The Best Home Automation
Apps To Make Your Life Easier

Over the last decade, smartphone apps have allowed us to advance the progress of systems and processes that hadn’t changed in years. Twenty years ago, no one ever thought you’d be able to take your phone out of your pocket at work and view the real-time security footage of your home. Today however, that’s only one of the benefits of turning your home into a smart home using home automation. Now, millions of people around the world are also using home automation apps to do things like reduce their home energy usage and run their entertainment systems.

And let’s not forget the greatest benefit of all… home automation apps are just downright freakin’ COOL. For those of us who remember The Jetsons cartoon, it’s like the future is now among us.

It’s not going anywhere, any time soon, either. According to CNET, more than a quarter (28%) of Americans already own at least one smart home product – and 78% are more willing to buy a home that already has smart technology installed. Furthermore, the smart home industry is growing year by year at an exceptional rate and is projected to become a $58 billion industry by 2020.

With mega-companies like Amazon, Google and Apple investing major dollars into the home automation space, innovative developers have brought many amazing home automation app ideas to reality; some which allow our homes to do things that were once only seen in sci-fi movies.

In this article, we’ll explore the evolution of smart homes and introduce you to several home automation apps that can turn your home into an automated machine!

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Home Automation Explained

Home automation simply refers to the connection between your smart device and your home which allows you to control your home remotely; whether through your phone, through the web, or through a smart-enabled speaker like Google Home, Alexa or Apple’s Homepod.

The home automation industry is widespread with all types of new technology hitting the market – there are even smart toothbrushes and smart flip flops available… a truly limitless technology sector. However, some of the most popular home automation apps and technologies are those that allow consumers to:

  1. Control their home’s lighting.
  2. Adjust the internal temperature of their homes.
  3. Manage and control electronic appliances.
  4. Operate their entertainment systems.
  5. Implement and access security systems.

If you haven’t converted to complete home automation yet, you likely must be physically present and manually interact with your home devices to complete these tasks. By replacing your old devices with smart devices and using home automation apps however, these tasks can be launched and completed with a simple tap on your smartphone or a quick voice command.

Home Automation Explained

The key benefit of home automation is that you don’t have to be physically present to manage these tasks. You could be on vacation in a country on the other side of the world, and still interact and control your smart devices. Who said you can’t be in two places at one time?

The Best Smart Home Apps

When it comes controlling your smart home, here are the home automation apps you need to know about.

1. myQ Smart Garage: Total Control Over Your Garage

home automation - myQ

How many times have you pulled out of your garage in the morning only to get to your job and think, “Did I put the garage door down?” Your garage is an integral part of your home, and for some, it’s where many expensive items may be stored – including lawn equipment and vehicles.

Our garage door is something that we don’t always think about, but luckily, the technology now exists to manage it for us. Chambain, a garage door manufacturer, recently created a brilliant app that completely automates your garage. Here are some of its most notable features:  

  • Check the status of the smart devices inside your garage and your home. For example, myQ allows you to see if your garage door is open or closed; check the temperature on the smart thermostat(s) in your house; and identify which lightbulbs are on or off.
  • Get instant notifications when an activity happens on any of your smart devices. For example, get instant alerts when the garage door opens or closes, when a light bulb is turned on or off, or when someone changes the temperature on your thermostat.
  • Control your garage doors or lights remotely and set automatic schedules so that your garage opens and closes at a predefined time.

This app controls the MyQ Smart Garage Door Openers and other Wi-Fi-enabled garage door openers. In addition, it can be synced to other smart home products including smart lights and smart thermostats from a variety of other smart device brands.

2. Nuki Smart Lock: Your Virtual Keyring

Home automation apps for smart homes - smart lock

We’ve seen many changes in the world over the last century, but the lock and key system has rarely changed. Do we really even care for the concept of keys? We have to carry them everywhere, they are easy to get lost or stolen — and if you want to get a copy so someone else to access, you have to go all the way to the hardware store to have one made. Let’s face it – house keys are ancient.

