Making your home a little ‘smarter’

I first came across the term smarthome in the late 1990s, when I saw a home automation exhibit at a consumer electronics show in Las Vegas. Back then, smarthome technology was largely confined to new home construction for the wealthy, but even then you could see the possibilities for regular households: universal lighting and appliance controls, home theater and other entertainment systems, enhanced home security – all with the promise of improved energy efficiency.

Fast-forward 15 years and the dream of turning even a modest home into a smarthome has become a reality. And thanks to mobile devices and the Internet, smarthome technology is now even better, with remote programming, real-time monitoring, and intelligent feedback all part of the smarthome solution.

For me, smarthome technology has always been about peace of mind. With lots of business travel, relatives coming and going, and a teenager with a busy social life, it’s great to be able to check in on the house when I’m away. Using Verizon’s Home Monitoring and Control system, I can turn lights on and off, buzz visitors into the house, see a live video feed of all the important areas in the home, and even set individual thermostats.

The great thing about Home Monitoring and Control is that you can start out small and grow incrementally whenever the need arises. A “starter kit” will give you an indoor camera, a light module and a gateway device. After that, you can add door locks, door and window sensors, smart thermostats, additional indoor and outdoor cameras, and modules for individual appliances.

Once the system is set up, you can access and control it from your smartphone, tablet, PC or even your FiOS TV. Imagine getting to work and being able to check if you turned the lights off; or getting a notification that someone has just opened the front door and being able to see a video to check who it is. For me, knowing my daughter is back home after school – and who else might be there with her – is perhaps the greatest advantage of my new smarthome lifestyle.

To enjoy Home Monitoring and Control, you need a Verizon broadband service (FiOS or Verizon High Speed Internet) and a home network. The starter kit costs $89.99 – or you can opt for a free pre-owned kit – and the monthly service fee is $9.99. Try Home Monitoring and Control under a 30-day money back guarantee and see if you can make your home a little smarter!

The Online Mom LLC receives a fee for participating in certain promotional programs for Verizon. All opinions are my own.

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