A couple of decades ago, gadget lovers around the world envisioned a future in which one’s personal computer could act as a control center and hub for all of the electronics in the home. That future is finally here, but it hasn’t happened in exactly the way many people imagined. Instead of your personal computer being the central hub for your home’s electronic devices, the functions of a PC have been condensed into the one device that you probably have on your person at almost all times: your smartphone. Thanks to miniaturization and the power of ubiquitous Internet connectivity, practically every type of gadget these days has some sort of wireless communication ability built in – and when a device can communicate wirelessly, there’s always a mobile app involved.
If you’re like most smartphone owners, there’s a good chance that you’ve spent at least a little time exploring your phone’s ability to interact with and provide information about the devices in your home. There are so many different devices supporting smartphone control, though, that you probably haven’t experienced the full range of what you can do with mobile apps yet. In this article, we’re going to introduce you to some of the most exciting mobile app capabilities you may not have explored. These are the devices that you didn’t know you could control with your smartphone.
If you vape, there’s a good chance that you’ve never even considered the possibility of controlling your e-cigarette with your smartphone. After all, it doesn’t make a lot of sense on the surface to control one portable device with another. As it turns out, though, a few vaping devices do have built-in Bluetooth connectivity and can communicate their status to you in real time.
Although the exact features vary by device, here are a few of the things that you can do by controlling a Bluetooth-enabled vaping device with your smartphone.
- You can configure a small vaping device. Some devices are so small that they don’t have room for displays or control buttons. In that case, your smartphone can double as your vaping device’s interface.
- You can track your vaping to determine exactly how much nicotine you’re using.
- You can configure your device to automatically lock itself when you walk away, preventing unwanted usage.
Unfortunately, mobile apps that relate to vaping in any way aren’t allowed on Apple’s App Store. If a vaping device does have a mobile app available, it’ll only be on Google Play. In some cases, though, web-based apps are also available for vaping devices with Bluetooth connectivity. A web app will work with any smartphone.
Spurred partly by the proliferation and popularity of electric vehicles and partly by the endless march of technology, today’s cars offer more connectivity options than ever. It’s not uncommon for a modern vehicle to offer both Bluetooth and 4G connectivity, allowing it to communicate with you through your smartphone regardless of its distance from you.
If your car offers smartphone connectivity, there’s practically no end to the features it can offer. In some cases, you can practically drive your car remotely. Here are just a few of the features that you can expect in a vehicle with smartphone control.
- You can start your car remotely and configure the climate control settings, giving the interior a chance to warm up or cool down before you enter the vehicle.
- You can configure your car to unlock the door automatically when you’re within a certain distance. In that sense, your smartphone can essentially replace a traditional key.
- You can have your car park itself or automatically pull out of a tight parking spot before you get in.
- You can receive a security alert on your phone if someone tries to break into your car and can track your car’s location in real time.
Wouldn’t you love a kitchen that can do the cooking and cleaning for you? We aren’t quite at that point yet, but there are plenty of exciting things that you can do with today’s Internet-connected kitchen appliances. Here are a few examples.
- An AI-powered refrigerator can use cameras to identify what you have and tell you what ingredients you’re low on. You may find that feature handy if you happen to find yourself at the supermarket without a shopping list. If you’re not sure what to make for dinner, your refrigerator can even make meal suggestions based on what you have.
- An Internet-connected slow cooker can monitor a dish – even stirring it automatically in some cases – while you’re out of the house. This is a particularly useful device to own if you love the idea of doing your kitchen prep in the morning and having a meal that’s ready to serve when you get home.
- If you think that it’s fun to own a programmable coffee maker, wait until you see what you can do with today’s smartphone-controlled devices. You can have your coffee maker grind the beans automatically and brew your coffee at a specific temperature. In some cases, you can even have the coffee maker steam your milk for you. You’ll have a barista-quality beverage ready to drink before even wake up in the morning.
Home Security System
In today’s uncertain times, a smartphone-enabled home security system is truly one of the most useful devices you can own. Thanks to mobile app control, today’s security systems can do much more than simply recording videos. Here are just a few examples.
- A security system can automatically send a notification to your smartphone when it detects motion within the camera’s range. Tapping the notification can allow you to view a real-time video feed.
- You can unlock your front door and let someone into your home while you’re away. That’s useful for family members who forget their keys. It also gives you the ability to let delivery drivers leave packages inside your home rather than on the front porch.
- You can receive a real-time notification when a door or window has been opened or broken, enabling you to contact emergency services in real time when a potential robbery is taking place.