NEW YORK – Controlling home systems from a smartphone or tablet is convenient, but at least 20 companies think it’ll be even more convenient from the Apple Watch on your wrist.
“If a phone is buried in your pocket or purse, you might miss an alert warning you that someone has just opened your garage, or that your sink has just sprung a leak,” said Insteon CEO Joe Dada of the advantages of smart-watch home-automation apps.
Said a Crestron spokesperson, “Why dig through your pockets for keys or a smartphone when you can unlock your door with just a tap of your wrist?”
Though not accounting for a major portion of the apps available for the Apple Watch, home-automation apps have turned up among the more than 3,000 apps available when the Watch began shipping to consumers on April 24. Some are available from home-automation companies for use with their home-automation systems, but most were developed by independent app developers.
Home-automation suppliers offering their own apps are Insteon, Savant, Honeywell, EcoBee and Alarm. com, and one is due from Crestron.
Insteon’s app controls the company’s smart outlets, light switches and dimmers, plug-in modules for lamps and appliances, thermostats, ceiling fan controllers, and garage-door controllers. The Apple Watch also displays live security-camera video and receives alerts from motion, door/window, smoke/CO2, and waterleak sensors.
Insteon hasn’t developed an app for other brands of smart watches.
Ecobee’s app controls what the company said is the only smart thermostat that uses remote sensors to measure home temperature in multiple locations. The app works with the Ecobee3 Wi-Fi thermostat available online and in Apple stores at $249 with one included wireless remote temperature sensor. The thermostat supports up to 32 sensors, and additional sensors can be purchased in packages of two for $79.
With a glance at the watch display, consumers can view the thermostat’s name, indoor temperatures detected by the remote sensors, desired temperature and whether the heating or cooling is on/off. Users also adjust temperature, switch the thermostat to its home or away setting, resume its regular schedule, and change fan settings to on, off or auto.
At Alarm.com, the company said residents of the 2 million homes with Alarm.com security/automation systems can control all connected devices in their alarm.com system. They include the security system, thermostat, lights, locks and garage door. The app offers glanceable views of the status of the security system, including locks and garage doors. Users also get live video feeds delivered to their wrist.
Location-based alerts remind users to arm the security system, lock the door or close the garage door. Also from the wrist, users can arm the security system and automatically trigger the lights and thermostat to adjust for efficiency, the garage to close and doors to lock.
For its part, Crestron said it is developing a Watch app that it expects to offer soon. With the app, users can access 10 custom controls they use most frequently. Two-way communication allows them to check what lights are on, the current temperature, or if the garage door is open.
Uses can turn on the lights and adjusting the AC before getting home, and setting the alarm and lowering the shades while pulling out of the driveway.
The UI is customizable.
Among the independently developed apps, On- Switch controls Philips Hue and Lifx smart LED bulbs, while the Quick Control app controls Nest thermostats. Watch Hue is designed for Philips Hue smart bulbs, and Home Remote controls locks and lights.