ENJOY YOUR GOLDEN YEARS IN A SMART HOME
Smart Home Technology: Part Five
Many senior citizens today have a burning desire to “age in place.” Members of the baby-boomer generation have a tremendous attachment to the home that they purchased and maintained during their working years. The thought of leaving it is truly unbearable to them. So, it’s not surprising that the ability to remain in their beloved home is a great contributor to their mental well-being.
Yet, the reality is that when our bodies become “infirm,” there are many necessary everyday tasks that we need help with. In the very least, we need “easy.” Everything needs to be easy!
With modern smart home technology, easy can become reality!
And yes, you decide how much of this technology to add to your home. It is very scalable according to your needs and/or budget.
Many of the daily tasks that you have done easily throughout your life but that may now be a challenge for you can be automated through the use of wi-fi networking. For example, the formerly easy task of opening and closing curtains or shades may now be quite a challenge because of stiff and achy shoulders and a bad back. You love to let the sunshine in every day but sometimes it is simply too difficult. Motorized, automated window treatments can solve your problem. You will be able to open and close them from the comfort of your recliner. The same thing can apply to the automatic control of such things as lighting systems, whole-house audio and video systems, HVAC systems, air quality systems, video intercom doorbells, security systems, and automatic door locks.
Of course, each of these systems can be controlled by an individual system-specific remote control or an app on your smart phone or smart tablet device. However, if you have more than one of these smart systems operating in your home, it will be cumbersome and aggravating to deal with multiple remotes and apps. That’s the point at which you want to convert your home into a true smart home utilizing a whole-home control system such as Crestron Home™.
With Crestron Home™, all of the individual automated systems in your home can be controlled using just one app loaded onto freestanding tabletop tablets and/or wall panels located in convenient locations throughout your home. So, if you’re snuggled into your recliner watching Wheel of Fortune when you decide that you want to close the living room blinds, you can simply grab the tabletop tablet from the end table, and with a few taps on the touch panel the blinds will close automatically. Alternatively, you can use your smart phone to do the same thing, or even have a voice control system (such as Josh.ai, Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri) added to work in conjunction with Crestron Home™ so that you can simply say, “Josh, close the blinds.”
***NOTE: Of the four voice control systems mentioned above, we at AV Enthusiast highly recommend the use of Josh.ai for these reasons: 1) the company does not sell your personal information online, 2) your information is stored locally, not on a cloud on the internet, 3) Josh has the best Natural Language Processing and can therefore understand more intricate voice commands, and 4) you can easily mute the microphones used with Josh.ai for privacy reasons***
Crestron Home™ also enables you to set up Quick Action routines in the app to completely facilitate the enabling of multiple smart system actions simultaneously and at a set time. Let’s say that you have both automatic motorized blinds throughout your home and a whole-home tunable-LED lighting system. You opted for both of these systems because you read about the positive health effects of matching your wake/sleep cycle to the circadian rhythms of sunrise and sunset. Allowing your body to sync up to this natural cycle provides you with a higher level of alertness during daylight hours, which has been proven to aid in the prevention of falls, and an increased ability to fall quickly into a deep, restful sleep at bedtime. Since you are now spending more time inside your home than outside, you want light inside your home to mimic light outside your home on a 24-hour basis. Because it would be irritating to have to keep track of the expected times of sunrise and sunset each day, you can either set Crestron Home™ to control the lighting system per expected sunrise/sunset times from a weather app, or you can opt to have light sensors installed on the exterior of your home that work in conjunction with the interior LED lighting system and the Crestron Home™ app. Since your motto is “I need easy,” and it fit within your budget, you opted for the outdoor light sensors. Then you set up two Quick Action routines called “Sunrise” and “Sunset” to control it all. You don’t have to take any further action in order for these routines to be activated. Crestron Home™ handles it for you. At sunrise, the blinds will automatically open, and the LED lights will mimic the color and intensity of outdoor morning light. At sunset, the blinds will close, and the interior lighting will gradually change in color and intensity to prepare your body for restful sleep by bedtime. Of course, Crestron Home will allow you to cancel either of these routines with a few taps on any smart device in your home (or via voice control if you have it).
