Back in the day, if you wanted to make your house and life secure, you installed a standard alarm system and got a loud-barking dog. These days there’s an endless list of ways to keep your home and personal life safe. New smart gadgets and systems are coming out all the time, although it’s not always easy to understand what each one does.
Below are a few new fashionable ways to smartly and safely improve your home.
Many people have a surveillance camera at the front of their home. It’s often suggested that just having a visible camera, working or not, near your front door deters would-be burglars. Video Doorbells are a new and different way to keep watch on your surroundings, with plenty of variety to choose from. With a smart doorbell, as soon as someone presses the button, you receive an alert to your phone. Some video doorbells come with facial recognition technology and even pre-buffer features which record activity as soon as there’s the slightest motion. You can choose battery powered or home wiring, although the colder your climate, the faster the battery dies. Wired doorbells typically are more expensive and take a bit more and are time to install.
Smart Home Devices
It's not just doorbells that are getting more intelligent, either. There are a range of smart devices that can enhance your home, from safety to convenience. Control the temperature of your oven with your smartphone and watch your food cook from any room in the house. Avoid house fires by double-checking you’ve turned your appliances off once you’ve left home. Use voice commands to set your ice maker to the desired setting, or to set the water temperature in your shower. Enjoy a toilet that cleans itself with UV light; time-saving and sanitary!
Unlike old, classic alarms that are operated by a control panel near your entryway, smart alarms are wireless and connected to your Wi-Fi. Arming and disarming traditional alarms can be a real pain. With smart alarms, you control them through an app on your phone. When an alarm goes off you can use an app to quickly see what’s happening in your house.
Before we get into smart lights, keep in mind that any lights around your home, inside or out, can deter people from breaking in, be they high powered streetlights or even just fairy lights. While they have other benefits, security is an important attraction of smart lights. With smart lights, you can control brightness and colours but also program them to come on at scheduled times when you’re away. This can help give the perception that someone is home. Smart lights can also do neat things like light up your entire home as soon as you approach, provided you have your phone on you. Some of these lights can line up with the above mentioned intelligent monitoring gadgets, observing your home environment.
A few news articles recently highlighted that smart lights can be vulnerable to hacking. It’s important to remember that if you connect with anything ‘smart’ it comes with risks.
Privacy and Hacking
If you’re concerned about all these smart devices getting hacked, you can find plenty of gadgets to assist. Consider microphone blockers, USB port locks, webcam covers, hard drive erasers and more.
Beyond technology, you can take other common-sense measures to ensure not only your home is secure but your personal/digital life is as well. It is important that you update passwords regularly and make them hard-to-guess with a combination of numbers, letters, spaces and symbols. Consider getting a password manager like LastPass to manage your passwords.
Make sure you install the latest updates on your devices. Also use common sense when sharing information on social media including your date of birth and location details. Watch out for links or attachments, especially when they’re sent from an unknown source. Be careful with what you do online when using free/public Wi-Fi as they rarely come with much security. Also consider investing in anti-virus software to keep your devices safe.
Whatever technology you decide on to keep your home safe, remember that while it might be excellent, it’s not infallible. Don’t forget to insure your contents as your last line of defence.