Manage Your Home Remotely
Aug 20, 2013 / 4:50 pm
Written by Jennifer Smith
It’s a good thing the okanagan offers views from one end of the valley to the other in its most elite neighbourhoods. People like Bob Drunkemolle need to see a thundercloud well before the storm.
His company, EDGE Property Excellence, looks after the kind of homes and vacation getaways a weather event can send into a tailspin.
These highly-automated properties can take two days to reprogram without timely intervention, and insurance companies have coined the term "tsunami effect" to describe what wind will do to a pair of Cobalt boats missed on the launch. It's uninsurable.
If there's a Ferrari parked year-round in the garage, an absentee owner needs to find a man like Drunkemolle, pay him to have the knowledge of an army and even more to never leave his or her employ.
"You almost have to build yourself a conspiracy theory and then look into the crystal ball to figure out how you're going to deal with every eventuality," Drunkemolle explains.
The clients he looks after want someone capable of designing and building their Okanagan hideaway, and willing to assume the reins in a man-on-the-ground role.
As the only person as invested in the property as the owner, he’s made it his business to know every geographical quirk of the region, from the soils in each neighbourhood to the wind tunnels, designing his buildings to be managed ten and twenty years down the line.
This type of project means crafting a mechanical system infinitely intricate in its performance options and as clear as mud to repair. Everything he does goes in "the book" and when he hands over this bible of information to the owner at completion, he makes sure his phone number and those of every contractor who have set foot in the home are inside.
"Really, it doesn't matter if it's an $800,000 build or $10 million. If he's sunk his whole livelihood into it, but is still working in Calgary, he's then going to want me to look after it," says Drunkemolle.
At this level, when one talks landscaping, it's about the impact a fast- growing tree's roots could have on the complex waterlines required to run a dozen bathrooms and outdoor waterfalls if no one is around to notice a problem. Xeriscaping takes a backseat to weighing the impact a native pine tree's needles could have on the septic field in ten years time.
Security is a given.
By and large, the Commissionaires are programmed to arrive on command for vandals or thieves, but hands on attention, someone who can walk through the door the second an issue crops up - or preferably before the first sign of trouble - is a must.
Looking after a vacant, high-end home takes automation of a level that affords luxuries.
Everything from the music and television to the heating and lights can now be managed off-site in a well automated home.
"I've got some people who might want to record The Masters on their television in 3D because they don't have that option in their house in Vancouver," says Kevin Barnett, owner of iQ Home Automation Ltd.
These systems ensure the music is as consistent in the ensuite bathroom as the living room, and record light patterns the week before a family leaves on vacation to be replicated when the house is empty.
The barrier between personal security and protecting every aspect of one's home is gone, according to Gary Gylytiuk, vice-president of the Kelowna-based Bolt Security Systems.
"The buzzword right now is interactive services," he says. The home is its own butler, security guard and babysitter, controlled from anywhere in the world. Using a smartphone application, parents can now get a notification when the kids arrive home and a text message if they raid the liquor cabinet.
Alarms can detect when a housekeeper or landscaper is rummaging in a private closet, and if the homeowner wants added peace of mind, automated video clips can be sent via email or text.
"More and more people are putting in cameras inside, as well as outside, their home, especially in larger homes and new construction," says Gylytiuk.
As geothermal heating takes longer to manipulate, he also knows homeowners who optimize comfort and energy bills by turning up the heat or air conditioning from their car on the way home.
He has one customer saving $600 monthly in property management fees by setting her multi-unit rental up so she can unlock the building for temporary guests from off-site.
And come winter, an automated home can help the owner ensure the pipes won’t burst with an alter to turn up the heat in a cold snap.
In other words, in an era when managing property is par for the course, the Okanagan’s technical wizards and business minds have it down to a science.
Read more Okanagan Home articles
- Manage Your Home Remotely Aug 20
- Refreshing Beach Designs Aug 15
- Outdoor Lighting Jul 12
- Intelligent Lakehouse Design Jul 10
(Click for RSS instructions.)