Couple works to connect Lake Tahoe’s smart-home dots at Nexus Electric
Special to the Sun
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Imagine yourself on an exotic vacation thousands of miles from your home in North Lake Tahoe, when suddenly, you receive a text message alert that a hungry bear is attempting to break into your home.
Now imagine you were able to bang some pots and pans around to scare off said bear without setting down your Mai Tai or saying goodbye to paradise.
No, you’re not starring in an episode of “The Jetsons” or traveling in a time machine in a remake of “Back to the Future.” You’re simply living in an intricately wired smart home.
“We connect the entire electrical infrastructure of your home under a completely customized and functional system, so that if, say, a bear was about to break in, you could have your motion sensors programed to detect the bear, which would then turn on your outdoor speaker system that was pre-programmed with an audio of pots and pans banging together,” said Jeremy Brown, a 25-year Incline Village resident and owner of Nexus Electric. “It really is that customizable in that whatever our client needs, we can find the solution for them.”
‘CHANGING THE WAY PEOPLE LIVE’
Home automation systems, or smart homes, are the wave of the future, according to Brown and his wife, Deanna, who manages the business and marketing side of Nexus Electric — formerly High Sierra Home Control — which services the entire Tahoe Basin and Truckee, with clients extending as far as the Bay Area.
With more than two decades of experience in the electrical industry, Jeremy tapped into smart home technology seven years ago to expand his list of services, offset economic fluctuations and mostly to help Tahoe homeowners live more comfortably, conveniently and efficiently.
“It’s not about the ‘cool’ factor — it’s about changing the way people live on so many levels of comfort and efficiency,” Jeremy said.
Beyond bear break-ins or potential burglars, there are other advantages to the high-tech infrastructure, like being able to turn off the lights and appliances, lock the exterior doors, close all the blinds, set the thermostat to an energy-efficient setting, and close the garage door, all with the flick of a switch and/or touch of a button.
“As a new mom, I can’t imagine living without this technology,” said Deanna, her arms outstretched toward her 8-month-old daughter, Avery, who giggled and cooed from the arms of her 6-foot-8-inch-tall father. “When I’m rocking Avery at 4 a.m., I can turn off the bottle warmer, dim the lights, and adjust the volume on the television without getting up from the rocking chair.”
The couple met in 2008 after Deanna relocated to Incline Village from the Bay Area for a lifestyle change and subsequently landed a job at a law firm next door to Brown’s electrical enterprise.
Shortly after, the friendship grew from work neighbors to residential neighbors when the two coincidentally moved into the same apartment building, and, after several years of dating, the couple wed in February 2014.
Three months into their newfound married life, the couple received the unexpected news that they were expecting.
“When I found out I was pregnant, I had already started working part-time for our company and I was also working full-time as a legal assistant, but I knew I couldn’t keep doing both with a brand new baby,” Deanna said.
With the birth of Avery came the birth of the new business moniker, Nexus Electric, as well as the birth of a new career for Deanna as the overall office guru of the family brand, which includes Jeremy’s 20-year-old son, Jordon, who followed in his father’s footsteps in spite of Jeremy’s wishes for his son to attend college and explore other career paths.
“He loves this line of work, and as long as he’s happy, I’m happy,” Jeremy said.
TRAVELING AT THE SPEED OF LIFE
Although many smart home systems may appear shiny and new age, not all are created equal, and many lack the functionality, infrastructure and precision that Nexus Electric is capable of delivering.
“There are home automation systems that are operated by one app on a smart device, which appeals to the ‘cool factor,” but also carries a lot of downsides with it,” Jeremy said. “When you want to change the channel on your television, or turn the bathroom light on, you don’t want to have to launch an app and scroll through your phone to do it.”
Under the highly reputable smart home system manufacturer Control4, Nexus Electric is able to integrate a high-functioning and totally tailored operating system into their client’s homes that incorporates smart devices with standard switches, remote controls and touch-screen panels.
“By mixing the digital technology with the normal switches in a home, we’re able to give you the best of both worlds,” Jeremy said.
The Browns’ approach toward an elevated level of smart home installation doesn’t switch off there; the familyrun company also offers 24/7 customer service, state-of-the-art security systems to thwart off – albeit rare – smart-home hackers, as well as a one-stop-shop for product purchasing, installation, maintenance, repair and retrofitting.
“It’s not about installing a fancy system and then walking away because the job is done,” Jeremy said. “It’s about following up and capitalizing on what our clients like, and more so, listening to what they don’t like and finding solutions unique to their issue so that we can make their lives that much easier.”
Jenny Goldsmith is a North Tahoe-based freelance writer and a former reporter for the Sierra Sun newspaper. Have an idea for a merchant to feature? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.