The company, Nuki, understood the importance of making a more efficient key/lock process, so they created a smart app that you can use to unlock the doors in your house remotely – without having to carry a key. With Nuki, your phone becomes the tool that gives you access to your home.

In the world of home automation apps, what makes Nuki special? Here’s a few awesome features of the Nuki Smart Lock app:

  • Auto Unlock: As soon as you leave home, the app automatically locks all ‘smart lock’ doors in your house. Likewise when you come back, Nuki automatically unlocks them. Never touch your house’s keys again!
  • Give Access To Your Loved Ones: Create an access code within the app that you can share with anyone that you want to give access to your residence. This way, you can grant them access to your home for a specified amount of time – even if you’re not around to hand them your key.
  • Get Real-Time Alerts: Any time someone unlocks or locks any Nuki-enabled door, the app will notify you.
  • Remote Operation: No matter where you are in the world, you can lock or unlock your door with one tap from your smartphone.

The Nuki Smart Lock app controls the Nuki Smart Lock + Smart Bridge, which can be attached on top of your current lock to achieve remote functionality. To check whether the Nuki lock is compatible with your existing lock, take a look at their Installation Checker.

3. Philips Hue: Limitless Lighting For Your Home

smart home apps - philips hue

The Phillips Hue app allows you to control the entire range of Philips Hue smart bulbs. Their Smart Bulbs can showcase over 16 million colors and can be dimmed or brightened remotely.

Here are a few cool features of the Philips Hue app:

  • Control every Philip bulb in your house: Change the color of the light output, set the level of brightness and set specific times that you want the bulbs to turn on or off.
  • Change the color of bulbs according to ‘moods’: The app has four moods that you can choose from such as Energize, Concentrate, Relax and Read.  These “moods” change the bulb colors from either crisp and bright or warm and soft depending on the setting.
  • Transform your rooms with ‘scenes’: The app has 30 scenery lighting presets designed especially to replicate lighting from famous locations. These settings include Honolulu Sunset and London Nightlife, among others.

In addition to these features, the Philips Hue app automatically turns on your lights when you reach home, and turns them off when you leave. Not only are these features ultra cool, they also help you minimize electricity usage and reduce your utility bills – providing users of this home automation app with a great ROI.

4. Nest: The App That Protects Your Home Completely

best smart home apps - Nest

Nest is known as one of the most innovative companies in the smart device sector. They create a variety of products that are meant to protect and automate your home. Currently, the Nest app focuses on developing devices such as smart cameras, smart doorbells, thermostats, alarm systems, and smoke + CO alarms.

The Nest app offers a variety of effective features that allow you to control and take advantage of their products. With the app, you can:

  • See who’s at your door through the app and let them in (or lock them out) remotely.
  • Monitor your home through security cameras to see what is happening inside and outside your home.
  • Control your thermostats or check the temperature inside your home.
  • Receive alerts if there is an unusual amount of smoke or carbon dioxide detected.
  • Receive instant notifications when the Nest alarm goes off.

The best thing about the Nest app is that it serves as a central hub where you can control all of your Nest smart devices – essentially, handling all of your home automation from a single application.

5. Sonos Controller: Smart Music for Music Lovers

Smart home automation - sonos

If you are a music fanatic, today’s technology allows you to build the  epic smart entertainment system that you only dreamed about in the past. The Sonos Controller app connects wirelessly to Sonos speakers and allows you to control music throughout your home.

Once connected to your speakers, the Sonos Controller app allows you to:

  1. Play music, audiobooks and podcasts from 50+ music streaming services within a single app.
  2. Control each individual speaker in your home and have them play the same (or different) music. Also, the app allows you to adjust the volume settings on each individual speaker.

The Sonos Controller app is the only app that streams music from all major streaming platforms like Apple Music, Google Play, Amazon Prime and more. Music is no longer limited to a single radio in your house – now you can automate your music too, and control output through your entire home in a way that was never before possible.

6. Samsung SmartThings: A Central Hub For Home Automation

smart home automation apps - smartthings

We all know Samsung as the innovators of home devices in general – TVs, DVD players and many other home device accessories. Samsung is also a leader in the smart home automation market; bringing new smart technology with advanced solutions through their app, Samsung SmartThings.

