We Heart Smart Homes

Home automation, what’s not to love? We get an expert’s insight into the tech trend.

Back in the 1980s, we all thought that by the year 2017, daily life would look like an episode of The Jetsons, complete with household robots, spaceship cars and self-cleaning kitchens. Well now that we’re living in the future, our notions of futuristic living have evolved. Rise of the robots? It’s, uh, cause for alarm. And cars, while self-driving, remain firmly earthbound (thank goodness).

As for home, well, sadly, it still can’t clean itself. But it has gotten a life-enhancing boost from technology. And because we heart smart homes, we added a few tech-savvy treats to our recently opened communities. Think smart door bell and front door camera, smart lighting, smart thermostat, smart entry lock and a smart system to run them. (And it’s all now part of HomeSmart®, the fifth element of LivingSmart®!) To mark the launch of HomeSmart, we sat down and had a chat about it with Jimmy Salloum, the VP of Sales and Marketing for Smart Systems Technology (SST), our technology partner. We wanted to know, what’s so great about living in a home enhanced with smart home technology? Here’s what Jimmy had to say:


“Today, every manufacturer is coming out with their own piece of home automation and they’re all launching their own apps,” Jimmy says. “So if I want to turn on my lights, I’m opening one app. If I want to turn up my thermostat, it’s a different one. That’s cool and that’s a ‘smart’ home, but it’s really not home automation.” According to Jimmy, automation is the gold standard, and it’s accomplished when you have a single ‘brain’ controlling all the components via a single app interface. Within the TRI Pointe Homes system, that brain is something called ELAN, and, “It takes you to a whole new level,” says Jimmy.


“The big benefit of ELAN is that we have the ability to trigger events off of other technology,” Jimmy explains. For example, the TRI Pointe Homes starter package integrates two pre-set light switches, your front door lock and, in almost every neighborhood, the thermostat. That’s a prime set-up for turning your home ‘on’ or ‘off’ in just one action. Meaning? When you leave the house and lock up by typing your numeric code into the SmartCode™ deadbolt, that same event can trigger your lights to turn off and your thermostat to turn down. Then, when you come home and unlock the deadbolt, the reverse can be true—lights on, thermostat up. In one fell swoop, not just convenience, but saving you time and energy, too (not to mention never again wondering who left the light on).


According to Jimmy, the app-accessible ELAN system can incorporate a variety of upgrades, depending upon the homeowners’ needs. “But even from day one, with the base package you’re getting benefits like smart phone alerts when your front door is locked or unlocked,” he says. “Then, with upgrades, we can do things like customize your home control around a security platform. That’s useful if someone travels frequently. Or, say you love to entertain. We can customize your system with Sonos to stream music throughout the house and yard when you have parties.” To create the perfect smart home system for you, a senior consultant meets with you one-on-one during the home buying process. “We educate the buyers and get to know their lifestyle,” Jimmy explains. “Do they have children? Are they empty nesters? What home automation platform is going to be the most important to them?”


The ELAN app interface is free and can be downloaded onto as many Android or iOS devices as the homeowner wants. To learn how to use it, after you’ve moved in, you get a professional in-home orientation. And from that point on, your system can be serviced and updated remotely. “It’s very convenient for the homeowner,” Jimmy says. You can drive your home from anywhere in the world via the ELAN app on your smart phone. So the next time you’re traveling and someone needs to water your plants or feed the dog, you’re good to go. You can see them at your front door thanks to the camera stream, unlock the door for them from afar, and then lock it again after they leave. No more keys under the mat, no more giving out lock codes. Because how dependable is your brother, really?


If you still have a CD player or flip-phone around your house, you know that hardware becomes obsolete with time. But software is a different story. “Because ELAN is software based, the home automation system evolves with technology,” Jimmy says. “We are always growing, adapting and modifying as technology advances.” A great example? Neither Amazon Echo nor Alexa existed when ELAN was developed, but they were easily and seamlessly integrated into the system once voice control became popular. What did the homeowner have to do? Next to nada. Updating the ELAN app on your smart device (just like you do to get the latest version, of, say, Facebook) is all that’s required to keep your system current.

Ready to step into the future? TRI Pointe Homes is proud to make innovative smart home technology available to Home Enthusiasts in neighborhoods all across Southern California. Talk to your New Home Advisor today. A whole new Jetsons-like era awaits.

Jimmy Salloum Bio Picture-350width

Jimmy Salloum

VP Sales and Marketing, Smart Systems Technology

Jimmy Salloum has been with SST for nearly 17 years, over which interval he has seen home automation evolve from an expensive, niche product to one that is widely accessible. SST has been working with TRI Pointe Homes since 2010 and helped TRI Pointe Homes Southern California develop the smart home package now available to homebuyers. SST, which operates in Southern California and select cities in Arizona, is privately owned and ranked in the Top 5 low-voltage integrators in the nation.


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