Did I Unplug the Iron? The Best Mobile Apps for Managing Your Home Gadgets
Does your smartphone continually surprise you with all of its capabilities? In addition to serving as an actual telecommunications device, your smartphone is an Internet browser, alarm clock, MP3 player, camera and much more. You may be surprised to learn all of the home gadgets that you own can now be controlled from your mobile device.
Set Your Thermostat
The team behind the iPod has developed a thermostat with Wi-Fi capabilities that you can control with your iPhone from anywhere. Want to come home after a long workday to a perfectly climate-controlled residence? You can do it with the Nest, which also learns your schedule and knows when you are away so it programs itself and saves you money on your electric bill.
Lock or Un-Lock Your Front Door
Have you ever left home and wondered if you forgot to lock the front door? Advances in technology have also produced smartphone-controlled home security key systems like Lockitron, which allows you to lock your doors from anywhere in the world. Lockitron has other capabilities, like alerting you if someone un-locks your doors when you aren’t there. It also enables you to send “smart key” access to family or friends; for example, if your neighbor is watching your house while you’re on vacation, you can send them a time-sensitive key code that will expire upon your return.
Record Your Favorite TV Shows
Cable and satellite TV companies like AT&T, Comcast, Cox and DIRECTV now offer mobile apps that allow you to program your DVR via smartphone. With these apps, available to Apple and Android users, you can set your DVR to record a show in the event that you forgot to do it manually at home. Several apps also offer voice-activated search features to make browsing for a TV show or movie even easier.
Not home at your pet’s scheduled feeding times? Download a remote food dispenser so your animal won’t go hungry. Several apps, like Pintofeed, even provide visual confirmation via camera.
Brew a Cup of Java
We’ve all had those mornings where we decide last-minute that we’d rather sip an espresso instead of a normal cup of coffee. Avoid that extra trip to the kitchen to re-program your coffee maker by simply pulling up a smartphone app to make the switch. Apps like Scanomat link up to your smartphone, saving you the hassle and giving you a few more stress-free minutes of shut-eye.
Remote-Start Your Car
Particularly useful in cold climates, some apps will start up your car in the garage or the driveway with the simple touch of a button on your smartphone. Enjoy a comfortably toasty ride when you’re finally ready to run out the door.
Will our smartphones ever cease to amaze us with their seemingly limitless capabilities? Only time will tell. Tell us what household chores you’d like to manage from your smartphone and be sure to download these suggested apps to make everyday tasks a little easier.
– By Lauren Triolo