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fanny montalvo's Blog

By fanny montalvo | Broker in New York, NY


Thanks to YOU!

It's a SMART world out there! With smarter solutions to everyday living, upon us everyday!

Connecting home to HI-TECH….

It was barely a few years ago that smart [home]technology was only found in the imagination of television. Ok- well for some, more than a few years ago if you were born after  ‘The Jetsons’ – A television cartoon of my generation, based on living in the future- circa 2062, ‘The Twilight Zone’ with futuristic stories thought of by the igneous master of television, Rod Serling, the “Danger, Will Robinson” alert heard on ‘Lost in Space’,  The 'shoe phone' sitcom co-created by Mel Brooks in 1965 on 'Get Smart', and even the infamous ‘Honeymooners’, concocting their ‘Walter Mitty’ ideas as, in a classic episode, where Ralph and Norton appear on a TV commercial trying to sell their Handy Housewife Helper, a kitchen gadget that can, among other things, open cans, remove corns and “core a apple.” In the inspired, ad-lib-laden episode, “Chef of the Future” Ralph demonstrates the wonders of the gizmo to “Chef of the Past” Norton. But now, home automation is more than just the fantasy of which television writers are made- for this generation- it is not only an ever changing reality, but a rapidly growing business as well.


Nowadays, home tech is just as advanced as the latest laptops and smart phones. New technologies promise to keep your home secure, energy efficient and for those of you who treat dust bunnies as normal ‘houseguests’…. your home can now be as someone like me likes to keep mine - and as a Realtor®, I want yours to show…spotless!!!

Today’s new home technology is a buyer, seller, and domestically challenged person’s dream, I tell you!

Let’s open the door to it all….

SECURITY: Ever leave the house just to wonder if you properly locked your door? Products like Shlage Link (pictured above) promise to ease your worries; numerous new locks let you lock and unlock your doors from your smart-phone. Similarly, the Kwikset SmartCode Deadbolt can communicate with multiple devices wirelessly to open and close remotely.


THE NEST: Investing a few hundred dollars on a thermostat which can teach itself the best way to manage temperature control in the home is a very worthy investment. There is a thermostat on the market which is getting a lot of recognition for its functionality and smart benefits to users, it is called Nest. This little device will run your home temperature settings all by itself and can help save money on energy bills. It learns when you wake up and will adjust the temperature to a comfortable setting before your feet hit the floor in the morning. It will also learn when you go to work, come home from work, and can even sense your presence in the home and will adjust the temperature accordingly.

Nest has built-in motion detectors to adjust temperatures to the perfect setting regardless if you are home or away. If you’re not satisfied with how the thermostat is being automated you can control it with your smartphone from anywhere. All these little adjustments will definitely save you money. 50% of the average homeowner’s electric bill goes to heating and cooling. Nest will also adjust itself automatically depending on the weather because it plugs into your Wi-Fi and checks forecasts.

According to the manufacturer, households could cut 30% off their average energy bill simply by plugging this little device in. So in essence, you get a thermostat which learns how to ultimately control your environment without your input, can save you up to 30% on your heating/cooling costs, and only cost about 10% more than a standard hi-tech thermostat on the market today.



GREENWAVE REALITY: Too tired to go in the kitchen and turn off the lights? How about just switching it off via iPhone? This unusual lighting solution found on Technabob is another step towards that super-hi-tech future most of you guys dream of.  Greenwave Reality came up with a kit with innovative light bulbs, controllable with the help of a remote, but also via a mobile application.

Here is how the system works (as explained by the developers): “By simply screwing in the bulbs, consumers can immediately begin to control their lights. The solution comes per-configured with “home,” “away” and “night” Smart Controls. For example, before bed, consumers can simply press the “night” Smart Control to turn off all lights, eliminating the need to go from room to room to turn lights off. Consumers can also create their own custom Smart Controls to fit their lifestyle, such as having outdoor lights automatically come on at dusk and turn off at dawn, and even integrating with motion sensors to automatically turn lights on or off when entering or exiting a room“.



THE LEAP:  Available NOW!!! May, 2013 • Best Buy Exclusive $80. Raise your hands and wave hello to the future. The Leap Motion controller senses your individual hand and finger movements so you can interact directly with your computer. Connect the Leap Motion controller for eight cubic feet of awesome, intuitive, 3D interaction space. Compatible with Windows 7, Windows 8 and Mac OS X. Browse the web, read articles, flip through photos, and play music by barely lifting a finger.Draw, paint, and design with your fingertip. You can even use a real pencil or paintbrush. Slice falling fruit and shoot bad guys with your finger. Steer cars and fly planes with your hands. Sculpt, mold, stretch, bend, and build 3D objects. Take things apart and put them back together. Reach into the universe, grab the stars, and soar around the sun. It’s a whole new way to learn. Pick, pluck, strum, and drum. Play air guitar, air harp, air everything. For real.



