Written by JP Holecka / categories:Applications, From the CEO, Recommendations,

JP Holecka discusses the latest apps each week in his regular segment on Roundhouse Radio 98.3 FM. To hear his thoughts on some of the best home automation apps , (7 minute listen).

Home automation isn’t just the stuff of science fiction anymore. With the technology becoming more accessible by the month, more and more people are using it to manage and secure their living and work spaces automatically and efficiently. This week, we take a look at some of the apps that make your home just a little bit more futuristic.

Secure your property with August Lock

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Open the pod bay doors, HAL. August Lock allows you to control access to your property remotely. The hardware fits over a door’s internal bolt, and can be installed quickly even by people with limited DIY skill. My wife and I installed one at our vacation home on Vancouver Island in under half an hour, and we’re looking into installing it at the POWERSHiFTER office as well. If you want a more complete security system, it can be equipped with a camera to see who is at the door, or a pin pad for code access. It also integrates with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, If This Then That and Nest for more automated functions.

The August Lock can be locked and unlocked over the internet, or you can use the app to unlock the door using Bluetooth. You can also supply other app users with time-limited virtual keys, so it’s perfect for letting in cleaners or maintenance workers. The app is certified by AirBnB too, so guests can be issued with virtual keys that only work during their stay.

Check in with Presence

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Cloud-based security camera systems are increasingly popular, but the hardware can often be prohibitively expensive. Presence Security Cameras solves the problem using something that almost everyone has already: old smartphones. Set it up in the area that you want to monitor and then sign in remotely to spy on the nanny or make sure that your dog is staying out of trouble. You can also access the phone’s speaker from the app.

The app also features a set of home security-oriented automation features, including a motion detector mode. When it spots movement, it sends you a text message and starts uploading video to the cloud. The camera can also be set up with timers to monitor the area during certain times of day, or set to trigger a loud alarm. The app also integrates with the company’s range of security equipment, including entry sensors, water sensors, and motion detectors. Presence can be used for free, or you can buy extra cloud storage for two dollars per month.

Stay cozy with Nest Thermostats

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Canada has two seasons: too hot, and too cold. Nest Thermostats make both more comfortable. Nest is one of the original names in home automation, but with the recent release of the 3.0 Nest Thermostat, they’ve proven that they are still on the leading edge. We use three of them to manage the temperature in the 5000 square foot POWERSHiFTER offices. The thermostats learn your routine over time to automatically find the most efficient way to heat and cool your space, generating greater savings in your heating and air conditioning costs.

Nest Thermostats can be used alongside home automation services like Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Google Home. This opens up a suite of new features, including voice commands to adjust the heating in your home and automatic pre-heating and pre-cooling to bring your living space to the perfect temperature before you get in. You can also use Nest’s web or smartphone apps to check or adjust your settings remotely.