Home Automation in a Nutshell... or Just Plain Nuts?
Certified Mobotix Partner
Elk Factory Trained Integrator
HAI Listed Dealer
When you hear the term "Home Automation," what comes to your mind?
Back when I got into the Security Alarm / Electronic Integration industry.... lets just say awhile back when the "Internet" still consisted of random BBS's located in the basements of the parents of tech early versions of Bill Gates and the now late Steve Jobs; Linus Torvalds was still a Junior at the University of Helsinki and cellular phones were unreliable toys for the Rich and Famous. Home Automation, or Building Automation as it was known back then, was well established.
Back then, Automation was mainly accomplished by the use of relays and a fairly unreliable Home Automation technology / protocol known as X-10 Line Carrier Communication. X-10 Line Carrier was not overly successful in the Professional integrator demographic as the technology was and still is prone to false activation's as well as slow response time. X-10 line carrier control of lighting and various loads, however, is far from a complete picture of what is now "Home Automation."
Although Automation has existed since the industrial Revolution and the invention of the Cotton Jin, Home Automation, as such, was not officially in the picture until the early 1930's when the concept of the "Electrified Home" began to make appearances at a number of world fairs.
Home Automation has changed substantially Since the early days, of relay and vacuum tube based electronic control and mechanical timers. 1951 saw the introduction of the first Vacuum tube based computer, the Manchester Mark I, when the term "Electronic Brain" conjured up debates over the validity of a true decision making machine came to light. To this day, true logic and decision making is still the domain of the biological brain.
So how does all this gobble-de-goop relate to Home Automation, you ask. My point is, Home Automation and what it entails, is really up to the user as well as the creativity and knowledge of the System's integrator. Some of the mainstream volume based security alarm companies consider the controlling of lights on a fancy overpriced touchscreen keypad, as home automation. Although there are some security advantages to automated lighting control, Touch screen and smart phone Lighting and appliance control only scrape the surface of what KeepSafe Systems can make Home Automation do for you.
More recently, lock manufacturers have "consumerized" their door access systems to accommodate the "Quick and easy" simplified excuse for access control. Although wireless lock control does have some definite advantages, the time tested hardwired Electronic Door Strike and Electric Mortise locks provide a much more economical and longer lasting electronic access control options for the access control portion of your Security and or Home Automation system. In fact, one of the major wireless "security" communication formats was recently cracked by some hobby hackers who discovered a way to unlock the wifi based lock with the use of a simple wifi enabled computer. For the security of the clients of my competitors, as well as my personal honour, I will not mention any names. Even with the addition of Lock control, this only scratches the surface of what I consider Home Automation and true Systems Integration.
Many of you may be familiar with those DIY timer based Thermostats, you know the battery operated standalone units you can purchase from any hardware store for the price of a couple of Latte's at the local fancy a$$ed coffee shop. Well, most Home Automation controllers, even the ones offered by the fast and furious "next number please" Security Alarm Installation companies, have the ability to control your the temperature set-backs of your home HVAC system / Heat Pump based on the current armed status of your security alarm. With this type of addition to your Home Automation System, there is no need to get up to a cold house or have your HVAC system wastefully running at full power when you are at work and your home is empty. Unlike most Security Alarm company's, KeepSafe Systems will also look at the comfort needs of your four legged or winged family members when designing your Customized Home Automation and Control System, after all, they too contribute to the happiness and comfort of your life :). This tends to be where most "wham bam thank you maam" security alarm companies leave the Home Automation bus. Although there are some who may delve into Home Theatre and Audio Distribution, there is much more to the True Automation of your home and improvement to your lifestyle and quality of life then spending inane amounts of money of silly little gadgets simply designed to save you from pressing a button. In fact, some of these companies will even charge their monitored clients an extra monthly fee for the "Privilege" of "pressing" that button from anywhere in the world (with Internet service, why do they leave that out :)
At KeepSafe Systems, we take a more logical approach to Home Automation and the Security and enjoyment of your life and home, since we are dealing with Logic control, this only makes sense. Beyond the simple gizmo's and gadgets designed to increase the numbers within the numbers of numbers based Mega Corp Security Alarm companies, KeepSafe Systems logic based, PEOPLE 1st approach to YOUR security and Home Automation system, is designed to ensure we look at your lifestyle and your needs when designing and programming your Home Automation system. From the moment we are invited into your home, your security, lifestyle and comfort requirements are our primary concern. We will NEVER insult your intelligence or limit your freedom of choice and lifestyle control by pushing some pre-packaged corporate numbers based quasi Security / Home Automation system on you.
Enter the World of IoT... or NoT?
The choice is yours with KeepSafe Systems.
Unlike some of the, new to the industry, technoids who believe the Internet and Wifi is the "Be-All-End-All" I have been around for long enough to realize there are pro's and con's to everything, not just hitchhiking :) If you tell me you understand that reference, you will probably understand exactly what I am talking about.
New fangled Internet of Thing(a-ma-jiggers) IoT are NoT always the best way to go. Sometimes IoT provides a convenient way to stay connected, while other times there is a simpler, less expensive and more reliable solution. Take, for example, a recent client who wanted to unlock his door by entering a code. He also wanted to open the Garage door from the same keypad and his wife wanted the keypad to blend into the decor, unlike the battery operated units you can get at the local hardware store. He was also concerned about security, as he had also read an article about how a popular Wifi Lock (Still being sold by other alarm companies) can be hacked. He also wanted to be able to have visitors reach them, even if they are out of the home, via a Video Intercom, with the added ability of unlocking the garage door remotely. when Tall order? Not Really. I could explain the steps but this would break the long standing rule of "Shut Up Heinz" I try to stick to when writing content for my website. Sometimes I am less successful than others :) Suffice to say, the end solution works.
