Posts Tagged ‘Home automation’

Top Home Automation

We live in the digital age, which means living in the dark—technologically—is an outdated idea. Since you should always be in the know when it comes to what makes your home and lifestyle easier and more convenient, here are a few of Modernize’s favourite home automation apps that will make your life just a bit easier.

Apple HomeKit

Apple’s HomeKit is a revolutionary framework that enables you to configure various accessories in your home. You can control these compatible devices right from the app, so the possibilities are nearly endless.

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One of our favorite HomeKit-friendly accessories is Elgato Eve Room. This smarthome sensor helps regulate air quality, humidity, and temperature. Tap Siri to assess your current air quality and conditions, and she can make necessary changes to keep you comfortable.

eve

iDevices switch allows you to remotely turn switches on and off. Whether it’s electronics or lamps, you won’t have to worry about leaving something on all day. Just click a few buttons, and you can rest assured knowing your home is safe.

SmartThings

SmartThings is another app that turns your phone into a remote control. Just connect compatible devices to the platform, and you’ll be able to monitor it all from your iPhone. The great thing about this app is that it lets you know if there’s a problem, and devices can communicate to create a stream of information.

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Did you leave the door open? Don’t worry. You can regulate your A/C so you don’t waste that precious (and expensive) cool air.

WeMo

Reduce your carbon footprint by monitoring electronics through Belkin’s WeMo. We all have “oops” moments, so if you leave your curling iron on, you can safely shut it off with your smartphone. You can even set up your coffeemaker to start your cup of joe right when you roll out of bed.

wemo

 

WeMo allows users flexibility to automate as much as they want. The customizable app makes it easier to live and eliminates worry when you make mistakes.

Nest

Nest is an innovative home automation app that controls your thermostat, which conserves energy and your beloved paycheck. There’s no use wasting A/C or heat when the temperature fluctuates and you’re not home. You can easily control your home’s temperature on the go, so you don’t run into any surprises or high bills.

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Nest is a great first step if you’re not quite ready to fully automate, and some energy companies offer incentives for connecting your thermostat to Nest.

Philips Hue

You can control the lights in your home from your phone, too. Whether you’re having a party, hosting a party, rounding your friends up for book club, or just simply spending time with family, you can adjust the tone, color, and contrast of your lights to create soft mood lighting.

hue

Go festive around Christmas time with reds and greens, or spooky at Halloween with eerie orange and black light. You can control every bulb through the Philips Hue app. Guests will “ooh” and “ahh” about the added decor element!

Convenience and Reassurance

Home automation apps give you the peace of mind to leave the home and come back to a safe place with a perfect temperature. You can really cut down on energy costs and excess waste, which saves you money and reduces your carbon footprint. The days of worrying about what device you left running are over!

Our guest blog written by Kelsey Meyers from Modernize 

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Continuing in the world of home automation products, today we are reviewing the D-Link ‘mydlink Home’ Smart Plug.

Introduction

What can be said about such devices? They are an evolutionary step forward from those old timer sockets used to fool burglars into thinking you’re at home by turning a lamp on a preset times.

In addition to being able to set a schedule, with these new breed of products you can also remotely turn on and off any mains-powered device from your phone or tablet manually, from anywhere in the world.

First impressions

The unit comes in a neatly presented box containing just the unit itself, instructions and quick install card.

The smart plug is a actually very nice looking. Long gone are the days of companies doing the bare minimum in design for devices that will, in all likelihood, be hidden behind a cabinet.


Setup
This really couldn’t be simpler. The unit has a WPS button on the side which, when pressed immediately after pressing the WPS button on your home router, connects directly to your home Wi-Fi network. Most modern routers have this functionality and it really does make setup a breeze.

Once it’s connected,  it’s just a case of downloading the iOS or Android app to your smartphone or tablet and creating yourself a mydlink account (in-app).

The app will find your device providing you are on the same Wi-Fi network. Then, all that needs to be done is to give it a name and choose an icon for it. After the initial setup, you no longer need to be on the same network to control your Smart Plug.

In my case, I have the Smart Plug controlling my tumble dryer.

See the little power icon below? That’s it. That’s how you remotely turn it on and off. Simple.


There are two reasons I chose a tumble dryer for this review:

1) I wanted to try a high current appliance. Pulling nearly 3KW through the Smart Plug should give it a good run.

2) My 3 year old twins have a terrifying desire to climb into things while the other closes the door. Boxes, cupboards, and yes, the tumble dryer once too. With the dryer under the kitchen unit and the mains socket located behind it, the ability to switch it on and off at the mains is difficult. 

The D-Link Smart Plug provides me with a means of doing just that, easily.

Here it is when ON:

Extras

You can view the current load and temperature of the plug in the device information page:


You can also set rules, such as turning appliances off automatically when a preset consumption limit is breached. Email alerts and push notifications are also supported. As previously mentioned, scheduling is supported for making burglars think twice when you’re away from home by hooking it up to a TV or lamp.

Summary

All in all, it’s an excellent little device that delivers on it’s simple objectives. I have noticed that it’s a little bulky though and so doesn’t play well with other plugs in my 4-way gang lead. 

