Your home is a very expensive investment, and we understand you can’t be home at all times to protect it. Home automation apps are making it easier to monitor your precious belongings while you are away. Home automation has been around for a while, but the emergence of smartphones and WiFi has made the technology more convenient and affordable. You could possibly control all of the appliances in your home right from your smartphone. From security to lights to climate to entertainment, there is an app for all things home automation, allowing you to control your house in real time. Here are a few apps that can make your home smarter.
Nest Learning Thermostat
Nest is a smart thermostat, downloadable app that allows you to control your home’s temperature. If it begins snowing on your way home, just use your smartphone to turn up the temperature so it's cozy when you get home. Nest also studies your energy usage patterns, with the ultimate goals of promoting energy efficiency and helping you save money on your power bill.
(Retail $250, plus optional $119 installation)
Belkin's WeMo is a handy little device that turns anything you can plug into the wall into a smart device. WeMo lives on your iPhone or Android via the WeMo app. The motion detector makes things even more interesting, allowing you to program things like lights and air conditioners to switch on as soon as you walk into the room.
(Retail $49.99, or $79.99 if you bundle it with the WeMo motion detector)
Phillips’ Hue lets you play with the tone, contrast and color of light to create any lighting mood you want. Beefing up a holiday display or setting a multicolored mood will appeal to some people, but the real draw here is the Hue's impressive programmability. Users can create schedules, set the lights to go on automatically when they arrive at home, tie lighting behavior to Facebook alerts or the scoring activity of their favorite football team.
(Retail $200 for starter kit)
Alarm.com allows users to connect to their already-existing home security system, such as ADT or Guardian, so they can monitor and control their home from their phone. By downloading this app, users get real-time alerts on their phone if there is any movement in their home or security breach from your alarm system. With Alarm.com, you can manage your energy use, watch video streaming from your video cameras, and interact with your security system — all on your phone.
(App is free to download)
Tired of your bland, same old living spaces? Homee promises to be your iPhone based interior designer. Upload photos of your rooms to the app and then choose a concept board which makes-over your room in the new style. Order the gear that will complete your look and job done. The app itself is free, but you can make in-app purchases such as the furniture you put in your newly designed room.
(App is free to download)
Once you connect to the Insteon Hub, you can remotely monitor everything from sensors and ceiling fans to lighting and security cameras. In fact, the app can tap into almost every area of the connected home. There are even options to dim and power devices, access Favorites and Scenes, view live streaming video, and receive push notifications and alerts.
(Retail Insteon Hub $80, App is free to download)
With the Apple App Store and Google Play Store both having around 800,000 apps available, it's nearly impossible to figure out the best options and apps for your integrated home. Here are our favorite apps to help guide you in your quest for a smarter home. Smartphones are quickly becoming all-empowering devices that can turn your house into a fully-controllable smart home.