home automation

By Stephen Hoops

The simplest way to understand technology’s underlying purpose is its utility. If something can be designed to solve a problem or make a process more efficient, technology can go a long way to improving our lives. With the inception of IoT (internet of things), the future of smart devices has arrived. But the ecosystem of these devices is quite expansive and complicated without a single one-size-fits-all solution.

Take for example home automation and the thousands of devices and apps that have emerged from large manufacturers to viral Kickstarter campaigns. So here’s a list of the seven best apps for iOs and Android if you’re looking to have a little home automation.

1. SmartRules (iOS Only)

For home automation, most apps or IoT devices act passively in that you control specific actions like turning on a coffee maker or locking your front door. It’s great to have these controls, but perhaps you want just a little more customization.

Although only available currently on iOS devices, the SmartRules app lets you sync across multiple IoT home devices to function under certain conditions. Mostly, this app is designed to communicate with Samsung’s SmartThings family of smart devices and sensors, but you can create rules which tell your devices to perform specific actions. For example, you can set your front door to automatically unlock when you arrive home or turn on a light if there is any detected motion.

2. WeMo by Belkin (iOS & Android)

There are certainly some great IoT devices out there on the higher end, but Belkin’s WeMo products can help offer a more affordable option. Light switches, video cameras, and WeMo outlet switches cover most of your bases for home automation.

Available on iOs, Android, and even Amazon OS, the WeMo app is free to download. The bonus here is that the app can create custom notifications and rules similar to the SmartRules app but also can integrate with IFTTT rules to add just a tad more customization.

3. Loxone (iOS & Android)

Few home automation apps tout that they can control everything in home automation, but Loxone is one that easily comes close to doing just about everything. Loxone seeks to provide automation from lighting to climate control, to security, and almost anything else you can think of. The reason this is worth noting is that the app is centralized and can be a single solution for everything imaginable in the home with a user-friendly interface that works well across all mobile device types and operating systems.

4. MyQ by Chamberlain (iOS & Android)

Your home is your domain, and home automation can help you treat it as such. It’s easy to forget about the advances in technology for things we use almost every single day like garage door openers. Some apps out there claim to be compatible with garage doors for the added convenience, but what makes this garage door opener app so special is that the MyQ home control devices are compatible with every major garage door opener manufacturer like Liftmaster, Genie, Craftsman and more. So if you don’t want to replace your garage door opener just so you can control it with a smart device, the MyQ app is a well-designed option to consider.

5. Nest (iOS & Android)

With climate control being one of the earliest applications of IoT for home automation, Nest has emerged to become one of the best available on the market. Although it’s limited to just performing climate control functionality, a Nest device can easily integrate with other apps and automated services. Developers worked hard to create something that would be friendly and easy to navigate for just about anyone, so it’s worth considering if you don’t want to go all in on home automation but would rather test the waters first.

6. Philips Hue (iOS & Android)

Ever thrown a party and wish you could alter the lighting to fit a specific color or mood? You could certainly buy a fancy lighting system if you’re looking to add to the bird’s nest of electrical cords and force yourself to keep track of yet another remote control. Or you could look into the Phillips Hue lighting system.

With kits starting out at $200, you can use the Phillips Hue lighting and accompanying app to instantly dim or select a color from a range of hues. Think about how your space will look for your next Halloween, 4th of July, or Christmas Eve parties with just your iPhone or Android.

7. Savant (iOS & Android)

Falling in line as another all-inclusive home automation option, Savant has been lauded as one of the best home automation solutions money can buy. Designed to offer a luxury experience in home automation, Savant provides control over climate, lighting, security, and energy.

One of the key differences here is that Savant’s system also integrates with several home entertainment devices like Bluetooth speakers and smart televisions. With a beautiful interface and custom notifications, the companion app can easily control every single room in your house.

What Are Your Automation Needs?

Home automation can be great, but your individual needs will ultimately help you in finding which apps and devices to consider. Whether you’re looking to have a single app that controls just about all of your IoT-enabled devices or if you’re looking to easily control just one thing in your home from a mobile device, these seven apps are worth examining further.