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NHSM16 – Week 3: Smart Home Security

The growing popularity of connected security systems

The theme for week 3 of National Home Security Month is smart home security.

If you asked the question, ‘how smart can your security system be?’ the answer would have to be ‘how smart do you want it to be?’ because these days, the sky’s the limit.

What is smart security?

The simplest way to describe smart security would be a ‘connected’ system – ie a security system that can be monitored and controlled remotely. Just as you can turn your heating on and set your Sky box to record something on your TV from anywhere, smart security systems work in the same way – using an internet connection. There are a number of systems available on the market.

What can it do?

Like we said, in theory, a smart security system can be set up to do pretty much anything you could want it to do. It can incorporate your locks, burglar alarm and CCTV and even connect to things like smoke alarms and CO2 monitors.

You can therefore do any or all of the following from wherever you are (with an internet connection or mobile phone network):

  • Set or unset the alarm
  • Lock or unlock the doors
  • Be notified if the alarm is triggered
  • Be notified if the alarm is set/unset
  • See real time video of the interior or exterior of your home
  • Be notified of a power cut
  • Be notified if the smoke alarm or CO2 monitor has been triggered
  • Speak to anyone who is in the house or outside it
  • Programme it to perform functions at pre-determined times (eg automatically set the alarm at 11pm)

How could you use it?

Obviously a system as intelligent as this potentially has a wide range of applications. Some are more obvious, such as alerting you to a break in or being able to check whether you’ve set the system before you’ve left, and others are a little less obvious but still really useful. You can:

  • Unlock the door and disable the alarm remotely to let someone in, eg a guest who turned up early or to allow a carer in to look after an elderly relative
  • Allow someone into a limited area of the house, eg open a porch door to allow someone to drop off a parcel. You could watch them do it via a camera and then lock the door after them
  • Be notified when the kids get home from school, or that they have left for school in the morning
  • Be notified if someone has not moved around the house (because it can detect inactivity as well as activity). Again, useful for an elderly relative (or a teenager!)
  • Be notified if someone leaves the house (eg an elderly relative who shouldn’t be leaving or to double check that whoever has left had set the alarm/locked the doors)
  • Remotely turn on lights and close curtains – ideal for when you’re on holiday

The downsides

As with all technological developments, as useful as they are, these systems are not without their issues. For a start, the more functionality you add, the more expensive the solution will be (and the more elements that can go wrong). As well as initial set up, there’s the ongoing cost of maintenance and they could well use more power.

There is a very definite ‘Big Brother’ element to these systems, especially where there are cameras included. For example, while it might be useful for you to know when your teenage children have bothered to rouse from their pit, they may not be keen to have their every movement monitored.

If it’s easy for you to log in remotely then it’s open to potential abuse by those able to hack in and effectively take over your own system. Make sure you set secure login details and don’t compromise your security by writing them down or sharing them with others.

Finally, your system is only as good as your internet connection. If you have no internet, then you won’t be able to access it remotely.

As smart as you need it to be

As with all security solutions, it needs to be designed according to your needs so that it does the job it needs to for the budget that you are comfortable with. Smart systems can incorporate as many or as few functions as you want it to so just consider what your priorities are.

If you would like to talk to us about smart security, or old fashioned traditional security, then give us a call on 0354 833 5543 or get in touch via the website.

This blog has been created for week 3 of National Home Security Month. You can see posts for week 1 (Burglary stats that may shock you) and week 2 (Safe as Houses) as well as other items relating to the campaign. Week 4 will look at dark nights and week 5 is ‘spooky season’. You can get daily security stats via our Facebook and Twitter pages.