Home automation moves into the everyday with a suite of services that allows you to manage your home with the touch of a button or with voice command.
Imagine waking up, saying “Good morning” to Siri, and starting off a chain of automated actions like opening the blinds, turning on the lights in the kitchen, and starting the coffeepot. The Home app on iOS devices allows you to control a variety of products that have been made compatible with HomeKit by their manufacturers. Control individual devices, room sets, or scenes (like the “Good morning” command) from wherever you are. For those who leave their houses for extended periods of time, accomplish your entire checklist in one push of a button — no questioning yourself when you are already on the road and think you may have forgotten to adjust the thermostat.
The latest from Nest, Nest Protect connects your home’s smoke detectors with each other and with your phone. Use your phone to monitor alerts and to select ignore if it is just pesky overcooked popcorn or to alert authorities in cases of emergency. Even if you are on the other side of your home, the interconnected devices will tell you if and where there is a problem. With different levels of alerts, Nest Protect even has the ability to notify you when your lightly burned toast is about to become severely burned toast. No chirping when batteries are low; these alerts and testing are done with your phone. Devices also serve as carbon monoxide detectors. While you are at work or on vacation, know straightaway if there is a problem at home.
No more guessing who is at the front door or missed packages. Ring puts a high-definition camera with video capability and two-way communication right on your doorbell. When someone arrives at your home, you will be alerted, see who it is, and choose to speak with him or her through your phone. Security features also include motion sensors to instantly detect activity and to send alerts while you are away. Cloud recording also allows you the capability to monitor past activity at your convenience.
Google takes music and audio streaming to the next level with its $30 Chromecast device that plugs into just about any existing speaker in your home. Get high-quality, uncompressed sound using any of your favorite music streaming services such as Spotify, Pandora, and iHeart Radio. Controlled by either your phone or laptop, broadcast to individuals or groups of speakers throughout your home over your WiFi network. Unlike Bluetooth, your phone’s battery won’t drain and music won’t be interrupted by phone calls, text tones, or when you walk too far away from the speaker. Easily give DJ control to friends and family without worrying about passwords or pairing with this inexpensive and simple audio system upgrade.