Software for Home Automation

The development of software applications is gaining speed. People learn to benefit from the technological advancements that impact all spheres of activities from business to entertainment and into our homes. Software developers in the United Kingdom and all over the world are creating apps for business management which help to organise the workflow and increase productivity; so why not create software which can assist in home management?

Every day we use our mobile phones and interact with appliances such as refrigerators, ovens, air conditioners, and many others in our homes. The simplification of their usage is becoming more desirable and the creation of remote controllers is one of the steps to achieving that goal. How many times have you come back home to ensure the oven was off, turned off the lights, or locked the door?

Magora Systems Smart Home

Can you imagine what it will be possible to do with one click on your smart phone in the near future? Here are a list of already existing applications which help to control activities in your home through the automation of security, lights, climate, and entertainment.

SmartThings

The SmartThings Home Monitoring Kit has everything you need to start monitoring, controlling, and securing your home from anywhere. Once you’ve set up your Home Monitoring Kit, you can add compatible cameras, locks, alarms, and more to enhance your monitoring solution. The free application for iOS makes your smart phone the remote controller of your home, uniting different sensors and devices via the SmartThings platform. A kit for less than $300 includes the SmartThing hub.

The smart devices combined with a mobile app informs you of any problems at home – someone left the oven on or the garage door open as examples – and allows you to manage the problem, wherever you are, with your iPhone. It isn’t even necessary to buy all the smart devices at the same time; you can add new devices at your discretion.

Nest

Each Nest device can be controlled via the app on your smart phone. Current devices include a thermostat for your home’s temperature control, a smoke alarm, and the Nest Cams (indoor and outdoor) which allow you to see your home, when you’re away from home. One of the main advantages of this app is that it suits both iOS and Android platforms.

A nice Nest feature is the Energy History. With this feature, users have the insights they need to understand – and control – their energy bill. Available on the Nest Learning Thermostat, the Web app, and both iPhone and Android smartphones, Energy History shows users when heating or cooling was on in the last 10 days and if the weather, their adjustments significantly affected energy use.

WeMo

WeMo offers numerous devices such as Smart Bulbs, cameras with night vision, and switches for outlets; and all of them can be controlled with the WeMo application on your iPhone or Android device. Any time you realize that you forgot to turn off the iron or light, you can fix the situation with your smartphone. You can control them individually or as a group. While you are away, on vacation for example, you can set the light to turn on every time it is getting dark to create the impression there is someone in the house. You can apply a schedule to other devices as well.

Software, and the devices they control, are coming into our lives and changing them significantly. It is difficult to imagine how far we will travel in the next twenty years or so. In this post, we presented just a few examples which already can be used to improve your life. If you want to learn more about the way Smart Home systems work, check out this paper.

This post written in collaboration with Magora-Systems.

Blogger-in-Chief here at RetirementSavvy and author of Sin City Greed, Cream City Hustle and RENDEZVOUS WITH RETIREMENT: A Guide to Getting Fiscally Fit.

4 Comments

  1. Hi James,

    One thing I learned about Nest system is that it does not work great with zoned air conditioning units that have a two stage system.

    Zoned units are already built with energy efficiency in mind. Secondly, the A/C unit starts out in low gear (first stage) to cool and if additional cooling is required, it shifts to the second stage.

    This is what my builder told me when I recently purchased my new home. He was honest and saved a lot of money. I was the one asking him to install it and he pushed back.

    My A/C is efficient as the builder claimed and my utility bill has been very reasonable in the peak of summer.

    Nest does work great when you don’t have a zoned or multi-stage air-conditioning system.

    • Great information that will help others thinking of giving Nest a try. Thanks for stopping by and sharing, my friend.

  2. James, I’m a newbie at smart home technology, but intrigued. Beyond being interesting novelties, is there a financial payback on “smart” technology investments? When does it make sense to “take the plunge”?

    • Great questions, my friend. Right now, for me, smart home apps and devices are focused on the Amazon products (Echo, Dot, and Tap) and primarily centered on convenience and entertainment. However, one aspect of their use – and other device/app combinations – is control of lights and appliances in the home.

      While not significant perhaps, I can see three scenarios where they can yield financial benefits. First, when lights or appliances are inadvertently left on, devices/apps provide the ability to turn them off remotely. Second, setting lights or appliances on a schedule to turn off/on based on know usage can minimize waste. And third, as noted in the post regarding the Nest thermostats, “A nice Nest feature is the Energy History. With this feature, users have the insights they need to understand – and control – their energy bill. Available on the Nest Learning Thermostat, the Web app, and both iPhone and Android smartphones, Energy History shows users when heating or cooling was on in the last 10 days and if the weather, their adjustments significantly affected energy use.”

      Also, I recently heard about Rachio, a ‘Smart Sprinkler Controller.’ You can check out the Introducing the Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller video at YouTube.

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