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Expert in easy living, working and caring.

You don’t become an home automation expert overnight. Kariem Makhlouf was interested in electronics and software from an early age. It started when he took apart the computer of his father, after which his father thought him how to rebuild it. In no-time Kariem became the local computer helpdesk for his family and friends.

During his college study Business Informatics, Kariem became intrigued by the rapidly developing world of smart home automation. Since there were hardly any companies focused on smart home solutions, Kariem decided to start his own smart home automation company in 2014, Comfortica.

Smart home solutions are personal
Many smart home solutions that Kariem and his team offer, are solutions to problems they faced themselves in day-to-day life. For instance, when Kariem and his girlfriend moved in together, he realized that it would be smart to have one button that could switch off all appliances at once. So, discussions like ‘did you turn off the heat and locked the doors’ would be avoided. When his young boy started to crawl and thus discover the world, he found it reassuring he could cut off the power to outlets.

Many interactions
Comfortica offers a great variety of smart home & business solutions. Reason for this extensive package of services has to do with the simple fact that many smart home services interact with one another. A wireless smart home system, for instance, needs good network coverage. And many security systems not only integrate very well in smart home systems, these systems also complement each other. Therefore, Comfortica started to specialize in security systems and wireless networks as well.

From private to business and care solutions
As customers saw what smart home solutions could offer them at home, more and more of them were interested to know whether Comfortica could apply these solutions to their business as well. The technique being the same, this of course was no problem. The variety of smart home and smart business solutions is what actually makes the job interesting for Comfortica. That they are able to support care facilities with smart home solutions nowadays, makes the job even more rewarding.

Comfortica’s mission is to find the best smart home solution. Whether that is for at home, at the office or to improve care. Want to live and work as comfortable, safe and sustainable as possible? Comfortica makes it happen.

Whatever you want, wherever you are

“You can do whatever you want, wherever you are”. This is what drives smart home automation. But it might as well be Jakub Kowalewski personal motto since he left his home country Poland together with his girlfriend to pursue his dreams. A smart move resulting in a job at a smart company.

 With his father being an electrician, Jakub has been rubbing shoulders with the world of electrical and mechanical installations since he was 16 years old. First tagging along with his father, Jakub since has been working on and gaining experience in domestic as well as commercial electrical installations. When moving to The Netherlands he therefore brought a wide variety of experience with him. “I have worked in a lot of fields. I have done domestic electrical installations, worked on power generators, but also installed and repaired commercial machinery.”

Everything in your pocket

Why the switch to smart home automation? “I love it that you can do whatever you want, wherever you are”, Jakub says. “You literally have everything you need in your pocket. All you need is your smartphone to operate and control a system.”

He laughs, adding: “I really like smart home automation, although I am not as crazy as my colleague Marco. For now, because I live in a rental home, I just have smart lights and I like smart home automation solutions for when I’m sitting on the couch watching tv. But even when I would have my own house, I don’t need a smart washing machine.”

Jakub: “Nevertheless, all those different possibilities, the different places I go to, the different people, with different demands and solutions, is what makes this job interesting”.

Smart emigration

What does he find most interesting living in The Netherlands? “The people. They seem to be happier, enjoy life more.” And so is he, exploring The Netherlands in the weekends with his girlfriend, visiting and discovering cities like Den Bosch and Amsterdam.

In the world of smart home automation and electrical installation Jakub and his colleagues often come across different systems. To get the most out of a smart home automation system you need to be able to connect and integrate those different systems with one another. When emigrating to another country it kind of works the same. In Jakub’s case being a fan of Max Verstappen is a smart choice making it easy to connect with the Dutch.

Out of the box

The only thing he really misses, besides family and friends? “Polish meat and sausages. These you can’t buy in the Netherlands.” The cuisine he does like in the Netherlands? “Mexican”, he says wholeheartedly. An out of the box answer fitting for a young man who thought out of the box and moved countries to pursue his dream.

Integrating different systems and worlds, Jakub is the living example of a smart solution.

Jakub Kowalewski

Peter Jansen

What’s better than this?

