The U.S. Bureau of Justice estimated that in 2011, almost 3.4 million homes were broken into. If you’re on a trip and unsure of whether you locked the back door, that statistic is enough to cause alarm. But, instead of bothering a neighbor or relative to check, these useful smartphone apps can keep you connected to your house even if you’re far away.
Complete Home Control
There are a number of ways to get into remote home monitoring. Some home security companies give you options to use apps or the Internet to access your home while on the road. There are also companies that specialize in home automation. They will set up a system that lets you remotely control many areas of your home. Finally, there are one-off solutions, apps that perform one major function. You can mix and match these until you have just the right level of security.
Check in From the Road
One app available for your Apple device is called Presence. This app turns your iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch into a video camera. Mount it wherever you want to keep an eye on things while you’re gone. You can stream audio or real-time video with Presence. Other options include two-way audio capability so you can talk with people in your home, and motion detection alerts to let you know when someone may be inside.
Check your entryways or make sure your pets are safe. Confirm that the landscape company showed up when they said they would. In inclement weather, make sure that old tree in the front yard didn’t come crashing down on the roof.
Smartphone Controlled Security Systems
You may have rushed out the door to catch a flight and at 35,000 feet thought, “Did I turn the alarm system on?” With certain systems, when you land you can confirm from with your smartphone if you forgot to set the alarm. Companies such as CPI on SecurityCompanies.com offer a variety of ways to control your home security system. From Internet access on your computer or apps on your smartphone and laptop, these companies have you covered.
This can be a stress-saver when you let a delivery man in with your new dishwasher. Let them into the house, monitor their activity with your security system’s surveillance cameras, and let them back out again, turning on the alarm behind them. The days of managing your schedule around what’s convenient for them can soon be over.
Total Home Control
There are many companies producing tools to remotely control any electronic device from your smartphone or tablet. VixPlug, currently a crowdfunding project on IndieGoGo, allows you to control anything that you can plug into one of their power strips. Plug in your lights, TV, stereo, holiday lights, and decorations–anything that plugs into a wall outlet can be switched on or off from the VixPlug app. You can stop fumbling around in the dark looking for house keys, as you can program the lights to be on by the time you get to the front door.
Talk to Your House
At the 2013 Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show (CES), voice-activated devices were demonstrated. CNet, the media site that publishes reviews and news on technology and consumer electronics, reviewed some of these devices and found that in the future you’ll be able to call your home and instruct it to adjust the thermostat, turn on the lights, and start the coffee maker.