Last Monday I was about as far away from home as I could possibly get. I was in Rajahmundry India. Which is about an hour from the Bay of Bengal in the southeast part of the country.
To get to Chicago from Rajahmundry, you take a 2:30pm flight to Hyderabad. Then you catch the 9pm flight from Hyderabad to Delhi. Then, the next day at 3pm you can catch the 15 hour direct flight to Chicago. Total travel time: 35 hours.
I had just gotten to Rajahmundry when I got the following text:
Great! My basement’s flooding and I’m ten thousand miles away from home! 35 hour trip in the best of circumstances.
I forward the text my wife. Guess what? She’s in Nebraska!
She called a neighbor and a friend and pleaded with them to help. They moved our stuff out of the way just in time for 3 inches of water to hit our basement. This is pretty much inevitable once every 2-3 years because we live in a flood plain. I’m not sure there’s anything we can do about it.
Except: WE CAN NOT LET OUR BASEMENT FILL WITH MILDEW BECAUSE SHE’S 500 MILES AWAY AND I’M ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD AND WE HAVE NO IDEA THERE’S A PROBLEM.
As it is, the cleanup will cost us only a few hundred bucks.
Had this happened last summer, we’d have had a major problem, because all we had was a sound alarm detector. If nobody’s home, nobody hears it. But not long ago I did a consultation for my former boss Mike Justice of ConnectSense. Mike handed me a couple of his remote monitors and said, “Perry would you blog about these?”
I set them up, which was very easy. You connect the water sensor. Then you go into an online menu and you set up the notifications you want. “These are the email addresses I want notifications sent to, and these are the text numbers or phone numbers I want called, and this is what I want the messages to say.”
ConnectSense remotely transmits through your WiFi. Whenever water hits the sensor, their in-house notification service sends you the requisite message.
So literally within a minute, on the other side of the world, I knew my basement was flooding and I could take action.
ConnectSense offers other products that detect open doors, monitor temperatures, etc. It’s all battery powered and in my case it probably saved us $10,000 of damage.
This is just a hint of what you can do with embedded devices now – control and monitor almost anything. This is going to be a big wave in consumer electronics in the next few years.
So thanks Mike for the sensors, and now that I’ve got a great story, here’s your long-awaited blog post!
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