5 Simple Smart Home Device to Update Your Home Before Thanksgiving

Everyday I get asked “What are your FAVORITE Smart Home devices?”, so today I’m Screen Shot 2018-11-05 at 1.08.12 PMgoing to give you my Top 5 Simple Smart Home Devices that you can put into your home before Thanksgiving.  I picked each of these products based on three criteria, 1-Budget Friendly, 2-Ease of use and 3-Impact on enhancing your life.  So while there are additional products out there that can be used, these are just some of my favorites based on those 3 benchmarks.

1. Video Doorbells.  These little things are one of my FAVORITE fa7129b85ecab3000329878758a0bbd3game changers for in the house.  With very little work, and a good wi-fi connection, this doorbell will allow you to see who comes to your door anytime via there app.  Ring is currently my “go-to” product for these because they have a great price point Screen Shot 2018-11-05 at 12.18.10 PMand a variety of options based on your needs.  With an MSRP ranging from $99.99-249.00 this product has a low entry price point, but a BIG impact to enhancing your life.  The question that I get asked most often on these doorbells, is “What one is right for me?”.  There are 3 models that you will see most often. The Video Doorbell at $99.99, the Video Doorbell 2 at $199.00 and the Video Doorbell Pro at $249.00.  I personally prefer the second 2 options because the first one, although81uEBwB1EYL._SL1500_ it has a better price point at the start, will cost you more in the long run as you will have to replace batteries.  The V2 (Video Doorbell 2) model is also battery operated, but this model allows you to add a Solar Charger for only $49.00 that takes away the need to continually replace batteries.  The one I like the best however is the Pro.  While this one does cost just a little bit more, since it is hardwired using the wires you had on your old doorbell there is no need to have batteries and it therefore has a slimmer design.  As far as ease of use, install on any of these models, including downloading the app and full step-by-step walk through should take most people less than an hour to complete and Ring makes sure you have all of the tools you need to complete the job right in the box .  They give you 4 face colors to choose from, white, black, brown and silver.

2.  Smart Thermostats.  Not only do these things look WAY Nest-Logobetter than our previous thermostat predecessors, they make your life so much better!  Many of the models out there, like the Nest (my current “go-to” product for this 61z0Flx0L2L._SL1000_category) will actually ‘learn’ your behaviors and preferences.  That means that although you will have a little work the first week or so adjusting the temperature to your preferences after that, it will begin to automatically adapt your home to create the best environment for you all while saving you money on your utilities.  nest-app-partialInstallation on this device should take you less than an hour for install and set up as well.  Nest claims that individuals report savings of 10-12% on heating bills and up to 15% on cooling bills.  Products like this with an MSRP of $249.00 are a no brainer if you ask me as they will more than cover their own cost in future bill savings all while making your life just a little easier.  Nest comes in a variety of colors to suite everyone’s room aesthetics, stainless steel, white, black, copper, polished steel, brass and mirror black.

3.  Sonos Beam.  If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you already know how much I love my music….it just seems to make everyday tasks that photomuch more fun and enjoyable!  So I was super geeked when Sonos, a company that I use often on my projects introduced their new Sonos Beam.  With an MSRP of $399.99 and packed with 41nJKqMwLPL._SX425_AMAZING sound, in my opinion this should be the #1 sound bar sold this holiday season.  What I really like about this sounder is that it can not only connect to your television and enhance the sound from your TV, it easily allows you to stream any of your music content, all right from an app on your phone.  I also like that you can upgrade the Beam 318sOwHpc7L._SX425_in the future to create a full 5.1 surround system in your room by adding a Sonos Sub and either in-ceiling speakers and a Sonos Connect Amp for your rears or two Sonos Ones to give you a full surround sound experience. These are great for bedroom or den televisions and can be mounted on the IMG_4709wall with the television.  I’ve also seen them used in kitchen spaces by being mounted under a cabinet or placed above the refrigerator or on top to the cabinets if you are just looking for some great sound in that space.  The Sonos Beam is available in black or white and every time I set one up for a client, they are super impressed with the sound that they are able to get from their television and the LOVE the addition of being able to stream their music so effortlessly!

