By a single swipe of a smartphone, users can set the mood for a night in or shut down their condo. Or they can head out with intelligent control and synchronized intelligent lighting settings for a more energy efficient lifestyle.
More and more of today’s condos are all about control, monitoring and personalizing built-in, intelligent technology. Such technology is enabling “Smart Condos,” and as technology plays a larger role in our lives, their level of ubiquity is expected to grow.
In 2016, more and more condos are becoming Smart, right down to the last detail, with home-automated, integrated systems. At the touch of a button from a smartphone or tablet, condo owners can have the ability to control: locks; lights; room temperature; audio/visual systems; alarms, surveillance cameras; window break detectors; blinds; refrigerator controls; air conditioning controls and more.
EverCondo CEO Grant Yim writes that seven smartphone apps in particular can transform your condo into one “as smart as you want it to be.” EverCondo is a Montreal-born, Toronto-based tech company that provides a condo management software for property managers, condo associations and HOAs to better manage condominiums.
Here’s what the expert Yim recommended for McGill Immobilier readers:
1. August Smart Lock
The August Smart Lock transforms your phone into a smart key. Starting at $199, condo owners can install the Smart Lock Lock and unlock your door, create virtual keys for guests, and keep track of who comes and goes, all from your iOS or Android smartphone. It auto-locks behind you for peace of mind and automatically unlocks as you approach. Turn on or off whenever you want, and keep a 24/7 log of who enters, all from a smartphone.
“If you have to let someone in while you’re at work, you usually have to leave a key for them. With August Smart Lock, all you have to do is open your app, click open, and it’s done. It’s a matter of convenience and mobility,” Yim told McGill Immobilier.
2. Smart Things
Samsung Smart Things allows a condo owner to easily monitor, control, and secure the home from anywhere. The Home Monitoring Kit is all condo owners need to turn their home into a smart home. Owners can then enhance their smart condo by adding hundreds of compatible products.
“You can control your lights, appliances, and even your locks from anywhere,” said Yim. “Are you going on vacation and realize you forgot to turn off all the lights in your condo? Simple – just use the app to turn them off. No need to contact anyone to do it for you.”
A revolutionary home sensing solution, Wally detects and alerts you of water leaks and important changes in humidity and temperature.
“This an app that I found through one of our customers. In some condos, moisture, mould and water temperature are huge issues. Not maintaining and monitoring these things could cause thousands of dollars, for the owners and associations,” said Yim. “With Wally, you can monitor it all from anywhere, and if water levels go beyond a certain level it’ll notify you.”
4. Control 4
Control 4 is an all-out home automation and Smart Home system. With this system, your favourite music and lights will automatically kick in at wake up time, while the thermostat will adjust too. While you’re out, all of the doors lock, the lights turn off and the security system arms. All that’s needed is pressing an “Away” button to orchestrate it all.
4K entertainment systems can be controlled with one touch, while outside lights, window shades and locks will turn off at bedtime. In fact, Control4 works with over 8,000 products from hundreds of trusted manufacturers.
Retailing at $249, the Nest is a 3rd-generation learning thermostat that can keep appliances, electronics and energy down. It learns what temperature you like and builds a schedule around yours. Since 2011, the Nest Thermostat has saved over 4 billion kWh of energy in millions of homes worldwide. And independent studies showed that it saved people an average of 10-12% on heating bills and 15% on cooling bills. Nest says it can pay for itself in under two years.
“They’re probably the biggest smart home device-makers out there,” said Yim. “You can control the temperature of your home from anywhere. It’s a huge trend in Smart Home devices to be able to control energy while you’re away from home, and Nest allows you to do that.
6. Oomi Home
The Oomi home does away with smartphones, promising to “redefine” the control of Smart Homes.
According to Gizmag, The Oomi Cube is the backbone of the system, as it functions as the hub that makes everything work together. here are environmental sensors that include temperature, noise, humidity, vibration, light, glass break, and motion. It also has a regular and IR camera, a 360-degree IR blaster for controlling entertainment systems, and an alert speaker.
Unlike most smart home systems, Oomi doesn’t rely on smartphones (though there are apps for Android and iOS for times when not near the remote). Instead it features its own remote, the Oomi Touch.
7. The Sleep Number SleepIQ Bed
SleepIQ technology inside the Sleep Number bed tracks and optimizes your sleep, empowering you to make adjustments so you can know your best possible sleep.
Yim calls it “like a Fitbit for your bed.”
“The SleepIQ bed is filled with sensors that track your heart rate, breathing, and movement,” said Yim. “This smart bed promises to help you track your sleep, so you can make the adjustments necessary to get the best sleep possible.”