I want to control lights and/or thermostat with my phone, from anywhere.
September 12, 2013 3:51 PM   Subscribe

It seems like all the home automation device/app combos allow me to only control my lights or devices while inside my house where, you know, I can actually just walk over to them and turn them on and off already.

Like this one for example:


That device allows you to use your smart phone to control what you attach it to, but only while you are in your own wifi network range.

Surely in the 21st century we we have devices that I can install the I can control OVER THE WORLD WIDE WEB, right?

Looking for a thermostat to replace the one on my wall and devices that either plug into an existing receptacle or have to be wired into the wall.

Thanks in advance!
posted by sandra_s to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The Nest is the thermostat you're looking for.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 3:54 PM on September 12, 2013 [3 favorites]

And the Philips Hue is the lighting solution.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 3:55 PM on September 12, 2013

The Nest thermostat does this, and is also an absolute joy to use, either at the wall or from your phone. The app is well-made, the UI on the thermostat itself is good, and you can even access it from the web if you're not near your phone. Really, really excellent device. You may be able to get a discount or credit from your power company on it -- there's a number of them that are doing that, because it helps with energy consumption too.

For lights, the Hue will let you control over the web. By default, it sets up so you have to control over the local network, but there is a way to set it up for online control. In contrast to the Nest, though, the app is pretty thoroughly terrible, and the website is even worse. That said setting your lights to crazy colors is pretty fun...
posted by duien at 3:56 PM on September 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

Looking at the WeMo product you linked, it seems to indicate that you can control from anywhere, not just while on your local network. It uses your wifi to do the setup and connect to the internet, and them you can access from anywhere. Is there something specific you're seeing that makes you think you can't do that?
posted by duien at 3:59 PM on September 12, 2013

I, too, can vouch for the Nest. Great little device.
posted by mr_roboto at 4:02 PM on September 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

There are third-party Hue apps that are coming up that are pretty reasonable.

Also, the Belkin stuff is controllable outside your network, including IFTTT support.
posted by mikeh at 4:08 PM on September 12, 2013

Insteon makes a hub that bridges their home automation network devices to the internet. I can't vouch for their performance, reliability, or ease of use, however.
posted by mr_roboto at 4:12 PM on September 12, 2013

Nthing the Nest.

Easy to install, a pure joy to use from anywhere, and oh yeah - it's saving us about 10% - 15% each month on our energy bills.
posted by matty at 4:41 PM on September 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

I just bought the Phillips Hue, but until i get it setup and working and am able to review it, i'll also mention the Belkin Wemo line for home automation, which I love as well. I can turn off my lights from anywhere in the world, as long as I have an internet connection!
posted by cgg at 5:06 PM on September 12, 2013

I have the Wemo to control a light. You set it up at home, and then you control it from anywhere with an internet connection. Like it says on the Amazon page: "You can turn lights on and off from anywhere--from across the house, from the backyard, or from the other side of the world."
posted by ceiba at 6:32 PM on September 12, 2013

The 3M-50 wi-fi thermostat works really well too. Not as slick as the Nest, but it's only about $80 brand-new and includes the online service and a decent iPhone/Android app.
posted by pocams at 7:20 PM on September 12, 2013

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