It handles my tumble dryer with no problem, and like I say, that’s a very high load appliance, so top marks there.

At around £39.99, it may be a little much for some, but with D-Link pushing the range which now includes home cameras and PIRs, it’s well worth a look if you’re looking to automate your home.

TheTechSpy rating: 8.5/10

Home automation is becoming a bigger and bigger topic every week as “The Internet of Things” grow. With more and more devices coming to market, thanks to the likes of not only the tech giants out there but crowd funding like Kickstarter, we can now enjoy the control of things like light switches, thermostats, power sockets and even our media centres.

Now don’t get me wrong, it has been a childhood dream of mine to be able to control things in the house through Home Automation and even going that step further when the house ends up doing it for you as it knows you are home….but with all these new devices one thing stands out that could prematurely end this whole revolution before it has started.

Every one of these new devices, comes with an app. If I am in my house and I want to turn a light on, I can unlock my iPhone, click on the app and simply choose the light I want on. Cool? Yes…but surely it was easier to just get up and switch that light on? I then decide it is getting a bit cold, so I click on another app and this allows me to turn the heating on in my house providing me with a comfortable environment. It is all good, but technology here has made my life harder, which is not the point of it at all.

Smartthings, crowd funded via Kickstarter, were one of the first to try and put this right. The idea was to put all of the devices under one app, so they could all talk to each other and of course you only had to go into one app to control them all. This idea was the step forward “The Internet of Things” needed, allowing each device, even if it was from a different manufacturer to work with each other, so if a sensor was triggered as you arrived home, you could have it switch on the heating and turn the entrance lights on.

My only issue with this is that you still need to open an app. The guys over at Athom have designed the Homey, which is a spherical shape device that sits in your house and you can talk to. Now of course it has the app, as this makes it easy to set up and of course collaborate the tech, but when you walk into your kitchen you can ask the device to turn lights on Siri-style, or turn the tv on to a certain channel….this is home automation!

App

Homey talks to pretty much all devices and here are a few things it can do;

“Homey combines your devices and the internet, allowing for smart scenarios:

When you get home, your lights fade on, your thermostat is already set to a comfortable level and your favorite music is streamed to your receiver.

When you need to wake up, the curtains or blinds are opening, your morning tune is playing on your stereo while the weather for today and your e-mails are being read to you. The smell of fresh and automatically made coffee gets you out of bed.

When you’re in the supermarket, you decide it’s going to be pizza tonight. You tell the Homey app to pre-heat your oven by switching it on. If you have a smart fridge, your grocery shopping list is sent to you.

When you want to watch a movie, the blinds close, your lights dim, your music fades out, the TV is set to the correct channel and your media center plays the movie.”

Homey

The list of products the device communicates with at the moment is enough for us to take notice as normally with these types of ideas they are very thin on the ground. But I am sure you will agree, Homey is everyone’s Homey;

LightwaveRF
Airplay
Sonos
Nest
Hue
Spotify
Logitech
Bose
Philips
Samsung
Gmail

We love this device and even at $229 with an arrival time of June 2015, we still think this is well worth the investment. We just hope that no one else beats them to the market first, especially as Apple tonight announced its home automation project HomeKit.

The Smart Home….a dream of most Techies out there, but reserved for those with deep pockets.

Thankfully things are about to change. The technological revolution is paving the way for cheaper tech and more advanced protocols which are allowing us all to take advantage of this future. The general public is learning to code and more manufacturers are open sourcing devices to push for even more possibilities.

It won’t be long til your home will think intelligently, knowing things like when you are in, how you like your temperature and to turn off any unused devices when you are not around. Over the last few months we have seen some very exciting devices arrive on the scene like, Smartthings, Nest and Ube who are being funded through crowd sourcing routes and have picked up a great following.

One of the new kids on the block is Goji, the smart door lock which fits over your existing lock, allowing you to fit it to pretty much any door lock out there. If you are unsure if it will fit on your door, the company are happy to have a look at a photo of your lock to confirm.

The sleek futuristic looking disc surrounded in brushed metal has a blue-text LED display that will show the status of the lock and welcomes users in by name.

The lock has a built-in camera that takes a quick photo of any users and sends this to your photo to alert you when people are home. One of the most interesting features is the ability to be able to send someone else an electronic key to gain access to your house, allowing family in before you get home if you are running late. Imagine the possibilities of letting the cleaner in, or even guests to your rental property when you are not present.

The big worry for us is the security side and of course if this goes wrong and you are left stranded outside your own house. Well, Goji will supply electronic fobs and the a good old-fashioned key for when the worst happens, but the lock is programmed to message you when the unit is running out of battery prompting you to change it.

If you lose your phone, you can easily call the support line 24/7 to retract access from that user to ensure that the system is not abused.

The Goji Smart Lock will allow you to lock your house from anywhere in the world and knows if you are inside your house or if you are coming from the street. If you are coming from the street, Goji will open the door automatically, and if you are inside of your house, Goji will not unlock your door as you approach it before you know who is at the other side.

This is a welcome accessory to the smart home set up and will solve a lot of issues as we have all suffered from being locked out or losing our keys. If you wish to purchase one at the reduced price through Indiegogo you have a couple of days left to buy them at $235 here.

Goji