Amazon Alexa & ELAN powers flexible living space for octogenarian
Following the installation of an ELAN automation system at her 10,000-square-foot property a decade ago, an Ohio homeowner has recently turned to Amazon Alexa voice control to further simplify control of her home.
“As the property manager, I’m always looking to help the homeowner simplify household tasks,” commented Christopher Parker, the property manager on hand to advise the homeowner. “That’s why I introduced her to Amazon Echo for everyday things like checking the weather or traffic. Soon we had seven Amazon Echos and Echo Dots spread around the home.” An upgrade to her ELAN system came hand in hand with her expansion into voice control, as she deployed ELAN’s latest ELAN 8 software to bring Alexa support to the home.
Parker continues: “When I learned that the ELAN 8 software allowed Amazon’s devices to communicate with the home control system and offer voice control of the whole home, I quickly contacted Ohio integration firm Sundance LTD to see if it could enhance the homeowner’s daily life – the team responsible for installing her original home control system 12 years ago. “The team at Sundance did a fantastic job and I was excited to see what they could do with this.”
After speaking with Sundance LTD, Parker agreed they should start slow and integrate some heavily used functions, including lights and TV power in a few rooms for the homeowner.
"I introduced her to Amazon Echo for everyday things like checking the weather or traffic and soon we had seven Amazon Echos and Echo Dots spread around the home."
The size and scope of the homeowner’s property meant the possible environments where voice control could be deployed to ease her everyday routine were vast. The homeowner soon found that the ability to quickly turn of lighting, TV and audio systems with simple voice commands saved time and energy each day, with intelligent light groupings designed by Sundance bringing the ability to easily navigate the owner from the living room to the bedroom with a single phrase.
The whole-home ELAN system ties together with 384-load Vantage lighting system, 24 zones of multi-room audio distributed through three ELAN S1616A amplifiers, dozens of motorised drapes and shades, seven TVs including two motorised sets, an M1 security system, two overhead garage doors, and front door video intercom.
Tim Sovacool, co-owner of Sundance notes that although voice has been a useful addition to the client’s home, some tasks (such as altering TV volume or channel)are still the easiest to accomplish remotes or touch panels than with voice, for which ELAN’s app and accompany remotes are available. ELAN’s app can be accessed anywhere in the property, with in-wall touch panels provide an “always-on” interface and video display.
“Voice controls are great for some of the most common functions, but you can’t see who’s ringing the doorbell without a video screen,” Sovacool added. “Likewise, if you want to change presets for lights or shades, it’s much easier to do on a touchscreen where you can easily move things around and quickly switch between rooms. The mobile app will also never go out of style, because it lets you access the system from anywhere in the world. There’s peace of mind that comes with that.”
In addition to the new voice controls and ELAN mobile app, the owner and property manager regularly use ELAN HR200 remotes to control the entertainment. According to Parker, usability is the top concern, and having multiple input devices ensure that they always have the right tool for the job.
Sovacool concludes: “ELAN has done a great job making their system reliable and upgradable. I know we’ll continue to see new features and integration with new technologies that expand its capabilities,” Parker added. “In the end, the most important thing is that it works. So far the Alexa integration has worked flawlessly, and I expect we’ll be hearing a lot more about ELAN’s voice-controlled solutions.”