4.  Smart Door Locks.  There are a variety of Smart Door Locks kwikset-logoout there, but I currently work a lot with Kwikset.  These locks allow you to use their app to quickly see if the door is locked, allow kwikset-electronic-deadbolts-909-15-smt-cp-scr-64_400_compressedyou to create one time or repeated access code during set times for individuals like contractors, get real-time alerts for when the kids come home and so much more.  With an MSRP ranging from $95 up to about $400 depending on the stylekevolock you choose, these are a wonderful addition to any home.  I especially like adding these to clients’ side garage access doors and I’ve seen a real trend in these for vacation homes, especially rentals….just think, no more lost keys and you don’t have to worry about a weekend renter making a copy for future use.  Just create a code for them to use that only works during their stay.

5.  MyQ Enabled Garage Door Openers.  Many of you out there that have purchased a new garage door opener or have moved into a new house myqin the last year may already have this product but you either didn’t know you did or don’t know how to set it up to use it.  MyQ allows you to control your garage door opener from anywhere!  IMG_8727The first thing you want to do for this little device is to go to your garage and see if you your opener has the “MyQ” symbol on it.  If it has it, awesome!  If not, don’t worry, I’ll address a solution for that shortly.  If your opener does have the “MyQ” symbol only, you may need to purchase the MyQ hub to be able to utilize the full benefits of your opener.  If it has “MyQ WiFi” on it, you are all set!  All you need to do is download the app, go through he step by step set up and you myq-garagewill be able to see when your garage door was opened, for how long and experience many more benefits.  If your opener needs the hub or if you have an opener that was made after 1993, the MyQ Hub should still allow you access to all of the perks of this opener for only $79.99 MSRP.  This little piece will give you an amazing peace of mind any time you travel away from your home.

So that’s it….my current FAVORITE 5 Simple Smart Home Devices to Update Your House Before Thanksgiving!  My hope is that youIMG_8847 will see that these products aren’t scary or difficult to use and that they can really enhance your life and give you some peace of mind.  If you have questions about any of these great products or would like to purchase any of them, feel free to contact me at my website at TruMedia Home.

My goal in sharing this information with you and educating you on these and any other products is that while I know many of you will choose to use the DIY (Do It Yourself) path, my hope is to introduce you to a concept of DIWY (Do It With You).  I believe that anyone adding these devices should have a trusted resource for their information…I am happy to be that resource for you, I just ask that if you choose to purchase any of these products and you found my information helpful, please consider purchasing those products through my company, TruMedia.  If you need assistance installing them, we are happy to schedule a time to get you all set up with one or all of these smart home devices at your home before the holidays!  For more about these and other great projects that we are working on, check out my Facebook and Instagram pages as well.

Let me know what you think….if your favorite didn’t make the list, let me know.  Have a new product out there you’d like to learn more about?  Shoot me a message.  If you are a manufacturer of a product, reach out…I’d love to hear what your new smart home technology is!


Technology in the Garage?

IMG_8728Technology in the garage?  That’s not usually the first two things that you might think about putting together, but the truth is there are LOTS of ways you can incorporated technology in your garage!  I stopped out to the Fall Parade of Homes house that we collaborated on with Miles Builders to show you just a few technologies and cool features that you can incorporate in your garage.

The first thing that I’m excited about for technology in the garage is the “My Q”. In this garage we had the MyQ in a LiftMaster garage door opener, LiftMaster_MyQbut it is also in many Chamberlain garage door openers as well.  The wonderfully crazy thing about this technology is that its built right into most of their garage door models, myq-garageso you don’t even have to purchase the additional technology…you just have to connect it.  Once your garage door opener with MyQ is connected to your home’s wireless network, IMG_8723you just need to download the app to your smart phone or tablet and anywhere in the world you are able to see if your garage door is open or closed, how long it has been in that state and you can choose to open or close it remotely as well.  It also allows you to receive alerts for any changes that have been made to the status.  Not only can you control it from your smart phone or tablet, but you can also control it from your wearable device.  If your current garage door does not have MyQ built in, you can purchase a MyQ Smart Garage Hub to convert your existing garage into a smart garage.

In addition to smart garage door openers, it is now becoming common place to have cameras installed in your garage.  If you have a smart garage door that IMG_8730allows you to let individuals in to make deliveries, it stands to reason that you might want to make sure that all they did was drop off the delivery.  Screen Shot 2018-10-20 at 4.18.24 PMIn this home we also made sure to install cameras not only on the exterior of the house to see who might be coming up the driveway and front entry, but we also located one inside of the garage to make sure that everything is secure.  These cameras can also be viewed from an app on your smart phone, tablet or computer.  It is also possible to draw virtual threshold lines that will send you an alert if their is motion in that space or if an object remains in that space for a predetermined set of time.

