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...
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...

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...

Does Smart Thermostats Save Me Money?

Smart Thermostats are programmable and that saves you money, but how?   “Isn’t a normal thermostat programmable,” my neighbor asked.  Yes they are.  So how can Smart Thermostats save me money? First of all what is a “Smart” thermostat?  It’s considered “smart” because it is learning your behavior.  It allows you to control the temperature remotely and shows you energy consumption in real-time.  They can even adjust themselves based on ambient conditions like humidity, the door being left open for a long time or your oven heating the house while cooking. Smart Thermostats really take the hassle out of adjusting the temperature and climate in your home in a way that walks the line between comfort and energy efficiency. You can set it and forget it.  It will stop heating or cooling an empty home so that you don’t have to manually change it every single time.  The thermostat adjusts to make sure your as comfortable as possible when your home. Remember, they don’t save you money on their own—they can save you money when you take the time to program them to your lifestyle and actively keep an eye on your energy output.  My husband and I took the time up front when we bought our smart thermostat and it has paid off…we dropped our energy bill by a third! If you have kids like I do who love to mess with the heat, and hate the idea of having to turn the thermostat on and off manually every time you leave the home… including estimating running errand times, it is definitely worth the money you’ll spend to...

What Exactly is a Smart Thermostat?

Regular thermostats–  You can adjust the temperature of your home (basically a control panel for your heating and air conditioning).  A programmable thermostat lets you set the temperature and have the thermostat change the temperature depending on the time of day. Smart thermostats- This thermostat is considered “smart” because it is learning your behavior.  It allows you to control the temperature remotely and shows you energy consumption in real-time.  They can even adjust themselves based on ambient conditions like humidity. An example of a smart thermostat: You can tell the thermostat turn off when you leave for work or to take the kids to school, and then turn back on ten minutes before you get home keeping the home at the perfect temperature you want to come home to.  *Most smart thermostats show you how long it takes to make the change you’ve requested, so you can see how effective your climate control system really is, and it discourages people from turning a thermostat all the way down to try “cooling off the house faster” (which never works). Plus, you can manage many smart thermostats from your phone or a webapp. From the remote interface, you can always see how much you’re spending on heating or cooling costs, tweak the programming to you save money, and see the results immediately. *Information provide by Lifehacker.com “What a smart thermostat does that mine can’t...