Nobody wants to go through that panic of wondering if you’ve armed your security system or turned off that porch light. In the past, if you realized that you forgot to lock your front door, a trip back to your house (and being late to work) was pretty much the only option. But now with that pocket computer you call your smartphone, you can control virtually everything in your home with just a few taps on the screen.
From your lights, pool, and thermostat to your television and home security system, home automation isn’t just a fad, it is rapidly becoming a necessity. Here are seven ways that your smartphone can revolutionize your time at home.
1. Home security system
Nothing offers the peace of mind and the feeling of safety like a home security system. But a home security system is worthless if it is not turned on when you’re out or asleep. Instead of sitting on the beach on your vacation, wondering if you turned on your home security system, you can now use your smartphone to turn on or off the system, and monitor it remotely.
Many home security system operators (CPI, ADT, etc.) offer free apps to go along with their system, so make sure to ask about that if you’re looking for a new system.
2. Let there be light!
You’ve just gotten into bed and you realize that you left the kitchen light on when you made that late-night snack. It’s cold, you’re tired, who wants to get up and turn that light off? If you have an automated light system like Belkin’s WeMo system, you don’t have to worry about that.
The beauty of the WeMo system is that you can control a wide variety of appliances, from fans and coffeemakers to lights and your iron.
3. Goodbye keys
Whether you keep losing your keys or are tired of wondering if you actually locked your front door, automated smart locks give you the ability to lock or unlock doors via your smartphone. Schlage and Lockitron offer keyless locks that operate through your WiFi system. Another perk is that you can grant access to people that allows them to lock and unlock your home, so if you’re gone on vacation, you can give your trusted neighbor access and then take it away when you get back home.
The website gokeyless.com is a great place to get started to find the automated smart lock system that is right for you.
4. Security Cameras
A home security system is a good first step, but if you are really concerned about home security, being able to control strategically placed surveillance cameras remotely via your smartphone offers you both flexibility and constant access to the video feeds. Not to mention, you can keep an eye on pets, maintenance crews or your children’s caretakers.
You can choose to install a single camera with a video feed (even using an old smartphone) to your phone or an entire system.
5. Complete thermostat control
Nothing can run up a utilities bill quite like a thermostat run amok. If you forget to turn it off for a day, you can return home to find your home either a walk-in freezer or a sauna and your utilities bill approaching the national deficit. The Nest Thermostat gives you maximum control over your thermostat, making sure you have the temperature right where you want it.
6. Pool party!
Pentair Aquatic Systems is now offering a remote control system that allows you to control your pool remotely using your smartphone. Turn on the lights, adjust the water temperature; this app can take care of a lot of the headaches that comes with owning a pool.
7. DVR Control from anywhere
Forget to set your DVR to record the new episode of Real Housewives? Have no fear, most cable service providers will allow you to access your DVR and manage your recordings using their (often, but not guaranteed) free app on your smartphone.
Technology is constantly changing and evolving, so keep an eye out for the next revolution in home automation. Are there any other home automation apps out there that work? What’s the next step in home automation?