You hear the phrase around a lot lately-Home Automation. It’s the next ‘big thing’ and people are really excited about it…but you might be left wondering “Exactly what is Home Automation, anyway?”
Home Automation is exactly what it sounds like-automating the home so that you can control various pieces of your home electronics with your smart phone or laptop. On the surface, it’s a fairly simple idea-you connect to various Automation devices through the internet and activate them with simple commands. Sounds easy, right?
Well, it actually is that easy.
In today’s Home Automation world, there are so many choices and uses for Home Automation products that you might not have ever considered. Here are just a few ideas.
Probably everyone’s heard of the plug-in; it’s been around for awhile. It’s a very simple little tool that you plug into any outlet, and then plug your lamp (for example) into the plug-in. Using your phone, you can turn that plug on and off, controlling the lamp (or anything else plugged into it) on and off. It’s a simple, effective and inexpensive way to get direct control over individual items.
However, there are other options out there as well. Z-Wave light switches allow you to control the entire room full of lamps. Dimmer modules allow you to actually control your dimmer lamp’s light output. And best of all is the Z-wave light bulb, an actual light bulb that screws into any normal lamp and turns it into a controllable light with no added wires, controls or fuss. The light bulb is dim-able up to 100 levels with your smartphone and has an estimated lifespan of 22 years (at app. 3/hours a day.)
Ever forget to close your garage door on the way out? Did you have to go back and close it? Or did you just try not to think about it and hoped that no-one walked into your garage and ‘helped themselves’ to your tools?
Well, now you can forget those worries entirely. With the Garage Door Controller, you can not only check to make sure you did remember…and if you didn’t, you can easily close that garage door right from your smart phone or laptop.
Wasting money is a terrible thing. Heating or cooling your empty house to a comfortable level is a waste of money when no one’s home to enjoy it, right? But coming home to a cold house on a winter’s day-or a hot house on a summer’s day-is no fun. Here’s where the Z-Wave thermostat comes into play. Using your smart phone or tablet, you can easily monitor and adjust the temperature of your home.
Have you ever gone out of town? Did you have to have someone come into your home while you were gone-maybe to feed the pets, check the mail, or water your plants? You had to give them a key to your home, and maybe a code to your security system. Then you had to make sure you got the key back and changed the code after, right?
With Z-Wave locks, that’s all a thing of the past. Control your door with your smart phone or tablet easily no matter where you are. Let the plant sitter in and lock it after she leaves. Give a technician temporary access to your home. Make sure your kids remembered to lock the door when they left. And getting locked out? As long as you have your smart phone on you, you never have to worry about it again.
There’s a wide range of options out there in Z-Wave locks, from simple deadbolts to high-tech keypads in a variety of finishes. We can help you find just the lock that will suit your needs and your aesthetic designs.
There’s a lot of weird, interesting and thoughtful ways you can combine a Z-Wave controller with other objects to produce things you might never have even considered. Here are just a few that we’ve heard, read or seen in our continuing Z-Wave research.
Wouldn’t it be neat to control your curtains with your smart phone? The combination of a mechanical curtain motor and a Z-Wave curtain motor communicator can allow you to open and close your curtains with your smart phone, even if you’re away from home.
Feeding your Pet
Everyone who has pets has probably seen the latest gadgets for beloved pets left behind all day. They’re all the rage. An easy way to get into the fad-and to make sure your precious dog doesn’t get hungry while you’re at work-involves a motorized feeding machine and a Z-wave plug. A quick tap of your smart phone and viola-food for the pets.
Watering your plants
We found one ingenious man’s idea to water his plants while he was on vacation using a water pump, a Z-wave plug, and a lot of tubes. By turning the plug on, the pump started and he could watch the plants being watered on the camera that he sat up specifically for that purpose. That’s being pretty dedicated to your plants, isn’t it?
Turning off your water main
This one isn’t weird, but it’s pretty new and fairly expensive. There’s a device that you have a professional (!) attach to your water main in your house. The control is connected to a sensor that monitors water levels in the atmosphere. In the event that the unit senses a flood, it will send an alert through the control to you-and you can then use the control to actually shut off the water, preventing floods and the often expensive, painful damage that can be associated with flooding.
We would suggest combining this with a camera, so you can check the area for signs of flooding before shutting off your water main in the event that there’s other people in the house-someone in the shower would not be amused, for example-but this device can save you thousands of dollars in damages and replacement items.
I’m sure there are plenty of other examples out there. The limits of what you can control are really only set by your own imagination. If you get an idea, let us help you make it a reality. We’d love to see what you can come up with!