Imagine a world where your home was as intelligent as your cellphone; where it could inform you that someone was breaking in, or that your garage door was closing when children were in the driveway and you were in the backyard. Imagine seeing real-time footage of your bedroom and garage on your smartphone screen – from anywhere in the world – and being able to control the temperature inside your home so it’s comfortable when you arrive. Imagine being able to go on a relaxing vacation without the added stress of wondering “Did I leave my garage door open? Or my front door unlocked?”
The experts at Mark Snyder Electric and Insteon have already partnered up to begin manufacturing that kind of intelligence for everyday homeowners. They’ve installed countless numbers of home automation systems, and have created specific programs for specific requests; needless to say, they’ve left no stone unturned in the programming world. The Blue Book sat down for a few minutes with Mark Snyder’s Business Development Manager, Kim Adelman, to discuss the benefits of their newest venture in home automation services.
What Is Home Automation?
The term “home automation” refers to the automatic and electronic control of household features, activity, and appliances. Various control systems are utilized, including smartphones, tablets, computers, and video cameras. The system allows for a considerable amount of flexibility; you can automate one room, for instance, or your entire house and even the outside lighting. What makes Insteon so unique is that it employs a dual communications technology: simple, low-cost devices are networked together through both the power line and radio frequencies in the home. All Insteon devices are peers, meaning that any device can transmit, receive, or repeat other messages without requiring a master controller or complex routing software.
Essentially, Insteon’s home automation controller plugs into the router and into the wall; it then sends signals through the wall to each of the paired devices. Mark Snyder programs that device and the phone talks to the device. Customers download the app on their phone or tablet and control each device from there. The more devices each home has, the more stable the entire system is. As for security, they use bank level encryption to keep everything from the cameras to your computers secure. You can even check the logs at the end of each month to monitor all of your device’s activity, and the best part is, you can make the system as simple or as complicated as you want – and the entire setup is more affordable and easier to install than their competitors’.
Why Install It?
Home automation is useful for a number of things that range from personal convenience to theft prevention. Here are a few that Kim highlighted in particular.
1. Security: One of the biggest reasons customers are beginning to install these systems more frequently, says Kim, is security; being able to monitor what’s happening in your home when you’re away is an important and increasingly popular selling point. Home automation allows customers to set up cameras with motion detection and automatic alerts – so you know as soon as something is happening when you’re gone.
2. Energy Saving: The ability to monitor and control light usage is a huge plus in today’s increasingly expensive world. With home automation, customers can turn off lights using their phone and turn them on just before they get home – saving the money that would have gone towards keeping them on the entire time.
3. Pet Monitoring: Ever needed to leave your pet at home when something important came up, but was afraid to because they’d be left alone for a period of time? Home automation allows for camera monitoring through your tablet or smart phone, so you can check up on your pooch from afar.
4. Sprinkler Control: Turn your sprinklers on and off from outside the home based on the weather conditions. The automation system can detect humidity and precipitation amounts on its own, so the whole process is stress-free.
5. Thermostat Control: Turn on the heater or air conditioner before you get home so it’s at the perfect temperature when you arrive; this also saves electricity costs, as the units won’t be running nonstop while you’re away just to maintain a steady temperature.
6. Theft/Lock Breaking Detection: Insteon’s home automation setup has the capability to detect breaking and entering. Set up your system to view certain entry points in your house – or all of them – and view the cameras from your smartphone or tablet.
What Does the Future Hold for Home Automation?
In 2001, Mark Snyder Electric was a forerunner in solar energy and intelligent design; just a few weeks ago, Microsoft Corporation partnered with Insteon and Mark Snyder and will now be selling their components in Microsoft stores across the country. Both companies have taken large strides forward in their industry, and Kim said that the sky is the limit at this point – new products are being developed constantly, and their system continues to be affordable. You don’t have to be the next Bill Gates to afford an intelligent home!
For more information on home automation and how you can get started with your home, visit www.marksnyderelectric.com.
[Images courtesy of insteon.com, marksnyderelectric.com]
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