Monday, November 27, 2017

Where do I start with a home automation setup

Here are a few basic categories of tasks that you can pursue:

  1. Automate your lights to turn on and off on a schedule, remotely, or when certain conditions are triggered.
  2. Set your thermostat to keep the house temperate when you're home and save energy while you're away.
  3. Open your blinds during the day and shut them at night (or when it's particularly hot or cold).
  4. Feed your pets on a schedule and with pre-determined amounts of food.
  5. Open your garage door with voice commands.
  6. Set your coffee maker to have a fresh pot ready as soon as you wake up.
  7. Let a relative or friend into your home remotely with a smart doorlock

The most dead-simple way to get started with simple home automation tasks is to buy products  that are specialized for certain tasks. For some things, you can use simple timers and sensors to turn the ordinary devices you already have into smart robots from the future.

In the same vein, there are very simple remote control outlet units that allow you to press a single button anywhere in the house and turn anything connected to a power outlet on and off. Smart thermostats are a similar category of dedicated units that function a single automation purpose, rather than attempting to be a complete solution. They can be used to remotely control temperature, learn your preferences, and even intelligently disable your heat/AC while you're out and reactivate it before you get home so it never feels uncomfortable. In addition to being convenient, these can help save a lot of money on your utility bills, depending on your situation.

There are a number of standards out there that you can choose for your devices, and if you decide to go this route, the bulk of your time will probably be spent deciding which one to go with. Z-Wave for example  is world standard. 

  • Software: Whether you'll be controlling your system via your desktop, smartphone, or tablet, you'll need software to run the system. You can get much of this for free either by buying dedicated devices (A Hub) or using open source software. Some solutions offer subscription packages that can range up to $99/year.
  • A Hub:  Your commands are useless if your master control software can't talk to your peripherals. A hub is the brain, a box (or set of devices) that issues wireless commands to your network. More common devices are simple, self-contained units that even come with some software. You can scrape the cost of the coordinator down to $40-50 if you need to, but be careful as many cheaper, USB devices don't come with software or require that dreaded subscription.
  • Sensors, switches, and peripherals: Something has to carry out your commands. Depending on what you want to automate, you may need to install wall switches, replace a door lock, or do other light maintenance. Peripheral devices can be as cheap as $40-50 per unit, but can get as pricey as a few hundred bucks.

You don't have to stick with the basic software, either. While you have one device that acts as the master control program for your network, there are always neat ways to extend your setup.

Saturday, November 18, 2017


Governments are more and more encouraging seniors to live more independently, therefore staying in their own homes. While this is a good thing for government budgets and lessens the financial load on seniors and their families (retirement care facilities are not cheap), it does increase the risk of an accident or a medical emergency going unnoticed.  

The advent of Smart Home technology helps mitigate many risks involved with a senior couple or senior person living alone. With today's technology and a Smart Phone app, it is easy to set up a system that monitors a senior's movement but also respects privacy therefore the placement of cameras (for example) a's in the home should be be discussed by the family.

The following is a list of products and their use that can be used by a family to keep their seniors members safe.

  • Smart Door Locks: Family members can use a code to enter in an emergency. 
  • Closed Circuit Cameras; One or two strategically placed (kitchen, stairs) can be useful in monitoring high accident areas.
  • Motion Sensors:  Scenarios can be created where if there is not motion at certain times, a warning is issued.
  • Motorized Drape and Curtain Motors: Allows the senior to control these from a smart phone or smart switch.
  • Smart sensors to detect water or gas leaks.
  • SOS button can be worn around a seniors neck. A press of the SOS in an emergency sends a signal to a family members smart phone or that of a care giver. SOS buttons now come with a number of functions such as lighting control and smart lock opener.
  • Smart Mattress: Sends a warning if the seniors falls out of bed or if there is a wetting incident.
For more products, please review the product list a


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A home is broken into in Canada every 90 seconds.


  1. Get a Smart Home Automation System
  2. A dog can certainly add another level of protection to your home, whether you want one in addition to or in lieu of a security system.
  3. Make it harder for robbers to break into your home at night undetected with strategic lighting.
  4. Because your home is likelier to be broken into when you're away or at night, set indoor lights on a timer to make it look like you're home. this is where a SMART HOME SYSTEM plays an important part.
  5. Whether you have a lock set, dead bolt or security chain, it's even more important to be mindful of who has access to your keys and home. HINT!! Get a SMART DOOR LOCK.
  6. Knowing your neighbors is a cheap form of home security. Well-acquainted neighbors are more likely to call you or the police when they see something fishy.
  7. Almost two-thirds of burglaries involve forced entry, which is partly due to weak door locks and mounting hardware. Don't go cheap in this area.
  8. Windows pose a unique security challenge. All an intruder has to do is break a window, reach inside, and unlock it to gain access. Get a SMART HOME DOOR AND WINDOW SENSOR ON EACH DOOR AND WINDOW.
  9. Window coverings should block onlookers from seeing inside your home. If you have sheer or transparent curtains, just make sure they're paired with another kind of window treatment that protects your privacy. A SMART HOME system can include remote control of your drapes and curtains from your smart phone.
  10. The home garage is a potentially dangerous area. Tools should be secured. It's a good idea to just keep the garage shut and off-limits when possible. Explain to your kids that it's not a play area.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017



And speaking of homes, is your home a smart home or a dumb home? Smart people make their homes smart. Why?

  • Energy savings
  • Safety for seniors
  • Safety for children
  • Never get locked out again
  • Water, gas and smoke sensors warn you on your smart phone
  • Monitors your home while on vacation or at work
Want to know more? Contact us at

Thursday, November 2, 2017


During the recent hotter than normal summer in British Columbia, there were many evacuation orders for communities and residences across the province due to forest fires. At the peak of the fires, a total of 45,000 people were evacuated leaving many homes and businesses at risk for break-ins and vandalism.

With police resources stretched to maximum in many areas, there was little policing of these homes and businesses to ensure their security from those members of society who take advantage of the misfortunes of others.

There is a simple, cost effective system now on the market for people who, for whatever reason need to protect their homes of businesses when unattended. It is called a home or business security / automation system and is available through a BC company, Tecus.
Tecus Automation / Security protection is very simple to install; a virtual plug and play system requiring no hard wiring. Any home or small business owner who can screw-in a light bulb or plug in an appliance can install most components of the Tecus system. Basic protection includes closed circuit video cameras, motion detectors, an alarm, door sensors and for the more adventuress, a smart door lock. Tecus also includes an “app” for smart phones, either Android or I-Phone that allows the home or business owner to monitor the premises from anywhere where there is WIFI or 3G cellular coverage. The app allows the owner to record video, take photos and hear sound through the camera and to also point the camera remotely. This allows video and photographs to be taken that can provide police with visual images of the intruder. The owner can also talk to the intruder to advise police or security is on the way. The app also notifies the owner of any unusual movement in the premises and/or if a door or window has been opened.

Other add-ons include moisture detectors, smart door locks that permit doors to be opened remotely, drape and curtain motors that permit can create the impression of occupancy, smart appliance and lighting switches, video door security and much more.