Control is an intriguing concept. Achieving dominion over even the smallest of things is elusive yet instantly empowering. When we have it, stress levels disappear, the mind relaxes and our focus can shift toward other tasks — which explains why people still keep fish as pets. When we lose it, all bets are off.

In the past, controlling the various aspects of your home meant micro-managing at individual stations: temperature meant adjustments at the thermometer; lights mean hitting the switch; and setting the alarm, well, that usually gets forgotten (sorry sweetie!). Sure, there are some damn fine products out there to streamline home base operations, but, like your niece’s Christmas choir recital, they lack the cohesion of a singular voice. The Iris Home Management System by Lowe’s puts you in the executive office of macro-management by instantly offering control of your home, from anywhere you please, through a single application.

Our life with Iris began just a few short months ago, and she’s certainly made life at home easier. Admittedly, it wasn’t exactly love at first sight — her bits and pieces were attractive enough, just not what we’d call a “10” — but she quickly seduced us with just how easy she was…to install and live with. Whether it be via Iris’s web-based account manager or the free Android and iOS apps, the system is intuitive and expansive, allowing for easy customization with multiple program options. At Home, Night, Away and Vacation modes can be toggled between and adjusted along with individual connected devices, right from your home screen to access parameters that can be tailored to your liking. You don’t need to keep the homestead at a comfy 74 while you’re off tackling a mountain trek, but you would like a light to come on at dusk and again in the morning to make it look like someone’s around. With a few clicks, taps or swipes you’re all set. Even if the thought doesn’t dawn on you until that layover in Atlanta, just open the app and take control — you don’t need to be worried about these trivial tasks when planning your ascent, or during anything else, for that matter.

Our life with Iris began just a few short months ago, and she’s certainly made life at home easier.

The Iris system connects to devices around your home via wireless technology; devices communicate with both the Iris Smart Hub and each other to form a sort of network that covers the whole home. You command and the appropriate device responds. Range extenders, when needed, work like a middle manager to further boost the range of devices within larger homes.

Every Iris starter kit, be it Safe & Secure, Comfort & Control or Smart Kit, comes with free enrollment in Lowe’s basic service plan. This gives you basic control over installed devices and free alerts to the account holder via text, email or voice call, to keep you in the know. Even something as simple as a brief power outage is logged, and an alert is sent so you can act accordingly to anything and everything happening at home. Iris’s Premium Service, free for the first two months, ups the ante by dangling the all-too-tasty carrot of advanced control of your home. This means more options and tailoring for each of the devices to make your home truly your castle. The four modes we mentioned earlier (Safe & Secure, Comfort & Control and Smart Kit) fall under this umbrella, as well as a feature called Iris Magic, which lets you set rules for your devices, like having the lights come on every time the front door sensor triggers. The Premium Package also adds communication channels to up to 20 people on your distribution list, should you ever need the cavalry to come running. At $9.99/month it’s a relative bargain, and that additional control you’ve become accustomed to for two months isn’t likely to be surrendered without some internal strife.

For us, the Iris system has come into its own with the change in seasons. Drops in temperature combined with the end of daylight savings time meant a cold, dark foyer would normally be what we had to look forward to after a long day at the office — but thankfully, not anymore. Logging in on the way home, we can fire up the furnace, shed some light on things and even kill the alarm before our key hits the lock (punching in passcodes with gloves on can be a lot like that first time we played Streetfighter — mash the pad and hope for the best). We’ve created schedules and strategies for our devices to perform and set rules for our sensors depending on who is home. On top of this, Iris added some tech savvy value to set our home apart and put us in absolute control of our castle and all of the devices that make it tick, so we could start focusing on other problems — like, what other gadgets can we add to this system?