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How to Control IoT Devices

Most electronic devices and home automation systems connect to the internet. These devices are known as IoT devices and provide significant benefits to users. There are different ways of controlling and managing IoT devices.

In this guide to controlling IoT devices, learn what IoT devices are, how they work, how to control them, the common challenges with IoT control, and more.

What are IoT Devices?

IoT devices are any device that connects to the internet. This can include your smartphone, smart home devices (like home security systems or thermostats), and anything else that connects to Wi-Fi.

All IoT devices must connect to the Internet and need a stable, reliable connection to function. However, not all devices require the Internet for control and management. I.e., there is no need to log into an account or browse the internet to control the device.

For example, a smart thermostat must be connected to Wi-Fi to function. To control the device, a control pad or remote control can be used. There is no need for a smartphone, tablet, or laptop to be used to manage the functions.

How Do I Manage and Control IoT Devices?

There are various ways to manage and control IoT devices. The following applications/servers can be used to control depending on the device:

1. Mobile apps

The most common way to control IoT devices is via a mobile app. It’s also the most user-friendly, as apps are widely used and easy to navigate.

When an IoT device connects to a mobile app, the device simply needs to be paired to a smart device. This can include a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. It can then be controlled and managed via the app.

2. Voice command

Another way to control IoT devices is via voice control. These systems operate by speaking to the device. They enable users to speak to manage and perform certain tasks. For example, an Alexa or Google Nest is controlled via voice command.

Some devices only work when the owner’s voice is registered. For example, a car’s system can only be started when the owner asks it to. Or the lights in a certain room will only turn on when the registered person asks them to.

3. Web-based platforms

Some devices can be controlled by accessing a website and logging into the device’s registered account. Once online, the owner can manage the services and tasks performed by the device.

Few modern IoT devices use web-based platforms for daily management and control. This is because they have mostly been replaced by mobile applications, as most people use their smartphones more than they do a computer.

4. Remote controls

Another common way to manage and control IoT devices is via a remote control. Most smart home devices installed on a property are controlled via a remote.

For example, electric garage doors, smart thermostats, and electric window treatments are typically controlled via a remote.

The benefit of using a remote control is that it’s always available and easy to use. However, the downside of remote-controlled IoT devices is that batteries will run out eventually, requiring users to replace or recharge the controller.

Plus, when several home automation devices are installed with a remote control, this leaves the homeowner with multiple remotes to control each item.

A centralized system can fix this issue, with one control for the entire home. These are more costly to install.

5. Bluetooth

Two types of Bluetooth systems can be used to control IoT devices: Bluetooth and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). Both allow users to connect to the devices using a smartphone or tablet with Bluetooth.

Once connected, the device can be managed and controlled via the connected device. The main difference between the two options is that BLE offers better energy efficiency and helps the battery last for longer.

The most common types of Bluetooth devices are wireless speakers or headsets.

6. Control pads

Another common way to control IoT devices is via a control pad. This is different from a remote control, as remote controls are wireless and control pads are hardwired.

Control pads are typically installed and connected to the mains electricity as well as the internet. They are then fitted to the wall and can’t be removed, similar to how a power outlet or light switch cannot be moved around.

Types of IoT devices that tend to use control pads include window treatments, security alarms, and centralized home automation systems.

7. Near field communication (NFC)

NFC is the least common way to control and manage IoT devices in the home. This involves connecting the device to other devices nearby. When both devices are in range of each other, the signal can be shared, and the controls can be used.

For example, Airdrop for Apple devices is an example of NFC IoT control and management.

NFC technology is more commonly used in industrial settings, like healthcare and construction, to communicate data securely on-site.

Challenges of IoT Device Control and Management

Controlling and managing IoT devices comes with its challenges. Some have an impact on the daily use of the device, while others are more long-standing risks and threats that could affect the device. The most common challenges include:

1. Connectivity

The most common challenge of IoT device control and management is connectivity issues. As explained earlier, IoT devices need a strong, reliable internet connection to function. Should the connection be poor or signal low, the device won’t function.

For example, a voice command system won’t be able to perform tasks in the home if the signal is poor or a connection to Wi-Fi is lost.

Similarly, some devices will function when the connection is poor, but control will be limited.

2. Cyber security

There’s always a possibility that IoT devices can be hacked. Most devices have complex security systems in place to prevent hacks and data leakages.

When a device is hacked, the criminal can access the user’s personal data or control the device themselves. This is particularly an issue when a car or property device is hacked into.

For example, if a smart door lock is hacked, the hacker will be able to access the property. Or if a car’s wireless IoT alarm system is interfered with, the car alarm won’t sound.

Research should be completed on any IoT device to ensure sufficient cybersecurity measures are in place.

3. Compatibility

Another common issue with IoT device control is compatibility issues. Every system is different and requires a unique account and control system. Connecting one device to another may not be possible if the two devices aren’t compatible.

For example, an Apple Mac won’t be able to connect to a Samsung smartphone due to compatibility issues. Only an Apple device can connect to an Apple PC.

Other compatibility issues can be experienced with various home automation devices. As an example, a home security camera may not be able to connect with a security alarm if the devices are incompatible with each other.

In practice, this means that if motion is detected by the camera, the security alarm won’t sound. The alarm will only sound if the alarm is triggered, either forcibly by the owner (via an app or remote) or due to a break-in.


What are IoT device examples?

Types of IoT devices include:

  • Thermostats
  • Home security cameras
  • Smart kitchen appliances (like refrigerators, coffee machines, kettles, etc.)
  • Wearable fitness trackers (like watches or bands)
  • Smartphones, tablets, and laptops
  • TVs and speaker systems
  • Voice command devices (like Alexa’s and Google Nests)
  • Lightbulbs
  • Window treatments (like shutters, blinds, and curtains)
  • Garage doors
  • Property alarms

Can IoT be remotely controlled?

There are several ways to control IoT devices. One of the primary ways to control IoT is via a remote control. Other ways of managing IoT devices include mobile applications, Bluetooth, websites, control pads, NFC, and voice commands.


IoT devices are popular in the modern world of electronics. Most households own an IoT device, with the most common being what’s in their pockets (i.e., a smartphone). There are challenges with controlling IoT devices, but measures can be taken to protect the device from potential threats.