Going on Holiday? 3 Great Smart Home Features For Your Neighbours!

Philipp Schuster
25th July 2013 in Know How

If you’re soon to be heading off on a much-needed holiday for some sun, sea, sand and, er, more sun – well, lucky you! It’s the one time of the year you can truly kick back and relax, isn’t it? A time to stop worrying about bills and work and all of those sorts of things – it’s a time for peace. The last thing you want to be worrying about when you’re on the beach is back home. That’s why we’ve put together these three great ways to let your Smart Home worry about itself while you’re away.

So you’ve made sure all the doors and windows are closed, the blinds and curtains are set up to deter intruders and the security alarm is good to go. Well done. But you’re going to need someone to pop in and feed the cat, water the plants, bring in your mail and things, aren’t you? And if terrible mid-afternoon Australian soaps are to be believed…

‘EVERYBODY NEEDS GOOD NEIGHBOURS (WITH A LITTLE UNDERSTANDING)’

Australian or otherwise, if your neighbours are nice and friendly and have agreed to stick their heads in the door every now and again while you’re away, then let’s make things as nice and simple as possible for them, shall we? Let’s set things up before we leave so that it’s the easiest thing in the world for them to do. Why? Well, because we can! We’re good neighbours too, right…? So here are our three fantastic neighbour-friendly Miniserver functions:

FUNCTION 1: OPEN SESAME!

Unless they’re expert lock-pickers (and let’s hope they’re not), your neighbours will need you to give them access to your house. In a Dumb Home your house sitter gets a front door key and they can then stroll in and around every part of your house. That’s not to say that you’ve anything to hide or that your friend is a snoop (of course not!). You also run the risk of them losing your key, which is far from ideal…

It’s a different story in a Smart Home, though. Your neighbour gets an electronic key. It’s a little iButton. Before you head to the airport, you designate rooms or zones that your neighbour will be given access to. Trust is good, but control is better! While you’re enjoying a cerveza on the beach you can quickly check that everything’s being taken care of back home. Tasks can be automatically tracked for this purpose. Perfect peace of mind!

FUNCTION 2: FORGET ME NOT

Your neighbor’s probably a very busy type. He or she’s more than likely got enough going on round their own house – so there’s a chance they may forget to do something you’ve asked of them. But with your Loxone Smart Home managing ‘the project’, that’s not a problem. Set the Caller Service to issue one-off or regular texts, phone calls or email reminders and it won’t matter how forgetful your pal is!

If your neighbour isn’t the green-fingered type or particularly observant, they might not tend to your grass and geraniums with as much care and attention as you do. But just because you’re not living next door to Alan Titchmarsh, that doesn’t mean that you have to come back from holiday to a neglected garden. Set a rain sensor up to alert your friend when it’s been particularly dry and they get a message prompting them to get the watering can out!

FUNCTION 3: YOUR NEIGHBOUR – THE HERO!

Power outage, things breaking, a big old leak somewhere… Unfortunately these things can happen when you’re not at home. In a Dumb Home you just have to roll with it and deal with the consequences. But an automated home can step in before disaster and avert catastrophe. Imagine the following scenarios…

Scenario 1:

Regular ventilation of a property is vital if you want to keep away those dreaded mould and damp patches. But you don’t want to just leave your windows open for your whole holiday. Temperature and humidity sensors in each room measuring the ambient temperature can alert your neighbour when the room (and house in general) is becoming too hot and humid.

Scenario 2:

Oh dear – your freezer’s switched off for some reason. In a Dumb Home, the first you’ll know about it is when you go to fix dinner and realise that £100 worth of shopping is sitting in a chest full of tepid water. Not good. Avoid that possibility in your Smart Home by setting up an inexpensive temperature probe to keep a proverbial eye on things. Working in tandem with the Caller Service, your neighbour can be notified and head on over to sort things out and save your chicken kievs!

Scenario 3:

Your washing machine’s on the blink. The inlet hose cracks and your laundry/utility room’s starting to flood. Before it really starts to fill up and potentially affect the rest of your home, you’ll want something done. A floor level humidity sensor installed will pick up on the water, and – via the Miniserver – your neighbour will be notified and can be your knight in shining armour (or better yet, someone who can call a plumber!).

Now obviously, we hope none of these things ever happen at your house, but if they do – and you’ve a Miniserver in charge – then you’re covered. Our little green box is a modest thing too so it’ll be more than happy to let your neighbour take the credit…

We’re convinced that your neighbour will waste no time in Smartening up their own home after seeing yours. And then, when it’s time for you to house sit, your job’ll be a breeze too!