Keys may grant you access to your home, but they don’t give you complete control. That’s what a smartphone is for. With that 5-inch touchscreen, you can turn off the lights when you’re away, turn on the TV, cut power to various appliances, and, yes, unlock the front door without needing a key. Doing so doesn’t come cheap, but it’s a surprisingly easy task. So if you’re ready to make the investment, here are multiple ways to control your home from anywhere using your phone.
1. Unlock Doors
The front door is one of the first things visitors will notice, and if you’re seeking to impress others, this is where to start. The Kevo Kwikset Bluetooth-enabled door lock lets you turn your smartphone into a key. Just tap your finger against the ring around the keyhole, and if your phone is within range, it will open the door for you.
The Kevo is smart enough to know which side of the door your phone is on, so you don’t have to worry about unintended entry. You can grant friends and family members access to your home, give guests temporary access, or order a key fob for anyone who doesn’t have a smartphone.
2. Manage Power Outlets
Belkin has an entire line of products under its WeMo brand that give you remote control over power outlets, light switches, and more. Just install the app onto your smartphone and plug a WeMo Switch into whichever outlet you want to control. You can then toggle that outlet regardless of whether or not you’re home. This is great if you’re thirty minutes away from home and just realized you left the hall lamp on. Likewise, it’s a great way to scare the pants off of house guests. If you then want the lights to come on automatically when you get back, be sure to pick up a WeMo Switch + Motion.
3. Adjust Thermostats
While you’re at it, don’t forget about heating and cooling. Traditional thermostats let users set the temperature manually, and some even let them designate different levels for the various times of the day. But the Nest thermostat takes things even further. This “thinking” thermostat learns your preferences over time, and when it’s off the mark, you can control it remotely using, you guessed it, your mobile phones.
4. Boil Water
If you just have to have a hot cup of tea before leaving the house in order to be a functional member of society, iKettle might just shave a few minutes off your morning routine. This electric kettle pairs with a mobile app that can serve as your alarm clock each morning. It will wake you up and ask if you want iKettle to warm up water for you. Go ahead and say yes. The kettle won’t turn on if there isn’t any water inside, so you don’t have to worry about setting off the smoke alarm.
And speaking of smoke alarms, Nest also has one of those coming down the pipeline. They’re not on store shelves just yet, but you can make a pre-order if you’re already sold on the idea.
As cool as these products are, they’re only the beginning. The home automation market is still young, and more options are just around the corner. In the years ahead, expect more competitors to pop up, driving innovation and pushing prices down. If you know of other ways to control your home from the comfort of your smartphone, share them with us in the comments below!