Ask an Expert: Q&A on outdoor tech with Dan Killinger
Your personal paradise. Your post-work retreat. Your favorite spot of the house… outside of it. We’re talking about what your backyard could become – a place to relax and enjoy yourself effortlessly with the luxury of automation for your favorite backyard features – thanks to the help of a professional smart home integrator. But just how far can you go with the possibilities of outdoor tech? We know just the guy with all the answers: Dan Killinger from Intelligent Living Solutions.
Dan Killinger, Owner/Chief Servant
Intelligent Living Solutions
Dan’s journey into smart home technology started with interest in technology even as a young kid, messing with all kinds of electronics. Then as a college student while at Ball State, he earned a degree in landscape architecture and operated a handyman business. Over the following years with added experience in construction, home renovation, landscape and pool design – the pieces are all there, leading to the establishment of Intelligent Living Solutions.
With this background, his company proudly tailors cohesive, personalized solutions by integrating technology to make life simpler, safer and more enjoyable for his customers.
This is where Loxone comes in.
Q: You have a deep background in outdoor tech projects, but how do you see yourself now expanding your business? In the future?
A: We see ourselves expanding because a lot of landscape lights are low voltage, so we’re expanding into that more and can offer more dynamic services. Lights are typically wired so they come on all at once, where we see possibilities for unique lighting scenes. There’s a lot of functionality and flexibility with the Loxone system. I can always integrate other systems, so this opens opportunity to offer more to customers. But it’s important to keep in mind, with some pool pumps for example, it’s easier to plan for them earlier in the process. This usually saves the homeowner money too.
Q: What are some unique examples of how you’ve used outdoor LED lighting?
A: I’ve used lighting outdoors with bars, grills, under counter lights – they all add to the ambiance of the space. I also like to control and integrate pool lights into the lighting scenes. Another scenario is when – traditionally you have a pool light on a switch and timer on something else – my clients want every system outside to come on all at the same time. For them to try and program it themselves it’s impossible to do. With Loxone they get the ability to create lighting scenes and more with instant cohesion between landscaping, pool, etc. rather than having delays and different times. They can adjust it all on their own. There’s no cost for someone to come out and do this.
“They can adjust it all on their own. There’s no cost for someone to come out and do this.”
Q: How do you plan for special features like automated irrigation, etc.?
A: With automated irrigation, it’s nice to have functionality relating to water flow and pressure. If there’s a leak or excessive water usage, we can track and monitor it. If the main line was to get pressurized and break, the system would know that there’s water flow when there shouldn’t be if it’s turned off. The homeowner would get alerted instantly.
Then there’s instances with gas like grills or fire pits. We plan for this during the design phase. The plumber will get an automatic shut-off valve in the gas line and then we will wire it into the Loxone system. The system will control the release for safety, a concern for homeowners especially with kids.
Q: What are some challenges you’ve come across when working on outdoor projects? How have you overcome them?
A: It’s always been a challenge not having an ecosystem that links everything together. There’s always been separate control for landscape lights, outdoor screens, fire pits – each requiring its own remote control for each type of system. Some systems like fire pits would have a button but no good way to integrate it as part of a complete system. Plus, a lot of systems don’t take into account the weather and having to adjust features like pool fountains in certain wind speeds.
With Loxone as a complete solution, we’re now able to give clients one easy user interface. All outdoor products in one place, taking into account what’s going on in the whole home. They can monitor anything in the app, like pool functions. Especially while away on vacation, they can rely on Vacation Mode to keep everything running smoothly. When it comes to having control of a system, clients love having poolside control with the Touch Surface. No other system can do that.
“They can monitor anything in the app, like pool functions. Especially while away on vacation, they can rely on Vacation Mode to keep everything running smoothly.”
Q4: There’s been a recent trend of increased spending on outdoor projects for homeowners. How do you see the future value in outdoor tech for your homeowners? For your business?
A: With my clients, they value convenience and ease of use. They’re more likely to interact with something that’s easy for them. For example, they value being able to turn their spa on before getting home, not having to wait for it to heat up. It’s about the lifestyle – they’re very busy and want very minimal distractions that occupy their time. If it’s easy to use, they’re more likely to use it. A great example of this is if the pool water is low, the system will take care of itself.
For my business, being able to automate all of this really helps us. If clients want anything changed, we can just do it remotely without having to go on-site. We don’t have to spend both time and money going out.
“It’s about the lifestyle – they’re very busy and want very minimal distractions that occupy their time.”
Thanks for reading our Ask an Expert:
Q&A on outdoor technology with Dan Killinger!
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