The future is here and man isn’t it way better than what I could’ve ever imagined when I was watching the Jetsons as a youngster. I mean we don’t have a robot or flying cars but something that I’ve been looking forward to the most has been installed into my house and I thought that would pretty much do me for in the home technology excitement stakes.
I’ve been after that keyless entry you can get with your car in my house for ages, little did I know it was as easy as changing the lock.
There are a few keyless entry locks you can get on the market that you can purchase from different suppliers and even from the hardware store, some having finger print, RFID and keypad accessibility, with the one I have also being programmed into a whole system which frankly leaves the excitement I had for keyless home entry in the shade.
I literally had no idea how cool a retro fit home automation system would be from the point of view of adding functionality and ease to my home life but now with all the systems installed the benefits are plentiful.
Firstly the Nero system that’s been set up linking all of the Clipsal Saturn Zen switches with all of the new LED downlights, the Sonos sound system and my home security means that I have the ability to control the light levels in every room, from my laptop, tablet or phone manually by simply moving a slide bar left or right. That sounds great as and end point but it’s just the beginning.
You see instead of basically just transferring the manual controls you have on a switch to your phone you can also group together these functions into scenes that tell your home to do specific things when you want to use your home in different ways.
Say for example you wake up in the morning and you go about your daily routine. You get up, switch on your lights in the bathroom, turn on your favourite radio station or playlist, make your way to the kitchen and get ready for your day. All of those things, rather than being separate steps you need to carry out, can be bundled together as a “wake up scene” that allows you to press one play button and change the entire mood and function of your home’s sounds and lights.
If you want to create a different mood for a dinner party, you create a different scene. Coming home from work and you want your house to receive you in a particular way, by turning on your entrance lights, interior lights and even playing music to get you unwound after your day, yep that’s as simple as creating another scene. The cool thing too with a “welcome home” type of scenario is that you can set up a “Geo Fence” around your house so that the house knows that you’ve come home, because you have your phone in your pocket, and can then carry out that whole sequence for you, without you lifting a finger.
The cool stuff doesn’t stop there though. Oh no.
See, then there’s the other cool app that compliments the Nero app called Push. Push basically is a simplified interface that points to the functionality of Nero but with a really neat graphic interface. You basically look at your laptop/tablet/phone and press a button that has an “apple tv” icon for example and your whole “watch tv” scene will run, not just controlling lighting but also turning on your TV, Apple TV, Sound System and turning off any previous devices and settings you had from the scene you were enjoying prior. An added bonus of handing over the controls of your AV system to Push is that you can change channels and volume, choose TV channels and drive menu items in Apple TV, Netflix, Stan or whatever digital service you use, which means you do away with the need to run 6 different remote controls, the push system running on wifi not line of sight infrared to boot.
Mind blowing stuff, and this is all retro fit on an existing home, running no new data cables between switches or devices, with a control box no bigger than an apple tv and using the tech power of the app on your laptop/tablet/phone to run what used to require a full cupboard of tech.
And if that wasn’t mind blowing enough, you introduce a little gal called Alexa. Alexa is an Amazon echo and you can program her to do everything that push does, but with a simple voice command, the real benefit of this becomes clear when you have lights on all over your home, several different playlists playing on separate sonos devices in different areas of your home and you’re running late. All you need to do is say “Alexa, tell home goodbye” and every single one of the devices and lights that you’ve been enjoying switches off, one by one, leaving the only thing you need to do being to rush out the door. And if, in your rush, you forgot to lock your front door you can do that on the fly by simply checking in with Nero and sliding a button that gives you a satisfying red dot that says your house is locked up safe and sound. Now how cool is that.