(01/30/14) - How many times have you left the lights on at home, but haven't been able to turn back to turn them off? Wouldn't it be cool to have the heat 'just right' when you walk thru the door? Ever wished you could call up a camera and look in on your home when you're not there?
New technology lets you control all of that and all from your smart phone or computer.
"The cabin is seven miles off the nearest road and 20 miles from the nearest town," said Scott Holman. "We draw Internet from about 26 miles away."
Some 380 miles away, Holman is in his kitchen in Freeland in Saginaw County, but it's like he's there - right at his remote cabin in the western part of the Upper Peninsula.
Holman looks in on cameras mounted at his cabin and can control them from his computer.
If someone were to break-in?
"We would know instantly because the cameras send an email," he said.
Holman also monitors the temperature.
"If you lose power and the pipes freeze, you got a big problem," he said.
He does all this using an app on his iPhone or iPad.
"Today, we're talking 18 below zero so I'm checking to see the generators are working, the temperature in the cabin is where it's supposed to be," he said. "Coming home from the U.P. the other day, I had the home set for 55 degrees. While we were having lunch, I got on my computer and set it to 72 degrees and it was nice and toasty by the time we got home."
Holman says home automation is a necessity for him, plus, he loves the technology part of it.
"Just the process is exciting," he said.
Maybe you've seen the so called 'smart home' featured in an AT&T ad? What's highlighted there isn't available in our area - yet. It just launched in Detroit in June, but you do have other options.
"This is absolutely a great starting point," said Mike Thom, operations manager at the Burton Home Depot.
Thom says the Nest Thermostat or Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector are great for beginners.
"It's a super easy install, I actually own a Nest thermostat and probably only took me about 15 minutes to set up," he said. "Able to control it from my iPhone."
Both are wireless and work off WiFi. The thermostat runs about $250, but aims to help you conserve energy, and Thom says you may see a return on the investment in as few as 18 months.
ABC12 Main Station