Smart Home Security Tech

Home security tech has become insanely advanced in the last few years – but what’s sensible and what’s over the top?

The world of home security can sometimes be a tad confusing – do you really need to make your home as secure as Alcatraz? We know that protecting your family from break-ins, floods, fires and other potential disasters is incredibly important, so here’s a rundown of the different types of smart IOT security you can get for your home, in order of usefulness.

Essential: Locks

Let’s start with a pretty easy one – unless you live in a quaint fictional Victorian village, it’s likely that you will have to rely on locks on doors and windows instead of the kindness of strangers. There are dozens of types of locks out there, from deadlocks to night latches, and most home insurance providers will require at least a basic level of lock security in order to provide cover.

There are some seriously slick security solutions out there, if you want to get smart. Kwikset have one of the most advanced keyless locks where the user can gain entry via a pin if they don't have a key on them.

keys

Meanwhile, the keyless Kevo solution works with your phone. As long as it's within Bluetooth range of your door and you press the lock - open sesame, you have entry! This digitisation works with an app which means you can have a live record of when the door has been locked or unlocked. Not only can it set a timer to allow other people to enter at certain times - like a cleaner or contractor you don't necessarily want to give keys to - but it can send you a text when your kids get home from school!

Similar technology exists with August, whose smart lock works with iPhones, Android and even the Apple Watch. You can keep your existing hardware, but the wifi/Bluetooth lock keeps track of who comes and goes, with both pictures and time records.

Live in a flat with intercom? A new invention from Ikilock comes with a special plug for your intercom so you can remotely let people into your building and keep track of comings and goings.

Although this amazing tech is great for letting people in remotely, they also let you have control of your home security on the go.

There are some less hi-tech options on offer. Kwikset have a great set of re-key manual locks that allow you to change the lock quickly, in case you lose your keys or have them stolen. Or, of course, if you want more technology, you could hold out until Eyelock release their iris-scanning door-entry technology to the wider market. Feel like you’re in a sci-fi film yet?

Extremely Important: Detectors

Yes, they can sometimes be a pain, but smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are an extremely important part of home security. We usually think of burglars or intruders as threats to our homes, but danger can also, unfortunately, come from within.

Many homes come installed with the usual chirping, flashing, overly-sensitive detectors. Luckily some manufacturers are out there creating very clever products to help give you peace of mind. As well as fitting in with modern life, both of these detectors will be able to alert you and your family to a gas leak or a fire hazard.

The star of the show has to be the Nest, with its industrial-grade smoke sensor, auto-testing functionality and long shelf life – up to ten years. The thing we like about it is the link to your phone – get notified instantly if an alarm goes off while you’re out and about, or silence any mistaken middle-of-the-night alarms with a quick swipe on the app.

Don’t feel like splashing out on something so advanced? How about a Roost smart battery? Replace your normal batteries with this long-lasting smart one and it’ll send a text to your phone when it’s close to draining. No more 3am chirps from the alarm! It’ll also send you a text if it sounds.

Best Practise: Burglar Alarms

Not every single neighbourhood will need an advanced burglar alarm system, but it’s at this point we have to whip out the old favourite saying: better safe than sorry.

It helps that these days there are some incredibly technical systems on the market, which give you enough security to turn your humble home a fortress, full of deterrents for any would-be burglars.

Security stalwart Yale has a range of smart home alarm packages that include a live camera that can be accessed remotely via a mobile phone and part aiming, which is where you can set alarms to be on downstairs while you sleep upstairs. It also comes with internal and external sirens and a fully encrypted and encoded system that’s advertised as unhackable.

alarm

Loxone take the alarm bit even further with their Everything Managed alarm – if an intruder breaks in, a three-pronged approach is taken. First, you or a chosen key holder will be notified to alert you of the intruder's presence. Second, a loud audio alarm will sound in the house and follow the intruder from room to room - almost like a searchlight. Finally, an optical alarm of flashing lights, combined with a mechanism that will lift all your blinds up to exposed the intruder, will attempt to draw any neighbours’ attention to the sneaky wannabe thief. Now that’s what we call thorough.

Sensible & Useful: Cameras

Cameras aren’t essential, but if you want to add an extra level of security to your home, they’re a great way of monitoring activity, alerting you to any suspicious goings-on and even pre-empting break ins. Yale have a whole smart camera system with HD capture, smartphone access and night vision, and also a digital door viewer which takes images of people who have tried to call. August go a step further, and allow you to actually speak to people who are at your door, but remotely. That means that, as long as you have reception, you can leave instructions for a delivery driver while you’re on the beach. How’s that for doorbell sophistication?

cameras

Good to Have: Safes

Safes are alright to have around, but unless you’re running a B&B, they’re probably not going to be top of your list. That’s not to say there aren’t some interesting and smart options on the market. Fire safes are guaranteed to keep documents and valuables damage-free for at least one hour in the event of a fire, and there are certified safes that claim to be incredibly robust at protecting up to £2,000 in cash or up to £20,000 in valuables!

safe

A Nice Idea: Security Lights

If your home is stacked with alarms, detectors, locks and a host of remote apps so you’re completely connected, even when you’re not there, it’s not likely that a security light will be the answer to your problems. However, they’re useful, even if it’s just to provide a gentle glow while you’re on the porch and scrambling for your keys in the bottom of your bag. Remotely controlled light switches are produced by the likes of Easybulb, Lutron and Wink and give users the opportunity to set lights to go on and off while they're away from their property, to deter burglars who can no longer be sure that no-one's home. After all, the lights will be on!

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