As the taxi drives away, whisking one to the airport for much-needed R&R in warmer climes, who hasn’t had a nagging thought: “Did I turn off the TV? Is the timer for the light set?”
Those days are now a thing of the past, thanks to The Smartphone Light And Appliance Controller. This complete remote-controlled system includes a plug-in dimmer for a lamp, a wall dimmer for a ceiling fixture, a plug-in on/off switch for a single appliance such as a TV or stereo, and a base station that communicates with each through your home’s existing Wi-Fi network. An app downloaded to an iPhone or Android smartphone provides access to the base station for adjusting each device’s brightness and timer settings—ideal for implying one’s presence in the home while away.
Enthusiasm for home management via smartphone is growing as more apps are developed. Aside from turning the lights on and off, controller systems and the complementary apps enable the user to interface with the furnace and air conditioner to ensure comfort on arrival, while saving energy when no one is home. Some systems learn your habits over time and can be set to make the adjustments automatically.
One of the increasingly popular ways to control your home via smartphone uses Internet-connected door locks that eliminate the need to hide a spare key under the welcome mat. With one of these systems, you can monitor when your children return from school or open the door remotely for a repairman or cleaning service.
You can also use your smartphone to keep an eye that repairman once he’s in the house or to check on your pets during the day. Small, wireless cameras can be set unobtrusively on a shelf or bookcase to monitor your house over your phone. Some systems even let you pan, tilt, or zoom the camera remotely.
Appliance makers are now manufacturing refrigerators, ovens, and more with smart capabilities already included and many new homes are being built ready for remote automation, but for now, for most of us, the smartphone leads the way.