THE MINT: At just under $200. While not ‘smart phone’ operated, for it’s price and function, The Mint Automatic Floor Cleaner from Evolution Robotics deserves mention, as it is designed exclusively for sweeping and mopping hard surface floors for you and is one of the better products out there. Using dry and pre-moistened cleaning cloths, Mint picks up the dust, dirt and pet hair that constantly accumulate on floors. Mint's compact design gets into tight spaces, under furniture and into other areas that are hard to reach with traditional mops and sweepers.

Guided by the NorthStar Navigation System, Mint methodically cleans open areas by moving back and forth in straight lines, working around furniture and rugs, and cleaning along baseboards.

Mint is easy to use. Simply attach your cleaning cloth of choice, choose sweep or mop and let Mint clean for you. Since Mint is not a vacuum, there are no bins to empty or filters to replace. So you can enjoy hassle-free clean floors every day.

Intelligent Navigation

The NorthStar Navigation System works like an indoor GPS that helps Mint keep track of where it has been and where it needs to go. Specifically, the NorthStar Cube projects a signal that Mint uses to determine its location. Then as Mint starts cleaning, it builds a map of the area as it goes, marking walls, obstacles and drop offs as it encounters them. After Mint finishes cleaning open areas and around obstacles, it performs a final edge cleaning along walls and furniture and then returns to where it started so you know right where to find it.

The dry (right) and wet (below) microfiber cleaning cloths

Mint can map and clean up to 800 square feet either in a large open space or by discovering adjacent rooms. In mop mode, the cleaning area is restricted to 250 square feet to optimize cleaning while the cleaning cloth is wet.

Sweeps & Mops

Mint's dual modes let you easily maintain all your hard surface floors with one device. In Sweep mode, Mint uses a dry sweeping cloth to pick up dust bunnies, pet hair and grit from your floor. In Mop mode, Mint cleans with a pre-moistened cleaning cloth and a special back-and-forth mopping motion to pick up deeper dirt and grime. All it takes to switch modes is a fresh cleaning cloth and a press of a button.


MAESTRO, PLEASE…. Zoned Entertainment (Music and TV)

Entertainment that travels with you around the home, a luxury that used to only be for the likes of, Bill Gates are now becoming more accessible to the masses.

By now you’ve probably seen the
DirecTV commercial that shows an awesome robot fight that starts in one room of the home, pauses as the guy walks to the next room and then resumes. Basically, you start watching a show in one room and then continue watching it in another.

On the music side, home-music systems like Sonos allow you to wirelessly connect the speakers all over the house and divide them into zones so you can play the same music throughout, say if you’re throwing a party, or divide it up with different music in different rooms so you can listen to grown-up music and the kids can listen to kid music!

It can stream music over the Internet through sources like Sirius, Rhapsody and Pandora and can be controlled using an iPad, iPhone or iTouch — from anywhere in the house.

As fast as you can work an iTouch or an iPad you can play music — and the music is all stored online, so it doesn’t clog up your iPhone. Plus, once you have the app, you can control a Sonos system anywhere, say at a second home or at a friend’s house.



Coincidentally, while having this blog topic in saved in draft for the last 3 weeks, these very same products from LG's ''Life's Good" line were featured on 'Celebrity Apprentrice'... Hmmm, they must even read minds 'smartly'!

Their Smart Grid programs the oven to tap into the smart grid to offer cost options that take into account the duration and electrical cost of the cooking. The refrigerators can also adjust their temperatures to take advantage of decreased energy rates.

Smart Diagnosis will take notice of anything that goes wrong with a home appliance. Take for example if the refrigerator door is left open, the appliance will notify the owner on its display panel. In later models, this will be done via Wi-Fi and send a message to the owner’s smart phone or tablet PC.

Smart Diagnosis will also be able to pinpoint exactly what’s wrong in case of a serious malfunction. It will allow service technicians to know exactly what’s wrong to save time and money.

Smart Access allows users to oversee their household chores regardless of their location. Through smartphones or tablet PCs, they can see the time left on food in the oven or check the temperature and contents of the refrigerator. 

