Smart home security technology is the next wave of defence against home burglaries – but how can you set up a smart home security system that can thwart would be robbers before they even enter the home, and how can you use the next generation of smart home technology to ensure that if they do enter your property, they get caught red handed?
With Christmas 2016 rapidly approaching, our attention turns to how we can protect our homes as we vacate them for Christmas. Tomorrow represents the great Christmas get-away, myself included, and this turned my attention to considering how we can leverage smart home technology to ensure that our homes are as safe as possible. It is after all a sad fact that robberies spike around this time of the year, with folks seeking illegitimate ways to do their Christmas shopping or simply trying to take advantage of homes filled with new goodies.
Thankfully there is an array of smart home security tech out there which can help us fortify our homes and protect our possessions in ways which simply were not possible even 2 years ago. I remember in Christmases gone by that my folks would simply leave a light on at home to act as a deterrent, but thankfully now things have moved on. Lets look at a few ways you can leverage the more common smart home tech to our home security advantage
Tactic one – Protect your home with intelligent smart lighting
Smart lighting solutions like Phillips Hue bring app based control to your smartphone. Alternatively you can use smart plugs from companies like Wilkins in order to act as a modern day ‘smart’ upgrade on the old timer switch (hands up if you remember those – a real fixture of my Christmases past!).
The idea here is to leverage the idea of randomly changing lighting schedules in order to do a better job of mimicking being home.
The problem with traditional timer switches is that they work to set allocated times, and as such your lights will all come on (and go off) at the same time everyday – which if you’re home is being monitored by would-be thieves, would be leaving a tell-tale sign. With a solution like a smart switch or full-scale smart lighting, you can simply flick the lights on and off from your relatives house on the other side of the world if needed. The result, a totally random pattern which is really hard to detect through observing a home. Frankly, anybody watching this would likely think there are easier and safer ‘targets’ out there, and leave your home alone
Tactic two – use motion detectors to trigger lights inside the house
Smart motion detectors are common the market now, and can be used to trigger internal lights. We’re likely all used to having them outside, you know the score, the outside light come son as you walk towards your front door, but having a motion detector trigger some internal lights is much less expected. You can upgrade this solution by setting random trigger intervals (and time that the light stays on) to avoid leaving an automation finger-print. Again, this tactic could be just powerful enough to deter would be robbers, and to persuade them that there are better targets out there.
Tactic three – use smart outdoor cameras
There are a vast array of outdoor security camera solutions which are much more sophisticated and often much more discrete than traditional bigger, bulkier systems. These have the advantage of recording directly to the cloud, which in turn ensures that a) any footage is securely captured and can’t be destroyed along with the camera and b) it can be accessed remotely – so if you need to, you can download and share with the police ASAP.
When setting these cameras up you need to cover off the different access points to your property. Doors are obvious, but also side windows and other such locations on the home. Also remember that subsidiary targets like garages are commonly targeted by thieves, especially if the garage is standalone to the home.
Tactic four – door and window sensors can be used to trigger home alarm systems
Solutions like the Hive door and window sensors are a great way to get an early warning of trouble. Some of them are more visual too, with for example flashing LED lights – which means that when positioned obviously, they can act as a cheap and effective deterrent.
Once installed, you will get a warning to your smartphone if a door or window opens, letting you take action if you know nobody is at home.
We recommend focussing on prominent potential break-in spots and to make them as visual and as obvious as you possibly can. This way they are more likely to save the heartache of an actual break-in.
Tactic five – smart indoor security systems can recognise faces and alert when something is wrong
Indoor smart security cameras have advanced to the stage that they utilise face recognition tech to recognise when people get home, and alert you if somebody is in your home who ought not to be. The Welcome focusses on recognising when the kids get home from school, and letting you know all is well, but it also stands out as a valuable way to ensure you know if somebody is in your home who should not be.
Tactic six – less smart but definitely cheaper – use some dummy CCTV cameras
This is the opposite of ‘smart home’, but there is still a time and a place for some old fashioned dummy cameras. There are models on the market that really look the part, and you would honestly never know. Obviously if a burglar takes his/her chances and does break in, a dummy camera will do you no good at all. However, they are much cheaper than buying a fully fledged smart solution and in actuality, they likely achieve 80% of the benefits.
Good home security is at least 80% about deterring would be thieves and making them realise that there are much easier targets out there.
Tactic seven – use a motion detector to trigger a radio to turn on
My final tip for using smart home security systems, involves thinking outside of the box and taking advantage of what the Internet of Things stands for – interconnecting devices which you may never have known or dreamed could ‘talk’ with one another.
So one possibility, going back to the smart motion detector, is to connect it up with something like a radio or TV. This could easily be achieved by using a smart plug, which triggers with the motion detection.
If somebody stalking your home may not ‘fall for’ an internal light triggering, then they may get somewhat more spooked by the TV or radio coming on.
This last one is food for thought but it may well be that the best tip of them all is to be inventive and to come up with a combination of smart home products which combine to provide a very innovative and unique line of defence for you home. The less its a known tactic, the more likely it is to work.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!