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Tuesday, May 21, 2013


When people first started calling an iPhone a “smart phone,” they probably had little idea how right they were.  While the iPhone certainly is a smart way to manage your lifestyle, new products that allow you to use your iPhone to automate your life are changing the definition of “smart” by the second.




The iPhone is now so much more than a phone, camera, mini-computer and organizer—now, it's a way of life.  It brings together all of your appliances and needs into one easy-to-control location: the iPhone itself.  New iPhone apps that have been released allow you to control just about every aspect of your home with just the touch of a button.  Here are the top five ways to automate your home using your iPhone.



1. Controlling your Television and Entertainment Systems with Your iPhone

Like it or not, television comprises of a big role in our lives—bigger than most of us would like to admit.  However, this social instrument connects us to the world via news, media and other social phenomenons.  Imagine not being able to join in the discussion about the latest Walking Dead or Mad Men episode at work on Monday.

That's probably why there are so many apps that allow you to turn your iPhone into a long-distance remote control, packed with all the features your real remote has.  Control your tv and home theater system from afar.  If you have TiVo, use Premier DVR, a free app that lets you record on the go if you forget to set your TiVo before you leave.  Schedule recordings or look up television schedules from wherever you are.
You can also use the free Remote App from Apple that allows your to use your iPhone to control Apple TV or iTunes programming, even when you're away from your computer.  Never miss another TV episode or movie again.

Alternatively, you can also purchase the L5 Remote for about $60.  This tiny device connects right to your iPhone and allows you to program all of your TV, stereo and home theater equipment from anywhere in the world.



2.  Keep Cool with this Hot iPhone App for Climate Control

Once you've programmed your shows and movies with your iPhone, it's time to relax and watch them in comfort.  There are many apps that tap into the electronic programmable thermostat system in your house to allow you to get full control from wherever you are.  Whether you want to adjust the temperature without getting up from your seat in front of the TV or if you want to turn the A/C or heat on in your home from work, there's an app for that.

The Nest Learning Thermostat, however, takes this control to a whole new level.  Not only can you adjust the climate in your home from anywhere, but the app learns your daily routine as well.  This means that when you leave home for work, the temperature will automatically be adjusted to best conserve energy, thus lowering your utility bills.  Plus, when you're home, the Next Learning Thermostat App will keep your climate at the most comfortable levels, based on your previous input.

Costing about $250.00, the Nest boasts the ability to make your comfortable AND save you money at the same time.   You can install it yourself in about a half an hour or you can have it installed by a professional for $120.  The makers of the Nest Learning app—Nest Labs—say that the average savings of a single family home over three years will be $520.00, if the app is used properly.  The Nest Learning Thermostat is available at their website or at any Lowe's Hardware location.



3.  Lights, Camera, Appliance! 

Another great way to automate your home with your iPhone is with Belkin's WeMo line of products.  The WeMo gives you a wireless way to turn your iOS device into the most comprehensive home remote control on the market.   Costing only around $50, the WeMo Switch is a tiny adapter that gets plugged into your standard electrical outlet, which you then plug any light or appliance into.

Using your iPhone, you can then program the WeMo Switch to go on and off at certain times (or whenever you desire).  You can also combine the WeMo Switch with Motion for $100.  This allows you to control the functionality as normal, but also to include a motion detector on the appliance.

You can use these systems separately or all together, controlling all appliances and lights at once, or individually.  Whatever you want to program in your home, WeMo gives you the opportunity to do just that. To find the WeMo Switch, visit your local Apple or Verizon Stores, or visit the Belkin website. Set up takes just a few minutes, but wireless capabilities in your home are a must.




4.  SmartHome Offers a More Elaborate Home Automation System

Similar to Belkin's WeMo, SmartHome has come up with three do-it-yourself home automation systems, ranging in price from $385.00 to $925.00.  Use your iPhone to control lights, appliances, and security cameras while also continuously monitoring motion, window, and door sensors throughout your home.
Essentially, this is a safety and security system that will also allow you to be lazy while sitting in your home.  Visit SmartHome's site for more information.




5.  Use your iPhone to Monitor Your Baby—All of Them

Finally, we have some great, specialized apps that allow you to stream full-color video and high-quality sound directly to your iPhone.  This is a great way to monitor your baby, or your pet.  Essentially, you now have the ability to keep tabs on your baby, your pet and anybody who is taking care of them—or your house—while you're gone.  Have a parent with Embalmer’s?  This will allow you to keep an extra eye on them.

Set up takes just minutes and your home wireless network is used to wirelessly stream video from the cameras to your iPhone.  Izon's Remote Room Monitor from Stem Innovations coasts $130,00 and gives you real-time, color picture and audio that can be recorded and stored online.  Other apps include iBaby Monitor from iBaby Labs for $200.00, which gives you the ability to control the camera's movement with your iPhone acting as a remote.


Author Bio:
Kirt Harrison is an appliance repair technician at Harrison Appliance, based in Southeast Michigan.  His company has helped countless homeowners throughout Livonia resolve their appliance repair headaches.  Visit his 
website for more information about his appliance repair services.

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