Expert Advice Turns Tech Novices Into Enthusiasts

When you’re unsure about home technology, the best place to turn is to a home systems expert. The owners of this 3,200-square-foot Florida vacation home did just that, enlisting Hoppen Home Systems for professional advice and guidance on the types of smart electronic systems that would make the most sense for their new semi-permanent residence. “Their plan was to visit the house a week each month, then eventually retire there,” says Hoppen Home Systems president, Jason Hoppen. “A system that would allow them to monitor and control certain aspects of the vacation home from their full-time residence hundreds of miles away, therefore, was something we suggested highly.”

The ability to check the status of the home’s heating and cooling system and access video from surveillance cameras from their smartphones made perfect sense to the homeowners, too … as long as it was easy to do. As Hoppen and the homeowners chatted more about their home technology options, it was clear that the project would likely evolve into more than just security. After all, this would be a place where the homeowners would come to relax and unwind. A system that could also provide convenience, comfort and entertainment during their stay seemed worth exploring, too.

As Hoppen explained to the homeowners, all of these tasks could be handled by a Control4 home automation system; just as importantly, the Control4 system would enable them to interact with their home’s lights, security cameras, thermostats, A/V equipment and more from a simple app on their smartphones, as well as from handheld remotes, keypads and touchpanels that would be installed inside the home. As is the case with many people new to home control technology, the homeowners asked Hoppen to implement a few basic features to start. Remote access to a dozen surveillance cameras, control over 10 or so light switches and access to centrally located rack of A/V gear from 15 different listening zones (including four zones outside by the swimming pool) and 10 TV locations were the initial requests. As the hardware was being installed and the Control4 software programmed, the homeowners’ couldn’t help imagining new ways to leverage their home’s new control system. Ten controllable light switches soon became 100, a gas fireplace was integrated, sensors were added to all of the home’s interior and exterior doors so that lights would turn on and off automatically, and several “scenes” were created to streamline the process of controlling multiple devices to a single touch of a button.

The scenes, in particular, have made living in and enjoying the vacation home virtually effortless. A single command launched from a smartphone, for example, can prepare the lights, thermostats, audio, video and security system for their arrival and departure. One button on a keypad can shut off music, lights and arm the security system as the couple retires to their master suite for the night. At the same time, Control4 system turns on bedroom’s flat-panel TV to the owners’ favorite channel sets the lights perfectly for an evening in. “One button does it all,” says Hoppen. “It’s become the theme of this house, and one of the most valuable features of this vacation home.” The solution, therefore, was a home automation system that was simple to use, could be accessed and controlled fully from afar, and provided opportunities to implement additional features as the homeowners saw fit.


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