Monday, May 5, 2014

6 ways to control your home from your smart phone

Cell phones these days are made for more than just making a simple phone call.  You can even use them to control features in your home.  Though smart home integration used to be an expensive cost, the advancement of smart phones and home technology have made it affordable and in some cases even free. Smart phones now have the ability to adjust your thermostat, security, and many more features.  Here are all the ways you can utilize your smart phone to control your home away from home:



1 – Smart thermostats
The cool little device called, Nest, is getting a lot of buzz lately. Remember the iPod? Yeah well, the guys who designed the iPod created a really neat thermostat. This thermostat has Wi-Fi, and it comes with an iPhone application. That means you can control the temperature of your home from anywhere! Do you want to save money by turning the temperature down while you’re gone, but you don’t want to come home to a freezing house? No problem. Use your smartphone to turn up the temperature before you get home.

Once you start using Nest it will learn your schedule and program itself to optimally save lots of money on utilities. That means it won’t be long before, Nest, is already changing the temperature automatically for you when you leave, and turning it back up when you get home.

2 – Motion activated security cameras
Having a motion surveillance system for your home is almost better than cable TV. There are nifty applications on the market coupled with compact, yet high-quality security cameras which allow you to be aware of anyone in your home. These cameras don’t record everything, they simply wait for motion to be detected and then switch on. It can alert you on your phone that it’s turning on and you can be anywhere in the world and still watch live footage from your home. Talk about a vacationers dream! You can also adjust the security settings with your smartphone, and if you couple that with some other home automation systems, you can control almost everything from your phone!

3 – Security system
Remember that home security system you had installed a few years ago with the control panel strategically placed by the garage door or master bedroom? Now with the availability of mobile computing, you can ditch the old control panel and program everything through your smartphone. You will also be able to receive instant notifications of any foul play.

If you have the newest smart key technology on the market called Lockitron, you’ll be able to lock, un-lock, and send time sensitive smart keys to your family and friends if they need to get in your house. Not only does this make life more hassle-free, but it also takes the worry out of giving your neighbor the key to your house while you’re on vacation, so he can feed your dog. All you do is give him a digital key that only works during the time you designate for it and your house locks up once the time expires.


4 – Pet feeder
If you’re like me, you love your pet, but you’re super busy and it’s not always convenient to be home at scheduled feeding times. There are several applications on the market you can download that allow a visual confirmation with a camera and a remote food dispenser.Pintofeed is one of a few new feeders using this cool new technology. We can all thank them for taking some hassle out of owning a pet. Now if someone would just invent an automated pooper-scooper…

5 – New improved lighting
Phillips makes a smart light bulb called Hue, which allows you to easily control all the light bulbs in your house. This makes a lot of sense if you don’t want to completely retrofit to new lamps or light switches. Simply by these smart bulbs and you can change the color of the lights, how bright or dim you want them to be, and of course turn them on and off… so much for the clap-on and clap-off lights.

6 – Smart keys
Using traditional lock and key deadbolts to open doors is so 2012. Upgrading your lock and key system means a lot of security like never worrying about somebody making a carbon copy of your key to enter your home when you’re not around is taken care of. It also means that you can see which doors are unlocked or open at any time. You can also make temporary keys for people who need to get inside on a short term basis. But for me, and most importantly, this means you don’t have to carry clunky keys around in your pocket anymore to open your home. As I mentioned above, Lockitron is leading the way in this exciting technology.

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