Super-market pre-roasted chickens, take note...Smart Adapt downloads the latest options for the appliances. Including programmed recipes. Food management goes hand-in-hand with Smart Adapt by letting users keep track of everything in the fridge and when it expires.  These smart appliances came out of nowhere and LG surprised everybody with this announcement. And like tablets or smartphones, these fridges can also run apps and hook up to social-media networks.   

(If only these new home helpers could clean some of those ‘look like they’ve never been cleaned’ stove-tops out there – but, that’s a whole different blog, or featured on that show called, “Hoarders”….!)

LG and Google. The best of all worlds! Merge the power of Google, the boundless content of the Internet and one of the most innovative TVs ever made…and you've got the LG Smart TV with Google TV. The Magic Remote QWERTY makes it a cinch to navigate, search and socialize, now with the addition of Voice Search functionality. The customizable LG Home Dashboard is intuitive and a breeze to navigate. Add the amazing performance of LG's exclusive L9 Dual Core Processor and get ready to access your favorite content like never before...WHILE PROGRAMMING THE APPLIANCES!!!!

Scanomat TopBrewer is a next generation coffee maker. According to them “Less Is More”, following this theme, they built up a smart coffee machine which is as neat and decent as you would want it to be. Now if you are a ‘HAVE TO HAVE THAT MORNING ICED NECTAR OF THE GODS’ cappuccino like I am, this is a must have machine for you. It has just one rounded stainless steel coffee tap that can be adjustable to different heights. The coffee tap has two nozzles inside it, off one, liquidized cappuccino comes out and from second the hot milk pours out. Besides this tap there is small decent mug which has all the coffee beans inside it and on requesting coffee, the machine takes it automatically. This all assembly is made smarter by making it on a smart desk with all touch button features. You can select your desired coffee and than just wait and watch how this ultimate machine makes coffee for you. The smart and glossy designed coffee bar is compatible to work also with iPhone and iPad, so now even while watching your movies, you don’t need to get up and start making coffee, all you do is just give a command to your phone and there you go , your coffee maker starts making hot delicious coffee for you. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=XxVYe-TE2eU AHHHH....Lavazza, Illy, Bustelo-it's a coffee drinkers dream come true! For someone like me- this IS the equivalent of a gift in my favorite ‘Baby Blue’ Box….

RUB A DUB...shower or tub!

 Moen’s ioDigital electronic controls for baths and showers. The company's wall-mounted control panel lets you personalize your perfect shower and bath experience, your preferred temperature and water flow and even the water level of your bath. And the system comes with a handheld remote: You can actually turn on your shower or fill up the tub while you're still in bed (its range is up to 30 feet). It even offers four preset options for different users.

Who says baths are passe? Not only is this great for the guy, think of the setting up of a nice bubble bath and putting on a favorite chick flick! Just remember- at some point, you need to get out of this virtual spa under water!



An Intelligent Mirror
The Cybertecture® Mirror is more than just an elegant mirror for everyday use. At the touch of a button, it comes to life right in front of your eyes. The reflective surface displays information and content through feeds that stream onto the mirror surface from the worldwide web.

An Everyday Device
Whether seeing the Cybertecture® Mirror in a bathroom, office, lobby or lift, this mirror will deliver functions and applications that empowers the user through reflective intelligence, information and interactivity. Applications preinstalled or self designed specific to your needs can appear in the mirror including showing time, weather, transportation schedules, health, news, advertising and/or entertainment.

Connected with the world
The Cybertecture® Mirror is connected to the internet and is a platform for applications that can link you with friends, monitor your health, update you with latest news information and collect support from digital assistants.

These are just a few excellent ideas that will make people’s lives easier, showcase homes for sale wisely, and become incorporated into everyday living in everyday ways! 

Now we just wait until our appliances start refusing orders, giving us back talk, and begin the robot revolution….

[And BTW... in not leaving out any of the inhabitants of any habitat...Check out the 'new technology' for dog owners to cut back on pup loneliness!]

Now, thanks to a nifty new TV channel, you don't have to worry about a lonely puppy while you're away. According to AdAge, DirecTV just signed a multi-year contract with DogTV, a channel that produces content exclusively for dogs - from the perspective of dogs. The channel, co-founded by ex-"Amazing Race" writer Ron Levi, was launched in San Diego in 2012. "DogTV provides customized television entertainment, while the rest of the family is away at work or too busy to play," said Gilad Neumann, CEO of DogTV. "Studies show it relaxes and stimulates dogs - keeping them healthier and more content." Check out www.directtv.com and the ways to play it remotely!

And to me, mine, you, and yours....


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