Smart Home Series – Security
One of the new buzzwords when it comes to home features is “smart” home. However, you may be wondering what exactly makes a home “smart” and what are some good smart home products that you should consider. Put simply, a smart home is one in which you have a device or appliance that is connected to the Internet and can be controlled remotely or through automation. There are many different types and categories of smart home products on the market today with more entering the market all the time. This blog post will focus on the different types of security related smart home products that you may want to consider adding to your home.
Arguably one of the most important smart products for your home is the smart lock. The entry door smart lock can provide both increased security and convenience. Depending on the brand, a smart lock either replaces or works in conjunction with your traditional deadbolt. Most smart locks connect via Bluetooth or via your home’s Wi-Fi network allowing you to access and control the smart lock remotely using an app on your smart phone.
A smart lock provides the following security benefits:
- Know if your door is locked or unlocked via an app on your smartphone.
- Allows you to lock and unlock your door remotely using your smartphone. If you forget to lock the door when you leave you can do so remotely. Or you are able to lock or unlock for guests and family members.
- Know who is comes and goes and get alerts when your door is either locked or unlocked. This feature can let you know when you child gets home from school or may be able to alert you that someone has broken into your home.
Additionally, a smart lock can provide the following convenience benefits:
- Auto lock and unlock using proximity and geo-location of smart phones.
- Allows you to set temporary pass codes for guests.
- Take advantage of IFTTT (If This Than That) services to automatically control other smart devices in your home. For example, have your interior lights turn on when your door is unlocked.
More and more smart locks are hitting the market, but just a few popular choices include offerings from August, Kwikset, Schlage, and Yale.
Have you ever left your house and had that moment of panic where you cannot remember whether you closed your garage door or not? If so, a smart garage door opener may be the answer. Garage doors openers with smart connectivity provide many of the same benefits as smart locks. The main benefit is being able to see if your garage door is open or closed and control it remotely. They can also notify you if the garage door is opened when you are not home.
Many newer garage door openers have smart connectively built in, but if you have an older garage door opener you are not out of luck. Products such as Chamberlain’s MyQ can be added to your existing system.
When you think of smart home products, a doorbell may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but smart doorbells can be a great security addition. The addition of a camera within the doorbell is what makes them effective security devices. When someone presses your doorbell, the camera activates and an alert is sent to your smartphone and provides a live video feed. Some doorbells such as the August Doorbell Cam will detect motion at your door even if the person does not press the doorbell itself. In addition to providing a video feed, most smart doorbells have an intercom feature that allows you to speak with the person at the door.
In addition to the previously mentioned August Doorbell Cam, other options worth researching are the Ring Video Doorbell, Skybell HD, and RemoBell. Many of the smart doorbell options offer DIY installation either using batteries or the wiring from your existing doorbell.
You may ask yourself why would you consider buying a smart smoke detector. Afterall, a properly working standard smoke alarm will do its job of alerting you when smoke is detected in your home. However, a smart smoke detector is able to go one step further and provide you with an alert on your smartphone whether you are at home or not. By receiving the mobile alert when you are not at home, it provides you with an opportunity to alert authorities of a potential fire. With a standard smoke alarm, if no one is home to hear the alarm, the emergency response crews cannot be notified. In addition to mobile alerts, some smart smoke alarms can automatically turn on lights in your home when the alarm goes off.
Options to consider when looking a smart smoke detector include the Nest Protest and First Alert OneLink, which both offer carbon monoxide monitoring in addition to smoke detection.
If you do not want to replace your smoke alarm or want something more budget friendly, a second option is the Roost Smart Battery. The Roost Smart Battery looks like a standard 9V battery that can be used in any smoke alarm. However, it has a built-in microphone and Wi-Fi chip that will detect when your smoke alarm goes off and will send you an alert on your smartphone.
One of the biggest home security advancements in recent years has been the accessibility of a home security camera system. Gone are the days of complex professional installation, replaced with affordable systems that can be installed on your own.
Combining indoor and outdoor cameras, a home security camera system can provide many security benefits. They will allow you to view a live video stream from your mobile device when you are away from home and many systems also have the ability to record video that can be reviewed at a later time in case of a break-in or you simply want to see who was on your property at a certain time. Other features that may be available include the ability receive alerts when a camera detects motion and night-vision.
There are many home security camera systems on the market that vary greatly in terms of features, wired vs. wireless, video quality, and ease of installation. Some systems that may be worth looking into include the Netgear Arlo, Nest Cam, Canary, and Logi Circle. Systems such as the Netgear Arlo have the ability to add cameras as necessary, have indoor and outdoor cameras, and have the option of a wireless outdoor installation.
The availability of smart home products is increasing every day. While it may be daunting to think of everything available, do not be afraid to “dip your toes in the water” and start with one products and grow from there. One of the security products mentioned above is a great place to start.