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.
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.
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.
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.”