We’ve hardly begun the 21st century, yet our homes are quickly being turned into science fiction reality. Today you can remotely control your door locks, lights, thermostats, CCTV cameras, video doorbells and more – all via your smartphone and an app! The great thing is, that most of this smart tech is easy to install without you having to phone a professional to do it for you.
What exactly is smart home security?
A smart home security system connects to your Wi-Fi network, which enables you to monitor and control your security devices using your smartphone and an app. Basic systems usually include some door and window sensors, a motion detector, and a hub that communicates with these devices.
At any time, you can add more smart tech for added levels of security. These could include extra window sensors, garage locks, surveillance cameras and more – it’s virtually limitless!
Ideally, using your smartphone as your ‘command centre’ is the best way of operating your smart home devices. From there you can arm and disarm the system, create rules, add and delete components, and receive push notifications when alarms are triggered. Most apps also allow you to do things like view live and recorded video, lock and unlock doors, change thermostat settings and silence alarms. You can do virtually anything with smart tech – and the good thing about smart tech is that it really is designed for ease-of-use.
Ideally, you need a DIY smart tech security system which is self-monitored, which means that it will be you who receives alerts when devices are triggered. Then it’s up to you to contact the relevant authorities once you discover the issue.
Do you live in a small house or have small business premises?
If you live in a small house or business and want to keep tabs on things when you’re out (or closed) then a security camera can do the job for a lot less money than you’d pay for a full security system. Virtually all standalone security cameras connect to your Wi-Fi so you can see what’s going on from your phone or tablet. Most have built-in sensors that detect motion and sound and will send push and email notifications when those sensors are triggered.
If you get any false alarms, you can adjust the camera’s motion sensitivity. Take care when positioning your camera as pets, awnings, passing cars or people walking past can set off the system. The sensors can be turned off at certain times, so if you just wanted them to work when your business is closed, it’s easy to do.
Monitoring the outside of your home or business is a major deterrent to those intent on committing crimes or just being a nuisance. These exterior cameras are waterproof and, like their interior counterparts, they connect to your Wi-Fi network and allow you to view live video from your phone. Again, you can install these yourself without previous experience – but do think about exactly where is the best location.
As we’ve mentioned, most outdoor cameras offer motion detection with push and email notifications, night vision, and cloud storage for event-triggered video, and some also double-up as floodlights or porch lights. Some models can even tell the difference between a passing car, an animal, and a person. Look for an outdoor camera that will integrate with other smart home devices such as garage door openers, external alarms, and smart switches.
Having a video doorbell allows you to see who is at your door whether you are in your house in another room, or while you’re at work or on holiday! Video doorbells connect to your Wi-Fi network and will send you an alert when someone approaches your door. An additional plus is that they will record video when the doorbell is pressed or when motion is detected. They also usually provide two-way audio communication so that you can also speak to the visitor wherever you happen to be.
Some video doorbells use your existing doorbell wiring – but are still fairly easy to install. More conveniently, there are also battery-powered models available that you can have up and working in minutes, with no expertise at all. Result! Some work with other smart devices such as door locks and alarms and support Alexa voice commands.
If you’re looking for a video doorbell, we’d recommend you get one that delivers high resolution (1080p), a wide-angle lens (140 to 180 degrees), a night vision range up to 25 feet, and cloud storage for your recorded video.
To be on the safe side, it’s a good idea to be able to see what happened before and after a visitor approached your home or business. Check out the specifications on potential video doorbells, as you’ll need a model which uses pre-buffering to record the action taking place before motion is detected or the doorbell is pressed. Hopefully, you’ll never have an incident to report, but if you do, this information could be invaluable.
What’s a smart lock?
A smart lock is a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth-enabled smart home device which lets you leave your keys behind! Sounds great, doesn’t it? With a smart lock you’re able to lock and unlock doors with a simple voice command or tapping an app on your mobile. Think about it – how many times have your children forgotten their keys and couldn’t get in? If they call you, you can open the door via your phone. How many times have you forgotten your own keys?! Life is about to get much easier for you! Remember though, you must make sure you have power for your mobile or your plans could be turned completely upside down, and you’ll think your smart home isn’t so smart after all!
If you decide to get yourself a smart lock, look for a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth lock which comes with its own mobile app. Smart locks use standard pre-drilled holes and are not difficult to install.
Smart locks can be opened and closed using a mobile app and will send a notification when someone locks or unlocks a door, so you are constantly updated as to who is at your home or business and when. Most allow you to create permanent and temporary access schedules for family members and friends based on specific hours of the day and days of the week. Features to look for include geofencing, which uses your phone’s location services to lock and unlock the door, voice activation using Siri, Google Assistant, or Amazon Alexa voice commands. It sounds more complicated than it actually is, so don’t be put off.
There are several types of smart locks to choose from including one’s which have a biometric fingerprint reader, keyless no-touch locks and touchpad locks, amongst others.
Can home security systems be hacked?
Anything which connects to the internet and uses wireless technology can be hacked, especially systems that lack encryption.
There are several steps you can take to make sure your security system is safe from malicious cyber intruders. To start with, replace the system’s default password with a unique one that contains a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols. If possible, change your password from time to time. It won’t take you a minute, but will likely put off potential hackers, who’ll go off to find an easier target.
Additionally, make sure your home network is secure. Check the security settings on your wireless router, and consider security models which add an extra layer of software protection.
Some security system sellers use frequency-hopping tech to prevent signal jamming, while others use embedded encryption, but neither feature is standard, so check with the manufacturer if you require an extra layer of security.
Get smart inside
You can use smart tech inside your home or business premises to aid other security measures. For example, use smart plugs to control your lights. And vary the times that they are switched on – this is a classic security measure. Prevention is better than the cure, as they say.
Take a look at Ebuyer’s full range of smart security for your home and business here.