Technology is changing how we interact with others at home, in the workplace and with people around the world. Do you remember when a phone was used for talking on phones you plugged into the wall? Yes, you can still buy a princess phone when you grow weary of your smart phone.
We’re now using our smart phones for so many things: for texting, getting directions, comparing prices when we’re out shopping, snapping pictures & videos and, once in a while, an old fashion phone call!
Our phones are computers when we’re out and about, and they help keep us connected to our homes from anywhere.
Smart Phones = Connected Homes
Think about all the apps on your smart phone. They not only connect you to people, but also connect us to data in the cloud, your home when you’re not there and so much more.
For interior designers, the most amazing feature is the camera. You can snap a photo of anything, and share it with friends and clients via a text message or email. Instagram photos enable more sharing and wait, there’s more. From the cloud, there’s another app called IFTTT (IF This, Then That) to automatically (after you create your recipes) push your photos to Facebook, DropBox, etc.
So it’s just one more hop from your phone, to the cloud and then your house. So let’s explore all the interesting ways people are starting to use their smartphones to manage their home.
Smart Phones for Everyday Living
Here are some of the new gadgets that connect to your home so you can lock your door from your phone if you forget. You can also monitor your home and get alerts if there’s any activity in the house when you believe no one should be there.
*Balance home comfort with HVAC energy efficiency, using thermostats like the Nest from Google or Ecobee (shown here). You’ll need to do some research to find the best product for your home and lifestyle, and this Times review is a good place to start.
*Add security features to your home with digital locks like Kwikset’s Kevo and/or digital doorbells like the Skybell.
*Start controlling your lights, appliances and more, remotely. Belkin’s WeMo products include a range of attachments to control all sorts of electrical devices, and your sprinklers, too. You can walk into a well lit home with music, monitor energy usage and stop worrying about leaving the iron plugged in … but who irons any more?
Smart Phones & Home Security While on Vacation
Security means not worrying about your home while you’re on vacation. If you don’t enjoy researching and playing with technology, a home security company might be a better solution. It’s also a good short-term strategy to use while you learn what’s most important to you. Then you’ll know exactly what to buy when you’re ready to install your own system.
But you can’t do everything with your phone, so here are some additional things you need do before you leave home.
*Stop deliveries of your mail (hold mail service), newspaper, etc. If you’re gone for more than a week, ask a neighbor to take out your trash, and put cans away after pick-up.
*Make your home look lived in with lights and music or talking (remember the movie, Home Alone) to deter unwanted visitors.
*Have someone mow the lawn and take care of your plants (indoors and outside) and a vegetable garden if you have one.
*Lock up your home and not just the front door. This means all doors and deadbolts, patio door security bars, windows and pet doors too if they’re staying elsewhere.
*Limit the people who know you’ll be out of town. Don’t share your travel plans or adventures on social media, until you get home.