A Mountain of a Mission to Prove Remote Home Control Works

Taking technology to the very top of the world is a veteran mountain climber’s latest expedition. He’s scaling Mount Everest to prove that home automation systems work even at 29,000 feet. That’s the altitude where most jet planes cruise.

“If I can do it from a remote area of Nepal, then it should be very doable for normal people who use it in the U.S. on their cell phones,” says 40-year-old climber Mariusz Malkowski.fibaro logo

He took time to talk to TecHome Builder while on his journey to Everest base camp. Malkowski is a technical services manager at Sigma Designs and a member of the Z-Wave Alliance. This will be his third climb and will bring Z-Wave to new heights. In 2011, he scaled to the 22,349-foot peak of Ama Dablam. Two years later, he tackled Cho Oyu, the world’s sixth highest mountain.

Why He Does It

“To prove that if I can log into my house and I can make sure that my family is safe is one part. The second part is the fulfillment of dealing with challenges and meeting new people.”

Speaking of challenges, this time around Malkowski is prepared with extra equipment. His cell phone battery died on his first trip, and his connection didn’t work at the very top of the mountain on the second. Once he leaves Everest base camp, he’ll be climbing the mountain with no porters or supplemental oxygen—to demonstrate the advancements in home automation systems and to prove that “home is wherever you are.”

Connecting Smart Devices Live

zwave_alliance_logoMalkowski’s initial live connection is Thursday, April 16, at the Z-Wave Pavilion at ISC West. If conditions allow, attendees will be able to watch him control several smart home devices such as FIBARO sensors, a Vivint security system, Kwikset and Yale electronic locks, a GoControl garage door controller and a FortrezZ smart water valve. Malkowski will use his smartphone to activate all of these items located on the show floor.

home is wherever you areBetween May 16 and May 30, at an even higher elevation, his goal is to prove he can control Z-Wave devices using his phone. The aforementioned companies and more paid for the climb, which cost $40,000.

And builders can try it out at no cost from the comfort of their homes, without the danger of climbing thousands of feet above sea level. An app on the FIBARO Mount Everest Challenge Facebook page and website allows you to do things like lock doors in Malkowski’s home, turn off electricity and shut off lights and water.

Related Story: 5 Game-Changing Smart Home Options

Ultimate Goal

Meanwhile, Malkowski will be reaching his ultimate goal.

“To show that it is possible, that it works, that the products we have today operate and work just fine—that’s something that’s very important to me personally because I travel a lot for work, so being able to open an app on my iPhone and see that everything is fine, that my little one is asleep, that my security system is armed and there are no water leaks, you know, it’s very important.”

It’ll be at least two months before Malkowski gets back to his loving family who will no doubt leave the lights on for his return.

About The Author

Andrea Medeiros is editor-in-chief, multimedia director and content developer at TecHome Builder. She is a former TV news reporter turned home technology guru and is using her broadcast journalism skills to help our team deliver complicated, tech-focused content in a conversational way. She has a decade of experience in the editorial realm—interviewing, writing and editing stories as well as shooting, editing and producing video content. She is most interested in covering interoperability among smart devices.

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