***NOTE: The Crestron-certified professional integrators at AV Enthusiast can implement all desired routines in the Crestron Home™ app for you during installation of your system if you are uncomfortable doing so and can also provide assistance by telephone during normal business hours Monday – Friday 8 AM – 5 PM at 256.882.5081.***
Now imagine that you are so happy with Crestron Home™ and your smart blinds and smart lighting system that you want to scale up another step. It’s great that your “Sunset” Quick Action routine turns off the LED ceiling lights at bedtime, but due to a few pesky medical conditions that you are dealing with, you must get up at least one time in the middle of the night to visit the bathroom. You have a bedside lamp that you turn on to partially illuminate your way, but it truly isn’t adequate to get you there and back safely. You wonder if there is a way that you can keep your “Sunset” routine in place while still having adequate light for your nightly trip down the hall. Since you are definitely falling asleep more quickly and resting more deeply with the routine in place, you don’t want to give that up.
In the morning, you call the AV Enthusiast office and talk with one of their Crestron integrators. As it turns out, there is a simple solution to your problem. Small motion-activated LED lights can be installed along your path to the bathroom that will illuminate at an adequate but low level as soon as you sit up in bed. Crestron Home™ can be set to extinguish them after no more motion is detected for a set period of time, or you can use a smart device or voice control to turn them off as you settle back into bed. This solution works out very well for you. Your smart home has now allowed you to take another step up the ladder of “easy.”
Over the course of the next year, you take incremental steps to upgrade your smart home as you learn more about how it can make your life at home safer and more comfortable. You sit down and make a list of your top priorities and then discuss them with your Crestron Home™ integration team at AV Enthusiast.
SUBSEQUENT UPGRADES TO YOUR SMART HOME
Since retiring and having several mobility issues with your health, it has become much easier for you to shop from home and have everything from groceries and medications to gifts for the grandkids delivered to your home. But this has caused some concern from your grown children about your safety because you tend to open the front door with a smile whenever the doorbell rings, without a second thought about who may be there.
On the advice of your AV Enthusiast consultant, your next smart home upgrade is the installation of a simple security system at your front door using a DoorBird™ smart video intercom plus one additional inside security camera in the foyer pointed at the front door, and an eKey™ smart lock. When the doorbell is activated, you are notified immediately on every Crestron wall panel and tabletop tablet in your home, in addition to your smart phone, and you can see and talk to any visitors. If it’s your daughter, she can let herself in by placing her finger on the eKey touchpad. If it’s a trusted delivery person, you can automatically unlock the door for them using any Crestron Home™ touchscreen device or your smart phone, asking them to pull the door shut on their way out. You can stay where you are, if need be, all the while watching them exit your home and resting in the knowledge that all actions of that person within range of the cameras are being recorded and saved in cloud storage. At some point in the future, you plan to upgrade to a full interior and exterior security system, which will also be managed by Crestron Home™.
In the meantime, you are mulling over the idea of having some automatic door-activators installed. Your home was built during an era of the use of sturdy, heavy exterior doors, and it is now a struggle for you to open and close them. You’ve already consulted with your friends at AV Enthusiast, who can install AUTOSLIDE™ smart hardware on any troublesome door (whether it slides or swings), allowing you to open and close it automatically using Crestron Home™. This special system can even be used as a pet door for your dog. Sensors are mounted on the wall at the collar level of your pet, and another sensor is attached to your pet’s collar. When your dog approaches the door, it automatically opens and then closes after the animal exits to the outside. If you don’t want your pet to constantly go in and out, you can set Crestron Home™ to allow it on a limited schedule.
You decide to go ahead with the upgrade to the doors, and at the same time check off your next highest priority, which is replacing your thermostat with a Crestron Horizon® smart thermostat and adding a smart air purification system to your existing HVAC system. Now you can sleep even better at night with pure air constantly available to your lungs, and air temperature that will now be automatically adjusted to the optimum sleeping temperature of 65 degrees at bedtime through your “Sunset” Quick Action routine.
The last item on your upgrade list is modernization of all of your audio-video gear to smart devices that can thereafter be operated and managed through Crestron Home™. As you work with your AV Enthusiast integration team to iron out the details and schedule the work, you have new confidence that you’ll be able to stay in your cherished home for many years to come.
Your home has become much “easy-er” to live in!
Questions? AV Enthusiast has the answers!
Call us at 256.882.5081 or drop by our showroom at 514 Madison Street in Huntsville Monday – Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM or Saturday from 10 AM to 3 PM.
We look forward to meeting you!