Springfield, MO

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A Conversation With … Hans Nix

Owner/Operator of NextGen Electric LLC

Posted online

What services make up most of your business?
Electrical repairs, circuit additions, service upgrades, panel change-outs. I’m wanting to break more into the smart home market.

What is a smart home?
Whether it’s lighting or it’s heating, it’s a way for you to control it remotely or from an electronic device. You have voice-activated controls, the ability to turn your lights on and off from across town, or a camera system with two-way audio that you can do remote parenting with — just teasing.

What are the latest smart devices you’ve been working with?
Philips Hue has a line of smart lighting projects where the “smarts” are all in the lightbulbs themselves. It integrates with Alexa or Google Home or Apple Home. With the LED technology, you can have a bright daylight white, or you can have more of a relaxing light or nighttime light before you go to bed. All that in one bulb. You can even make it do disco to music. There’s also smart thermostats. Nest, they are probably the biggest player, but there’s ecobee that makes a smart thermostat. The nice thing about the Nest thermostat is that it’s self-learning. You can get a programmed thermostat. The trouble is we don’t keep the same schedule all the time. The learning feature of the Nest thermostat adapts. It can recognize when you’re home and when you’re away because it has a motion detector. You can connect it to GPS on your phone. The video doorbells are very useful. Someone shows up on my doorstep, I get a notification.

How popular are LEDs and smart homes?
LED technology is becoming very popular. With smart home technology, Springfield is a little behind the curve. It’s mostly a result of not being aware of the technology so readily available. And not being aware that it’s so user friendly and so affordable. People come over to my house and see the things that I have and they say, “I had no idea that you could do that.”

Are these devices safe?
It is safe, but it matters how it’s installed. If it’s set up correctly and it’s on a secure network, then it’s safe.

What’s the cost to outfit a home or business with smart technology?
You might be looking at under $500 to $1,000 depending on what solution you’re wanting to implement. For a video doorbell, it just depends on if you have a wired doorbell already or not. Is it the right transformer that’s needed? When it comes to cameras, a lot of them nowadays are wireless, but they still require power. If they are wireless, they also need a good wireless signal. You might have to invest in a wireless mesh system. If they’re wanting to do something more extensive for a bigger home or smaller business, you’re looking at $2,000-$5,000.

Why should a homeowner or business owner invest in smart technology?
It’s mostly a convenience factor – being able to unlock your front door with a smart lock while you’re away on vacation for a dog sitter or a house sitter or a delivery that comes. And having cameras inside to keep an eye out while you’re away.

How does this technology make a business more competitive?
The biggest appealing factor for a business would definitely be on the energy savings side with the LED technology. They can literally save hundreds of dollars every month off their utility bill. Also, depending on the situation, a smart thermostat could save them money, too.

Hans Nix can be reached at


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