There’s no denying it. We like to make life as easy as possible, whether we’re at home or at work, and that’s what technology is here to do. We’ve all seen those movies where some filthy rich protagonist impresses guests to their abode by clapping their hands once to make the lights come on. But today you don’t have to own a vast fortune to automate your home. With a mobile phone and a few hundred dollars you can feel every inch the millionaire and make your life just as cushy by automating your home and its appliances through your phone.
Here are some of the best apps and equipment around to help you automate your home, make it feel more comfortable and, in the process, take some of the hassle out of daily life.
Transform household appliances into smart devices. That’s what this handy little piece of technology is all about, which comes to life through the WeMo app and enables you to control appliances remotely and automate them as you please. Did you leave the iron on? No sweat, just switch it off through the app. Want to make up some coffee while you’re getting ready for work? Just set your coffee maker to start brewing it at the time that suits you.
You could argue that this popular app is one of the most reassuring ones on the market. It’s available on Android, iOS, Windows and Blackberry. The app connects all the key devices in your home to provide solid home automation. You can regulate your heating and lighting and monitor for fire and carbon monoxide. The app will even let you know the kids arrive home from school, so you can work away at the office with full of peace of mind that they’re home safe. The geo-services in the app will do this according to your location so that you don’t waste energy needlessly.
This voice-activated app means you don’t even have to lift a finger. Just connect your phone and TV to the same Wi-Fi network, issue commands — ‘Record “Breaking Bad”’ of ‘Find documentary shows’, for instance — and your DVR will jump to it. You can use your phone as a remote control, store your favourite shows on your phone through the app, set your DVR to record from anywhere and stream TV live to your phone from any room in the house. So why not catch up on your shows while taking a nice, relaxing bath after work! This nifty little app is available free on iOS and Android.
You’ll need a starter kit for this one, but the app itself is free on iOS and Android and lets you set the lighting to just the way you want it. You might want to dim the lights while you settle down to watch a movie, lower them a little when you host a dinner party (if you have background music, you can also sync the lighting with it) or increase the lighting when you have loads of people round to celebrate a milestone birthday with a big party!
The app instils a sense of safety and security to your home as well by allowing you to appear to be at home when you’re actually not. This is simply through the freedom of managing your lighting remotely. And if you forget to turn the lights off when you leave, don’t worry, Hue has your back: it will turn them off for you automatically. As Philips themselves say, Hue is all about making life simple.
The apps and devices above will turn home automation into a breeze. You won’t have to come home to a cold house. You don’t have to reach over to change the channels on your TV, or fiddle with the record button. You can save on energy by managing your heating and lighting remotely. It’s all through your phone. Isn’t that just fantastic!