart Home

1: A smart home is not “The Jetsons”, but it’s getting close! I know that when I was a kid I remember watching “The Jetsons” and dreaming of a time where they could have a “smart home.”  Now it’s 2016 and I live in a smart home, one that I can use my phone or remote to turn on and off lights, turn up the heat, heat my teapot, listen to music in any room of the house or throughout the entire house and more.  Now there are plug and play electronics that work with smart homes such as your refrigerator that will text you when you run out of milk.  Unfortunately, we have yet to figure out the robot maid.  But, many of the leading home automation platforms enable you to interact with your home via your smart phone, or your voice. 2: You can finally be two places at once. No longer do you have to worry about missed deliveries, worry if the kids are working on their homework, or spend the day asking yourself “did I remember to close the garage?”. With nothing more than your smart phone, you can take total control of your home and always be right there. Open and close garage doors, unlock front doors, monitor your home’s cameras, and even control some appliances from your phone. 3: Upgrading your home can actually save you money! With the security and monitoring features included in most automation platforms, home owners often can save on insurance. Also, home owners who have home automation save around 20% on their monthly utilities – conserving energy and...