Tag Archives: smart home


Velux Creates A Skylight That Thinks For Itself

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Velux Creates A Skylight That Thinks For Itself

The Smart Skylight

What is a smart skylight? It’s not just a skylight that is remote or phone controlled, it’s not just a skylight that automatically closes when it rains. So, what is a smart skylight? A smart skylight is one that compares the outside environment to the indoor air quality and guides the user to create a healthier, more comfortable home. Now that’s smart skylight technology.

VELUX ACTIVE with NETATMO is trusted world-wide to think for your client. The technology uses smart sensor-based control paired with a smartphone device to automatically adjust programmable skylights and blinds based on indoor air quality and external weather forecasts. Your client can track their home to better understand how their indoor environment makes them feel so that they can provide their family with a healthier, brighter home.

This a skylight that thinks for itself, trusted to think for you to create a healthier home environment. Backwards compatible with any solar or electric skylight manufactured after 2010.

Download your VELUX ACTIVE app for a smarter, healthier home.

Google Play



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Real Insight : Looking to The Future

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Real Insight : Looking to The Future

Smart phone apps like TREB’s Collaborate helping to transform the homebuyer’s journey

Every January, the biggest brands in technology and consumer electronics gather in Nevada for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). There are so many exciting new real estate and home technologies, with smart homes taking centre stage at CES 2018. Below are some of the latest innovations I’m most excited about.

In the Home

No discussion about smart homes would be complete without mentioning Amazon Echo and Google Home. These intelligent personal assistants allow you to interact with technology with your voice and have made it more commonplace to conduct internet searches, play music and make online purchases from your home through speech commands.

These assistants have also led to an increase in integrated, voice activated smart home products. Products like the Ring Video Doorbell, a smart doorbell that sends alerts, a live video feed and two-way speaking capabilities to your smart phone whenever someone is at your door.

A number of smart light and vent technologies can now also connect with intelligent personal assistants to dim or cool a home based on voice commands.

The kitchen, in particular, is a place where smart home tech is continuing to grow. The FridgeCam, for example, is a product that can be added to a traditional fridge and can suggest recipes based on what’s in your fridge and even indicate when your groceries will expire. Other kitchen technology currently in development includes inductive heating countertops that will intuitively detect and heat pots and pans, while ensuring plates and utensils on the same surface are not heated.

Real Estate Technology

Virtual reality (VR) will work to empower real estate professionals and their clients to tour spatially accurate 3D renderings of multiple listings without the hassle of travelling to multiple locations.

While many VR headsets are expensive, and the technology has a way to go, companies like the Canadian-based Gryd.com have already created budget cardboard VR headsets that allow people to gain 360 previews of listings.

Augmented reality is another developing technology that will allow realtors to superimpose information onto real world environments. By simply having a buyer hover their smart phone camera over a condominium residence, for example, relevant information on the building’s amenities, units available, and more, could be displayed over the screen.

Other products, like the Bluetooth-enabled Igloohome Smart Keybox, make it so you can conveniently access the contents of a lock box through an app, while e-signature solutions are continuing to remove the need for pen and paper to finalize a property transaction.

Currently, a number of smart phone applications are also helping to transform the homebuyer’s journey. One such apps is Collaborate by TREB, which allows buyers to search properties across multiple devices, communicate with a TREB realtor in real time, and comment and like/dislike properties while sharing this info with your real estate professional.

TIM SYRIANOS is president of the Toronto Real Estate Board, a professional association that represents 48,000 professional realtor members in the greater toronto area. You can contact him at TREBpres@trebnet.com. For updates on the real estate market, visit TREBhome.com. if commercial property is what interests you, contact a TREB realtor by visiting TREBcommercial.com.


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Which smart home thermostat should you choose?

Which smart home thermostat should you choose?

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Which smart home thermostat should you choose?

by Madisyn McKee

With so many options to choose from, this guide will help you to determine which thermostat best fits your needs

Choosing a thermostat may seem like an easy task but with recent technological developments, the options seem to be endless. Picking the right thermostat can end up saving you money and make your time at home more enjoyable.

What makes a good thermostat? One that’s easy to install, use and can be customized to your personal needs. Below is a roundup of the top three thermostats available on the market to help you make the most informed decision.


