Blue Suit Mom

Smart Phone, Safe Home

2First, let’s get this straight: there’s no app for making parenting easy. Being a parent is the most demanding job in the world, and that will never change.

That said, there are a few advantages parents have nowadays that weren’t around a few years ago: smart phones and home automation. Smart phones can control and receive alerts from home security systems, unlock the house when the kids come home from school, and let us know if they’re wandering too far from home.

Here are some smartphone-controlled tools that help you through a day of parenting — and every little bit helps!

Kid GPS Trackers

A mom who wants to know where her child is at all times isn’t acting like ‘Big Brother’ — she’s just being a smart mom. With that in mind, new devices like the Evado Filip watch are emerging that allow parents to stay in touch with their children, without having to equip a five-year-old with a cell phone.

First, there’s the communication aspect. The Filip watches allow communication between parents and children as a cell phone would, but without having to worry about an expensive phone being lost, cyber-bullying via texts, etc. The watch holds up to five programmable numbers and these are the only numbers that can reach or be reached by the watch.

Of course the main feature is that parents can track the location of the watch via an app on their iPhone or Android phone. The app uses three tracking methods: location through GPS signal, WiFi triangulation, and GSM if the more accurate first two methods don’t work.

Now taking the kids to the mall doesn’t have to be as stressful.

Home Automation

1What if you could receive a text message when your child arrives home from school, without relying on them to remember to call you? A company called Smart Things will soon launch a series of home sensors that revolve around a central hub that acts like a router for the Smart Things-only network, bringing home automation to a hitherto unprecedented level.

Here are a couple of components and their capabilities:

Open/Shut Sensors

  • Open shut sensors are the most well-known type of sensor and are similar to the kind home security systems have used for years. The sensors detect when doors, windows, or safes are open, but what sets them apart is that they can send alerts or cause other actions with linked components.

Vibration and Accelerometer-Equipped Sensors

  • These sensors have a wide range of uses. A vibration sensor may be applied to a door so that someone hard of hearing could receive an alert, or see a lamp blink when someone knocks on the door.

An accelerometer could detect when things like jewelry boxes (or your liquor cabinet) are disturbed.

Temperature Sensors

  • Temperature sensors combined with vibration sensors can perform obvious but brilliant tasks like turning off the air conditioner when a window has been opened in the house, saving you money even when a careless child forgets to shut a window or adjust the thermostat.

Smart Power Outlets

  • Smart outlets are remarkably simple, really. Using your smartphone, you control things in your home that you want to have power (or not). If someone is swinging by your house to water your plants while you’re away, you can turn on house lights for them through an app.

The possibilities for smart phone controlled home automation and security are limitless. The proper performance of these systems is more about the clever incorporation of the sensors than any ultra-involved installation – in other words, it’s actually pretty simple.

Smart Phone Controlled Home Security

When we leave our homes unattended for extended trips, we rarely do it without a great deal of anxiety, and for good reason. Our homes are everything. Sure, we’re concerned about burglary, but we also worry about neighborhood kids swimming without supervision in our pool or strangers spending time on our property without invitation.

So the ability to monitor your home security and receive alerts about breaches to a smartphone while you’re away is a game changer. Better still, there are great smart security systems that are easy to use and understand, and many are relatively inexpensive, given the ease of mind they provide.

Home surveillance systems are more affordable than ever before. In fact, an old smartphone can be turned into a camera that streams video to your current phone, utilizing apps like ‘Presence.’ You can then view the video from anywhere in the world, with the phone in your pocket. Sound useful for a parent? You bet.

New Frontier

The way we interact with our homes is changing. For some, a fully automated home may seem superfluous and unnecessary, but many people said that about microwaves, the Internet and DVRs. They even said it about cell phones.

If there’s affordable and easy to use technology that can simplify our lives and better protect our families and property, is it really a luxury, or is it a necessity?

Jay Harris is a Home Depot “on the floor” sales associate and a regular contributor to Home Depot’s website. His interests range from providing home security and security systems to writing about LED lightbulbs.

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