February 11, 2015
It may sound like something out of science fiction or “The Jetsons,” but it’s now possible to distantly — and that means from thousands of miles, if needed — control what’s happening inside your home. Not only is this a delight to the uber techie crowd, but it’s proven to be a boon for entrepreneurs who want to be able to remotely watch their kids arrive at safely at home after school, turn the iron off, or adjust the thermostat.
With a literal touch of an app on a smartphone or tablet, we now have tremendous power, and our properties are becoming more secure and efficient … and maybe a tad brag-worthy, too.
Five notable and unique home tech upgrade apps that are hotter than hot at the moment include:
Have you ever been away from your home, only to remember with despair you are paying gobs of money to heat all the spaces because you forgot to adjust the thermostat? Maybe your thermostat is already pre-programmed, but the weather’s so warm you feel you should change the target temp. Nest is an app that will allow you to have the flexibility you need in those and other circumstances. The company offers other tools as well.
Straight from Philips come Wi-Fi enabled LED light bulbs. These turn mood lighting into child’s play, because with your app, you can instruct the bulbs to turn any color you’d like. Think a blue hue is called for? Use the app and turn any room a shade of sapphire. Want a green glow? Philips Hue has you covered. The bulbs aren’t inexpensive — $200 for three — but they’re certainly an interior design maven’s dream come true.
Wink is a smart control available at The Home Depot or online that enables you to allow the majority of your high tech app-controlled gadgets to talk together. That way you can do everything from one convenient app. Wink’s connective devices cover everything from garage doors to lighting, and the organization is revved up to take the lead in this vertical.
August Smart Lock
Stop giving out your key and start using an app to open or lock your front door. The August Smart Lock installs on your door(s), and you use an app to allow or deny access to anyone. This is ideal if you have someone coming over for a one-time or couple-time task, such as a handyman or pet sitter. Plus, if you give out the code to someone else, you can get a readout of when he or she came or went.
The only catch? There’s no key, so it might take a little getting used to for those who still like to fiddle in their pockets for keys on freezing winter nights.
You’ve heard of Roomba and similar vacuums that require no human intervention to at least adequately clean up uncluttered floor spaces. Now, Dyson is poised to release its special vacuum that will be controlled by an app. In other words, if you leave the house on Monday morning without sweeping up the Cheerios, you can simply use your iPhone to get the Dyson running on your behalf. When you get back to your nest, the Cheerios will be history.
There’s little doubt more of these apps will be coming down the proverbial pike in the future. As they do, the quality will likely go up, and the price tags will plummet. But if you’re one of those people who can’t wait to turn your hacienda into a high-tech castle of comfort and convenience, there’s no time like the present to try out some of these luxuries.
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