This app goes beyond the capability of most home automation apps, not only allowing you to control devices such as cameras, locks and thermostats – but also giving you control over Samsung appliances like TVs, washing machines and air conditioners.

In addition to supporting Samsung devices, the app also supports a host of other smart devices from more than thirty brands – giving you the ability to control everything in your home from water valves to entertainment systems and more.

Furthermore, SmartThings allows you to automate specific processes so they happen at a certain time. For example, SmartThings can automatically:

  • Dim your lights when you leave home.
  • Turn your AC off when you walk out the door, or change the temperature on your smart thermostat when you come back home.
  • Notify you when there is motion in your home or even when a cabinet door is open or closed.

If you plan to make a serious investment into home automation, Samsung SmartThings provides a single hub where the entire automation of your home can be controlled.

Notable Mention: IFTTT  

home automation apps - ifttt

IFTTT (If This Then That) was one of the very first ‘automation’ apps to hit the market.

At inception, it was just meant for automating processes between apps. For example, any time you uploaded a photo to Instagram, you could set up IFTTT to automatically tweet that photo as well. IFTTT allowed you to setup simple processes with existing apps – creating new smart functions without needing to know how to create an app.

As new home automation apps and smart devices started to release to the market, IFTTT expanded its capabilities to automate processes not just between two apps – but between apps and smart devices as well. Unlike other home automation apps, IFTTT allows you to create your own unique automations between your apps and smart devices. For example, with IFTTT, you can set up automations to:

  • Put your Philips Hue bulb on a specified color loop when you message #partytime to @IFTTT on Telegram.
  • Set your Google Assistant to call your phone every time you use the command, “OK Google, find my phone.”
  • Blink your Philips Hue bulbs every time someone mentions you in a tweet.

Some automations may not make sense for other people, but that is the beauty of IFTTT – you can create the automations that are important you in particular. There are hundreds of ways that users are currently connecting IFTTT to create their own custom automations.

Is Automation Right for Your Home?

In today’s high innovation environment, there are many companies currently experimenting with new home automation apps and smart home technology. Over the next few years, we can definitely expect to see new automation capabilities with unique and interesting app ideas hit the market that aren’t available or even possible today. Yes, technology and home automation is moving THAT quickly!

Is Automation Right for Your Home

If you’ve got an open mind, a love for technology — or maybe you’ve always wanted to be in the Jetson family — home automation may be right for you. How do you start automating your home? Start slow and purchase a single smart item – maybe start by automating your home lights or your alarm system. As you add on new smart products, look for the right home automation apps that help these devices speak to one another, sync to one another, and work together to perform the tasks that you find important!

Have a home automation app idea that you think could make the lives of homeowners easier? Contact one of our app startup specialists to help you create a strategy to bring it to life!

These 7 Blockchain Startups
Might Transform The World

No matter what you feel about all the new talk of blockchain and cryptocurrency, there’s no denying the facts. Blockchain technology – and the first moving blockchain startups that are introducing it – is going to be huge. The projected value of the industry is extreme. New reports by the Market Report Center estimates that the global blockchain market will grow to a $60 billion industry, up from the measly $300 million industry it was in 2015.

With huge projections come huge investments. This year alone, blockchain startups have already raised over $1.3 billion to bring their ideas to the masses.

Big VC investment means the ability to introduce new technology quickly. While many only know blockchain as the technology behind Bitcoin, blockchain companies are now set to disrupt over 42 big-time industries including real estate, healthcare, internet advertising and more. All facts considered, it’s no wonder that many blockchain technology advocates are claiming it to be the next big thing since the internet.

Before we introduce several blockchain startups that may just change the world, we’ll explore the concept of blockchain, the process behind it, and figure out why it’s such a big deal.

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Blockchain: A Simple Introduction

Blockchain can be extremely complex, and it could take years to really learn everything there is to know. Let’s not make things more complicated than they need to be – here’s a simple explanation.

