Smart homes make for more relaxing vacations

Krista Aumüller
07/12/2018 in Know How

Fine, white sand between your toes, the calming sound of the sea, warm, golden sun rays on your face and a refreshingly cold beverage in your hand – Nothing beats getting away on that vacation you’ve daydreamed about for the past few months.

It’s all about relaxing and enjoying your time away, so the last thing you need is stress or a constant worry in the back of your mind. One of the most significant concerns that can creep into our minds is if everything’s okay back at home. Well, what if your home could watch out for itself, making sure everything is safe and ready to alert you only to events that potentially may be a concern. That would no doubt give you great peace of mind so you can focus on the more important things, such as whether to opt for the sunlounger at the pool or to take a stroll on the beach.

So, how exactly would your home take care of itself? To find out first hand, we caught up with two families as they embark on their summer vacations: The Hanses, who live in a Loxone Smart Home and the Williams, who are living in a conventional house.

Ready? Let’s go!

Smart Home Urlaub - Fam Hansen

The Hansen Family
David (36), Ellen (33), John (3) and Sophia (3)
live in a Loxone Smart Home

Konventioneller Urlaub - Fam Dittmann

The Williams Family
Michael (36), Martina (32), Jessica (8) and Jonas (4)
live in a conventional home

The adventure begins!

Smart Home Urlaub - Fam Hansen
Hansen Family

The day starts before the family has even woken. 15 minutes before to be exact. The shading is tilting to allow the gentle morning sun into the bedrooms to naturally wake the Hansen family. In addition to the tilting shading, each family member’s favorite music begins to play in their respective bedrooms. So far the day is off to a great start and is bound to get better with the adventure that awaits.

Next, the good vibes continue into the bathrooms where specific playlists play on the multiroom audio. (Who said you couldn’t start listening to that road trip playlist before you’ve even left the house?)

Having already all started the day off on the right foot and with no worries in sight; next up is a cup of coffee.

Then, it’s time for the Hansens to hit the road. As they’re getting ready to leave, David pops the house into ‘Vacation Mode’ with just a few taps in the app.

He promptly gets a notification on his phone: “The window in the bathroom is still open.” He quickly closes it, and that’s it – let the journey begin!

Konventioneller Urlaub - Fam Dittmann
Williams Family

Shrill alarm tones startle the Williams from their deep sleep. (Martina has wanted to ditch the old-fashioned radio alarm clock for a while now)

Still slightly dazed from their sudden awakening, the family washes up quickly and get ready to leave.

Well, they start the pre-leaving routine that is. Martina starts going through the house to check that all the windows are closed; the basement light has been switched off; the TV is unplugged; the heating and hot water is off; and lastly that all the plug-in timers have been set.

One more thing to do; going across to the relative’s house to leave the front door key with them.

What a surprise…the family is already running late. Albeit only five minutes. Anyway, now they can hit the road.

Off to the airport…

Smart Home Urlaub - Flughafen Fam Hansen
Hansen Family

With the reassurance that everything is okay at home, the Hansens can already start relaxing and soak up the excitement of their upcoming journey – before they’ve even reached the airport.

You see, when David put the house into ‘Vacation Mode’ a host of checks were automatically done for him, including:

  • The shading switched to automatic mode
  • The house checked that all the windows and doors were secure
  • All appliances were switched off
  • The boiler schedule was adjusted
  • The burglar alarm was activated
  • Presence simulation was turned on

Now at the airport, there’s time for the family to stop for breakfast before they make their way to check-in.

Konventioneller Urlaub - Flughafen Fam Dittmann
Williams Family

Finally, in the car on their way to the airport, Martina gets that feeling that we’ve all experienced…did she remember to turn off the iron amidst the panicked departure?

Unable to shake that thought, the Williams turn around ‘just to double-check.’

It turns out the iron was off – and although Martina’s conscience is now at ease, this little detour has eaten into their time. Not to mention put them on edge a little.

With raised stress levels, the family arrive at the airport and immediately make their way to the check-in desk. Unfortunately, they forgot to print their boarding passes ahead of time, so they reluctantly join the massive line that wraps through the airport.

By the time the family gets to check-in, there’s zero chance of them grabbing a bite to eat.. airline food it is!

Day one!

