By Alex Sulpizi
A home-management system is proactive—it monitors your electrical and mechanical systems, alerting you to the situation before it becomes a problem
Your home, like your car, is made up of many complex mechanical and electrical systems. As drivers, we can learn the status of the automobile’s systems through a single glance at the dashboard. If something fails, the dashboard will immediately flag the problem so we can take appropriate action.
A home management system (or “home dashboard”) designed specifically for your home can provide the same sort of timely notification about problems that need prompt attention. A home dashboard is a small touch screen located in any convenient area of your home. Through detailed, easy-to-understand alerts you are informed of both critical and noncritical service issues. For example, while not at home, you will be notified if power has gone out, there is water in your basement, or the temperature in your home is dangerously low. Additionally, the system will proactively inform you if your generator has a dead battery or your oil/propane level is low—alerting you to the situation before it becomes a problem, just as a car’s dashboard tells you that you need to check the oil or that your brakes need service.
This sounds like such a benefit to the homeowner that it makes sense to wonder why all homes don’t come with a “dashboard.” Here’s why: A car manufacturer designs the car from scratch, making all systems communicate to the dashboard so that it is simple and efficient for the driver to operate and maintain the vehicle. However, unlike a car, a home has many systems installed by different people, making it necessary for someone to coordinate the integration of each home system to a dashboard. By working with the homeowner, the builder, and the individual mechanical and electrical professionals, a home systems integrator/designer can develop a home dashboard to meet your personal needs. The good news is that whether a house is under construction or already being lived in, a home dashboard can be added at any time.
What good is proactive monitoring, though, if no one is there to see it? When you’re driving, you’re always in front of your dashboard. But it is guaranteed that you will not always be sitting in front of your home dashboard. For this reason, the system will alert you via email and/or voice message if there is an issue. You can also access the dashboard at any time from anywhere, using an Internet-enabled computer.
Every alert you receive includes a detailed description of the issue, along with the current status: “Warning,” “Acknowledged,” or “Restored.” For example, while not at home, you will be notified if power has gone out, there is water in your basement, or the temperature in your home is dangerously low. Once the property manager receives and takes ownership of the alert, a second message gets sent to you with an “Acknowledged” status, including the name of the person who has taken ownership of the problem and his or her direct contact number. When the issue has been resolved, you receive a final alert (“Restored”) confirming that the problem has been taken care of.
These are just some of the benefits you will realize by having a home dashboard system installed:
-You will spend less time staying informed of your home’s health
-What today may be an emergency repair will turn into routine maintenance
-You will have immediate access to the specific repair personnel working on your issue
-The system complements the proactive efforts of your property-management firm by giving them detailed, real-time information on your home—reducing the negative consequences of being informed of a problem too late
A home dashboard will inevitably lead to fewer unexpected inconveniences (or even crises) for you to handle, and it provides better overall, proactive management of your home.