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Home Automation and Monitoring
Makes Checking In Easy
Just because you’re not physically there doesn’t mean that you can’t check in on your home, or your home away
from home. There is a world of products designed to let you take a look. Turn the lights on or off. Take control of
the thermostat. Even send someone a virtual door key so that they can get in even though you’re not there.
None of the solutions we’ll be looking at take the place of a home security system. Rather, they offer some peace
of mind and a chance to check in on your home, wherever youmay roam.When you’re at home, these automation
and monitoring innovations serve to make life a little easier too.
by Andrew Moore-Crispin
The Nest Learning Thermostat is a
complete paradigm shift from the lowly
home thermostat.
Where traditional programmable
thermostats seem to require a
doctorate degree in computer
engineering in order to set a schedule,
Nest makes it easy. So easy, that while
you have the option of creating a
heating/cooling schedule simply on
your smartphone or tablet, you don’t
actually have to do so.
Nest learns your temperature
preferences as well as the times at
which you’re usually home, out of the
house or asleep and automatically
adjusts your heating or cooling
schedule accordingly. Any time that you
see the green leaf icon on the Nest’s
full-colour screen, you know that Nest
has your home heating and cooling
system operating at peak efficiency.
It connects to your homeWi-Fi network
to pull in local weather data. If it’s a
particularly warm day in the sunny
south and Nest expects you home at
4 p.m., it’ll start cooling your home
down a little earlier than it normally
would so that it’s comfortable when
you arrive.
The Nest app on your iPhone or
Android smartphone or tablet lets
you take control of your thermostat
wherever you are. Before you arrive, set
the thermostat remotely so that you’ll
be perfectly comfortable in your home
when you arrive.
At $250, it’s almost certainly the most
expensive thermostat on the shelf.
However, considering its remote access
options and the money that it can save
on your home heating and cooling (to
say nothing of how easy it is to use and
how good it looks on the wall), it may
prove a worthwhile investment.
Innovation in lock technology seems to
have stalled in the days since someone
decided that it would be a good idea to
put a keypad on a standard deadbolt
so that it could be opened with a code
instead of a key.
Now, however, a slew of new tech-
enabled locks have come to the fore.
Our favourite is Goji. Conceptually
speaking at least; it’s not available on
store shelves at the time of writing,
though it soon will be.
What the Nest Learning Thermostat
(detailed above) does for the lowly
thermostat, Goji does for the everyday
deadbolt. It connects to your home
wireless network so that it’s much
smarter than your average lock. Thanks
to its built-in accelerometer, it knows
when someone is knocking on the
door. With the built-in camera, it can
even snap a picture and send it to your
Using Bluetooth Low Energy, your
Android or iPhone or optional key fob
becomes your key. Additionally, you can
give someone one-time or scheduled
access to your home when you’re not
there without
having to share
a physical key.
Send a virtual key
via text message
or e-mail and, when
the person arrives at your door, they are
granted access.
You can lock or unlock your door
remotely, too. If you’ve ever worried
that you left the door unlocked when
going away for an extended period,
the peace of mind which Goji offers
on this front alone may be worth
the admittedly significant price of
Nest Learning