A blockchain, like the name implies, is simply a chain of digital blocks that contain specific data. Each one of these blocks include the following three elements:

  1. Specified Information: This can be any mix of specified information that is needed to suit the requirements of the blockchain. For example, in a  Bitcoin blockchain, a block stores important information such as sender name, receiver name and the amount transferred.
  2. Hash Code: A hash code is a unique code that identifies a specific block within a blockchain. Like fingerprints, each hashcode is completely unique; no two are the same and each has its own individual identity.
  3. Hash Code of Previous Blocks: Each block also holds the hash code of the previous block attached to it. This is how a chain is linked and formed in a blockchain.

This structure of organizing and storing data is what makes blockchain so secure, so flexible, and so different than other technological advances that have preceded it.

The interesting part of a blockchain is that it isn’t managed by a single person or organization. Instead, blockchains are distributed in a P2P network that anyone can join. Once a user joins a network, they receive a full copy of the blockchain. This means that on a P2P network like the Internet, there are millions of identical copies of blockchain stored in users’ computers.

Finally, there’s the security aspect, which is a key element of blockchain. To change the information in a blockchain, a user must possess the corresponding digital key – a heavily encrypted code. Once changes are made, a certain number of users in the P2P network must accept that change in order for it to be accepted as valid.

what is blockchain company - diagram of blockchain and hash

When these changes have been accepted, a new block is created within the blockchain which includes:

  1. The new information
  2. A new hash code
  3. The hash code of the previous block before it.

A new copy of the blockchain is then distributed throughout the whole P2P network.

If someone tries to make changes to the block without having access to the digital key, two things will happen:

  1. The hash of the block that has been tampered with will change and the next block after it (which stores the hash of the previous block) will be unable to identify it – essentially, breaking the entire chain.
  2. Because it has been tampered with, the blockchain will no longer match other copies on the P2P network, ultimately rejecting the change.

Since blockchain offers a new level of security in storing data, blockchain startups are using it to introduce new solutions that completely change how many industries operate. In this article, we’ll take a look at 10 awesome blockchain startups that may just transform how their industries function.

Could These Blockchain Startups Change The World?

blockchain startups to invest in -

1. Poet: The Startup Determined To Help Content Creators Take Back Control Of Their Content is a blockchain startup that wants to transform the digital publishing industry. The mission of this unique blockchain company is to:

  1. Give content creators and publishers more control over their content – and protect it from being claimed, modified or reused without permission.
  2. Provide a safe marketplace where publishers can buy (and content creators can sell) original content without having to worry about whether it is unauthentic or unauthorized.
  3. Prevent content from being stolen by giving everyone the ability to track the ownership, attribution and modification made to each piece of content throughout the blockchain network.’s plan is to give creators and publishers the ability to store their content in its decentralized network. Users can timestamp their work and add metadata to documents so that anyone can easily trace the content’s ownership to its rightful owner and/or  creator.

Using this same blockchain network, also wants to make creators’ content more easily discoverable and streamline their ability to license their work. Transactions between publishers and creators are made inside the blockchain network, ensuring complete transparency regarding who owns what content.

Last June, the blockchain company secured a seed funding round of $1 million, with another $10 million raised a few months later through their successful ICO (Initial Coin Offering).

startup blockchain compaines - lucidity

2. Lucidity: The Startup That Wants To Eliminate ‘Fake Traffic’ For Advertisers

As the online advertising industry continues to grow, the concern about the potential of fraud and non-transparency grows in parallel. In 2017 alone, malicious activities such as fake clicking, domain spoofing, and attribution theft cost advertisers over $19 billion.

Blockchain startup, Lucidity, has a solution to potentially solve this problem for digital advertisers around the globe.

By using the Ethereum blockchain network, Lucidity has created the ‘Lucidity Protocol’; a process which allows anyone publishing an ad to submit data to the blockchain network, protected by cryptography and free from inconsistencies.

This way, publishers and advertisers get a single version of the truth about the performance of ads; a truth that is agreed upon by everyone within the blockchain network.

