For most of us, our smartphones have become an auxiliary lobe of our brains. They connect us to the world, store our information and files, and even act as our cameras. And now, they can help us manage our homes, as well. There are a variety of tools and apps that can help you do many of the things you might never have thought possible.
- Adjust the thermostat. Too lazy to walk downstairs to adjust your thermostat? Why not do it right from your laptop or phone? For that matter, you can heat up your home before you even get there, so you can walk into a nice, warm house. “Nest” is a device that can help you remotely adjust your thermostat, and it will even automatically program itself as it learns your schedule, saving you money on heating costs.
- Maintain a home security system. With the availability of mobile computing, you can ditch the old control panel home security system and program everything right through your smartphone. You can even receive instant notifications of any irregularities or foul play. With the smart key technology of “Lockitron,” you can lock, un-lock, and send time-sensitive smart keys to your family and friends if they need to get in your house. No more making spare sets of keys for the neighbors! You can keep track of which doors are locked or open, and basically completely replace the old lock and key system. One less thing to lose in the purse or car!
- Feed your pet. You don’t have to worry about running late and missing scheduled feeding times. “Pintofeed” is one of several applications on the market you can download that allow a visual confirmation with a camera and a remote food dispenser. Sorry . . . you still have to walk the dog yourself!
- Operate your house lights. Phillips makes a smart light bulb called “Hue,” which allows you to easily control all the light bulbs in your house. No need to retrofit to new lamps or light switches with these smart bulbs. You can change the color of the lights, their brightness, turn them on or off, and all without even clapping!
- Make coffee. It’s one thing to have a programmable coffeemaker, but how about making yourself a cup of coffee before you even get home, so that it’s waiting for you when you get there? Or, better yet, use your smartphone from bed, and have your coffee waiting for you before you even leave the house! “Scanomat” is just such a program, and you can even decide between your coffee machine and your espresso machine day by day.
- Start the car. There are several applications on the market, such as “Viper Smart Start,” which connect your smartphone to your vehicle, allowing you to remotely start it and turn on your heater. This can make those early winter mornings a whole lot more bearable when leaving for work!
So maybe these things do put us one step closer to being the floating sedentary being in “Wall-E.” But they certainly make life a lot more convenient, and can even make your home a little safer. I think the dangers of “phone thumb-itis” are far outweighed by these conveniences.