Monitor Your Smart Home While Away

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This year many snowbirds won’t need someone to watch their house while they spend the summer up North. They can watch it themselves, even from thousands of miles away. That’s just the beginning. If a repair person needs to fix something in their home or deliver some furniture they can simply let that person in with the push of a button. Then they can watch the repair or delivery people in their home and lock up after them.

It’s all part of the new smart homes that are loaded with the latest technology. Vitex of Naples is one of the largest installers locally of these systems that make life so automatic people don’t even have to get up to answer the front door.

“If someone rings the doorbell, they can see who it is on their TV and then they can open the door for them,” explained Everette Evangelista, a control programmer for Vitex. “Everything can be controlled with a remote, iPad or TV.”

The technology can be used for everything from security and lights, to music, fans and air conditioning. It can be hooked to the pool to set the heat and temperature. Residents coming down from the North can heat up their pool, roll up their shutters, light up their house and cool down the temperatures before arrival.

“You can walk in the house, sit down and have the home do what you want,” Evangelista said. “You can be sitting on the couch and you can turn on the pool waterfalls and the jets. It controls every light in the house and you can dim it to your preference. Once you get in bed for the night you don’t want to get up to turn off the lights or control the temperature.”

Marcia Savage of North Naples says the lighting feature is one of her favorites.

“The lighting is really nice, especially with a large home you can create scenes for entertaining,” Savage began. “When I go to bed at night I can just hit a good night switch and it turns everything off so I don’t have to go around turning off all the lights.”

While Savage can’t open her doors with her system, she can see the outside of her home on her iPhone and can control everything from her lighting and music to her security system and air conditioning.

“I have an app on my iPhone so I can access everything from my phone. So that’s nice,” she said. “It’s very cool.”

The Vitex system is customized to what the homeowner wants. It can be as simple as just controlling the lights to as complicated as controlling almost everything in the home. The system runs from about $1,500 for just the lights to more than $250,000 for the works.

“Everyone lives in their home differently,” Evangelista said.

He begins with a 30 day generic technology package and then customizes it for the client. The system can be installed in both new and existing homes.

Hidden switches in closets allow less clutter on the walls. The brain of the operation is hidden in a utility room or garage.

Mark Wilson has a Vitex system in his Gulf Shore Boulevard condo.

“The important thing for us was to be able to control any source in any room,” Wilson said. “If we are playing music we can transfer it to any room in the house. If I want to listen to one thing and my wife wants to listen to another we have that ability.”

Wilson’s system is mostly for music, lighting and visual feeds.

“On the TV I can play multiple things from many sources. If we are watching a movie in the family room we can transfer that movie to any room in the house. It is automatic. Everything in the house is controlled from one central point. It is for the ease of living.”

Ease of living is the key Evangelista stressed. It’s also the wave of the future and Evangelista says it just keeps getting better.

“If you are not home you can see the pool guy cleaning the pool or you can see the housekeeper. It gives you peace of mind,” Evangelista continued. “Why spend money on a house watch guy when you can just pick up your iPad and see it yourself? Remember the cartoon ‘The Jetsons?’ We are getting there and we are getting there quick.”