There’s been a thunderstorm

Being up-to-date with local news back home is easy thanks to the many apps available on our phones nowadays. At breakfast, families get a notification from a local news app that there has been a thunderstorm overnight in their hometown, with several reports of flooded basements.

Smart Home Urlaub - Unwetter Fam Hansen
Hansen Family

David and Ellen can relax. Their smart home would have informed them if one of the water sensors had triggered.

If the worst did happen, they would have been notified immediately and been able to let someone know to mitigate damage.

Since none of the sensors were tripped, they know everything back home is okay. Could you say the same? For extra peace of mind, Ellen pops open the Loxone App and sees that everything is okay.

The Hansens were lucky. Day one is still off to a good start. The beach awaits!

Konventioneller Urlaub - Unwetter Fam Dittmann
Williams Family

The Williams begin to panic. Has their home also been affected?

Martina quickly calls her mother. It’s not good – her parents’ basement has flooded. Because of the chaos, her mother hasn’t had a chance to check on her daughters home – but she promises to do so as soon as possible.

Uncertainty lingers in the air – it’s breakfast on day one and their vacation isn’t off to a good start. The excitement of spending the afternoon at the beach has quickly dwindled.

Finally, the mother calls back. Lucky for the Williams, everything is okay back home. Whew!

P.S. The water sensor isn’t the only device that gives peace of mind

The Hansens would also be notified if smoke were to be detected, so they could call for help straight away.

Even still, not all security risks can be eliminated. Burglars often strike when a house is left empty with its owners on their travels. You can find out how the Hansen’s smart home deals with this danger in our blog about protection from break-ins in a Real Smart Home.

The long-awaited package

Both families are now lying on the beach when the doorbell rings at home. A long-awaited package has finally arrived!

Smart Home Urlaub - Paket Fam Hansen
Hansen Family

The Hansens have known their mail carrier for a while now. Before going on holiday, David set him up a one-time pin for the NFC Code Touch which gives him access to the garage (and only the garage). So this makes it easy for the postman to leave the package in a safe place until the family gets back.

David could, of course, use the app on his phone to see and talk with any visitors at his front door. But he’s on vacation and he’d rather enjoy his time away with family, undisturbed.

Konventioneller Urlaub - Paket Fam Dittmann
The Williams

With the Williams, the visit goes unnoticed. The mail carrier knocked but with no answer and no way to leave the package in a safe place, he’s (understandably) not been able to deliver the package.

So, it’s back to the distribution office. Michael now needs to arrange a redelivery when he gets back or go and collect the package himself.

P.S. It’s not only for the mail carrier

The Hansens can assign codes with unique authorizations for different people – all thanks to the NFC Code Touch. Their neighbor, who kindly feeds the cat, has access to the house with his code – but only if the home knows that the Hansens are on vacation, for example. When the Hansens return home, the neighbor’s code will stop working.

Heading home

Smart home or not, time flies when you’re having fun. There was no exception for our two families (even though one might have been more relaxed than the other)

Smart Home Urlaub - Rückkehr Fam Hansen
Hansen Family

Before the Hansen family headed off on their summer vacation, David saved a calendar entry in the Loxone app, indicating when they would be leaving as well as when the family would be returning.

Their home subsequently made all the necessary adjustments during their absence, and more importantly in preparation for their arrival back home to give them a warm welcome:

  • The HVAC was returned to normal operation
  • Appliances were switched back on ready to use
  • The comfort temperatures were achieved in each room of the house

Even on their return journey, the Hansens still don’t need to worry about their home – allowing them to enjoy their holiday, free of any house-related stress, right up to the last minute.

Actually, they can remain stress-free about their house even after they get home. That’s because their home takes care of 50,000 tasks for them each year, so they find themselves relaxing even when they aren’t on vacation!

Konventioneller Urlaub - Rückkehr Fam Dittmann
Williams Family

The Williams aren’t home yet but their vacation is basically already over.

As soon as they leave the hotel, Martina calls her neighbour to ask them to turn the heating on.

On the plane, they are constantly wondering whether everything is okay back home.

Finally, there’s peace of mind as they walk through the front door and see that everything is in order.

But there is still the nuisance of getting the home back to normal:

  • Opening the blinds
  • Airing out the rooms
  • Switching on the plugs for the appliances
  • ….

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