Tell me if this story sounds familiar to you. You were in a rush to leave home, you've made it a few miles down the road, and then fear hits you and stops you in your tracks. Did you turn off the oven? Surely those sirens in the distance aren't heading to your home.
For my wife and I, that fear has been an all too regular occurrence. We've wasted a lot of gas and time by turning around to check because my wife can't remember if she turned off the oven or unplugged the hair straightener. It's become a running joke, and I now make sure to do a thorough walkthrough before we leave.
While that has stopped the turnaround trips back home, there are still times when we'll leave for a long weekend and I'll remember that I forgot to turn down the thermostat after we've arrived at our hotel. That has added up to a good chunk of change over the years.
The good news is that these fears, along with the money and time wasted, are coming to an end soon, thanks to the arrival of the Internet of Things.
There's an app for that
The ADT Corporation (NYSE: ADT) is one of a growing number of companies enabling homeowners to overcome their fear of leaving their home alone. The company's ADT Pulse solution enables the homeowner to lock and unlock their doors, control their appliances and lighting, and adjust their thermostat all from their smartphone. The company's Z-Wave technology makes this all possible, as it unifies all of the home electronics into an integrated network, which puts the consumer back in control.
The ability to remotely lock a door that might have been forgotten in a rush to get out of the house is a real weight off the shoulders of a busy family. Likewise, the ability to remotely control the coffee pot -- or any other household appliance, for that matter -- will take the worry away that the home might not be there upon returning from vacation. Having that control could also save homeowners money in the long run.
Saving money on energy, too
It's estimated that the average American household could save 6% on its annual energy bill by simply turning the thermostat down when away on vacation. More often than not we're in such a rush to get out the door that we forget to do this simple money-saving move. ADT's Pulse system would fix the problem, as its customers can simply log on to their smartphones and turn down the thermostat.
Google (GOOGL -2.32%) is taking saving energy a step further, as its purchase of Nest Labs brings in the Learning Thermostat. Not only can the Learning Thermostat be controlled remotely, but its auto-away feature can also sense when no one is there and adjust the temperature to away settings. This feature will also come in handy when simply leaving to run a few errands, and according to Nest, 75% of the homes that have its Learning Thermostat go into auto-away at least once a week, which is automatic savings for these homeowners.
Appliance manufacturers are also working on Internet-driven technology to save customers money on energy. Smart appliances from Whirlpool (WHR 0.33%), for example, come equipped with 6th Sense Live Technology, which enables consumers to control key features remotely. This includes managing the dishwasher or dryer so that they run when it's cheaper to do so. That's just one of the many innovations that Whirlpool is developing as it taps into the Internet of Things.
Technology is making it a lot easier for you to leave home without fear and save some money in the process. That's the powerful combination behind the Internet of Things, which really is likely to be the dominant trend in the years to come.