I began my adventure into the Internet of Things with a webcam. Purchased from Smarthome.com, it was powered by a hub that enabled me to control the camera – pan it around – from my iPhone. I quickly became fascinated with the potential and ordered a few light switch controls, as well as two Nest thermostats. I could now turn on and off the porch light, several lights inside the house, turn up and down the thermostat, and see the living room in real time – all from my iPhone.
So I came across a challenge I wanted to try and address with this new-found technology. Our dog, Winnie, was old and had a hard time “holding it” while we were at work during the day. We ended up having to leave her in the garage for the day – on a comfy dog bed with plenty of food and water – in case she couldn’t hold it. Better in the garage than on the hard wood floors!
I ordered two garage door controls from Smarthome.com, and added them to my network. I was now able to open and close the garage doors from anywhere – using my iPhone. I then mounted a video camera in the garage, allowing me to see what was going on in real time. Now that the setup was complete, I set out to prove my hypothesis.
From the Piksel office in Atlanta, with several engineers and managers watching with me, I logged into my home hub and navigated to the video camera in the garage. I panned around to see my sweet little Winnie asleep on her dog bed. I then hit the button to open one of the garage door about 3 feet – and stopped. A flood of light came through the door, and soon Winnie was up and walking outside. We sat for about 3 minutes to see if my assumption was right, which it was. She walked back into the garage and laid back down on her bed, looking happy to have had a chance to visit the yard for a spell. I hit the button to close the garage door, and all was good.
I have since programmed my house to dim lights at certain times of the day, lower the thermostat at night and when we are away, and water the yard on a schedule or on demand – all from my iPhone. No effort has come close to the dog-walking application, though I will continue to look for opportunities!