Through this protocol, Lucidity ensures that advertisers only pay for genuine clicks; that publishers get paid their fair amount; and that fraudsters are unable to cheat the system with fake traffic and bots. If successful, Lucidity could truly transform the advertising industry and save them from billions spent in wasted advertisements.

Lucidity was named the top blockchain startup by Blocks, an annual awards ceremony held at the Blockchain Expo which is attended by over 8000 visitors.

top blockchain startups - covee

3. Covee Network: The Startup Connecting Talented Workers To Projects They Actually Want To Work On

A high percentage of American workers are dissatisfied with their jobs because they aren’t interested in the projects they work on, or feel as if they aren’t being compensated fairly. As a result, organizational morale is down across many companies and productivity is diminished by demotivated employees that deliver the bare minimum of what is required of them.

That’s why Covee Network, a Berlin-based startup wants to change how we work, and how we are compensated for the work we deliver. By using a blockchain network, Covee hopes to connect talented and like-minded people to work on projects that interest and inspire them.

This process creates a win-win situation for both organizations and employees/freelancers. Organizations on one hand, are given access to a pool of talented individuals who actually want to work on their projects; while workers are able to access interesting projects and receive a fair compensation.

With Covee, compensation is awarded based on how much an individual has contributed towards a project. In general, contribution is decided by the project initiator and the other team members. The system is designed so that honest feedback amongst team members provides benefit to everyone involved. Thus, the person who had the highest contribution receives the biggest share of the fee.

The entire process is managed inside the blockchain network where an individual’s reputation, contributions and projects are stored and cannot be tampered with. In addition, transactions between clients and workers are also transparently stored to avoid fraud and unfairness.

The bootstrapped company recently raised a €1.35 million round to further develop the solution. This round was led led by LocalGlobe, Atlantic Labs and several other prominent angel investors.

blockchain startups 2018 - open mineral

4. Open Mineral: The Startup Eliminating ‘Middlemen’ From The Commodity Industry

The commodity trading industry deals with the purchasing and selling of physical materials like aluminum, zinc and etc. These raw materials are shipped from miners to suppliers, and from suppliers to consumers around the globe. The value of this industry today is estimated at an upwards of $80 billion.

The main issue this industry faces is the many layers of middlemen; which delays the speed of transactions and drives up the prices of commodities.

Open Mineral, a Swiss-based blockchain startup hopes to improve this ancient industry by implementing blockchain technology; making transactions more transparent and connecting buyers directly with sellers. Ultimately, the startup’s main objective is to provide the required technology to completely eliminate unnecessary middlemen from the commodity trading process.

This blockchain startup makes trading easy by simplifying the process down to the following steps:

  1. A request to sell or purchase a product is specified.
  2. Sellers or buyers get invites and offers for the product.
  3. Offers can be compared and counteroffers can be made.
  4. Buyers or sellers pick the best terms and start the transaction.

In addition to cutting out the middleman, Open Mineral also removes the involvement of banks so that anyone can make and receive payments within minutes through their blockchain network. This way, trading is more profitable for all parties involved since tenders, negotiations and all payments are stored transparently within the blockchain.

Having just received a funding round of $2.25 million, Open Mineral is one of the top blockchain startups in Europe; with plans to soon expand into other commodities including gold and silver.

blockchain startups 2017 & 2018 - Unblockable

5. UNBLOCKABLE: The Startup That Wants To Digitize Sports Card Trading

If you’ve ever been interested in buying and trading sportscards, a new blockchain startup called UNBLOCKABLE is coming to take your favorite pastime to the next level.

The biggest attraction to sports card trading is the scarcity factor. The rarer the card, the higher the that card’s value will typically be. UNBLOCKABLE plans to release limited ‘tokens’ for every single athlete from different leagues and sports. These tokens can be collected and traded with others. The value of the associated coin changes in real time based on the popularity of the athlete and their performance on the field. Just like sports cards, these coins can be stored or traded as they accumulate value.

