Smart home apps are an efficient and convenient way to control your home. But did you know you can control them by simply using your location? You might not have heard of geofences, but they can be easily set up in your smart home apps and could help you save hundreds on your energy bills. Want to find out more? Then read on.
Smart home apps with geofencing
Imagine having a really smart home that functions seamlessly. Perhaps you leave home and forget to turn off the lights. But instead of wasting hours of electricity, your home turned the lights off for you. Clever, eh? This is just one of the many ways that you can use geofences to control your home.
Smart devices have come a long way from simple voice commands. Many smart home devices today boast advanced features and location-based capabilities. By setting up geofences in your smart home apps, you can get them to trigger certain functions automatically, making your life easier and lowering your energy usage.
Anyone can set up a smart home system with geofencing. Whatever type of home you have and even if you have no experience with smart home technology. App-based smart devices such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit all offer user-friendly geofencing settings which allow you to easily create location-based triggers, routines and automations.
How do you geofence a smart home?
Geofencing a smart home is easy. It takes a small amount of configuring in the smarthome app, but when you’re set up you’ll have an automated home that can anticipate your every need without you having to ask. Start by downloading the app. Importantly, you will need to turn on your location services and opt-in to allow the app to access your location.
When geofencing your home, your smart home app creates a virtual perimeter around your home which interacts with your smartphone’s wireless signals to determine your location. When you enter or leave those virtual zones (with your phone) , the geofence will tell your smart home devices to perform the actions you’ve set up in the app such as unlocking the front door when you are within 100 feet of it.
To geofence a smart home, the process typically involves creating routines and automations that are automatically triggered whenever your home is set to ‘Home’ or ‘Away’ mode. For example, in the Amazon Alexa app you can create a routine that automatically lowers your thermostat or turns off your smart bulbs whenever you leave home. When you return home, your smart home will automatically recognise your location and can switch back to ‘Home’ mode and perform routines such as unlocking the garage when you pull upon the driveway.
You can even set routines to trigger while you’re away such as when you’re at work. For example, when you’re at work you could have your smart dishwasher start a load, or have your robot vacuum clean the floors. When you leave your office, you could have your smart thermostat adjust to ensure your home is comfortable when you arrive.
What’s more, Home and Away modes are just the start. Once you get the hang of it, you can create routines for multiple appliances, such as locking your doors, activating your security and watering the lawn when you leave the house in the morning. You’ll need to configure multiple devices and create accounts for everyone in your household, but once you get started it will become a seamless automated system.
Home automation devices that support geofencing
The list of smart devices that can be controlled with geofencing include everything, from smart speakers and TVs, to thermostats, plugs, lighting, alarms systems, automated locks and much more. You can use home automation for home security, controlling appliances, monitoring energy usage, as a personal assistant, for even looking after pets or the elderly and more.
If you are looking at ways to automate your home and cut down your energy use, you should definitely consider using a geofence-enabled smart home device and app. Once you’ve configured your geofencing settings, your smart devices will automatically know your location and perform the action you want without you having to do anything. It really is that simple!
The best smartphone apps for easy home automation
Here’s a look at the best smart home apps for easy home automation. Some smart home apps require external devices, while others need nothing more than your smartphone.
Probably the most well known smart home app, Amazon Alexa app is necessary for anyone who has an Alexa device or one of the many other smart devices with Alexa built-in. Hailed as one of the best smart home apps, it lets you automate your smart devices, listening to music, creating shopping lists and much more.
It’s compatible with a range of devices including non-Amazon devices such as Nest thermostat, Philips Hue smart bulbs, Wemo smart plugs, iRobot Roomba and many more. Setting up Alexa is a very simple process due to its user-friendly smart home interface and smart voice controls. All you have to do is ‘Ask Alexa’!
Does Alexa have geofencing?
Yes, Amazon Alexa does have geofencing. Using Amazon Alexa Routines, geofencing can be set up through the location option when configuring a routine. You can control all of your smart devices and trigger specific routines and reminders that will trigger when you cross a geofence, such as turning off the lights when you walk out of the door, or reminding you to take the laundry out of the dryer when you get home.
Don’t forget, you will need to turn on your location services and give the app permisson to access your location.
Apple HomeKit – Apple Home app
No list of best smart home apps would be complete without Apple Home. The Apple HomeKit lets you connect all of your smart devices and control them easily through the Apple Home app. It’s really easy to use, even if you have no experience in smart home technology.
It’s designed to work with Apple smart home devices as well as other smart home appliances as well. And can be operated from anywhere, whether iPhone, iPad or Macbook, and it’s pre-installed on devices that run on iOS 10 and up.
Through the app you can control all of your smart devices such as lights, thermostats, locks and more. It comes with a great smart home dashboard that makes everything easy and enjoyable. You can create ‘scenes’ to perform multiple actions with just one tap or command. For instance, you can set a scene for when you wake up in the morning, with one command the app can turn on the lights, start the coffee maker and adjust the thermostat.
Does HomeKit support geofencing?
Yes, HomeKit does support geofencing. To create a HomeKit geofence, simply go to ‘Automation’ and add a new one. Select ‘People Arrive’ to create a trigger when you enter a geofence or ‘People Leave’ when you leave one. You can adjust the size of each geofence by clicking on the location and dragging the fence.
As with all apps that offer location-based services, you’ll need to keep your location services on and allow the app to access your location.
Smart Life app
The Smart Life app is a management app for all of your smart Life devices. Available for Android and iPhone, it lets you control your smart appliances from anywhere. Control multiple devices at once, use voice control via Amazon Alexa and Google Home, get real-time alerts and easily share devices among family members. You can also programme your devices to start and stop working based on location, temperature and time.
Samsung SmartThings app
The Samsung SmartThings hub and companion app can help users control their smart appliances easily and seamlessly. That includes things like smart refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers, air conditioners and more. Through the easy-to-use app, you can control everything remotely and check the status of your devices, configure their settings and get notifications about them.
The system supports an array of devices including Yale Assure home security, Ecobee smart thermostat and Google Nest devices to name just a few. With the hub in your home and the app on your phone, you won’t need multiple apps for multiple devices.
As with many smart home systems, you can allow friends and family to share control, group devices together into custom locations and rooms, and create triggerable scenes that can be run manually or automatically based on data such as the time of day, or whether someone is coming or going.
A top smart home app, Ecobee app is a convenient way to access your Ecobee devices from anywhere and at any time. To get started, you will need to download the app and opt-in to share your location. You may need to turn on your location services too if you haven’t already.
With the Ecobee app you can control the temperature of your home along with the light settings. Easily install the service with the help of diagrams and videos, set up a comfort schedule and preferences depending on the weather and time of year, and check if you left the light on when you’re away from home. What’s more, you can adjust the thermostat for any house guest, or even your pet!
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Other useful resources
- Location permissions – which apps need it and why
- Curbside pickup & click and collect – why brands need it
- Geofencing software – how to set up geofencing in 2022
- Beacon technology in retail – strategies to boost sales