Track your home…
Control your home from your holiday
You might be on holiday, but it doesn’t mean that life stands still back at home. Keep track of what’s going on with pets, plants and other domestic occurrences direct from your sun lounger… here’s how
HOME HEATING THAT TRACKS YOU
The Tado system follows your smartphone’s location via GPS and turns the heating up or down the further away or closer to home you get. You can set minimum or maximum temps for when you’re in or out – ensuring the goldfish tank won’t freeze over as you head to Australia for a month. It’s great for saving money, too, with Tado claiming its smart thermostat will help consumers save an average 27 percent in heating costs – about £180 per year.
HOW MUCH: £199.00
TRACK YOUR PLANTS’ NEEDS
You might be well-watered as you sip on a pina colada and slip in for a dip while lounging in the grounds of your 5-star hotel – but are your prized plants fighting for life back at home? Can you really trust your 16-year-old stay-at-home offspring to drag himself away from a week-long orgy of online gaming to discharge his flower-watering duties? No need to fret, simply grab the Parrot Flower Power – a unique sensor that sits in the ground or pot and assesses plants’ needs and sends alerts directly to your smartphone. Monitoring and analysing sunlight, temperature, fertilizer and moisture levels in the soil or compost, Flower Power will send an alert to your phone when you need to give your appointed plant-carer a subtle nudge towards the watering can. Advice is targeted to individual needs selected from the developer’s database for more than 6,000 plants. The app is free and available for both Android and Apple devices.
HOW MUCH: £49.99 for the sensor
TRACK WHO’S CALLING ON YOU
Want to know who’s knocking on your door while you’re away on holiday? The The Ring™ Video Doorbell is the answer for you. With two-way communication and a HD camera with night vision you can always be in. When someone rings the bell, your smartphone calls you and you can see who’s at the door and talk directly to them – from the beach, pool or wherever you are. The system also has a motion detector to alert you of movement on your property. You can even record all footage to the Cloud.
HOW MUCH: £132.00
LET THERE BE LIGHT
Want to control your lighting while you’re away? A simple on-off timed socket isn’t really enough to fool your neighbourhood housebreakers, but installing Philips Hue connected lightbulbs certainly can. Turn them on, off and dim them directly from your smartphone – just like you were home and flicking the switch with your very own finger. You can even make pre-set levels and ‘hues’ for while you’re away or back home. Simply buy the bulbs, screw them in and connect them to the Wi-Fi hub. From here, download the app and take control from wherever you lay your hat.
HOW MUCH: From £49.95
TRACK SAFETY WITH A SMART SMOKE ALARM BATTERY
The Roost Smart Battery is a Wi-Fi-enabled power supply that turns any smoke detector into a smart device that can speak to your smartphone wherever you are in the world. The system will not only keep you up to date with battery level, but also let you know when the smoke alarm goes off – allowing you to notify a neighbour or the emergency services directly from your sunlounger. Takes just minutes to install… no wires, not drilling, just fit the battery and download a smartphone app.
HOW MUCH: £28.00 approx (lasts around five years, according to designers)
KEEP TRACK OF PETS WHILE YOU’RE AWAY
Simply fit a lightweight collar to your pet and enjoy live tracking sent straight to your mobile phone or tablet wherever you are in the world. You can even set up zones, where automatic alerts are sent should your home-alone pet step beyond its limits – allowing you to alert your pet-sitter. Updates are sent via a sim card with a pay-as-you-go GiffGaff option costing around 5p for 1000 messages.
HOW MUCH: From £125 (for a cat)
TRACK YOUR PETS’ FEEDING
You’ll probably have a friend or relative feeding your pet, but what happens when they’re not there – or if you’re just going away for a few days and can’t get any kitty cover? Not a problem, dispense treats or schedule main feeds using your smartphone from wherever you are in the world. The feeding robot will serve up dry food, then report back to your phone confirming the meal was delivered and how many calories your pet has received. The feeder will also report back if there was a malfunction or jam – so you won’t be coming back to a hungry and distinctly cross cat! The system can also be fitted with an accessory to provide water.
HOW MUCH: £165.59
LET A WELCOME HOME COFFEE TRACK YOUR PROGRESS
You’ve just flown through the night and now you’re heading for home… if only you could be welcomed by a steaming hot jug of freshly brewed coffee! Hold, on, it turns out that you can. Simply buy the Belkin Mr Coffee machine, hook it up to the W-Fi, download the accompanying WeMo app and you’ll be able to schedule 10 cups of the black stuff ready for your return. Surely this is what Wi-Fi and smartphones have always been destined for?
HOW MUCH: From £100.00 (additional WeMo products required)
TRACK YOUR CAR WHILE AWAY
If you’ve parked your car with APH you’ll have nothing to worry about, but you might still be concerned with a second car that’s been left at home…That’s where Carlock steps in. Simply plug the small device in to your car’s diagnostic port, download the app and your wheels will never be more than a glance at your smartphone away. The system will show you exactly where your car is – and let you follow it in real time should it be stolen. You can also set ‘lock’ areas, defining an area in which your car must remain. The app will also alert you if your car battery is running low and risking a non-start when your return from holiday.
HOW MUCH: £99.50 + £5.50/pm tracking fee