After the three children left the Engebretson nest in the 1970s, my father continued his career at Amoco, climbing the corporate ladder two steps at a time. In the meanwhile, my mother Anne being relieved of child supervision and other chores spent most of her time watching television, as she continues to do today as she enters her 10th decade on this earth.

I believe my father was somewhat jealous of my mom’s relatively easy daily schedule. After a long day of corporate wrestling my dad would return to their suburban home, and he would feel the television and gauge by its warmth what my mom had been doing all day. Not that he could do anything about it…

To perform that same kind of test today is a whole lot easier and can be done from any smart device connected to the Internet. BlueBOLT is a cloud or LAN based management system of AC monitoring and control products from Panamax that can be purchased in rack or closet mount components useful for home theatre and computer network applications, as well as plug-in sensors that can control the output of standard AC sockets. These devices provide surge and sag protection for connected devices, and can also be programmed to perform orderly shutdown/restarts when needed, so that various devices are allowed to “power up” before others which can be critical for complex home theatre and network hardware systems.

The heart of the BlueBOLT product line is the cloud monitoring and control software, which receives usage and connectivity information from the various BlueBOLT enabled devices. Current usage, schedules of on/off AC power, monthly power consumption, and other features allow authorized users to fully control the AC outlets in their home or business. This cloud service is free to BlueBOLT-installing companies with no recurring costs.

I recently received a set of the BlueBOLT devices and hooked them up in my house. I used the #BB-ZB1 Zigbee gateway to connect to the remote outlet devices, #MD2-ZB. It was really simple to do, and because the gateways are pre-programmed to communicate with the BlueBOLT servers, there was no need for port forwarding or firewall fiddling.

No app is needed to activate and control the AC power devices. By going to the myBlueBOLT website with a Web browser and punching in the MAC address of the gateway, I was hooked up and ready to go.

So now I can turn on and off AC outlets, and I can also “toggle” outlets on and off to potentially reset balky IP devices that have “locked up” for various reasons.

While the usage of electrical components from networking devices to lighting controls continues to multiply, the simple fact is that each system/device is connected to an AC outlet at some point to provide the constant current needed for functionality. With BlueBOLT, installing companies can provide their customers with energy usage monitoring, automatic rebooting of routers and switches after a failure of the Internet, protect devices from power surges and sags, and provide complete control of AC power output to whatever devices are connected.

So if dear old Dad were still around, he could shut down my Mom’s television from his smartphone right when “Judge Judy” starts at 4 p.m. That would probably provoke divorce proceedings.

For more information visit or talk to my guy Loren Maldoon at