Technology was ingrained in Peter Jansen from a young age. His father owned a company specializing in metallurgy for the woodworking industry. Later, while working at BCC, Peter was introduced to computers and televisions and thought to himself, what could be better than this? It turned out that installing internet and television for people’s homes at KPN was the answer. And what could be better than that? While searching, he found the answer: Comfortica.

Figuring it out on his own

Peter is the typical down-to-earth self-starter and autodidact: if he doesn’t know how something works, he just figures it out and starts implementing what he learned. ‘Of course, you need to have technical knowledge or aptitude for this work’, says Peter. ‘But in this field, it’s often just a matter of figuring out what and how to connect something. I have enough experience now that I can open something up and just get started. It’s just a matter of doing it.’ He has the same mentality at home, too: ‘I’m renovating my house at the moment, adjusted the electricity and now I’m going to insulate everything myself. I just googled how to. I am sure I am up for the challenge.’

The most fun work

Thanks to his investigative mindset and can-do mentality, Peter now works at Comfortica. ‘At my last employer, I really missed the contact with customers. That’s why I started looking online for something I really enjoy. When I came across Kariem’s company, I just sent him a text message.’

What Peter likes most about his work is talking to customers. Finding out what people really want and need and make that happen. ‘Nowadays, a lot of people are interested in energy consumption, even small households. With smart solutions, you can see how much energy a device uses right away, but also detect energy leaks.’

At home

How geeky is Peter’s own home? ‘Well, I made the garage door smart myself, as well as the lights in the house, the heating system, and central ventilation. Not all at once, but in stages. And of course, I integrated everything. I just look for smart solutions online, watch a YouTube video about it and think, hey, I can do that too! I am not in Kariem’s league though, at his home even the light switches are automated.’

So, what could be better than that? Peter will figure it out!

Being persistent pays off

Every day a new challenge, that’s what employee Marco ter Weeme loves about smart home automation. No challenge is impossible to him. On the contrary, when somebody says something can’t be done, his first question is ‘why not’? Followed by ‘how can we make it happen anyway?’

After his study metal and electrical engineering Marco started working for theater productions. He was the man behind the technique for the shows of world-known magician Hans Klok and worked for theatre producer Joop van den Ende. The theatre years were a lot of fun, but also stressful in which he was on the road constantly. So, after years of being away from home a lot and his wife having a “bun in the oven”, Marco decided it was time to go back to his first love: to install. Being at home again in the evenings and weekends being a welcoming bonus.

Every day a new challenge

The career switch Marco was looking for, meant a lucky break for Comfortica’s owner Kariem Makhlouf, who already had tried to persuade Marco several times to come work for him. Now, happily working for Comfortica, Marco finds the most fun part of his job that he gets to find a solution for a different challenge each and every day. Marco: ‘We had a homeowner who wanted a 100% voice-controlled, switch-free house, which was quite the challenge. But we made it happen. Even the temperature of the shower can now be changed by voice demand.’

Living independently

At the same time, Marco thinks it’s just as cool that he can ensure that a disabled person in a mobility scooter can now open a door automatically from a distance without having to get out of their scooter first to be able to unlock a door. ‘I love it that smart home automation makes life way easier for people in need of extra help and that it enables you to live independently and stay at home longer. Thanks to smart home automation I was able to have Google remind my parents to take their meds.’
It shows how a simple smart solution can make a world of difference.
In his own house Marco of course also implemented smart solutions. He did so for his curtains, lights, access to his shed (‘Great when a package gets delivered when I’m not at home’.) and his heating. The lights in his house automatically turn it down a notch after 8 pm, and he can also turn off the lights by voice control. ‘Which comes in handy when you already are in bed and realize the lights in the hallway are still on.’ The latest smart home solutions will of course be geared towards baby monitoring and kid safety solutions.

Everything can be automated

On the bridge of creating a smart home? Marco has two tips:
1. You can automate everything as long as you know the right people.
2. Stick to one system – this way you can control everything with one single app.

Marco ter Weeme

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