4 days at the Cottage Life Show 2018

It was a beautiful weekend for the Spring Cottage Life Show.  Tens of thousands of people attended.  Thousands of people dropped by the booth to learn about home automation and how we can help keep track of their home or cottage.

Our show special will continue for a little while, especially if you picked up our card with the special on it.  Our goal is to help mitigate damage to your home or cottage while you are away.  Prevention is key, and we know just what you need.

Here’s a few more photos from the show, if you missed them on Facebook and Instagram:

 

 

Want to know where to find us next?

We’ll be at the 40th Peterborough Home, Country and Cottage Show April 6th, 7th and 8th, at the Evinrude Centre.

Protecting Your Property

Your home is one of your biggest assets. Why not spend a little to protect it from certain disasters that are easily preventable. There are several SMART monitoring devices that can aid you in preventing huge disasters, and save you tens of thousands of dollars.

Water Sensor: This little sensor can be placed inside the sump pit or along the floor to detect water rising in the pit or water on a basement floor. An alert will be sent to your phone, tablet or computer via SMS or email. You will know instantly of any problems, and be able to address them immediately which will reduce your costs of fixing the issue.

Propane Sensor: Here is a great sensor! If your house or cottage or business is heated by propane, you never have to worry about running out of propane again. We all know that running out of heat in the middle of winter can cause our pipes to burst and create a huge mess to clean up, along with a massive renovation bill. Give yourself peace of mind with a monitoring device that will tell you exactly how much propane is left in your tanks, in real-time.

Thermostat: A SMART thermostat is a fantastic way to keep track of the heating and cooling of a building. Not only can you set it and forget it, but it can send you updates and comparisons of how much fuel you are using and how long the furnace or air conditioner is working to reach the desired temperature. It will also alert you to extreme temperature drops in the building, indicating a potential problem with the furnace.

These are three of our top products available for protecting your asset. The minimal cost is certainly worth any potential disaster that could arise from not monitoring your property. Add to the fact that you can check these devices on your phone, means you can be anywhere in the world and be protecting your home.

How a smart home can solve everyday problems…

 

A smart home can help ease your worries and provide you peace of mind. When life gets too busy to remember the mundane things like locking the front door, turning the lights off or adjusting the temperature, a smart home is there to help.

You’re rushing around in the morning, trying to get the kids organized and fed. You run out the door with just moments to spare. Driving to work the thought hits you – “did I lock the front door?” Don’t let these nagging thoughts ruin you day. Simply use a smart lock that allows you to lock your door remotely with a swipe on your smartphone.

In the morning’s mad rush, you may also be thinking of all the lights that were left on. With the smart switches placed in key high traffic areas, such as the kitchen or bathrooms, you can check to see if the lights are on, and then easily turn them off, saving on your electricity bill.

If you’re headed on vacation, or away for the weekend, you can keep track of what is happening at home with a self-monitored security system. Install a security camera that can be monitored from your mobile phone, window and door sensors, as well as motion sensors, all providing alerts directly to your smart device.

Also while you’re away, you’ll want to lower the temperature of your home, however you can also keep an eye on the temperature to make sure nothing happens to the furnace with the smart thermostat, preventing frozen pipes upon your return.

And how about those pipes? Wouldn’t it be great to catch a broken pipe or flood before too much damage occurs? Water sensors are a great addition in a home to provide peace of mind, especially when the sensor can turn off the main water intake.

modern interior in Insurance case

Echo Show and Echo Spot

While Canadians are just beginning to pre-order the voice activated Amazon Echo and Echo Dot, Amazon has newer products out in other countries, namely the Echo Show and Echo Spot.

Now Alexa can show you things.  

You will be able to call anyone hands-free, or make video calls to family and friends.  See music lyrics, security cameras, photos, weather forecasts, to-do and shopping lists, browse and listen to audiobooks.

Ask Alexa to show you the front door or monitor the baby’s room with compatible cameras from Amazon and others. Turn on lights or the TV, set thermostats, and more with compatible smart home devices.  Plus, control your garage doors, sprinklers, and more.  Cost for the show is $230.00 US NOT available for deliver in Canada.

The Echo Spot, in black or white, is expected to be released by the end of this month though not available in time for Christmas.

This much smaller, cheaper version of the Echo Show is designed to fit anywhere in your home. The Echo Spot does pretty much everything the Show does, but since it is priced at $130.00 US, can be put in several rooms around the house, so you can have voice activation wherever you are. For example, add to your to-do list from anywhere in your home.

Canadians will have to make due with our current voice activation Echos, the Dot, Plus or regular version for awhile, due for release this week.  An interesting note, they are only available in English, currently.

What is a smart home?

 

I get asked all the time, “what is a smart home? Why should i automate my home? And what is the cost?”

Simply put, a smart home is about connectivity. Several devices throughout the house are connected and controlled from a central device, ie.a smartphone, tablet or computer. Climate control(thermostats) lights, locks, and different types of cameras, monitors and sensors can all be added to a home automation system and controlled from anywhere in the house or, even better, from afar.
Why should I automate my home?

Mainly for convenience, but also for saving money and having piece of mind. It’s convenient to not carry keys to get into the house, and you can allow workers into your home with you not being there, by providing them a code, or you unlocking the door from anywhere in the world, for example.

It’s money saving by being able to turn the lights off that the kids left on, even when you are away from home, just by using the app on your phone. Having the ability to adjust the thermostat, and perhaps locking the kids out of adjusting it, could save hundreds of dollars a year.