If you’d like to learn more about how technology inIMG_8847 your garage can really add to the security and convenience to your space, feel free to visit our website at www.trumediahome.com or visit us on Facebook at @TruMediaHome or on Instagram at @TruMediaHome.



Job Corps Students Visit Miles Builders’ Custom Home

IMG_3248 (2)Yesterday I had the opportunity to host 11 students and their teacher from the Gerald R Ford Job Corps center HBI program at the Miles Builders’ custom home.  I invited them out for this field trip for them to learn about all of the skilled trades that are needed in order to be able to build a home like this.



The Gerald R Ford Job Corps works to teach eligible young people (ages 16-24) the skills they need to become employable and independent and place them in meaningful jobs or further education.  Students have a variety of course plans that they are able to choose from and these students have chosen the HBI or Home Builders’ Institute program.  The HBI program works to advance and provide education, career development, training and placement of men and women serving the building industry.  They do this through in class training, field trips and even work shadow programs.

I was introduced to this program approximately 1 year ago and in that time, TruMedia, IMG_1953my company has been able to host over a dozen students out on a three week job shadow to introduce them to the custom integration channel.  When students shadow with us they are able to work on both new construction and retro fit residential and commercial job sites.  We teach the students the basics about pre-wiring, trim finish out and even equipment installation and programming.

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During this most recent field trip we were able to show the students what a finished custom home looked like and were able to answer questions that the students had about things that we do like designing for a clients’ current and future technology needs.  We were able to speak to them about the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the importance of planning for and setting up a solid network infrastructure for these systems in the house to work with.

We were joined on this field trip by Rachel, a Landscape Designer from R&A Landscaping and Courtney, the Interior Designer from Miles Builders.  They were able to speak to the students about additional skilled trades that are needed to be able to accomplish a gorgeous looking house like this.  The reoccurring theme that was expressed by all of us was the importance of communication between the trades and the need for individuals to have a strong desire to work hard and to take pride in their work.


Meeting these students and working with them during the job shadow program has made me incredibly optimistic about the future generation and their desire to learn and work hard in a skilled trade.  I really enjoy opening these students’ eyes to the possibilities that they have for the future.

job-corps-logoTo learn more about the Job Corps program feel Yujh2Y1m_400x400free to visit their website at www.geraldrford.jobcorps.gov .  To learn more about the HBI program, visit www.hbi.org.  To learn more about my experience working with these students or to schedule a time for me to visit or speak to your students, feel free to send me a message.

2018 Fall Parade of Homes with Miles Builders

It’s that time of year again…the Grand Rapids Home Builders Fall Parade of Homes has kicked off and I am excited to share with you a unique perspective of house #21.  I partnered with Miles Builders on this project as their Technology Designer, so not only will you see an absolutely GORGEOUS custom home, you will be privy to a behind the scenes look at all of the technology that we used in the space.


This beautiful modern inspired home is located in Byron Center and has one of a kind views.  It boasts over 6,400 square feet of pure luxury!  IMG_8835 There are dynamic contrasting colors, a variety of textures and modern touches that make this home a show stopper…and don’t even get IMG_8849me started on the technology!

Don Miles at Miles Builders knew that in order for this custom built spec home to exude the elegance that his potential buyers were going to demand he needed to consult with a Technology Designer and thats when he contacted me and my team at TruMedia.

We worked together to create a clean, modern and welcoming space using technology to bring the family together and to make sure that the potential owners would be prepared for additional technology in the future.


Each day this week I am going to showcase a different room in the home on the blog and will be offering you a more in depth view of these rooms in the form of video on my YouTube channel, Instagram TV, Facebook Page and IMG_8853Instagram Page at both @TruTechInsights and @TruMediaHome.  I hope you’re willing to come along on this journey with me as I introduce you to this magnificent home and if you have any questions for either me or Don Miles, the builder, feel free to shoot me a message and I’ll be happy to get you an answer.  If you have a piece of technology that you’d like to know more about or to have me review, send me a suggestion and I’ll see what I can do to accommodate.

Thanks for joining me on this journey…I can’t wait to show you more!