Submitted photo John Kennedy and his family built a home in 1999 and struggled to find automation options, so he knew the Truro area could benefit from an all-in-one service. He launched TouchStart in 2006 and has spent the last 11 years “future-proofing” homes across Nova Scotia.

John Kennedy says the best moment of any job is handing his homeowners a slim remote – or their smartphone – and seeing their delight when he tells them what they can now control with the push of a button.

“I love seeing the smiles on their faces when they hit a button and see what happens. It’s pretty amazing,” said Kennedy.

He and his family built a home in 1999 and struggled to find automation options, so he knew the Truro area could benefit from an all-in-one service. He launched TouchStart in 2006 and has spent the last 11 years “future-proofing” homes across Nova Scotia.

Kennedy says many homeowners think programmable thermostats are pretty impressive, when they’re really just defaulting to the same settings each day. He prefers smarter systems that lower the heat when you’re away for a longer period and return it to a toasty temperature when you’re on your way home.

But that’s not all his homes can do.

“An automated home basically knows when you’re at home, when you’re away, when you’re on vacation. It knows what to do, so you don’t have to control it,” said Kennedy. “It will automatically adjust the heat, the lights, the security — anything you need it to do.”

TouchStart is a custom integrator, which means they sell, install and support products, as well as integrate products in a home or business to work together smoothly. Products include Sonos, Denon, Marantz, Leviton Automation and Security, JBL, Harmon/Kardon, Doorbird, Epson, and many more.

Kennedy says some clients opt for a fully-integrated home that makes it easy to control everything from heat, window blinds and lights to music, televisions and home security – sometimes using only the sound of your voice.

“We find the more the system does automatically, the more satisfied the customer,” Kennedy said. “Proper set-up and programming makes all the difference.”

Since the technology is so new, it’s critical to have it installed properly without placing the responsibility on the homeowner. Kennedy says some providers will sell and install a product but then fall short on programming, set-up and ongoing maintenance, while TouchStart prides itself on continuing to support their customers.

“Many of our customers are repeat customers who keep coming back to us for new projects and upgrades,” said Kennedy. “They appreciate that we’re going to get everything working perfectly for them.”

Kennedy says security cameras are a popular item – especially for cottages – because homeowners can view the footage remotely to make sure everything’s fine when they aren’t there in person.

He says wired or wireless music systems make it easy to play your favourite tunes all over your home, using apps to access your own files or providers like Spotify.

“Surround-sound home theatres are also very popular,” said Kennedy. “They can range from a dedicated space in the house to a part of the family room – even with a single remote, no wires and no visible electronic components.”

While any home can be modified to include this technology, Kennedy says it’s far easier – and less expensive – to incorporate the automation during the construction of a new home, or a renovation when the walls are already opened up.

He encourages interested homeowners to reach out during the initial phase of construction – the sooner, the better – to discuss how to achieve the automated home of their dreams.

For more information on TouchStart, call 902-899-7780 or visit touchstart.ca.