Using cameras, and sensors can give you piece of mind by being able to monitor what is happening in and around your home, when you are away, and allow you to react more quickly by being alerted to a problem early. Not only can cameras be used to detect a potential security issue, but they can show you who is at your front door, and allow you to speak to this person, from within the house, the backyard or elsewhere. Sensors can be used to detect a leak or a flood and be attended to quickly before there is too much damage, or they can be used to prevent frozen pipes, which could be devastating if the homeowner is unaware.
What is the cost?

That’s difficult to answer. Each home is unique, each homeowner has different needs or wants and problems they want solved. Some devices can be DIY if you are handy. However, most people don’t have any idea where to start, are intimidated by new technology, and require expert advice on the products available, and their placement, along with being taught how to use the app to get the most out of their system. At this point, it is important to hire a reputable company, who will listen to your issues, and solve your problems quickly and efficiently.
Stay smart!

Record Rainfall and Flooding

With all the rain in the last month, approximately 138mm, there was a lot of flooding with lakes and rivers over flowing.  Our sump pumps around the lakes were working extra hard to keep our basements dry.

Our own sump pump had tipped over from the constant vibration of running so often.  Luckily we had installed the water sensor in the winter. We were on our way out of town, about 30 minutes from the house, when we received an alert on our smartphone telling us our sump pump alarm had been triggered.  We were fortunate enough that the pump had just tipped over, and was an easy fix.  No flooding occurred.

However, since we were on our way out for the weekend, if we had not had this sensor, we would have come home to a massive basement flood, that would have cost tens of thousands of dollars!

The best part…the water starter package is only $259.99 installed, or the water sensor is only $59.99 if you already have the hub.  A huge savings compared to what could have happened.  This little device certainly can provide peace of mind.

A Busy Spring

We were celebrating Spring this year at three different homes shows, on three different weekends.

We started in Barrie at the Spring Home and Garden Show, with a great turn out.

Moved on to the Peterborough Cottage and Country Show, where we received a great response!  After the show, we enjoyed some RnR at a local BBQ restaurant.

And last but not least, ended in Orillia, at the Simcoe Spring Home and Cottage Show, where we were featured in an article in the Orillia Packet and Times.http://www.orilliapacket.com/2017/04/10/home-show-brings-smart-trends-to-orillia

What a whirlwind!  But we loved meeting you all and talking about our products and services.

Hope we see you soon!

Geo-fencing: What, Why and How

The What

Geofencing is the use of GPS (Global Positioning Systems), Wi-Fi nodes and Bluetooth beacons to create virtual boundaries around a location. With our increase use of smartphones, we all have a built-in GPS/Wi-Fi/Bluetooth in our pockets.  As a result, geofencing is surfacing more and more in smart home control packages.

The Why

Why is geofencing so fascinating and catching on like wildfire in the smart home/home automation field?  Simply said, it makes our lives easier. The convenience of locking your doors, setting your security system, turning the lights off, adjusting your thermostat and closing your garage door just by leaving your driveway.  It’s that simple.  No more lights left on or thermostat set high all day while you are away, because you forgot to turn them off in your rush to leave the house.

It can also be used for returning to your home.  Once it has been detected that you have left work, your thermostat will engage to it’s setting.  As you round the corner towards home, your front lights turn on and your garage door opens.  Walking up to your front door, it unlocks, the security alarm is unarmed and the inside lights turn on.

The How

How does this translate to you, the business or home owner?  iHomeCtrl utilizes geofencing as part of their service package to enable the above examples. We will come to you, program various configurations dependant on your lifestyle, install the required products, which in the end will simplify your life, save energy and save you money.  That’s the iHomeCtrl advantage: Simplifying Smart Technology.

Amazon Echo and Echo Dot

Amazon introduces Amazon Alexa, Echo and the All-New Echo Dot at a product launch in London

Amazon Echo was released in the United States November 2014.  The Echo is a smart speaker designed to work with home automation devices using voice-control, completely hands-free.  It can play all your music, access the radio, read audio books, the news, the weather, traffic reports, sports scores, all using Alexa Voice Services.  The Echo can control your home’s temperature, lights, fans, blinds, garage door, locks, just by saying, “Alexa, turn on outside lights”.  More devices are constantly being added, and currently work with Z-Wave products that iHomeCtrl carries.  Alexa continues to grow smarter as new features are added.  Alexa has answers to all your questions, we will no longer need to “Google it”.  “Alexa, explain the laws of physics to me.”  Alexa can be a timer, read recipes, convert measurements.  In the U.S, Alexa is capable of ordering pizza, an Uber, or flowers.

Completely free of the Echo, is the new Echo Dot, released in the U.S October 2016, for a fraction of the cost.  Though tiny in comparison to the Echo, it can do everything it’s predecessor does, with the addition of connecting to your own bluetooth speaker, being portable and having better long-range voice capabilities.

So when will Amazon Echo and the Echo Dot be available to Canadians? Unfortunately,  there is no official news, only speculation that it could be released in 2017.  “Alexa, when will you come to Canada?”

Smart Home Return on Investment

Smart home devices such as security cameras, locks, lights and thermostats are adding that WOW factor to homes, to help enhance a home’s appeal at sale time.  Real Estate agents in the United States are beginning to see homes with smart features sell significantly faster.  They are also seeing consumers appreciate these features and are, in fact, asking for homes with these features.

The top choices for creating a smart home are, locks and alarms, thermostats and fans, and lighting.  Approximately 60% of consumers would like their new home to have these features.  However, iHomeCtrl can add other features such as a pool/spa controller, garage door opener or automation of your sprinkler system.  We are equipped to assess your home and lifestyle and give recommendations on smart devices that will add convenience and savings to your day.

Home automation is a long-term investment, one you can reap the benefits of now, with potential energy savings of 15%, if all you change is your lighting and thermostat.  While you are saving money, the added value of a smart home will continue to improve your property value when the time comes to sell.