Home & Garden

February 22, 2014

Technology is star of Home and Garden Show

The rise of high-tech gadgets has helped the annual Fort Worth show make a comeback.

Clutching an iPhone, Lynette Edic demonstrated the newest tool in home security.

LiftMaster, a garage door embedded with sensors, will close automatically if the homeowner forgets. The system will also send the owner a text message.

“This will improve security and save marriages,” said Edic, a security consultant for American Defense Systems. “I have heard so many times of husbands getting angry with their wives for leaving the garage door open.”

Technology led the way Saturday at the 34th annual Fort Worth Home & Garden Show, where thousands browsed the latest tools in home security, landscaping, green energy, and home decor and remodeling. Some 500 exhibitors were on hand at the Fort Worth Convention Center to demonstrate technologies and answer questions.

Live pet cameras, talking smoke detectors and even coffee makers that brew with the tap of a smartphone were among the high-tech features.

Kathy Hopper, general manager of the show, said attendance at the Home & Garden show dipped during the rise of big-box stores such as Home Depot and Lowe’s. But in recent years, the show has made a comeback, driven in part by the high-tech gadgets.

“Technology and automation are very big,” Hopper said. “We offer unique solutions you won’t find at the big-box stores.”

MK Home Goods, based in Coppell, showed off the Nest Thermostat, billed as the world’s first learning thermostat. Nest learns the homeowner’s schedule, programs itself and can be controlled from a cellphone, said Matt Moyer, president of MK Home Goods. The smart thermostat, which sells for $249, can reduce heating and cooling bills up to 20 percent.

“Nest gives you so much more control,” Moyer said. “It’s a big step up from the old-school thermostats.”

MK also sells Nest Protect, a new smoke and carbon monoxide detector that retails for $129. Before beeping, the alarm lights up and gives a warning in a human voice in case it is just a nuisance alarm. Homeowners can silence the alarm by waving their hands in front of the detector. And if batteries are running low, the alarm will just give a heads-up in a human voice.

“No more incessant chirping in the middle of the night because of a low battery,” Moyer said. “That causes people to remove their detector and forget to put it back up.”

American Defense Systems, which has an office in Bedford, offers about 250 gadgets ranging in price from $69 to $99. In addition to the LiftMaster, the company sells a security system that sends the homeowner a text message if the back door is jiggled, a touch-screen lock that eliminates the need for keys and a live camera system for a home’s front door.

“We sell peace of mind,” said Joe Thacker, security consultant for the company. “A good security system is the best deterrent you can have to criminals.”

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