HORIZON WEST Imagine being able to turn on lights, close draperies and monitor security cameras in your home with the tap of a button or touch of a smartphone app.
Horizon West resident and tech expert Dwayne Ward can make that happen with the help of some well-placed wiring and his knowledge of programming and installation. He started his own company, Simple Home Tech, just more than a year ago to offer these services.
Ward has always loved technology and previously worked for a phone company and a large-scale, low-voltage company. However, after he got laid off from both of those jobs, he decided it was time to open his own business — Simple Home Tech was born.
SIMPLE HOME TECH
Ward gained most of his experience working with the phone and electric companies and continues to research technology and electricity, as well as attend online trainings. He will be going to a training out of state this fall. In this field, with ever-evolving technology, continuing education is vital to running a tech-related business.
“I have a pretty strong networking background,” Ward said. “When I was with the phone company I did a lot of developing systems for neighborhoods and stuff like that. I’ve always been into integrating technology in the home and controlling things from my phone.”
Simple Home Tech works on everything from television installations to full-home automation systems and everything in between. Installation of security cameras, home-theater systems, WiFi and draperies in a house — and controlling it all with the ease of one app — is sometimes referred to as creating a “smart home.” Another name for it is home automation.
“If you want the lights to come on at a certain time and the shades to come open, those things will happen automatically,” he said. “We’ve worked with everything, from a guy that lives in an apartment who just wanted a TV installed to 15,000-square-foot homes where everything can be turned on from a remote device.”
Music throughout the whole house is another type of integrated system, which allows occupants in different rooms to listen to their own music. For example, one person can have country music playing on the porch, another can be listening to rock bands in the kitchen, and someone in the bedroom can be listening to Top 40 music.
Ward also works on landscape lighting, which focuses on “painting a picture with light.” This is done with low-voltage wire buried under the ground.
“You match light intensities and colors to the types of plants you have to make things stand out and pop,” he said.
WORKING WITH WIRES
The main issue in creating and installing home-automation systems and more is figuring out where the wiring in each house is located and determining whether it is compatible with the requested system. Ward mainly installs tech systems in homes that have already been built, but he has also worked on homes that are new or under construction.
“If it’s new construction you’re starting from blueprints, engineering the system and designing the blueprints for the wiring,” he said. “The install, program and testing takes a couple of weeks. If it’s an existing home it’s a little more difficult because there might not be wires where there need to be, so you may have to use wireless technologies or find out how to get those wires where they need to be.”
“If someone just needs a TV, I’m happy to come out and do that, too.”– Dwayne Ward
Once the wiring is solved, installation, programming and testing unfold from that point. Ward tries to keep prices reasonable for his clients and works to find space- and price-savvy solutions for everyone, whether they live in an apartment or a mansion. Additionally, all of the systems are low voltage and won’t make the energy bills skyrocket.
“Because all of it is LED it has very little effect on the energy consumption,” Ward said. “There’s also energy-monitoring services built in to a lot of the systems, so you can go in and see what your usage is and get estimates on light bills.”
Three of the most popular services Ward offers are the installation of home-theater systems, security cameras and TV installations. Prices depend on the project at hand, the wiring locations, exterior walls and other variables, but a typical camera installation can start at $2,000, depending on how much wiring has to be put in. Home-theater systems vary but can start in the $1,000 range if the wiring is already in place, and TV installations start at around $200.
Although he is based in Horizon West, Ward provides his services to people all over the Central Florida metro area. He’s had clients in Eustis, Lake Nona, Winter Park and even Davenport, in addition to locals in Windermere and Winter Garden.
Eventually, Ward said, he wants to get to a point where he can have more employees and continue to both offer and expand services that allow people to access their homes remotely. One of his biggest hopes is to have a brick-and-mortar showroom so he can demonstrate his products.
However small and simple or large and complicated the task at hand is, though, Ward is always happy to help anyone with any technology-related needs they may have.
“If someone just needs a TV, I’m happy to come out and do that, too,” he said.
Contact Danielle Hendrix at [email protected].