I never owned a camera until I became a parent. Once we welcomed our first bundle of joy into the house, I suddenly had more cameras than I knew what to do with.
Fast forward about 15 years and I'm facing a similar scenario, but this time, it's with HomeKit devices and pets. A new puppy came into our lives about a month ago, and now our semi-smart home is borderline genius as I've rationalized the purchase of more than one new HomeKit product as critical to keeping life with the hound under control.
I'm not saying all of these scenarios will happen on the same day...but they could. You gotta make sure you're ready for anything.
The dog starts to whimper. Shut off the house alarm hands-free as you hustle the dog out the door before he has an accident in the house. We use the Honeywell Lyric (opens in new tab) as part of our professionally-monitored home alarm system.
Time for a walk. Turn on the house alarm remotely as you're being dragged down the street by the pooch and you suddenly realize the alarm is off.
Unlock the front door with your voice (or merely by approaching) when you return from the walk as the dog tries to run through the front door head-first rather than wait for it to be opened. We've had a great experience with the Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt (opens in new tab) which not only responds to Siri commands but also and has a keypad and keyed lock. Another option: August Smart Lock Pro + Connect (opens in new tab).
Turn on soothing smooth jazz music for the dog to listen to on a HomePod (opens in new tab) or two. We've had the dog about a month and I can tell you that he has gotten more mileage out of those HomePods than I have. Fine by me; it helps him sleep.
After he awakens, a visit to the back yard is in order. While he's digging yet another hole/chewing on yet another plant/chasing yet another bird, you can turn on the sprinklers (and quickly turn them off) with your voice to find all the leaky tubes that have been mysteriously severed. This beats running back and forth to the sprinkler timer while being chased by a drenched dog. Get the Rachio 3 WiFi Smart Lawn Sprinkler Controller (opens in new tab).
While monitoring the dog in the back yard, you are notified of the garage door opening. Spouse is home! And you know she's home (and she knows you know she's home), so she can't hide. Sweet relief! If your garage door opener doesn't have the Chamberlain MyQ capability built in, you can add it with the MyQ Smart Garage Hub (opens in new tab) and the MyQ Home Bridge (opens in new tab).
A restful sleep?
You're in bed and the whimpering and barking begins. A motion sensor turns on the lights over the stairs as you carry the dog outside in the middle of the night so he can take care of you-know-what. Here's a tandem that will do the job: Eve Motion (opens in new tab) and Eve Light Switch (opens in new tab).
With your hands and arms occupied, use your voice to shut off the house alarm, then exit through a side door in the garage. Tell Siri to turn on the back yard lights once you're outside. This is especially helpful at three in the morning in the rain when the damp weather has caused the back door (the door closest to the back yard light switch) to swell and become unopenable. Another light switch option: iDevices Wi-Fi Smart Wall Switch (opens in new tab).
Use your voice to turn off the outside lights as you take your soaked dog (and yourself) back inside through the side door.
Finally back in bed (with dry pajamas) say "Good Night" into your iPhone to run a scene that ensures the front door is locked, all the inside and outside lights are off, and turns on the alarm. Count the minutes until you get to wake up and do this all over again.
Home alone two
Wait a minute...no camera to keep an eye on the dog inside the house while we are away? We haven't picked one up yet. I'm not sure what good it's going to do to be able to look in on the dog when I'm 30 miles away. If he's somehow in the refrigerator, then there's not much I'm going able to do about it.
Yeah, looks like I'm buying a HomeKit-capable camera ... and we've come full-circle.
Mike Matthews is a writer at iMore.com. He has used Apple products all the way back to the Apple II+. He appreciates no longer having to launch apps by loading them from a cassette tape recorder.
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