Here is a project I thought was an interesting application for INSTEON automation. This customer owns a number of laundromats and was interested in maximizing profit while reducing his workload and losses due to negligence or vandalism.
Like most, his facilities are open 24x7, often without an attendant present. So what does INSTEON technology offer to people in similar situations? We spoke at length and it turns out the answer is, "A lot".
First, INSTEON door locks can provide remote access to lock/unlock areas not otherwise authorized for public access. This is particularity useful to allow temporary access for cleaning or service personal from a mobile device without being physically present. Security can be further enhanced through the use of INSTEON Wireless Open/Closed Sensors, Door Sensors, and Motion Sensors.
As many as 9 INSTEON Wireless IP Cameras can also be used to send email or text messages when motion is detected during specific hours and provide remote video surveillance and security around the clock, even in total darkness.
Through the use of an INSTEON Automation Controller like the HomeRunner RBI customers, at the push of a button, could send a text message to an off site attendant to request assistance. The IP cameras also provide 2-way audio to allow remote assistance if desired.
INSTEON Thermostats can monitor temperature and humidity and alert you if either exceeds predetermined limits. Optional Waterproof Remote Temperature Sensors can be used to monitor water temperature or monitor air temperature remotely, keeping the actual thermostat out of harm's way. Humidity measurements can be used to turn on exhaust fan(s) only when needed.
Leaks and Water Usage
Of course water usage and water damage are constant concerns to laundromat owners. Secondary metering has become a popular way to keep tabs on usage. When used with the HomeRunner RBI, our water meters with pulse/reed switch output can help control costs.
INSTEON Wireless Water Leak Sensors can provide an early warning before leaks or spillage can cause major damage and can turn off the water remotely or automatically with an INSTEON Enabled Water Shutoff Valve.
There is no monthly fee for any of the functionality described above. Of course a high speed Internet connection is required, but that cost may be offset by the advantage of offering customers a free WiFi hot spot. Throw a sign in the window and watch customers beat a path to your door!
Coin Operated Sink or Laundry Tub
Here's a missed revenue opportunity! How about using a coin acceptor to send a pulse to trigger an event in your automation controller which turns on the water to a sink or laundry tub using a Water Shutoff Valve. Configure the automation controller to shut the water off after: (1) a predetermined interval, (2) a specific number of gallons used (requires use of a secondary water meter), or (3) a combination of both.
Contact us for complete information on how to accomplish any of these easy do-it-yourself projects.
I've hardly scratched the surface on this subject so I encourage readers to add their own comments and suggestions concerning this and other home and light commercial automation projects.