UNBLOCKABLE tokens are stored in the blockchain, and similar to Bitcoin, the sports tokens cannot be duplicated or stolen. This is because all of the transactional data is stored in the decentralized blockchain network to ensure transparency and to prevent fraud.

UNBLOCKABLE is currently being led by CEO Jeb Terry, a former Fox Sports executive. Additionally, the Company recently raised $5 million dollars from Shasta Ventures to help the startup progress forward.

blockchain startup in usa - bext360

6. Bext360: The Startup That’s Helping Farmers Produce Value for Produce

Coffee, cocoa, palm oil, seafood and etc. – these are the commodities that rule the world. People can’t live without them; yet, the small-time farmers around the world who produce them often don’t get paid fairly or on time for their work. A blockchain startup called Bext360, has an innovate strategy to address this issue.

Bext360 plans to use blockchain to make the whole commodity supply chain completely transparent. More specifically, it allows anyone to view the complete ‘journey’ of a specific commodity; from the farm where it was produced to the company that delivered it as a consumer product.

Here’s how it works – take coffee, for example:

  1. The beans are first scanned ‘optically’ through an AI enabled machine (referred to as a “BextMachine”) that is provided by the Company. This will automatically scan and display the weight, consistency and quality of the beans to both the farmer and the buyer. This same scanning process will also be used with other commodities to judge their value.
  2. Using the Bext360 app, both parties can negotiate a fair price for the batch based on weight and quality. This gives farmers the opportunity to get paid more for higher quality yields.
  3. Each batch is assigned a token. As a batch of coffee moves through the supply chain, its value is reflected in its token. These tokens can then be used as digital currency.

With this technology, Bext360 plans to make payments fairer (and faster) to both farmers and companies; reduce dependency on middlemen suppliers; and provide each customer with the opportunity to see whether their product was ethically sourced or not.

The company just raised $3.35 million and plans to increase the number of commodities that it can analyze; extending the process to other goods including cotton and timber. At the rate in which they are currently progressing, Bext360 could soon become one of the world’s top blockchain companies.

blockchain startup for games - EON

7. EON Foundation: The Startup That’s Changing How Developers Bring Games To The Market

No matter how awesome a game is, game developers often find it difficult to effectively grow their user base. In a typical scenario, game developers spend nearly 50% of their revenue on ad networks to attract new players.

EON Foundation, a new blockchain startup focused on the gaming industry, plans to use blockchain technology to effectively address this challenge.

EON hopes to cut out the mobile game industry’s middlemen like Google, Facebook and the App Stores. Specifically, the technology will connect players directly with customers to eliminate unnecessary distribution and reduce the astounding marketing costs incurred by game developers.

To do that, EON is creating a decentralized blockchain marketplace that’s attracts new players through a referral system.

Here’s how the system will work:  

  • Game developers can distribute their game for free on the EON blockchain network.
  • Players can discover these games and pay for them using the EON token.
  • Game developers can offer incentives (tokens) to players who recruit new users to the game.

This brilliant concept allows both players and game developers to directly communicate and facilitate with each other without depending on app stores and ad networks.

One of EON’s games, Crypto Alpaca, recently hit 200,000 registered users and the company hopes to use this momentum to become the world’s number one blockchain games publisher.

The startup received $5 million in seed funding to bring this gaming marketplace to the public. If you know how to create an app or a game, the EON gaming network may be exactly what you need to get your game into the hands of users.

What’s Next For These Blockchain Startups?

While the potential seems fantastic, there is a caveat – blockchain technology is still in its infancy. With the exception of a few blockchain companies, most find themselves taking small baby steps to grow and turn their visions into reality.

That being said, you can expect that the growth of blockchain technology will soon bring many interesting app ideas to the market. Right now however, the majority of these companies are focused on their initial coin offerings (ICOs) and creating a stable blockchain network.

If any of these blockchain startups have caught your attention and you want to support them, head over to Binance and grab a few (or a few hundred) tokens and see where it takes you! On the other hand, if you have a blockchain idea that you believe will change the world and you need some help bringing the technology to life – contact our app startup experts to see how we can help!