I keep thinking back to that day—that awful, terrible day. We had just gotten back from a weekend ski trip. It was late and everyone was tired. Nobody would be hitting the sack very soon, though.
We had hours of work left to do. Seems while we were enjoying ourselves on the slopes, a pipe in our rec room had burst. Floors, walls—basically the entire room—was ruined.
We’ve since renovated the space, but I still feel apprehensive about leaving the house for more than a couple of hours at a time. If that pipe burst once, it can surely burst again, right?
The marketing folks at HomeLogic must have felt my angst. A few weeks ago they mailed me a sample of their home monitoring application. The app came preloaded on a brand new iPod touch, so I immediately knew what to do: Click the HomeLogic Mobile Control icon on the welcome screen.
While sitting at my kitchen table, I was able to view the current temperature the status of the lights in a demonstration home hundreds of miles away in Marblehead, Mass. The app also connected me to a few surveillance cameras dotted around the house. I could see what was going on (nothing) and pan, tilt and zoom in for a better look. This is exactly the type of key technology in home automation that a worry wart like me could benefit from.
Like any remote monitoring system, the HomeLogic Mobile Control requires the installation of a few key elements at home. For starters, you’ll need a HomeLogic controller. This is the piece that facilitates communication between your home and portable iPod touch.
To that controller you can connect all kinds of devices—water sensors, light switches, thermostats and security systems, to name a few. They must be compatible with the HomeLogic system, but according to VP of sales and marketing Joe Lautner, there’s a huge selection of products from which to choose. The pieces and parts you choose to connect into the HomeLogic controller is up to you—and your home systems installer, but for a basic system that will alert you to problems at home and let you peek in on the property expect to spend between $3,000 and $7,000 (excluding labor), says Lautner. I would have gladly paid $3,000 to have prevented our rec room from being trashed.
It seems I’m not the only one who sees the benefit in something like HomeLogic Mobile Control. Lautner says as many as 400 people download the free app from the Apple iTunes App Store store each week. Mind you, they’re just testing it—just as I did with the preloaded iPod touch HomeLogic sent me, but that number proves strong consumer interest in remote monitoring. This free downloadable HomeLogic app demonstrates just a few ways you can keep in touch with and control your home remotely.
There are many others, which Lautner shared based on comments received from HomeLogic customers and his own experiences using Mobile Control:
- The HomeLogic office was recently broken into, but the HomeLogic system captured the entire event. By reviewing the system’s video surveillance log, the HomeLogic team was able to see the perpetrator kick in the door and identify the items that he stole. Based on that, the police knew exactly where to lift fingerprints, and had identified and apprehended the burglar in four hours.
- A HomeLogic customer had a similar experience. After scanning his video surveillance log, he saw that a neighbor had stolen a FedEx box off his front porch.
- While having dinner with friends one night, Lautner received a phone call on his iPhone. It was his youngest son. He had called to complain that his older brother was playing the music too loud. Lautner promptly lowered the volume right from the restaurant.
The HomeLogic log can even be used to confirm that the snow plow service cleared the driveway of your home like they were supposed to while you were gone, or that the house cleaners didn’t shortchange you by working for 45 minutes instead of 3 hours.
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Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.