When Alexa Meets Siri

Connecting different devices remains a challenge for smart home owners.

A ton of new smart home devices are coming out each year. Want to control your lighting, thermostat or coffee maker? There’s an app for each.

I’ve spent the last two years making my own home more intelligent. We now have a home security system by Blink that sends alerts to my phone every time the mailman knocks at the door. Our two Sensi thermostats let me crank up the heat remotely to make sure the house is warm upon our arrival. We have a dozen smart bulbs programmed to create the illusion that someone is home when we’re not; and our Samsung Family Hub smart fridge reminds us that we need milk when we’re shopping.

And although we no doubt will be living like the Jetsons soon, we’re kind of over having to manage a gazillion smart-home related apps on our phones. And we’re not the only exasperateted home owners.

“Piecing different things together can become pretty frustrating,” agrees Alison Slavin, senior vice president and co-founder of Alarm.com, a national leader in smart home technology. But the Vienna-based company has the solution—a software that integrates third-party products in one secure application for both commercial and residential clients.

In a managed ecosystem like Alarm.com’s, device integration is done in the cloud, with software that shares data between gadgets. Installation starts at $100 with monthly service payments $40-60.

“The goal is to get rid of most apps altogether,” says Slavin. Imagine being able to control your home with a simple remote or app—that’ll be the day my home has outsmarted me.


Product Spotlight: You Got the Lock

The lock on your front door probably isn’t the flashiest aspect of your house—but the appeal of living life without keys is starting to resonate with homeowners. The Yale Assure smart lock effectively eliminates the threat of someone breaking in using a lockpick or a bumpkey. And when integrated with a smart home security system, this device can send you reminders and alerts when you forget to lock it. Or, when paired with a doorbell camera, it allows you to visually verify visitors from home or away, then let them in. $199, YaleHome.com

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