Using remote sensors, the Ecobee works to create and improve its motion control sensors throughout your house. This means that when you leave the house, the Ecobee will note that and lower the temperature to save you money. The new version, Ecobee4 even has compatibility with Alexa so you can make requests to your temperature by talking into the speaker.

As you start to use the Ecobee, it will get used to your preferences. It will start to recognize when you wake up, go to bed and generally leave the house for the day. The device aims to lower your heating bill and if you’re really into technology, the capabilities of programming times, temperatures and different zones are endless.

Cost: $220

The Nest

Probably the most popular of the smart home thermostats, The Nest, has taken the market by storm. Similar to the Ecobee, The Nest will learn your daily habits and customize itself to match the way you live your life.

With mobile app capabilities, you can change anything you need from the comfort of your couch. It will even generate reports for you so you can monitor how much energy you are using and determine where you can adjust your usage to save more money.

Cost: $295

Honeywell Lyric

Working in a similar fashion to the other smart thermostats, the Honeywell Lyric is the most cost-effective option. The setup on this thermostat is quite easy and comes with very simple controls. While you will miss out on a few features that come with The Nest or Ecobee, the Honeywell does the trick to help save you money on your power bill.

Cost: $130

Which thermostat will you choose to bring you into the future?

Madisyn is a freelance writer and social media obsessed traveller based out of Toronto. Always looking for her next adventure but glued to her phone, you can contact her at madi@therestlessworker.com or visit her at therestlessworker.com


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Reno Expert: Home Sweet Automated Home

Reno Expert: Home Sweet Automated Home

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Reno Expert: Home Sweet Automated Home

by Jim Caruk

Futuristic ways to run your house, today

It’s hard to believe that once upon a time, motion-sensor lights seemed like cutting-edge technology. Today’s so-called “smart homes” seem like something out of The Jetsons or Star Trek, with homeowners able to control everything from their furnace and lights to their appliances and home entertainment system, all from their phones or tablets, even if they’re not at home.

Photography: bigstock.com
Photography: bigstock.com


Home security systems were among the first “smart” products on the market. With today’s systems, you can monitor multiple security cameras, turn lights off and on, and activate or deactivate the alarm to allow people access while you’re at work or on the road.

To me, one of the most innovative smart products are the doorbells that let you see who’s on your front porch, even if you’re not at home. Some have two-way audio systems that let you speak to a delivery person and ask them to leave your package, or tell a canvasser that you’re busy with something in the house and can’t talk to them.

Smart door locks are great for families with kids who tend to lose their keys, or if you need to let a cleaner or contractor into your house while you’re out. You can pre-set different passcodes so you know who came and went and when.


Once you get into the house, someone’s figured out how to connect and automate pretty much anything you can plug in. In the kitchen there are coffee makers, crockpots, and ovens that you can turn on or off remotely, and fridges with internal cameras so you can see if you need to buy milk or eggs—while you’re at the grocery store!

Programmable thermostats have been around for a while, but the latest versions let you monitor the temperature in individual rooms remotely, or automatically adjust the settings as you move throughout the house.

CAPTION: Photo: Courtesy of Nest


Connected smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors let you know there’s a problem, even when you’re not home. And the sooner you notice a water leak or sewage backup the better. There are a number of water-detection products on the market that send a text or email messages to your phone in addition to an audible alarm that sounds in the house. (See “Jim’s Pick“)

There are even garage door openers that you can check online to make sure the door is closed, and will send you messages if the built-in carbon monoxide, humidity, or temperature sensors go off.

Beyond individual connected products, there are also “hubs” made by companies such as Google, Amazon, and Nest that control multiple devices from lighting and home electronics to HVAC and home security.


But, as they say, “Buyer beware.” As the Internet of things grows, so does the risk of hackers gaining access to our private information through unsecured networks or products with faulty software. Earlier this year, it was revealed that a line of stuffed animals called CloudPets was hacked, allowing whoever did it to listen to voice recordings of as many as two-million owners who’d used the Internet-connected recordable toy. Now that’s some spooky Sci-Fi.

Jim Caruk, Renovation Editor

We look forward to hearing from you and welcome your feedback. Do you have a reno or decor question for our team of experts?

Email editorial@renoanddecor.com


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