Williamstown – Healthcare


Automation and voice control for assisted living

Smart Automation Role

Consultation, design of solution, supply and programming of hardware, installation of low-voltage components, ongoing support

Key Features

  • Lighting Control via Nero by Environexus
  • AV Control of TVs via Logitech Harmony
  • Automated blinds using Somfy WT motors and Nero blinds modules
  • Full control of local split system AC with Airtopia
  • Complete voice control using Google Home
  • Voice control of carer buzzer

Quality takes on quantity in this smart home installation for Jason, a resident of the Williamstown Multiple Sclerosis care facility. Although the count of five Nero modules, a Logitech Harmony and an Airtopia is dwarfed by the scale of some full-scale smart home installations, the profound impact of these devices on Jason’s quality of life makes this project one of the most rewarding we have done.

The progression of MS has left Jason largely unable to move his arms and legs, making it impossible for him to perform tasks such as using a remote for a television or an air conditioner, pulling a chain for blinds, turning on a light switch, and even pressing the buzzer to call for the carers in the facility. Before the installation of smart home equipment, he relied on the carers to perform tasks such as changing the volume on the television, turning lights on and off, and opening the blinds.

As part of a healthcare initiative, we worked closely with local business Environexus and Airtopia to provide technologies that have provided Jason with a profound level of independence. A Nero Dimmer module was installed to control the downlights in the bedroom, and a Nero 2Relay module was installed to control the light and exhaust fan in the bathroom. A Nero Plug controls a bedside lamp, and Somfy WT motors controlled by Nero Blind modules were installed to power a sheer and a block-out blind. To control the split system air conditioner, an Airtopia was installed, with a temperature sensor and an IR blaster discreetly installed for a seamless look. For deep AV control, a Logitech Harmony controls a Samsung TV and a Panasonic BluRay player.

For control of these technologies, a Google Home acts as Jason’s virtual assistant, controlling his Nero and Airtopia hardware through our Smart Voice service. Simple commands such as “Hey Google, turn the lights on”, “set the AC to 23 degrees”, or “open the block out blinds” give Jason complete zero-touch control of all his devices. Jason has also signed up to Spotify, allowing him to listen to and discover music from his Google Home.

“Using Google for my devices has made such a difference to my life” says Jason. “I have independence that I haven’t had in years. I can’t thank you enough for the help you’ve given me. It’s been a life changer for me.”

“It’s been really good for him” says Peter, one of the carers. “He’s able to set his room up how he likes without needing to call us in.”

Jason has fully absorbed the concept of smart devices and is now dreaming up new ways it can assist him in his daily life. He has a button to call the carer, but the progression of MS has made it difficult for him to control it. Through some investigation, we found the push button was simply a normally open switch, so we constructed a box containing a Nero Dry wired in parallel to his existing button. Should his physical button be out of reach, Jason can now say

“Hey Google, press the buzzer”, and the facility phones alert the carers that Jason requires attention.

Working with Jason has reminded us what this technology is about. It’s more than simply a convenient way for users to control their appliances, or a luxury that only the wealthy or tech- savvy have access to. It can offer control and independence to people who have had it taken away. It has been an absolute privilege to work with Jason and to see how these devices have the potential to radically change a person’s quality of life.

The key technologies installed for Jason are;

  • Nero by Environexus for lighting and appliances, blinds control and for the buzzer
  • Airtopia for control of an existing split system air conditioner
  • Logitech Harmony Hub for control of a TV and BluRay Player
  • Google Home for voice control
  • Smart Voice as the linking service to bring the technologies together