While the world we live in may not be filled with the flying cars and trips to the moon that some people once predicted, it has definitely delivered some of the ultimate conveniences. Some of them are so small that we barely notice them – especially when they’re run via a smartphone.
It’s right there in the name: ‘smart’. Rather than being flashy for the sake of it, our smartphones have been developed to make our lives easier in practical ways. So let’s take a look at some of the home tech you should be connecting to your smartphone – see how many you can tick off and how many you still need to catch up with!
Whether you use your garage for storage, as a utility room, as a workshop, as a games room or for parking your car, a smart garage door is going to, quite literally, take a weight off your hands. At the touch of a button on your smart device, you can open and close the garage.
This is great if you want to avoid unpacking the car in the pouring rain or if you want the security of driving straight into the garage without getting out of your vehicle. It’s not complicated to use and it takes the strain out of manually opening the door.
Want to see who is at the door without getting up? Or perhaps you’re waiting for a package to arrive and don’t want to miss it while you’re out? Well, now that’s all possible via smart doorbell technology. There are a number of brands providing this, with a small camera that you can view footage via on your phone from anywhere with an internet connection. You can also talk to anyone on your doorstep via your phone, which is pretty handy if you’re not actually around.
Setting the mood and saving you on your next electricity bill, smart lighting should soon be pretty standard in most homes. You can set lights to come on at certain times via your phone – preventing the need to set physical timers for security purposes – or just dim lights from the sofa if you’ve settled down for the evening.
We know parents will love this one too, as lights that have been left switched on can be turned off via smartphone apps. Meanwhile, colour-changing bulbs can be paired with this tech so kids can style their room however they want to.
You’ve got no excuse when it comes to doing the laundry now, since many of the latest washing machine models come with smart technology built-in. This means that they can connect to your wifi network to then be controlled from a smart device such as a phone or tablet.
You can start or stop a wash from anywhere in the home without all the faff of having to physically be in front of the machine itself. The machine itself can also suggest settings based on past behaviour or notify you when something goes wrong – no more entering a room to find it filled with foam and water!
Fathers of the world rejoiced when smart thermostats were released. No longer do they have to stand guard over the thermostat glued to the wall – now it can be easily controlled from your smartphone.
All jokes aside, there are so many benefits to fitting your home with a smart thermostat, including saving on energy, setting the heating for when you’re on your way home (or still in bed) and tracking usage.
All of the above are great for you and your family, but what about your pets? Mealtime can be a real pain to lock down with some cats and dogs, but with a smart pet feeder, you can take all the manual fuss out of the situation. Whether you want to schedule a regular feeding pattern or fill up their bowl without getting up, it’s all made possible via your smartphone.
This is a great help when you’re trying to set meal times for dietary requirements or if you know you’re not going to be home in time to feed them on their usual schedule.
Last but not least, it may seem a little over-indulgent, but mornings are hard enough as it is, so why wouldn’t you want to start your first cup of coffee from bed? Smart coffee machines don’t quite live up to the expectation levels set by Wallace & Gromit films, but being able to use your smartphone to get your first coffee of the day – or fifth – started from anywhere in the house has got to be worth the investment.
You can select the style of coffee you want via an app and it’ll be ready and waiting for you when you get to the kitchen.
This isn’t the distant future – you can find all this technology and more on the market right now, with varying prices for different levels of convenience and quality.