Lights, camera, kitchen: 9 ways to control your home from your smartphone

A future is approaching where every appliance in your home will be controlled remotely from your smartphone. Some automated devices are already creeping into our homes...

The home of the future is a place where gadgets and appliances will be controlled remotely. From central heating to home lighting, more and more appliances can now be controlled using smartphones – a concept that is often called The Internet of Things’.

Rather than having to manually operate devices like your coffee maker and vacuum cleaner directly, you can now use them remotely from your phone or tablet, wherever you happen to be.

[Read more: The smart home explained]

These devices are starting to creep into homes already - and this is only the beginning…

1. Central heating

Control your heating remotely with Nest

During the winter months, energy bill worries can send chills into your bones. But thanks to modern connected thermostats, there’s no need to fret. Systems like the Nest Learning Thermostat and Hive from British Gas let you control the heating remotely through your smartphone, so you can manually adjust the temperature while you’re at work or on the way home.

2. Smart lighting

Philips Hue with app

Using your smartphone with an array of connected lights can be the perfect way to switch up the mood.

The Philips Hue light bulbs have tuneable white light as well as a full spectrum of colour.

You can even choose a photo from your phone to recreate the experience of a favourite landscape or a beautiful sunset.

3. Oven

June Oven with app

Imagine an oven that just knows how long everything will take to cook. That’ll send progress notifications to your phone. And even produce a live video stream of the food cooking, so you’ll know exactly when that crust is starting to brown. The June Intelligent Oven has Food ID software that can detect what you’re feeding it and recommend a cooking programme. All you need to do is pop the food in and hit Start.

4. Coffee maker

Control your coffee maker using an app

Now here’s one that’s perfect for the winter months. With the wi-fi-enabled Smarter Coffee machine you can wake up, tap a button on your smartphone and get a notification when your coffee is ready. Well worth the extra 15 minutes in bed! You can even schedule it remotely, so there’s a piping hot pot of coffee waiting for you when you get in.

5. Vacuuming

 Dyson Eye 360

You’ve got friends coming over, but mid-way through the afternoon you remember you haven’t vacuumed in a month. Not only can the robotic Dyson 360 Eye find its own way around your home, it can be set to work remotely via your smartphone.

6. Smoke alarm

Nest Protect smoke alarm

Smart home innovations can save you time, money and short walks to various gadgets, but some can even save your life.

The Nest Protect smoke alarm will send an alert to your smartphone if it detects danger or carbon monoxide.

For those false alarms set off by things like burned toast you can silence the alarm via your smartphone, so no more climbing on dinner chairs to shut the noise off.

7. Home security

TP Link HD Cloud Camera

Whether you want to keep an eye on your valuables or check in with your pets, there are plenty of connected security cameras that will send a live video stream to your smartphone.

The TP Link HD Day/Night Cloud Camera connects by wi-fi and has night vision, so it can see in the dark. You'll get a notification on your smartphone the second it detects any strange noises or movement.

8. Smart plugs

mydlink Home Smart Plug

Even the humble wall socket can be smartened up with your smartphone. The D-Link DSP-W215/B is wi-fi-enabled, so if you’ve left a lamp or TV on at home, you could easily turn it off remotely.

You can also create on/off schedules for gadgets using your phone, while monitoring how much energy each device uses.

9. Reset your router

My BT app

Using the MyBT app you can reset the BT Home Hub using your mobile phone. So if you’re browsing the internet in bed or from the comfort of your sofa, you don’t have to get up and fiddle around with buttons – fire up the app and tap Restart my Hub. Simple.

[Read more: How to set up your new smart speaker]