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BMW announces smart home apps and more at IFA 2015

At the 2015 IFA show in Berlin, BMW announced a host of new connectivity features and initiatives, headlined by systems that connect BMW cars to smart homes. This builds on tech shown by BMW at IFA last year.

This year, BMW unveiled what it calls a “customer-ready” smart home app for iOS, as well as a “research application” that allows cars to interface with Samsung’s SmartThings platform, which includes a complete home-monitoring system, according to Tech Times. The Korean and German companies are working together to integrate SmartThings functionality into BMW vehicles.

But with both iOS and Samsung Android smart home apps in the works, BMW hopes that it is covering all of the bases. Features will include allowing drivers to remotely check whether a house’s doors are locked, or presetting home heat or air conditioning simply by entering the address into a car’s navigation system, BMW says.

In another tie-in with Samsung, BMW also unveiled a version of its i Remote app for the company’s Galaxy Gear S2 smartwatch at IFA. Launched for the Apple Watch earlier this year, and previously available on smartphones, the i Remote app is paired with the i3 electric car and i8 plug-in hybrid (BMW is only showing the i3 version at IFA). It allows drivers to remotely check the status of their cars, lock its doors, find cars in parking lots, and plan intermodal routes that include driving, mass transit, and walking.

When it comes to apps, BMW hopes to stay ahead of the curve with an Apps-for-Automotive, or “A4A,” interface, which the company says gives its in-car infotainment systems the flexibility to add third-party apps as they appear on the market. The company also showed a new app for Germany’s n-tv news network at IFA.

On the hardware side, BMW is also expanding its GoPro integration. The carmaker already offers an app that allows drivers to control the cameras through a car’s onboard iDrive system, and now it will also offer mounting brackets as accessories. Options include the external M Performance Track Fix and internal Travel & Comfort System.