Intuitive smart features and advanced technology can bring an added level of comfort to your home that is worth equivalent protection. There are many different security gadgets on the market to keep your home safe, but finding a security system that works for you and smoothly integrates with your smart home automation can be tricky.
Connecting your security devices through your home Wi-Fi network can easily streamline your system and allow for around-the-clock protection. No matter where you are in the world, you can view the pizza delivery arriving at your front steps or receive a broken window alert within seconds of a home invasion. You can easily check the scene, call for back up, or alert the neighbors of any suspicious activity at the touch of a button.
To set up your smart home protection, make a list of security devices you would like to have and set the budget that you are willing to spend. Walk around your new home and take note of any points of entry or other areas that need to be secured. Prioritize the features that you need before the add-ons that you would like to include. There are many options to choose from, so finding the perfect one can take time and careful consideration. Research is key to setting up exactly what you need, but here are a few ideas to get started.
Central Security Hubs
Homeowners who travel often may find solace in knowing that their home is securely protected at all points of entry while they are away. These homeowners may be interested in a smart home security system with a local hub inside the house.
These trusted security systems are compatible with your new smart home and can be accessed remotely from your smartphone or tablet. Smart home security systems usually involve a central hub or device that connects all of your home sensors to a common location using your home Wi-Fi network.
After you select a central security hub, you can easily find all of the compatible gadgets and add-on features, such as door locks, window sensors, alarm triggers, motion sensors, window breakage, floodlight control, smoke detectors, thermostat monitors, and security cameras. These items will easily connect through your central system and can be controlled from your smartphone. Some may even be compatible with Alexa or Google Home devices.
Before you begin mapping out a full surveillance system with all the bells and whistles, it’s a good idea to start simple. Select a door lock that works for your needs and provides the level of security your home requires. Some homeowners have found that a simple electronic keypad will serve their home needs, while others might spring for fingerprint technology or integrated smart locks.
Integrated smart locks can be attached to the inside of the door and will connect to a home automation system. The lock is controlled by an app on your smartphone and easily monitored while you are away on vacation or staying late at the office. Wireless smart locks can also give homeowners the ability to see access logs and to limit specific user access to enter the home at certain points of the day or night.
With an increase in online shopping and home delivery services, it’s easy to see why doorbell cameras have become a hot item. Whether you are at home or away, the ability to see your doorstep can prove invaluable for homeowners who need to know if a certain package was delivered or if there may be an intruder trying to slip inside.
These doorbell cameras can send an alert to your phone when anyone has approached your doorstep with access to view the person via live feed. Some versions allow the homeowner to talk through a speaker to the visitor and request proof of identification. If you were alerted to an intruder, there is potential to scare them away and prevent further damage to your property.
Outdoor Surveillance Systems
Most skilled burglars have an understanding of home security systems and how to avoid being caught on camera. They might wear a mask or other indistinguishable clothing to avoid being seen on camera. However, the ability to stream live video footage of your yard, street view, backyard, or front door can be beneficial if you are checking to see that a tripped motion sensor was more than just a stray dog or a falling leaf on your doorstep.
Video recording devices also allow homeowners to keep an eye on their home at all times and provide the option for future playback. When considering options for video surveillance recording, consider your preferences for data storage. Video recordings might be stored locally on an external drive and erased after a period of time to reduce monthly cost. Some homeowners prefer the convenience of cloud storage although this usually comes with an added monthly fee.
When setting up outdoor surveillance cameras, there are a few tips to keep in mind. Before purchasing, it is a good idea to walk your property and decide how many cameras you need and where to install them. Make sure that every camera is in plain sight and has an unobstructed view. Sometimes, just the sight of a camera is enough to scare a burglar away. Keep in mind common points of tracking and entry, such as doors, driveways, garage entry, and backyard areas.
After installation, test the live feed and make sure the optimal range is extended as far as you intend to view. Keep a log of your camera tests and check in every month or so to make sure the view is still unobstructed by any tree growth or dust. If your cameras come with night vision or motion sensors that trigger floodlights, be sure to test these as well.
It’s important to consider that any type of smart home automation comes with a privacy risk. Any time you connect to the wireless network, your data and information could be hacked. Any door alarms, access logs, smart lock codes may not be secure when transmitted over the Wi-Fi. When shopping for systems, be sure to inquire about cybersecurity and any extra measures that are recommended to reduce your system’s vulnerability to hackers.
The same is true for any video feeds and cloud storage. Hackers can usually find their way through systems with easily guessed passwords and minimal security measures. Make sure your passwords are a random combination of letters and numbers, and change them often for best privacy protection. Homeowners who may not be quite ready to take the leap for live camera surveillance may be interested in adding simple decoy security cameras to scare away novice burglars and opportunistic intruders.
Costs to Keep in Mind
Smart home security systems often range in cost depending on the tiered models and features that are included in the package. Additionally, homeowners should research any added subscription cost or installation fees.
If you are interested in 24/7 professional monitoring services to be included with your home security system, the annual cost is likely to increase significantly. Services such as police or first responder notification at the time of a home invasion will also be a reason to tack on monthly fees. These may be worth the expense if you are worried about potentially missing the phone notification and delaying a police response. However, if you have pets that risk a false alarm trigger, you might consider turning off these automatic responses at certain times of the day.
Finally, be sure to keep installation costs in mind. If you are particularly savvy with electrical devices and home automation, you might consider a reliable DIY smart home security system. For systems on the higher end, which might include a wider variety of security features, homeowners might need to seek professional installation.
Safe and Secure
Keeping your smart home secure can be an easy process with the right tools. Do your research and find a central smart hub that works for you, set up your sensors and locks, then download and connect your phone app for 24/7 monitoring and remote access. No matter if you’re home or away, you can find peace knowing your home and your loved ones are safe and secure.
Melanie Theriault is a writer, counselor, and lifelong learner. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from Southwestern University, where she discovered her passion for fostering human connection through storytelling.