Phil Levieff Is In The TecKnow

Phil Levieff takes his hands off his Tesla’s steering wheel. The self-driving car zooms up Sturges Highway. It avoids an oncoming vehicle. It does not crash into a mailbox on my (passenger) side.

We arrive safely at Levieff’s house. We get out in the driveway. The garage door opens. The car drives itself inside, and parks.

Phil Levieff

We walk around the back. Levieff talks into the air. The back door unlocks. We stroll inside. He commands the lights to go on. Instantly, they do.

Of course, there’s only so much that technology can do. Levieff has to light the logs in his fireplace himself.

But that’s about it. Levieff is an early adopter. His car and home are as cutting-edge as 2018 gets.

The house includes 177 connected devices, operating in 24 zones. His voice controls lights, locks, thermostats, TVs, music, security cameras, alarms, blinds, fans, garage doors, solar storage and irrigation.

But Levieff’s home is not just a one-off. His business —  TecKnow — works with leading tech companies to “build the home infrastructure of the future.” It’s an attic-to-basement, indoor-and-out service that customizes and integrates the best home automation technology for individual homeowners.

They design, install and program your “smart home ecosystem.”

And — this is key — they teach you how to use it.

Nearly everything in Phil Levieff’s living room — in fact, the entire house, inside and out — is interconnected, and voice-activated.

Think about how many features of your smartphone you don’t use — either because you have no idea they exist, or you can’t figure them out.

Now multiply that by an entire house: TVs, music, kitchen, HVAC. You may not understand it all.

But Levieff does.

A Tesla battery in the basement runs Phil Levieff’s entire house.

The 1988 Staples High School graduate has been a tech geek since his days  building the first networked gaming PCs. He spent 23 years working for Automatic Data Processing (ADP), leading sales, marketing and strategy teams.

Now he’s struck out on his own. All he has is an Apple Watch, Apple TV remote, iPhone, iPad, Mac, and a Dick Tracy-like, intriguingly technologically advanced home on the Westport-Fairfield border, where he lives and utters voice commands with his wife and 2 kids.

Well, okay. He’s also got a great logo. It suggests the power of a voice, a Wifi geofence and the sun to efficiently run a home.

And Levieff has clients, both for new construction and retrofits. He’s turned Robin Tauck’s new Old Mill home into a smart marvel. He’s working with other homeowners in the area, and Massachusetts. Oh, yeah: Ralph Lauren too.

Levieff has spent the past few months offering demos to builders, architects, brokers, developers and skilled workers.

“A lot of people have tried and failed in smart home technology,” he says.

He is adamant he won’t be one of those.

After all, when it comes to home ecosystems, Phil Levieff has the “tech know.”

TecKnow ties together every element of a smart house.

13 responses to “Phil Levieff Is In The TecKnow

  1. No. Never. Not ever. I do not want my thermostat to be hackable or used in a denial of service attack against some internet domain. I do not want to create an opportunity for the government to track my every move, to tax my decisions, or to interfere with and override them.

    This kind of life will ultimately deprive us of liberty to make our own decisions. It already deprives us of privacy. It is the dream of nanny-staters and dictators. It is a dystopian hell on earth.


  2. Wonderful to see this entrepreneurial spirit like so many of our neighbors. Just hope Phil doesn’t get laryngitis anytime soon 😉 . Perhaps someone wants to build a Phil-Smart-Home at the link below!

  3. William Strittmatter

    “Phil Levieff takes his hands off his Tesla’s steering wheel.” Lovely. Thank goodness there wasn’t a fire truck parked on the road. Or a truck crossing the road.

    Despite Elon Musk’s overhyping of “Autopilot”, it is anything but, with Tesla not even being close to fully autonomous driving. Nor is it even the leader in the race, with no one even close to the finish line. Even Tesla says not to take your hands off the steering wheel (even though the system allows you to do just that) but to pay attention since it autopilot is more “driver assist” than self driving.

    The only place anyone’s “autopilot” works reasonably well is on highways but even there Tesla’s plowed into the fire truck. It is insane to use it on Sturges Highway or on any Westport or Connecticut road.

    Even if you don’t care about your life, please stop this reckless behavior for the rest of our sakes.

  4. Rachel Kantor

    Does this technology do dishes and laundry? Asking for a friend….

  5. I can’t wait for the day that I never have to use my arms, legs…or brain again!
    That is the goal…correct?

  6. I can’t really comment on the state of autopilot technology. But, if you get six hours of sleep on a regular basis, or even if you regularly get 8 hours but get up at 7AM and then drive home as the designated driver at 2AM, you have the cognitive function and reaction times of a legally intoxicated individual. And you don’t realize it. (sources at and Why We Sleep, by Matthew Walker). It would be great if everyone could sleep more, but sometimes life gets in the way. That makes automatic cars seem promising to me. And our multiple smart home features (installed by my tech-wizard husband) have enabled us to lower our energy and water usage tremendously. For better or worse, it also allows our four little ones to have impromptu dance parties, deejayed by Alexa. Congratulations on your new business, Mr. Levieff.

    • William Strittmatter

      I agree. Autonomous cars would be a great thing, for all sorts of reasons. The problem is that the technology is not there yet even though some would mislead you to believe it is. Enough so that an intoxicated person in San Francisco apparently thought it was ok to get behind the wheel because his autopilot would get him home.

      I suppose it did work well enough that he didn’t kill anyone….this time.

      As for Alexa, if you are OK with that paragon of virtue and privacy rights Google (and, probably, the NSA, Russians, Chinese, and random hackers) listening in on everything that is said in your house by you and your family, that is certainly a choice you can make.

      • For some reason it doesn’t bother me as much. Maybe in part due to the time I spent reading others’ seemingly “private” emails during discovery as an attorney? I’m really not sure. The only thing on your list that worries me slightly is the hackers, but if someone really wanted to hack me or you they could probably do it without Alexa or smart home features.

  7. George Llorens

    great piece Dan! I am all for anything that makes my life easier and can finally put all my remotes away!

  8. Yes Phil is an earlier adopter, Holding aside the self driving car, I think Phil’s company offers a great solution for people who want to automate certain tasks, like just being able to say “Movie Setting” and the lights dim to a pre arranged level. Or shutting off the outside lights or checking to see if you locked all the doors or reset the thermostat.

    You just choose when and if you want to adopt. I think the point is, he’s a earlier adopter and if you are so inclined, he can help you wade through the myriad of options. And if hacking is your concern I think he has an annoymizer solution so hackers can’t find your IP address.

    Its not for everyone but its where we are headed. Heck, its hard to find a regular light bulb….

    • Easy to find proper bulbs. Before the government forced decent bulbs off the market I stockpiled several hundred. With any luck they will outlast me.

  9. Cool Falcon Heavy Rocket launch today! Who’s keen to take the future flight?