The automated home is a future not too far away. We've already seen the launch of sensors that email us, plants that tweet at us, a smart thermostat, a coffee maker controlled by our phones, and so much more.

Our home entrances are getting an upgrade as well. Today, there are all kinds of gadgets and apps that help us provide a warmer welcome for our guests. Here are three of our favorites of late:

1) Pocket Doorbell ($0.99)

Pocket Doorbell is a magical app that turns your phone into a portable doorbell. It always knows where you are and which door to ring. When you arrive at your friend's house, just press a button and it will text or call your friend. It's also great for those of us in small apartments or homes with lousy doorbells.

It's only available for iPhone now, but there's a high probability the team will launch an Android version soon.

2) Lockitron ($295)

Lockitron lets you (or your family and friends) unlock your door with your phone. It's compatible with most lock styles and works by sending a signal from your phone through the Lockitron servers to a small device that plugs into your internet router. This in turn talks to your door telling it to lock or unlock. If you're away from your home, you can even grant access to others to enter your house by adding them within the app. Great for dog walkers, baby sitters, house guests, and more!

3) DropCam ($149)

No more having to install really expensive video cameras and speakers at the front door — this gadget will do it all. The DropCam is an HD video camera that lets you monitor anything (and anyone) in your home, or at your front door. While there are many competitors in this space, the DropCam has all kinds of advanced featured that we haven't seen in any others in the market. The camera is really easy to set up and lets you log in via your phone or computer to see what's going on. It also has Night Vision so that you can watch when it's dark inside. It will even notify you whenever there is motion or sound detected, so that you can take a closer look at who is outside. Finally, our favorite aspect is that you can talk back to what you see and hear on the camera with two-way audio…directly from your phone. The DropCam ships this month! We can't wait to try ours out.

What gadgets or apps are you using in your home? Send us a note on Twitter or leave a message in the comments below!