When Pendl wanted a second home for road trips, Airstream was the clear choice: it matched his own love for modern and industrial aesthetics. He picked the International Sterling model for its especially contemporary interior, what he calls "a sleek...interpretation of that classic Americana style." But there was a hitch: this retro-futuristic dwelling couldn't support present-day security systems.
Due to due to liability concerns, security companies won't typically install their products homes on wheels. Luckily Pendl already had some experience with smart technology systems: "Home automation has been on my radar for quite a while. Initially I was drawn to just the ability of being able to turn things on and off remotely, then I began to play with...[making] a smart home." In 2014 he learned about Wink, an app that lets users manage their smart home devices like Nest, Honeywell, Canary, and Phillips Hue. He set about improving his home in Seattle, first with just a few smart light bulbs then "I organically grew my ecosystem of products from there."
The trailer is stored about an hour from his home, so security was a top concern. Wink—via a Nest Protect device, seen here—alerts Pendl when there's smoke or carbon monoxide. Sensors on the trailer's propane tanks, which keep the unit warm in winter, also send an alert when fuel is low. GoControl sensors tell him when doors or windows have been opened.
In short, "turning the trailer into a smart home has also eliminated a lot of potential stress." Air cards connect the trailer to the internet via cellular networks, so Pendl can monitor it from anywhere.
The Wink Relay, seen here, shows the same control and monitoring interface visible on Pendl's smartphone. Here it's showing the interface related to activating/deactivating lights, though (depnding on what smart home devices you have) it can also open/close locks, control AC units, and more.
The interface Pendl uses to control his Philips Hue LED lights.
Using another service, Outback Power, Pendl can see how much energy he's drawing from (or sending to) the grid when his 450 watt wind turbine and 800 watts of solar panels are operating.
This all being said, the trailer isn't yet fully integrated with smart technoly: climate control and HVAC are still a separate system. "Another nice addition down the road would be to add smart tires to the trailer so that I can monitor and adjust air pressure from afar," Pendl says. "I take the Airstream on some pretty bumpy forest roads—the high desert of Nevada for Burning Man included—and it'd be great to quickly see an adjust tire pressure for better traction."
What's next for Pendl? "I'm looking at adjusting the layout slightly to...gain a little more counter space. I’ll be starting that project in the next couple months, and it will include a small desk and a reconfiguration of the dinette to be a lounge."
To learn more about Wink, visit their website.