Smart phones have transformed how people orchestrate their lives, both personally and professionally, and the ability to manage the home remotely with the swipe of a screen is no exception. Here are a few of our favorite iPhone applications (apps), sure to make life a little easier, impress your guests, and simply elevate the ‘cool’ factor of your home.
Home Control Systems
- Lutron: Looking to set the mood for an arriving guest or save energy when you leave a light on? The HomeWorks Light Control application makes it easy to control your Lutron whole-home lighting system with the touch of the screen. This free app lets you manage your home’s lights, music and overall ambiance to create a complete entertainment experience, even if you’re out and about.
- Crestron: Picture yourself en route to your beach house or returning home from a long trip-the temperature there is most likely not ideal for the current weather condition if the air conditioning or heat has been turned off to save energy. With the Crestron Mobile application, priced around $99.99, you can control your home’s climate, security, lights, and even the drapes so you return home to the perfect environment.
- Control4: For Control4 home automation users, the free Control4 My Home for iPad application manages your home’s lights, thermostats, audio, video, web cameras, security system, and more-without having to change screens. This is a free application you can download.
- SAVANT: If you’re using SAVANT’s ROSIE Systems to control your home’s lighting, audio/visual systems, security and more, the $49.99 ROSIE Home Automation app will give you easy access from wherever the day takes you.
- Sonos: There’s no need to interrupt your poolside lounge session for the sake of the music. With the free Sonos app, your iPhone is transformed into a full-fledged controller for the Sonos Multi-Room Music System, allowing you to find and play all the music you want, all over your house. The app grants access to your iTunes library, thousands of free Internet radio stations, and popular online music services like Pandora and SIRIUS.
- Remote: The free Remote application morphs your iPhone into a remote control, allowing you to manage and play the music in your computer’s iTunes library from anywhere in the house, with the tap of a finger. You can choose a song, shuffle an album, repeat or skip a track and even create and edit playlists with the free app.
- DIRECTV: Have you every left the house without setting theDVR to record your favorite show? Not a problem with the DIRECTV application that lets you set an episode or series recording remotely from anywhere. The free app also lets you browse for shows and movies by channel, time or date up to 14 days in advance while you’re sitting on the train or waiting for an appointment.
- ecobee: In an effort to help families conserve energy, save money and reduce their environmental impact, the free ecobee Smart Thermostat application turns the iPhone into a thermostat replica, allowing you to adjust your home’s temperature, humidity and ventilation; receive and set up alerts; and control multiple thermostats from the same screen.
Cool Apps on the Horizon
- Visible Energy: Interested in visible feedback about your family’s electricity consumption and its cost? The Energy UFO free app by Visible Energy is one of several “up and coming” energy consumption monitoring tools that can help households save energy and lower power bills. The app is available now, but the compatible UFO products have yet to hit the market.
- Nissan: Monitor your electric car to see when it’s charged with Nissan’s planned app that allows “green” drivers to see the charge left in the batteries. Electric drivers on the go can also view the locations of nearby charging stations, compare recharge costs based on nearby prices, and best of all: rev up the air conditioning or heat before getting to the car so you’ll never break a sweat.