Your home is your castle, and a castle must be protected at all times. Of course, you’re not always at home. You’ve got to go to work and you need vacations to get away from work!
So how can you keep a watchful eye over your home and make sure your precious belongings are safe when you’re away? Two words: home automation. You may have heard about the acquisition of a company called Nest for $3.2 billion by Google. Nest is a company that makes “smart” thermostats and smoke alarms, but they are just one of many companies revolutionizing the home automation industry.
Home automation has been around for a long time, but the emergence of smartphones and Wi-Fi has made the technology more convenient and affordable. It might sound like science fiction, but you can now control all of the appliances in your home right from your smartphone.
We still haven’t reached the day where the dishes do themselves, but these 9 Wi-Fi home automation apps and technologies can make your life easier.
1. Monitor your home security with a smart home app
Have you ever wished you could keep an eye on your home when you are out of town? With automated security technology such as Piper, you can now monitor your home security system 24/7 from your smartphone with a smart home security app. Piper gives you a panoramic view of your home and should notify you if any unusual motion is detected.
If your home is supposed to be empty during your family getaway, Piper should notify you with a phone call, text, or email if, for instance, a window is opened or it detects a loud noise on your property. You can even see a video of what caught its attention on your phone.
2. Answer your door from anywhere in the world
When you’re on your next tropical vacation, not everyone will know that you’re away from home. People may drop by your house and ring the doorbell expecting to see you. With Video Doorbell, you can answer your door from the palm of your hand. VideoDoorbell is a Wi-Fi enabled doorbell camera that allows you to video chat with visitors through your smartphone.
Have you ever missed an important package because you were just a few minutes late getting home? With VideoDoorbell, you can let the delivery man know that it’s safe to leave the delivery at your door.
3. Control your home electronics remotely
Let’s say you rushed to work in the morning and forgot to turn the TV off. With the Belkin WeMo Insight smart power outlet, you can use your home Wi-Fi network to turn devices on and off right from a smart home app. This home automation technology can even tell you how much power or energy you use on your electronics, giving you valuable insight into which electronics and appliances are costing you the most each month. Check out our summer energy savings guide for help cutting down on energy consumption from your electronics and more.
4. Adjust your thermostat from your phone
Forgetting to adjust the thermostat when you leave your house can be a big waste of money. Smart thermostats are making this scenario a thing of the past. With technology like Nest, convenient control of your home’s thermostat is now right at your fingertips wherever you are.
With a programmable smart thermostat you can control the settings from your Apple or Android smartphone. Best of all, its sophisticated automation technology continually learns to pre-heat/cool your home based on your habits so that you are comfortable at all times. The last thing you want after a long day at work is to come home to a freezing house. With a Wi-Fi enabled thermostat, you can take total control of your home’s temperature settings.
Your thermostat isn’t the only appliance you can control from a smart home app. Here is a list of the best smart appliances to help you continue the modernization of your home.
5. Water your plants wirelessly
One easy thing to forget when you go on vacation (besides your toothbrush) is finding someone to water your plants. Fortunately, there is even home automation technology that has your garden covered. PlantLink is a device you can place around your garden to water your plants remotely using your smartphone. The mobile app is your own mini-horticulturist, reminding you when to water the plants while analyzing your watering history.
For those of us who don’t have a green thumb, creating a watering schedule isn’t intuitive. With PlantLink, each device placed in the garden measures the moisture levels in the soil and automatically creates a watering schedule based on the soil composition, plant types, and weather patterns.
6. Get real-time updates on your smoke and carbon monoxide levels
Fire and carbon monoxide are two of the biggest safety hazards in your home so it’s comforting to have the ability to monitor them from anywhere with a smart home app. Nest also created an alarm that syncs with your smartphone to alert you if the smoke or carbon monoxide alarm goes off. Nest Protect includes features that give you real-time updates about smoke and carbon monoxide levels. It can also notify you when the batteries are low in your alarms.
7. Feed the fish from France
Beyond your home and garden, home automation technology can even protect another precious belonging: your fish! Apex aquarium monitoring gives you complete control over your tank from your smartphone. From ozone control to automated feeding, this device eliminates the need for a Nemo-sitter on your next holiday and takes the marine biology guesswork out of your aquarium.
8. Lock your door without a key
Do you ever leave home and forget whether you locked the back door? Worrying about unlocked doors can be a source of anxiety for anyone. What if you could easily control your locks from your smartphone? You can with the Schlage Touchscreen Deadbolt.
The Touchscreen Deadbolt gives you a virtual spare key so you don’t need to hide anything under your doormat. With this home automation technology, you can control your locks from anywhere with your mobile device. Do you need to let your dog walker in every week while you’re at work? You can do so with the Deadbolt.
9. Control your lights & blinds through one smart home app
What if you were able to control multiple devices in your home through one single app? Wink makes this possible. The Wink app maintains partnerships with more than 60 products from a variety of manufacturers – offering you convenience and simplicity when it comes to connecting to the items you rely on every day such as sprinkler systems, lights and locks like the Schlage Deadbolt mentioned above. It doesn’t stop there; the Wink HUB is a platform that enables the multi-product connectivity, allowing your smart devices to speak the same wireless language.
Smartphones are quickly becoming all-empowering devices that can turn your house into a fully-controllable smart home. These 9 groundbreaking home automation technologies can be used to protect your home directly from your smartphone. While smart home apps may help make your home more secure or efficient, they don’t protect your property or belongings if something unexpected happens. You’ll want to have quality home insurance coverage to enjoy peace of mind at all times.
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