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Your house? There's an app for that.

4th March, 2013

The Consumer Electronics Show has come and gone, leaving us with a glimpse of a future where phones can bend, televisions are curved, and former presidents end up as spokesmen for technology firms. Every kind of hardware you can imagine was on display, and everyone was trying to explain why theirs represented a bigger leap forwards than anyone else's. But what about the apps of the future? At first glance it seems like CES didn't have much to say on the subject. The mobile app showdown was won by MyScript Calculator, a calculator that lets you write numbers and symbols on a touch screen. Useful? Maybe, but not exactly inspiring. Look a little deeper, however, and you'll see that behind a lot of the gadgets on show were apps designed to control them.

The iSmart Alarm is a prime example. A DIY home security startup, the hardware consists of door, window and motion sensors, infra-red video cameras, and tags that let you keep track of children and pets. Where it gets interesting is that it also comes with a mobile app that lets you control the whole lot wherever you are in the world. You can turn it on and off with the push of a button, and if there's a break-in you'll know about it as soon as it happens. The company has a way to go before it meets its investment target, but even if they fail there are others looking to bring similar systems to market. Another useful piece of tech that tells you when disaster is about to strike is Flower Power. The gadget is a simple little thing you stick in your flower pot, but with BlueTooth it can tell you through an iPad app when to water your plants, whether they're getting enough sun, and if it's too hot or cold for them. It's smart too; the app has a database of different plants, and knows the perfect conditions for each one.

Home alarms and smart plant pots are just the tip of the iceberg. Also on display were gadgets to control locks, lights, televisions, thermostats and ovens. If these trends continue it won't be long before every aspect of our homes will controllable by remote, whether we're coming back from the shops, curled up in bed or on the other side of the world. The technology could easily spread to other aspects of our lives as well; devices like Flower Power could spread to gardens and vegetable patches, and if we can turn the heating on before we get into the house there's no reason why we couldn't do the same in our cars. A safer, warmer, more fragrant world... Seems like the future of apps is bright after all.