--- Images are not to scale ---
- Keypad - stainless steel Mullion style Access control keypad flush mounted into the wood trim of the home
- Door Locks - Custom modified previously battery operated retail Motorized deadbolt. Modified to be hardwired and connected to the alarm / automation panel (Elk M1G)
- Power to the deadbolt via a simple modification to their door hinge. I could have bought a power transfer hinge, but it would not have matched their existing Ball-bearing hinges.
- Video Intercom - Mobotix T25 Intercom (made in Germany)
KeepSafe Systems Home Automation / Security Integration systems are designed to improve your lifestyle, not make it a technological nightmare of battery operated lifetime limited electronic pieces of plastic controlling how you can turn on your lights and how much it will cost you to replace an outdated system or its' components 2 years down the road. Quality and longevity are the ultimate decision making factor when looking at the System's we provide to our valued friends / clients. People first, profit second (Although we do need to eat, after all the brain has a tendency to shut down with mal-nutrition)
With KeepSafe Systems, you and you alone tell us how you want your home to respond to any number or combination of conditions including but not limited to environmental, activity, occupancy, or time of day/week/year etc. We also provide you with completely customizable and expandable choices as to how and where you would like to control your home, beit bluetooth/geo smart phone positioning detection, smart phone / touchtone phone / Internet remote control, Access card / biometrics, RF Keyfob, low voltage button panels, keypads, capacitance sensing hidden switches etc, with KeepSafe Systems at your side, you will always be in control of your home, not the other way around. Complexity veiled in Simplicity is the KeepSafe way. We will NEVER take a short cut at your sacrifice.
Some of the Systems we have integrated include:
- Paradox EVO / SPECTRA Series of Security Control panels (Made in Canada)
- Mobotix IP Surveillance and logic control camera's (Designed & Manufactured in Germany)
- Home Automation Security Control Systems by HAI / Leviton
- Elk Security & Home Automation Control Systems
- Security alarm Systems by DSC, Ademco/Honeywell, Silent Knight. CADDX/General Electric, Bosch, ASAP Apex, Napco, FBI (aka FBII), C&K Systems, Moose, Optex and many many more. If it is an electronic security alarm or controller of some sort, even if we have never seen it before, WE CAN MAKE IT WORK FOR YOU. Our electronic design and automation integration ability is only limited by the laws of logic and technological availability, which with a little creativity & imagination, even some of those hurdles can be overcome. I hope by several hundred words helped you out.
Here is a few little tidbits of information I wanted to include, but could not make fit. When I first decided to take the Security Alarm Installation course at BCIT back in.... it was on the reverse side of a Robotics brochure I was looking at (I wasn't interested until my Brother pointed it out to me.) I have always been interested in Electronics and how things work. For this, I thank my Dad who let me take over the workbench with my many projects & experiments, my Mom for teaching me imagination has no bounds and my brother, Tom, for paving the way to an increased level of patience (or resignation) within my Dad and the common "Rules of the Garage" which were often ignored as Hurricane Heinz ran rampant through the drawers of various parts to find just the right piece to finish whatever I was working on at that moment.
Have a great Day
Owner - KeepSafe Systems
Here is an older article on Home Automation which I wrote awhile back.
Simply put, Home Automation is about convenience and simplifying your life through the automation of mundane daily tasks. Yes, I know, this was the selling feature for cell phones, computers and the internet... unfortunately those technological advancements have made it near impossible for many of us to escape work to relax. In this age where computers seem to be controlling our lives, it is nice to see a technological option actually designed with human comfort in mind. The concept of Home Automation is simple, it is all about convenience.
Say for example, you are on your way home from a long day at the office and you want to come home to a warmed up hot tub and a cooled down bedroom and your favorite CD playing in the background... Home Automation can assist you with that.
Maybe you are working late and you don't want to come home to a dark home.. KeepSafe Systems can configure your Convenience system to turn your house lights on as soon as you drive into the driveway after dark.
What if you are on your way to the cottage for the weekend and you forgot to turn your heat down... Not a problem, simply call up your house and set back the temperature or, even better, KeepSafe Systems can program your Home Automation system to automatically turn down the thermostats when your system is armed to Vacation Mode. What if the temperature drops suddenly, while you are away. This could result in frozen pipes. No worries, your KeepSafe Systems Home Convenience System can automatically adjust for that.
Speaking of water, KeepSafe Systems can also connect water sensors to the security portion of your Home Convenience System which will notify you if your hot water tank starts to leak. Honestly, I could go on for hours with the potential features and benefits of a KeepSafe Systems Home Automation System, the thing is, Home Automation is about you and your needs. For that reason, no two Home Convenience Systems are ever alike, it is all about customization and the limits of your imagination.
If you live in the KeepSafe Systems service area and would like to talk to me about your Home Security and convenience needs, please feel free to contact me at 604-874-8772.
Electronic Security Alarm Systems
for Home and Business
An Automated home designed by KeepSafe Systems is on the market in Vancouver British Columbia. For more information on this one of a kind opportunity click HERE
The KeepSafe Systems service area includes but is not limited to North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Richmond, Delta, Tsawassen, Ladner, Surrey, Cloverdale, Abbotsford, Mission, Aldergrove, Maple Ridge, Haney, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, Port Moody, Burnaby, New Westminster, Kamloops, Kelowna, Courtney, Comox, Nanaimo, Lions Bay, Squamish and pretty much everywhere in between.