Home security has come a long way over the past few decades. No longer is home security just limited to monitored alarm systems and home security cameras. It has evolved to start incorporating elements of smart home automation and the internet of things (IoT).
But before you get carried away and start automating everything in sight, it’s worth thinking about what will actually be a practical addition to your home security network. As with any relatively new technology, it can be difficult to separate the useful advances from the latest shiny new thing.
To help you out, we’re going to have a look at 8 must-have home automation devices that will enhance your security and make your life easier.
- Smart bulbs
You might not think an automated light bulb could do much to bolster your home security. But it can. In the old days, people would leave their lights on when they weren’t home in an attempt to discourage burglars. This presented two main problems. Firstly, leaving lights on all night would waste power, which is bad for the environment and bad for your power bills. Secondly, a single light left on all night probably won’t do much to convince a burglar you’re at home.
With smart bulbs, you can remotely turn the light on and off via the internet. Smart bulbs are internet-enabled LED bulbs that allow your lighting to be controlled via mobile apps or a home automation hub.
Besides being able to turn your lights on and off from anywhere in the world via a mobile app, you can also program your lighting to follow your evening routine. For example, you could set the kitchen lights to turn on at 5pm and the bedroom lights at 8pm. All the lights could then switch off at 10pm as though you’d gone to bed. Simple routines like this can make it seem like someone is home.
Some smart home systems even let you create programs for multiple devices. For example, you could set the system to turn the TV on at the same time as the lights. More complicated programs like this can lend more credibility to the idea that someone is home. This can quickly deter home intruders.
- Video doorbell
Internet connected video doorbells are the next generation of door intercoms. When someone presses the doorbell, you get an alert through the mobile app. Through this app, you can see who’s at the door and even speak to them from anywhere in the world. This way, even if you’re not home, you can answer the doorbell and give the illusion you’re at home.
The cameras in these systems can vary significantly in terms of quality and features. Some cameras will have high-end features such as facial recognition, night vision and the ability to pan and zoom. Some systems will also have a continuous or motion-detection recording feature, which records any activity in the vicinity of the camera. You can even set up alerts for when the video doorbell detects motion.
- Smart locks
Smart locks are another great home automation security feature. Smart locks feature internet-enabled mechanical locking mechanisms that allow you to lock and unlock doors via a mobile app. These are incredibly useful if you or a family member has lost their keys or locked themselves outside. Smart locks are also useful if you need to let someone into your house while you’re not home.
Besides the general practicality, some smart locks can also be programmed to provide notifications whenever your door is unlocked or opened. They can also provide alerts when doors have been left open or left unlocked.
Some smart locks are entirely keyless, allowing you to do away the bulky keyring forever. These can be voice, touch or proximity operated. Some systems can even create temporary “e-keys” for guests that you can send via your phone. Friends, visitors, tradespeople or pet-sitters can then enter your house when you’re not home without needing a physical key. However, unlike physical keys, you can cancel a digital key’s access at any time.
- Wireless home cameras
Home security cameras are nothing new. But the emergence of wireless technology has significantly increased the functionality of home security cameras. Many wireless cameras are portable, rechargeable and very small. They can be discreetly placed around the home to monitor for activity. These cameras are internet-enabled and the live stream can be accessed via a mobile app or desktop computer. Most quality cameras have motion sensors and can be set to send you a notification if any motion is detected. Most systems will directly upload their footage to the cloud, ensuring that nothing is lost if the camera is damaged.
- Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
Internet-enabled smoke and carbon monoxide alarms can be incorporated into your smart home system. When triggered, these alarms can turn on lights and alarms, alerting you to danger. Some can even tell you which room the fire is in. These systems will also send you alerts if the alarm goes off and you’re not home.
- WiFi garage door opener
These handy devices let you remotely open and close your garage door as needed. Like smart locks, they also log and send alerts when the door opens and closes. These devices can be invaluable if you store a lot of valuable equipment, machinery or vehicles in your garage.
- Smart motion detector
Smart motion detectors should be part of any good home security system. They can notify you of movement at your home, even if you aren’t there. Additionally, they can be set to trigger lights and sirens to deter would-be home intruders.
You can also use smart motion detectors to make sure pets and children don’t go into areas of the house that they shouldn’t.
- Smart window and door sensors
Window and door sensors can be set to detect movement nearby or any attempts to open the door or window. Like motion detectors, these work best as part of an overall smart security system. They can be programmed to react to specific situations, like breakage or nearby movement. They can also be set to respond by triggering alarms, turning on lights, or sending you direct notifications.
With smart home technology, your security system doesn’t only keep you and your home safe. This technology will also make your life more convenient. Make 2020 the year you turn your home into a smart home.