Getting Smart – One Appliance At A Time
Smart homes don’t have to be built in a day. Here’s where to start.
Smart locks, smart doorbells, smart lights, smart thermostats, smart water level sensors and smart garage door openers: the possibilities can seem endlessly promising, but also a bit overwhelming. Fortunately, you don’t have to take an all-or-nothing approach to smartening up your home.
Smart devices – which automate certain tasks and can be controlled by a mobile phone – save energy and provide convenience. With so much choice on the market, and new devices available all the time, it can be hard to know where to start if you’re on a limited budget, or if you just want to give the new systems a try without connecting your whole home.
“I’d definitely start with the locks and the thermostat,” says Neil Jones, National Director of Operations for TELUS SmartHome Security.
Thermostats allow you to control temperature from across town (turn it up before starting the commute home) or across the continent, if you’re a snowbird looking to save on heating costs. Meanwhile, smart locks allow homeowners to control who has access to their property, and are more secure than handing out keys. “It takes the worry out of forgetting to lock the door and is also good for people that have nannies or dog walkers – or children that you don't trust to hold onto a house key,” says John Soulos, an TELUS SmartHome Security residential account manager.
If you want to go a step farther, pair that front door lock with a smart doorbell – a device with a camera and motion sensor that alerts you when someone approaches your door. “It’s great for seeing who is at your door if you’re waiting for a package,” says Soulos. “It’s my wife's favourite feature, because she orders everything online. We literally have four packages a week.”
“I love the doorbell!” Jones says when asked about it. As TELUS SmartHome Security's operations director, his house is outfitted with many smart devices, but this is the one he sounds most enthusiastic about. “Literally the first day after I installed it I went to BC on a business trip and I was sitting in a boardroom when I saw a notification that someone was ringing the doorbell.”
It was a courier with a package to deliver. Jones, who had a golden retriever in the house, asked if the man was OK with dogs, and then unlocked the door from his business meeting. “I switched to my inside camera and could see that he dropped the package (and my dog did mug him for a second), and then I locked the door after he left. He came back 10 minutes later, rang the bell again and said, ‘This is pretty cool. How can I get one?’ And now he’s a customer.”
TELUS SmartHome Security residential sales representative Zoe Yin says many seniors appreciate the smart doorbells too: “They may not want to open the door for strangers, but this way they can see who is approaching and talk to them through the video doorbell.”
Of course, the choice of which smart devices to get first largely depends on personal preference: Jones, for instance, says his wife loves being able to control lighting from her phone.
Whatever you choose though, it makes sense to use TELUS SmartHome Security interactive services, which offer a single app that can control all your devices – avoiding the clutter and inconvenience that comes with swiping through your phone to use separate apps for each smart device. With an TELUS SmartHome Security system, Jones says, “you’re always in control.”
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