Bringing Affordable Peace of Mind to Your Vacation Home: A New Age of Security and Automation

Owning a vacation home is a dream come true, but the worries that come with leaving it unattended can be stressful. Frozen pipes, burglary concerns, energy bills spiraling out of control – the list of anxieties can be overwhelming. That is where the magic of automation steps in, and in this article, we will explore the evolution of vacation home security and automation systems making everything simpler and safer for you.


In 2010, when we fully remodeled our vacation home, I wanted to install the latest and greatest security and automation system to provide modern comfort, conveniences and security that was accessible through an application on my PC or phone. The solution? An OMNI security and automation system from HAI (Home Automation Inc). Little did I know that this choice would not only change how we experienced our vacation home but also show me where the world of automation was headed.

The Legacy of OMNI: A Complete Solution

My decision to install the HAI OMNI system was born out of a desire for a comprehensive solution – one that could seamlessly blend security and automation. The OMNI system was the crown jewel of its time, designed to cater to both large residences and small commercial spaces.

Through a single central control panel, it can connect to, control, and monitor security sensors, leak detection, vehicle detection, thermostats, light switches, wall outlets, water pump, and connect to a land line or cellular telephone for dial in/out capabilities. In addition, it has built-in serial ports for connection to third party control devices for irrigation, audio systems, and window covering controls, and also a relay board which allows me to activate valves to shut off the water to parts of the home, open/close the garage door, and control any other device connected to a low voltage switch.

At its heart, OMNI was the perfect solution for me – offering both hardwired and wireless capabilities. It stood as a testament to convenience, safety, and energy efficiency by allowing me to manage the entire environment of my vacation home based on activities, schedules, and “scenes” such as “Leaving” or “Arriving”.

For example, pressing the “Leaving” button automatically shuts off lights, activates the valve to shutoff water, and turns down the heat or A/C depending on the outside temperature, simulates being home with random lights turning on and off at night. And conversely, pressing the “Arriving” button turns on the entry light (after sunset), turns up the heat or A/C, and in the winter (based on the outside temperature) turns on the bed warmers. There is nothing worse than getting in to an ice-cold bed when arriving for a weekend of relaxation! 

The Catch: Not Your Everyday DIY

However, even with its brilliance, OMNI was not designed for the average DIY homeowner. Its complex installation and maintenance requirements normally necessitated the presence of a professional installer. The power of the PC Access Dealer Software allowed me to craft intricate scenes (routines), controlling the behavior of security, lighting, and thermostats based on numerous factors. Yet, the software’s name itself hinted at its intended audience – dealers, not homeowners.

While the system was a technological marvel and everything still works flawlessly, the acquisition of HAI by Leviton in 2012 marked the beginning of a new chapter. OMNI’s discontinuation in 2019 led to an inevitable question: What next? How do I get support when something breaks?

Embracing Change: Convenience and Customization

Although the convenience of managing everything through a single application is unmatched, the rise of individual solutions means that we are no longer locked in to a single manufacture’s technology and development plans.

With the ability to organize various applications in one folder on my iPhone, the process to access specific functions through different applications is not any more difficult than going through a single application. These individual apps are more robust, are constantly updated, and are part of an evolving ecosystem that adapts to our needs.

Looking Towards the Future: Testing, Recommendations, and Trust

As an advocate for vacation home automation, my journey doesn’t end with my OMNI system. As new products with new features or better functionality are brought to market, I’m committed to exploring and testing the best-of-breed products that harmoniously coexist with other products. My goal is to ensure interoperability and reliability, allowing me to make informed recommendations through this very website.


In the realm of vacation home ownership, automation isn’t just about convenience – it’s about peace of mind, and embracing technology that is tailored to your specific needs. The legacy of single fully integrated systems like the OMNI will always hold a special place in the hearts of early adopters like myself, but the era of individual solutions has brought empowerment to homeowners everywhere.

So, whether you are a vacation home owner seeking to upgrade your old security system or curious about embarking on a complete automation journey, the promise of peace of mind and personalized control is within your reach. Step into the new world of automation, where innovation, convenience, and the allure of a worry-free vacation home experience is possible. With automation, the possibilities are endless. Here are just a few:

  • Heating and cooling can automatically be adjusted based on the outside temperature
  • Simulates someone being home with random light/music operations
  • Notifies you if a car pulls into the driveway, turns on exterior lights, and records the camera feed
  • Notifies you if the doorbell rings and automatically takes a picture of whoever is at the door
  • Turn on / off the well water pump
  • Activate valves to shutoff water to certain parts of the home
  • Turn on /off bed warmers
  • Notifies you if outside winds are high
  • Monitor your property with cameras (real time and recordings)
  • Notify you if the sump pump quits working and flooding is imminent
  • Notify you if water leaks are detected
  • Notify you of power failures
  • Remotely monitor a whole house generator
  • Provide you with the ability to remotely disarm your system to allow a repairman to enter
  • Lock / unlock doors
  • Open / close the garage door
  • Control lawn and flower bed irrigation

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