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Remote Management System Saves Home from Flood

Remote management system alerts integrator to lost Internet connection. Investigation finds burst water pipe in basement just before homeowners leave on vacation.

When Peter Sherman, owner of Advanced Home Environments in Pelham, N.Y., installed a power management system as part of a client’s home theater, he had no idea he’d soon be credited with saving the home from a flood.

But that’s exactly the scenario that occurred in September with an installation using a Panamax/Furman BlueBOLT. Advanced Home Environments actually installed the power and energy management device so it could reduce the expense of service calls. The device installed in the home is connected to the Internet and an off-site, hosted central BlueBOLT server. It is designed to send email alerts for a variety of power anomalies.

Here Comes the Flood
Early last fall, Advanced Home Environments installed a BlueBOLT-enabled M4315-PRO power conditioner in one of its client’s homes for a new media room system. A few weeks after the unit was installed, Sherman received an email from the server telling him that it had lost Internet contact with device at the client’s home.

He called the clients and asked them to check to see if they could get on the Internet from a computer, which they could not. Up to this point, the homeowners had been packing for a week-long vacation, and the Internet issue had gone unnoticed. The client told Sherman the router had been locking up once in a while and that if they unplugged it and then powered it up again it would be OK.

System Equipment List
Panamax M4315-Pro internet enabled power conditioner and filter.
Samsung UN55C8000 LED television.
Denon AVR-3310 CI surround receiver.
LG BD 590 Blu Ray with hard drive and streaming for Netflix, Vudu, Pandora, etc…
Universal Remote Control MX-6000 2 way touch panel remote control.
Universal Remote Control MSC-400 Master controller.
Universal Remote Control PSX-2 i-Pod docking station.
Scientific Atlanta Explorer 8300 HD/DVR cable box.
Definitive Technology Studio Monitor 450 speakers –Front left and right channels.
Definitive Technology CLR-2300 powered center channel speaker.
Definitive Technology Super Cube 3 subwoofer.
Definitive Technology UIW-65 Rear channel speakers.
Sony PS3
Nintendo Wii
Middle Atlantic AXS-16 space equipment rack.
“We were still talking on the phone while she walked downstairs to the router in the basement. The next thing I heard was a loud scream: ‘Everything’s soaking wet! There’s a leak!’ A pipe that was right above their 200A electrical panel was leaking water into it. Their router is located under the panel and the water had soaked it, which is why they lost their Internet connection. I instructed them to quickly back away from the electrical panel and got them to shut off the valve on the water main which stopped the leak.

“They called their contractor and he ran over to fix the leak before they left for their vacation. This situation could have ended very badly. Someone could have been electrocuted, more of their electronics could have been damaged, and if the water had caused a short in the electrical panel, the house could have burned down,” says Sherman.

Cloud-based System Configuration
In business since 2004, Sherman is sold on cloud-based power management.

“Our customers get an immediate response to their service issues, and we save money since we don’t need to roll out a truck. We can also take a proactive approach to system maintenance by scheduling certain problematic components, such as cable boxes, to automatically do a weekly reboot,” he says.

He adds that since the company started installing BlueBOLT-connected devices, “we immediately began to notice messages consistently coming in regarding problems with in-house components. The alerts give us instant info, and we are able to immediately respond. So the biggest benefit for us in terms of customer service has been the real-time information.”

As a web-addressable solution, BlueBOLT is a 100 percent hosted, cloud-based platform. The advantage to that configuration is reduced hardware setup, network configuration, and software installation by the integrator on-site. The platform can be accessed from web-enabled devices, including smartphones and tablet computers.

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Article Topics

News · Home Theater · Energy Management · Installation · Panamax · Power Management · All topics

About the Author

Jason Knott, Editor, CE Pro
Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990. He joined EH Publishing in 2000, and before that served as publisher and editor of Security Sales, a leading magazine for the security industry. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He is currently a member of the CEDIA Education Action Team for Electronic Systems Business. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California.

4 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by 39 Cent Stamp  on  01/14  at  11:47 AM

Great article. Having the ability to monitor and manage the home remotely is amazing for so many reasons from additional revenue via hardware sales and monitoring fees to the ability to keep your technicians home instead of sending them out for costly service calls that leave clients unhappy and the integrator fully booked with less profitable work in front of them.

At the end of the day its about keeping the customers happy. Solving problems before they experience them and in this case.. literally saving their home and maybe their lives.

Good job Advanced Home Environments and bluebolt!

Posted by Mike Maniscalco  on  01/14  at  02:15 PM

Great article on the power of remote monitoring and how it saved a potential disaster!  Advanced Home Environments probably earned a customer for life.

Posted by J McKin  on  01/15  at  02:14 PM

Is there no regualtions to prevent a water pipe from being installed over a Power Panel? This seems to be a huge oversight - thankfully the system installed did a great job of saving the day - too bad it also shows the lack of poor planning / bad inspection practises.

Posted by Tuck  on  01/17  at  09:35 AM

They left the part out where the integrator screwed a three in bolt into the pipe. LOL JUST KIDDING!

Good example that can be used to promote remote management. And hats to to AHA for promptly responding to the alert.

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