UPDATED 05:23 EDT / MAY 18 2012

Cloud Apps for a Smarter, Secure Home

These days, we want everything to be connected, and we want to be able to pull data from wherever we are.  But one of the most important ways connected devices are helping consumers in their everyday lives is helping them organize their homes and personal spaces.

BrightNest, the online app dedicated to helping people de-clutter and get their homes in order, has recently launched Homefolio.  The app lets homeowners keep important files such as appliance owner’s manuals, paint colors and contractor phone numbers, in a single place.

Once users sign up for a free BrightNest account, they can click on Homefolio and organize documents and files based on their corresponding room in the home, detailing their appliance manuals, wall coverings, paint colors, flooring and other features. Then, based on the information entered, BrightNest provides customized to-do’s, reminders and simple step-by-step instructions on a weekly basis.  The more information people enter, the more customized advice they receive for their home. Beyond storing owner’s manuals and design details, people can also store important phone numbers for contractors and emergency contacts.

“People love the idea of keeping their home in shape because that translates to saving money and a healthier, safer environment for their family,” said Allen Shulman, co-founder and chief executive officer of BrightNest. “But, getting organized can be overwhelming. The Homefolio brings an order to the chaos, providing people with the organization and direction they need to stay on top of home maintenance. No more drawers of unidentified manuals and papers, now it’s all right there at their fingertips.

“Our vision is to make BrightNest the place where people go online to explore, organize and take action when it comes to their home,” said Shulman. “The Homefolio is the go-to tool for organizing – it keeps all essential information in one easy place, but it also brings tangible value for homeowners. They can track repair and maintenance history, which they can use for their own records or pass on to prospective buyers as reassurance during the selling process.”

Home organization starts in the cloud

If you think that your home needs de-cluttering fast, 52 Organizing Mission is another app for you.  The app contains 52 organizing missions that can be completed in 30 minutes each, helping you organize your work and home life.  Each mission is presented in easy-to-follow steps so you won’t get lost or frustrated as you organize your life.  And to reward you, every completed mission earns you a badge that you can share on Facebook for bragging rights.  The app also allows you to create to-do lists as you go, so you never worry about forgetting things.  And with the in-app browser, you can pull up additional sources or recommended articles without leaving the app.

Want more data on your utilities usage?  Meter Reading is worth a try.  Meter Reading allows users to track their utility consumption on a daily basis so they’ll get an idea of how much they’ve consumed.  All you need to do is download the app and create a profile where everything will be organized.  You can create separate profiles for your electric, gas and water readings.  Then just input your daily meter reading and a graph will be created that helps you keep track of your utilities.

And of course, home security is still the number one priority for anyone.  There’s no sense of keeping things organized if your lives are at stake.  AT&T announced at the International CTIA 2012 that they will be entering the home security sector with their digital life services group that lets users control every facet of their homes – from thermostats to locks – all from their mobile devices.

“AT&T digital life will change the way people live, work, and play — and meets a clear need in the market,” said Kevin Petersen, senior vice president of AT&T’s digital life business.

AT&T plans to offer connected cameras, windows, and door sensors, smoke, carbon monoxide, motion, and glass-break sensors, door locks, thermostats, moisture detectors, and the ability to remotely turn off appliances. The devices will all be hooked into the home’s broadband network, which can be controlled from the homeowner’s mobile device using a cellular network.

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