Controlling Your Home from Your Phone

Life360 sponsored post for VentureBeat

We take our smartphones everywhere, so it makes sense they are becoming command central for a lot of things, including our homes. While smart home technology has been in discussion for years, it’s the phone that makes it all possible. How will the home factor in with the next generation of mobile technology? To get an idea, let’s take a look at what’s happening right now.

Step into the light

Setting up your home lighting to be controlled by your smartphone is as easy as a trip to Home Depot. Leading the way in connected light bulbs, Philips Hue are LED bulbs that screw into any standard light socket. You control the color, brightness, and timing all from your phone. If you prefer to keep the bulbs you’ve got, try replacing a standard wall switch with Belkin’s WeMo Light Switch. You can use it to control lighting and even ceiling fans from your phone. Along the subject of switches, Belkin also makes a WeMo Insight switch for plug-in appliances that lets you do things like turn on your coffee maker while you’re out jogging.

Feel the warmth

Programming your own home thermostat is a pain. The good news is you don’t have to worry about that anymore. The Nest learning thermostat programs itself. You set and change the temperature the way you want, and Nest learns your household heating and cooling preferences over time. The elegant, eye-pleasing device looks great on any wall and offers a host of other tricks, too. It wakes up when you’re near it and even checks the weather over the Internet. Wi-Fi networking and a smartphone app let you control and monitor your Nest from afar, so you’ll never have to walk into a cold house again.

Goodbye, house keys

Ever wonder what happened to all those spare house keys you used to have? Never mind. You won’t need them anymore. Several companies are making locks you can control from your phone. August is one of them. The company’s Smart Lock replaces physical keys with a smartphone app. Pick who you want to share keys with from your contact list and you can issue them access in seconds. Goji Smart Lock is a similar device that goes a step further. It lets you open your door from afar and even takes pictures of who is at your door and sends those pictures to your phone. Both devices install over your existing deadlock.

Everything but the kitchen sink

Smart appliances — washing machines, stoves, refrigerators, and more — are popping up everywhere. But how do you control them from a single phone app? A few companies are tackling the problem. LG just introduced Home Chat, a technology that tells all your smart LG appliances what you want them to do. Send a text that says “I’m going on vacation” and the fridge shifts to power save, the robot vacuum does its job every morning, and the washer runs a cycle while you’re returning from the airport. Similarly, Samsung is aiming to tie all its smart appliances together with its Smart Home system. The platform offers settings for going out, coming home, and more – and you can flip on all of them with touch of a button, remotely from your phone.

The smart garage

Even your garage can be smart. Chamberlain recently introduced MyQ Garage, a product opens, closes, and monitors your garage door through an app. Family-location app Life360 and Chamberlain just announced they are teaming up to integrate family-location awareness into MyQ Garage, so soon you’ll not only be able to know that someone left your garage door open, you’ll know which family member to blame.

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