Is the Smartwatch Becoming a Remote for the Smart Home?

Now you can control your lights, locks, and more from your wrist.

Credit: Philips
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Ever since the Apple Watch was released in April, smart home apps have been slowly trickling into the platform. And just last week, two more big smart home brands joined the bandwagon: August and Wink.

August App for Apple Watch
Credit: August
The August App for Apple Watch View Larger

August has updated the iPhone app for its smart lock with Apple Watch support. It allows you to remotely lock and unlock your doors, view an activity log of who has entered and left your home, and receive notifications for when someone has used the lock.

While August's app is focused on one product, Wink's new Apple Watch app allows you to control groups of smart home products by giving you access to your top 10 shortcuts. These shortcuts are created by you and make it easy to do things like turn on lights, cameras, or AC units with just the push of a button.

Both apps are rather limited in terms of their functionality, but it makes sense to have this level of control on your wrist. After all, a watch is always on you. Smartwatch apps can ensure you'll never have to reach for that TV remote or light switch again—a prospect that is as enticing as it is alarming. If we're being honest, it's probably unwise to mindlessly automate our every technological interaction, as research suggests we want more thinking about our environments—not less.

The Philips Hue and SmartThings apps for Apple Watch
Credit: SmartThings
An Apple Watch running the Philips Hue and SmartThings apps

As mentioned, August and Wink aren't the first to roll out Apple Watch apps for the smart home. SmartThings, Philips Hue, Lutron, Insteon, Alarm.com, and others can already be found in the Apple Watch App Store.

The SmartThings app for the Samsung Gear S
Credit: SmartThings
The SmartThings app for the Samsung Gear S smartwatch View Larger

Surprisingly, smart home manufacturers aren't adopting Android Wear quite as quickly, even though the platform came out almost a year before the Apple Watch.

There is a Wink app for Android Wear, and SmartThings even has an app for the Tizen-powered Samsung Gear S. (It is a Samsung subsidiary after all). But most other popular smart home products rely on third-party apps (for example, Insteon is controlled through the Tasker app) or simply have no official Android Wear app whatsoever.

Regardless, the steady rollout of these apps shows that smart home companies see compelling use cases for wearables. Now it's just up to consumers to decide if they agree.

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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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