Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Automating and securing your house with AT&T Digital Life

Have you ever left your house and only after a few miles away, started to wonder if you locked the front door? Lay there there in bed wondering if you (or your kids) remembered to close the garage door.  AT&T recently launched a new product, AT&T Digital Life, in 15 metropolitan areas that can help with these problems.  I recently got to see it in action at a home in Seattle.

While enjoying appetizers from Lark, the homeowner showed us how is house had been secured with Digital Life, from a camera and keypad lock on the front door, to automated lights in his backyard and living room, to a water alarm in his laundry room.

Just about everything in his house could be monitored and automated. At 7 PM, the lights in the living room turned on - twilight was setting in at that hour.  We were able to tilt and pan the camera in the downstairs to find where the dog was hanging out.

Through a web (or smartphone) application, we were able to review who walked up to his front door.  A novelty for a social gathering, we were able to see how fashionably late we were, but great to see who came to your door during the day. I'm lucky enough to live in a neighborhood where stealing mail or from open garages is the biggest crime, and this could help.  An Amazon package, could sit on my doorstep all day and Digital Life watches it, the motion activated camera turning on when my kid comes home and brings it in, or the nefarious thief comes by and snatches it from the front door.  I might not catch them in the act, but I'd get their smiling mug on camera.

On top of scheduled automation, there is even based automation. Your kid comes home after school, lets themselves in with their code on the keypad and you get an email letting you know they came home. Using the camera, you could see who they brought home and if they forgot to lock the door, you can do that from your smartphone or computer at work.

Many of us have timer thermostats, turning on just before you wake or come home, saving money not cooling or heating an empty home, but keeping it comfortable when you're there.  With Digital Life, you can adjust it remotely if you're coming home earlier, so its warm and inviting when you get home.  Weather in Seattle is always changing and a day that starts out cool can end up rather warm.  With Digital Life, you could reset your thermostat so your air conditioner kicks in, if you didn't set it just so before you left in the morning.

I've been awoken at 2 AM by the police just to let me know that my garage door was open. It happens all the time that my kids forget to close the garage door. With Digital Life, I could check it from my smart phone and from the comfort of my bed, close the garage door using my smart phone.  I could go as far as schedule an email of the door's status at 10 PM every night.

If you follow my wife on Instagram, you've probably seen our old dog, Sebbie. Most of the time, he lays in the family room, but he's old and sometimes his legs give out and he falls in the middle of the floor.  With the pan and tilt cameras, we could ensure that he hasn't fallen down. If he has, we could call a neighbor, unlock the door for them and lock it after they help him up. See what your pet would say.

I love the idea of being able to automate and remotely control things in my house, along with the sense of security that comes with a monitored alarm solution. The typical door and glass break sensors are available, though in a much smaller form factor.

I frequently shop for dinner on my way home from work and it would be really awesome if I could remotely pre-heat my oven as I leave the grocery store. But alas, that feature isn't available yet.

How would you use Digital Life to make your life simpler and safer? Learn more about AT&T Digital Life and let me know your favorite feature in the comments.

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Disclaimer: Besides yummy appetizers from Lark and Dry Soda, I was not compensated for this post. The opinions are all mine, as are the crazy ideas on how I'd be checking up on my kids!

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