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. Alarm.com, 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.

10 Ways to Bring Even More Happiness Into Your Home

“Home.” A small word that means a great many things. It’s a peaceful refuge, a place to crash after a long day. It’s where you and your loved ones live. It’s a sense of security, comfort and most importantly happiness.

Here are some ways to bring more happiness into your home.

  1. Cultivate family time. Invest your time in having positive family experiences at home, by playing games, reading books and watching movies.
  2. Cut your clutter. Clutter is excessive stimuli, telling your brain that things still need to be done. Increase your happiness by de-cluttering.
  3. Surround yourself with happy memories. Display things that make you think of good times. Photos of your family, photos or souvenirs from a favorite vacation, your child’s artwork, or photos of your beloved pet(s). Instant bliss.
  4. Treat yourself. Keep dark chocolate around. It’s an immediate mood booster – and it’s full of anti-oxidants.
  5. Vanilla. Chocolate’s flip side is apparently a great mood elevator, too. So go ahead and light up a vanilla scented candle after a long day — it’ll help you chill out. 
  6. Get good sleep. People who sleep well feel better – and happier. Keep your bedroom as a restful place, dark and cool and neat.
  7. Don’t forget to say hello, and goodbye, and I love you. Everyone is busy, but it doesn’t take long to acknowledge that someone has come home or is going out. Tell someone you missed them or love them.
  8. Go green. Studies show that people who garden or take care of houseplants have lower stress levels. Growing plants – indoors or out – gives you an immediate connection to the world.
  9. Furry friends. This one’s a no-brainer. Research has found that pets provide meaningful support for owners, helping them with social isolation and ultimately improving their lives. In other words, having a pet makes us happy!
  10. Create an outdoor oasis. Whether it’s a comfy chair by the pool or a hammock slung between two trees, give yourself a place to look up at the sky and enjoy the simple pleasures of life.

To discover all of American West’s new home communities and home designs, visit www.americanwesthomes.com/

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December 19th, 2016 Miscellaneous Tags: , , 0 Comment

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