Smart home technology saves the day when weekend traffic delays a trip to the Collingwood-area summer home. This couple can control everything from locks to lights to heating and cooling with a single app.
Jerry Doyle watched with dread as brake lights flashed ahead. The Friday afternoon flight from the city was always plagued by slower than usual traffic. But the lineup ahead looked like there might be an accident – traffic was stalled as far as he could see down the road. And they were already running behind schedule. He turned to his wife, Maria. “The kids are going to get there way before us.”
Had Jerry and Maria been on time they’d have arrived first, and their vacation house near Collingwood would have magically sensed their arrival based on their custom “geo-fence”. As soon as their car crossed the invisible line on the map, the system would have turned on the water supply and the A/C. But now the kids – and three restless grandkids – would find the cottage locked and hot as an oven.
“No problem,” said Maria with a smile, as she opened her Homebuttons Alarm.com app. She could see at a glance that all the doors and windows were locked. Inside was undisturbed, and the view of the Bay from the outdoor camera was alluring. But with all the windows closed, the indoor temperature had climbed to 28 degrees Celsius in the heat wave. She switched on the A/C and sent a text to the kids telling them to ring the doorbell when they arrived. As they inched closer to the crash, she went ahead and disarmed the security system.
On Fridays, Jerry would sneak quick glimpses at the live cameras overlooking the water throughout the workday. It made the weekend seem like it had already begun.
By now the Homebuttons Alarm.com system at their Georgian Bay cottage had become as handy – and used almost as often on their smartphones – as their email and Google apps. They could control and monitor so many things from a single app. On Fridays, Jerry would sneak quick glimpses at the live cameras overlooking the water throughout the workday. It made the weekend seem like it had already begun – and the drive up seemed smoother somehow. Now, with the car stopped as a tow-truck used the available lane to approach the accident, he asked Maria to hold up her phone so he could get his fix.
No more shovelling snow after a long drive… no more packages left on the porch
That time the racoon broke into the back room, their image sensor alerted them immediately, and they were able to call Don next door to run over and shoo it away, unlocking the doors for him with a tap on the app. And when they headed north to Collingwood on winter weekends, they’d always check the driveway camera before they left – to decide whether they needed to call the local snowplow guy. Not having to shovel snow when they arrived was worth the price of the system alone, Jerry figured. He also liked the fact that he could have Amazon deliver directly to the cottage when he ordered his hunting and fishing stuff. Now the delivery guy would ring the doorbell, and Jerry would open the garage door for him to leave the packages inside, then watch him drive away. Things were never left out exposed.
Maria’s phone chimed soon after they finally got up to highway speed past the accident. She could see the video doorbell view of her daughter Joanne; Amit was in the background getting the kids out of the car. Maria unlocked the front door and told Joanne to walk right in.
Jerry was making good progress now toward their exit. Maria toggled between the doorbell camera and the indoor camera to watch the family load in their stuff.
“You can put those sleeping bags in the corner room,” she said, knowing Joanne would hear her voice from the speaker in the living room. “And put your food in the main fridge and the beer in the back fridge, okay?”
“Okay, Grandma” said Jared, their grandson, waving at the camera, leaning to one side as he walked through with a heavy bag slung over his shoulder.
“We’re about 15 minutes from the turnoff now,” Maria said. “See you soon.”
Everybody waved at the camera, and Maria switched off the app. As eager as they were to cover the miles to the cottage, the stress of being late had faded away.
Hassle-free, mess-free installation
Installing their Alarm.com system had been so much easier than they’d expected. Their local Homebuttons installer replaced a few door locks, light switches, and the garage door controller with their smart home equivalents. He installed cameras and security sensors. And because almost everything was wireless and battery-powered, the entire system was installed in one day without the hassle, mess, and mayhem of running cables.
They drew a line with a finger on the screen to install the bio-fence right where they wanted it, and decided what household settings (light, heat, water) it would trigger.
Their installer then took care to tweak and integrate the various components into the system, and he fully tested to ensure that everything was completely interactive. Then it was time for Jerry and Maria to start playing. Together and separately, they customized the set-up to suit their needs.
They drew a line with a finger on the screen to install the bio-fence right where they wanted it, and decided what household settings (light, heat, water) it would trigger. They could even set up seasonal or social “scenes” they could choose with a tap – what should come on with the heat in the winter, how the lighting should be set for a party.
Maria added a stove guard that would prevent fires if the stove was left on. It never had, she was quick to point out. But she had a habit of worrying about whether or not she had turned off the stove, and now that worry was gone.
Jerry really appreciated the special gun trigger lock that would send him a notification if anyone tried to tamper with it to get at his hunting rifle. It had alerted him once, just once, when his grandson had been too curious and fiddled with the combination. He was happy that he’d been able to use the occasion to educate the boy about firearm safety. Without the sensor he would never have known.
Pays for itself in protection… and convenience
And having the freezer plugged into a current sensor was another thing they’d added just for the peace of mind. Sometimes it held a hundred pounds of venison, and he wanted to know right away if it stopped working.
The couple enjoyed knowing that the system was constantly being upgraded to stay abreast of rapid changes in lifestyle electronics. If only they’d had it back then when the sump pump quit working and they arrived for a weekend to find everything floating in the basement. Some of those things could never be replaced. With Homebuttons Alarm.com, they’d have been able to get a plumber in quickly before all the damage and all the expense.
As Jerry approached the driveway of the summer place, he could see the kids already dressed in their swimming gear, running around in the yard. Thanks to Homebuttons Alarm.com, the weekend was off to a smooth summertime start. It was like having someone at the cottage on constant patrol and always ready to help.
Let your installer deal with the complexity so you can enjoy the simplicity
The paradox of modern electronics is that it takes great complexity to create great simplicity. To be sure every potential of the Alarm.com app is investigated to best suit your needs, you want to work with a dealer whose experience goes well beyond standard security systems – a systems integrator whose technical knowledge is matched by a genuine interest in what would mean the most to you, your home, and family. In the Southern Georgian Bay area, from Owen Sound to Collingwood and beyond, your Alarm.com integrator is Bill Monahan at Homebuttons.