Best Apps For The Home

Fun fact: The Apple App Store and Google Play Store both have around 800,000 apps available. 800,000. Talk about confusing.

So, how are you supposed to figure out which apps are the best for creating a smart, integrated home? It depends on how much integration you want, how much you want to spend on devices, and what your level of comfort with technology is.

Some apps are designed for full smart home integration – from the thermostat to the refrigerator to the doorbells. Other apps are specific to individual products, like light bulbs or wi-fi. Some apps only work with one line of products (Apple, Amazon), while others can integrate technology from a whole array of companies. There are many apps that are only available for iOS, so if you have Android, you’re out of luck.

Here are some of the best or most popular apps for the home:
• Behavioral intelligence apps: These apps learn from your behavior and adapt accordingly. They may also suggest behavior modifications or additional devices. E.g. Nest Thermostats, Honeywell Total Connect Comfort and Muzzley Smart Home.

• Individual product apps: These apps connect with individual smart devices, like Philips Hue light bulbs or Belkin WeMo plugs. With Hue, you buy a starter kit and build a smart lighting array for whatever rooms you use the lights in. WeMo is a plug-in device. Anything you can plug into a wall can become a smart device. You can program appliances, home & away lighting schedules, or check to make sure the curling iron is off.

• Security apps. Home security is one of the biggest beneficiaries of smart technology. You don’t need to buy expensive and elaborate security systems. With small wireless cameras, GPS capabilities and smart locks and doorbells, you can monitor your home from anywhere in the world. You’ll know what time the kids came home from school, and whether someone left the back door open. E.g., ADT Pulse, Canary, BeOn, Control4 My Home.

• Whole home integration apps. If you’re looking to integrate the entire house, there are dozens of apps that can help you connect, control and monitor everything from your smart phone. Amazon Alexa, Vivint Smart Home, Samsung SmartThings, Kasa, and Stringify are just a sampling of the apps available for whole home control.

• Personal service apps. Want a toothbrush that monitors how well you brush? There’s an app for that. A lawn mower you can control from the sofa? Ditto! Earplugs that help you go to sleep – and wake you up? Absolutely! Check out the Oral-B app, the Hush Smart Earplugs app, and the Robomow app.

Note: While the apps may be free, they often require the purchase of specific hardware, software or physical devices in order to operate. Check out how much you’ll be spending before getting too attached to a particular app.

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