. Words by Michelle Heslop. Photos by Jesse Gibson
Tell us how you got started in the field of home automation? How long have you been the owner/ CEO of Wired Up Technologies? I’ve been interested in technology since I was young. You could always find me with scientific toys/games and eventually, I worked in sales in the electronics industry. I saw a need for home automation and enjoyed helping people with technology. So when an opportunity came up, I took a chance and started Wired Up Technologies. We have been going strong for close to 15 years now. We are always learning and pushing the envelope to offer our clients the latest in cutting-edge technology.
What exactly is a “smart home?” A smart home knows your personal likes and dislikes and can be tailored to the user to perform functions based on their specific wants or needs. For example, every morning your audio system can gradually wake you up to a specific playlist as the motorized shades open slowly to start the morning, and lights gradually come on. Your morning routine can be simplified with a simple button where lighting, the television, and the heat all turn on to desired levels. A smart home can offer the simplicity of many complex subsystems and serve them up to the user in a single app that lets the user customize it to their lifestyle. All the systems in your home can work together or “talk” with one another to perform tasks. Your home is always assessable from your smartphone anywhere in the world.
What is the most popular request in home automation? What motivates clients to integrate this technology? With entertainment often the most popular request, clients frequently start with music. Speakers throughout your home can be an incredible experience. We often hear from clients how having music in any room brightens their day and gives their home a new feeling. They love how simple it is to use. Simplicity is what motivates clients to integrate technology. There is nothing worse than having five or six remotes on the coffee table to work the television. Home automation operates on the same concept. Today, you can have “smart” devices but most have their own apps that don’t always interact with other devices. Suddenly, you have an app for the security cameras, an app for the heat, an app for the alarm, an app for music, and so on. Before long, you’ve got eight to ten apps to control your home and it’s back to the remotes all over the coffee table situation. Home automation takes all these systems and serves them up to you in one easy-to-use experience.
Does energy efficiency fit into this conversation? Energy efficiency is being integrated into home automation at an increasing rate. Clients can now look at their home’s real-time power consumption to determine where they can save money on energy costs.
Can you add home automation to pre-existing homes or only in new builds? Home automation can be retrofit into absolutely any home. If you have a home with an attic or a crawl space, we can make almost anything happen. Most home automation manufacturers understand that not everyone is building or renovating a home. Lighting control is as simple as changing the light switches to a new dimmer that is controlled via your smartphone. No rewiring or renovation necessary. Simply change the switch, program it, and done.
Technology changes at such a rapid pace, how do you stay on top of what’s new in the industry? We are always learning, attending seminars, and training both locally and internationally to keep on top of this ever-evolving industry. It takes experience and knowledge to offer the right products to our clients that are simple to use.
How do you educate the design/build community so that home automation can be top of mind in the planning phase of a new home build? Home automation is not a fad. This industry is massive and only gaining momentum. More and more people want to control their homes from their smartphones and soon it will be commonplace in every home. Just like power windows and Bluetooth in cars today, home automation features will become standard. Home automation should be offered by every builder, contractor, and developer to meet the needs of homeowners. It’s also a great option for the resale of your home. We will be opening a show space soon where clients can see these systems first hand and experience their user-friendly capabilities.
What are some of the creative solutions you’ve installed recently? One cool project that stands out is when we installed pressure sensors in a set of stairs. We installed sensors on the top and bottom treads as well as the landing of a split-level staircase. As the client enters the home or steps on the tread, the stairs light up automatically. We then timed how long it took the owner to walk up the stairs and programmed the system to turn the lights off automatically.
You seem passionate about your industry. What are some things that keep you motivated on a daily basis? If I’m not learning then I’m not getting better at what I do. I love it when a client wants to do something unique and is willing to try new ideas. Each project is a puzzle to solve and keeps us striving to advance and push the envelope further. Each time we install a system, we look at what we’ve done well and how we can do it better next time. We are constantly trying to improve and offer our clients an amazing experience when they choose our company.