If you want to automate some of your day-to-day tasks or be able to control smart devices when you are not home, you need some sort of home automation app. There are several types available and numerous ways to use them, all of which we explain below.Android home automation apps
Most remote home control apps are designed for Android devices. It is important to note that some home automation apps require you to have the most recent version of the Android operating system on your phone or tablet. Therefore, before you buy any smart home device it is always wise to check the app requirements and make sure that you will actually be able to use your current Android phone to control them.
Apple home automation apps
As you would expect, the vast majority of manufacturers make iOS compatible versions of their smart home apps. However, surprisingly, a few manufacturers have not gotten around to doing so.
Therefore, if you are planning to use your iPad or iPhone to control your Wi-Fi connected home security system, it is always wise to check that the app will work with these devices. Again, remember to check the app will specifically work with the version of iOS that you have installed.
Windows home automation apps
If you are a fan of the Windows phone, automating your home is harder. Sadly, the vast majority of manufacturers have not yet developed Windows versions of their home automation apps.
Sometimes you can get around this by accessing and controlling your smart home devices via the manufacturer’s website. However, this is not always available.
If you want to control your Wi-Fi connected security system or remotely controlled thermostat via a laptop, you are only likely to be able to do so by buying from the larger manufacturers. Very few of the smaller and newer firms have bothered to develop Windows compatible version of their home automation apps.
If you are a Windows phone owner, it is also worthwhile investigating home automation hubs because quite a few of those are packaged with a Windows version of their app. A good example is the Wink home hub.
Control your Wi-Fi connected devices via a website
Earlier, we touched on the fact that some manufacturers offer users the chance to sign into a website and control their devices that way. These are not apps as such, but this capability fulfills the same function.
This type of access is designed for users who do not own or want to buy smartphones or tablets. The fact you are accessing an actual website means that you can sign in and control your home automation devices from your PC, laptop, MacBook or any other device that can go online.
Other ways to control Wi-Fi connected smart devices
Apps and software are the most common way to control your Wi-Fi connected devices. They are by far the easiest home remote control solutions. These apps are well built and easy to use.
If you want a higher level of control, it is worth your while buying a system that has the ability to handle IFTTT, which stands for “If This Then That”. It is a super easy way to build simple programs to make things happen e.g. ‘if my Ring doorbell is used, turn on the front porch light’ is an example of the type of script you may want to build. This is a great way of adding extra functionality to your home automation system.
Some wireless home security devices have the built-in ability to do this type of thing. This additional functionality is commonly referred to as ‘scene or scenario building’, but what you can do is limited by what the manufacturer thinks you need to be able to do. If you buy an IFTTT enabled system, you have the potential to set up far more scenarios, so they offer far more flexibility.
Home automation hub apps
The Wink 2 hub is already compatible with over 500 home security systems, appliances and gadgets, with more being added every month. Using the Wink 2 hub allows you to turn on your lights, set your alarm, see who is at the door, turn on the kettle, and do a long list of other things without the need to be at home.
The other good thing about the Wink2 is that it allows you to control devices made by several different manufacturers. This is actually a huge plus.
When buying appliances and items, like light bulbs and appliances for the home, very few people stick to just one manufacturer. If you go through your home, the chances are that you own products made by twenty or thirty different brands.
In all likelihood, when you buy smart devices you will do the same. For example, you may like the functionality of GE link smart bulbs, so will buy them, but you may opt to buy a Canary all in one alarm system and maybe a Nest cam for your garden room, rather than go out and buy the GE equivalent versions of these items.
Most people do this because they get exactly the functionality they want by buying in this way, and it can potentially save yourself a lot of money. However, there is one problem with that approach. If you do what we suggested above, you would have to load three apps onto your smartphone to be able to control your devices. You would need the Canary, GE and Nest app.
Now, we realize that this does not sound like an issue. However, in reality, the having all of these apps running in the background soon burns through your Smartphone battery. It also gets confusing signing in and out of all those different apps and trying to remember all of those passwords.