By Ellen Chang NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- Finding ways to reduce the amount of energy used in your home is now even easier with the push of a button by accessing your apps. Consumers now have many options to chose from so they can lower both their electricity bill and energy usage without having to spend hours installing a new product. Many products now are Wi-Fi enabled so you can access your devices even when you are at work. Lights Out! If you are at work and forgot to turn off your lights, now you can solve your problem by tapping your smartphone. A new light bulb called Robosmart--made by Smartbotics, a Los Gatos, Calif. startup--allows you to turn it on and off simply by using your smartphone, laptop or tablet. The light bulb is embedded with a Bluetooth sensor and works with an app compatible with Apple's iOS platform. By August, Android users will also be able to utilize the device.
Crank up the Heat! A new thermostat that has Wi-Fi capabilities can also be accessed via a smartphone, tablet or laptop. Made by Honeywell, the Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat features a color-customizable screen and can be accessed remotely via the Total Comfort Connect app. This device helps consumers conserve energy by sending them an alert when their home is too cold or hot, saving you energy and money. You can also turn up or down the temperature after you have arrived at work or before you head home.
No Energy Left Behind Another device consumers can purchase is the $50 modlet, which is a wireless retrofit plug that eliminates the wasted energy used by plugged in appliances. The modlet can be controlled remotely with any iOS or Android device and can be set based on how you use a certain appliance. Later this year or by 2014, Sunnyvale, Calif.-startup Ayla Networks said its software will be in retail products in the U.S., allowing home devices such as thermostats, appliances and lighting to become connected to the Internet, said Dave Friedman, CEO of Ayla Networks. Ayla's embedded software enables chip makers, such as Broadcom and STMicroelectronics, to provide manufacturers with chips that can be interactive and easily connected to smartphones through the cloud. Essentially, Ayla equips white goods manufacturers--companies that produce appliances and other home furnishings--with the technology to produce connected devices, which is a relatively new phenomenon called the "Internet of Things" (IoT). "Our platform connects the device and network together, allowing them talk to each other," Friedman said. "The potential is that consumers will have instant connectivity via smartphone or web-based device that automatically turns into the remote control for the home. The technology is now available, and we hope to see manufacturers introduce new appliances with Ayla's technology very soon." --Written by Ellen Chang for MainStreet