Repurpose Your Used Smartphone into a Home Energy Monitor/Remote Control

used smartphone energy monitor

Got an old smartphone or tablet laying around? Probably: we Americans tend to upgrade such devices every couple of years (and, of course, the big carriers would like us to do it even more often). If you’re like me, you’re planning to recycle that device… but finding a way to reuse it would ultimately be more sustainable. But what do you do with a used smartphone other than recycle it?

The folks at People Power Co. have an idea: repurpose those used devices into home energy monitors by installing their free Presence app, and then plugging in the Monster Central Power Control kit. CEO Gene Wang has the details:


You can even create “rules” for power management – examples from People Power include

  • “If I go away then tell my ‘Space Heater’ to switch off”
  • “If the time is 6:30 AM weekdays then tell my ‘Coffee Pot’ to switch on”
  • “If my ‘Presence camera’ detects motion then tell my ‘Light’ to switch on”
  • “If my ‘Presence camera’ doesn’t detect motion for 10 minutes then tell my ‘Light’ to switch off”

The downside: if those old phones or tablets have to run on iOS; no other options available right now. But if you’ve got old Apple products laying around, the app allows you to not only monitor and control your power use remotely, but also keep an eye on things: Presence was originally created as a home security app (and still functions that way).

This version of the app came out in mid-February, so I doubt many of you have had a chance to try out Presence 2.0’s energy management features. If you have, though, let us know what you think. This strikes me not only as a great way to keep a handle on your energy usage, but also save money on several different fronts: home security/monitoring systems charge premium prices for such a suite of services.

Image credit: screen capture from “Connected Home: Presence + Monster Central Power Control” video

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