Did you drool over the souped-up timepieces in Kingsman: The Golden Circle? Or lust after Tony Stark’s cutting-edge lineup of tech toys in Iron Man 1, 2, and 3? From the Jetsons to Star Trek, we’ve been marveling at technology and AI for decades, and while Rosie the robot isn’t quite ready to take over as housekeeper just yet, there are a ton of home automation apps designed to help us save time and energy, creating smarter, more responsive living environments. Let’s take a look at some of the most interesting on the market today.
Nest (free, iOS, Android)
If you’re into design and you own a home, you’ve likely heard of Nest. Why? In 2011 this sleek, tech-driven thermostat popped up and disrupted an industry that had previously been full of utilitarian control pads. Nest was the Apple of temperature regulation, a game changer that suddenly had people wondering, why can’t the controls we use to run our home also look good? Today the company still produces the smart thermostat plus a host of other products (security cameras, alarm systems, and a video doorbell coming in 2018) that all look as good as they operate. With the Nest app you’ve got simple, straightforward control of your home home from your smart device. And now with Works with Nest compatibility, Nest can communicate with all kinds of things including lights, appliances, cars, fitness bands, and the increasingly popular Google Home.
The 125th anniversary issue of Vogue was already highly anticipated, but for users of Google Home, there was a special bonus in the works – readers could ask Google Home for more info on several of the articles and the voice-activated speaker would bring the stories to life with interviews with Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lawrence, Serena Williams, and Oprah, that didn’t make it to print. Not impressed? Well how about this – using voice-activated technology, Google Home can deliver real-time information on weather, traffic, finance, and sports; it can help manage your schedule; and it can connect seamlessly with other smart devices in your home, creating a more personalized experience for everyone who lives there. Not too shabby.
IFTTT (free, iOS, Android)
Excel fans will recognize the familiar, “if this, then that” setup that powers this app. Basically, “if this, then that” is a way to set up a trigger-action scenario, so that if a particular trigger occurs (e.g. it’s time to go to bed) the app automatically initiates a desired action (e.g. initiate “night mode” by dimming the lights, lowering the thermostat, locking the doors). IFTTT offers endless options for home automation and integrates into every aspect of your life, not just your smart home, so you can control everything anywhere, with a few swipes. Tony Stark would be jealous.
U by Moen (free, iOS)
With winter coming we can probably all agree that, aside from shorter days and salt-stained boots, one of the worst parts of the season is waking up every morning and tearing yourself away from your warm bed and into the chilly morning air. But with U by Moen that transition just got a lot easier, because now you can go from warm bed to pre-warmed shower. That’s right, Moen’s new shower system lets you pre-heat the water from your smartphone. Winter is looking up.
Philips Hue (free, iOS, Android)
Several lighting companies have entered the world of home automation, but Philips, already an innovator in the industry, gets top marks for Hue, a system that lets you control every luminous aspect of your home including colour, contrast, schedule, and more. Control your lights with motion sensors. Set a mood, change the ambiance. The app is like iPhone Night Shift for your home, makings every day better, from morning to night.
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