Is this New Zealand's smartest home?

By Sarah Harris

Ultra-fast broadband helps couple control lights and doors from afar.

A tech-savvy couple use 75 wireless gadgets to do everything in their home from waking them up in the morning to ensuring their newborn gets a good night's sleep.

Ryan and Dianne Maxwell have renovated and kitted out the Remuera home they live in with son Maddox, 7 weeks.

This means their lights, blinds, locks, cameras, the garage door and music are all controllable over the phone using an app from anywhere in the world.

Software developer Ryan Maxwell, 30, was keen to get their "forever home" kitted out with the latest technology when they bought the house 18 months ago.

He has programmed all 20 circuits of lights to come on at sunset, along with the blinds to lower. A motion sensor in the hall will also turn the lights on automatically if someone gets up at night.

"The cool thing about them is you can turn them all off or on in one go. So at the end of the night you don't have to go around flicking all the switches off.

"It's just enhancements to what's already in the house."

The smart doorbell system takes their technology to a new level. When someone rings, it takes a picture of them and opens a video stream that is linked to the couple's phones. They can then speak to the visitor through an intercom or let them in remotely.

Maxwell's favourite controllable device are LED strips, including by the fireplace, which can change to any colour.

He admits it does "suck" when he loses his phone, but it isn't the end of the world. He can also access the house using his key, a device on his keyring or a swipe card.

Dianne Maxwell, 32, said the smart doorbell came in handy when they were holidaying in Japan and Hawaii and wanted to let tradesmen in to work on the house.

"We would be halfway up the mountain on the ski slopes letting people in."

The technology came in handy when the couple went to the movies while their young neighbours had a party. Worried it might get out of control, they turned on their lights and speakers from afar to make it look like they were home.

Dianne Maxwell calls herself a newbie when it comes to technology but admits it's been easy to use and has simplified life. The blinds they set to open in the morning act as a natural alarm clock.

She especially likes that they can control the temperature in Maddox's room. If they keep it between 22 to 23C he sleeps much better.

"Whatever makes husband happy, makes me happy," she said.

"But it has made my life so much easier with the baby.

"What I was most worried about is what if we didn't have any power? But we have a back-up generator that will last for two weeks and we can still use the door and gate manually.

"It's dumbed down but smart technology."

She named this year the "holy trinity of all things stressful" as they bought and renovated the house, got engaged and married, and had a baby. Having the technology meant a few of life's small stresses have been removed.

Getting ultra-fast broadband was the cherry on top for their futuristic home. The Maxwells were at the top of the waiting list when Orcon launched its UFB plans in the country's main centres last Saturday, starting at $135 a month.

UFB meant there was no lag when the family used their phone to access devices while away from home.

- NZ Herald

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