Making Buildings Smarter: How One Solution Provider Connected A Luxury Apartment In Boston

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When you step into the luxury apartment nestled in Back Bay, there are only hints that the fully furnished unit is also completely connected.

As soon you enter the front door, the lights in the mudroom slowly switch on. Jazz starts to play softly in the central hallway. The shades in the living room lower halfway for privacy.

This automated experience stems from behind-the-scenes work of Boston-based solution provider TSP, which specializes in connected high-end luxury homes, including the one in Back Bay.

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The home automation market is expected to grow quickly over the next few years. Consumers are expected to spend up to $40 billion on home automation in 2020, up from $24 billion spent in 2016, according to market research firm Strategy Analytics.

And TSP hopes to profit from that growing market, said Michael Oh, founder and chief technology officer of TSP.

"The key behind this project was that the customers wanted everything to be as seamless as possible and for things to work intuitively," he said. "The great things about working with residential is that they get to know their house in the same way as they get to know the technology."

As Oh walks through the entrance of the apartment, he points out where the heart of the connected devices lies, in the form of a keypad from smart home company Lutron placed on the wall that allows the homeowners to customize lighting, entertainment and climate options.

There are 18 of these keypads spread around the 4,000-square-foot apartment, in addition to seven Android-based touch panels built by smart home company Savant that allow the homeowners to directly control individual smart devices through an app – like lift the shades and adjust the temperature.

But homeowners may not want to touch or even think about a device when they walk into the home, said Oh – and that's why on the ceiling above the keypad is a small white Lutron occupancy sensor.

There are seven of these sensors in total around the fully furnished home – including in the bathrooms and hallway – which sense when homeowners walk into each room and automatically adjusts the controls to their preferred settings.

"So if you don't have a free hand and you have a bunch of bags, coming in, you don't have to worry about turning on the lights," said Oh.

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