A collaboration between Ann Arbor's Logic Solutions
and a new Michigan-based company has produced a new digital "watchdog" device to keep tabs on a home's electricity, temperature, and humidity levels while owners are away.
was developed by former OnStar presidents Chet Huber and Walt Dorfstatter, who got the idea while Huber was wintering in Florida for the first time in 2009. Their goal was to produce a streamlined, inexpensive monitoring system for seasonal homes that didn't require home internet service, Wi-Fi, or phone lines.
The partners settled on a subscription service and a dog-shaped device they named "Sherlock" (both founders like dogs) with built-in sensors, a digital camera, and a cellular network connection. The device can alert a service center if something seems to be wrong, like a power outage or a faulty air conditioner or furnace. Even if conditions are fine at home, Sherlock still collects and feeds data into a subscriber's weekly update report.
"If something’s wrong this dog won’t bark," Dorfstatter quips. "He’ll send you an email and text instead."
HouseSetter approached Logic Solutions about the project, in part because of Logic's Michigan ties. The team at Logic designed and built HouseSetter's website and user interface, where subscribers can manage their accounts and receive reports. They also developed a communications system between HouseSetter's web server and Verizon Wireless.
"We couldn’t have asked for a better, more knowledgeable team of developers and technical leads to help us create HouseSetter’s website, communication software, and the reporting module," Dorfstatter says.