The security of your home and family is important. Home security can include everything from improve locks and lights to adding 24/7 monitoring and more. Basic security installations begin at quite affordable prices, and costs usually rise along with the complexity and number or systems incorporated. The same can be said for automated home security. The many options in security automation can suit almost any budget and environment, helping to personalize your home for your exact needs.
Whole House Security Systems
Whole house security systems allow you to monitor everything in your environment, even when you're away from home. Basic options come with DIY kits that link to your smartphone or tablet, while more inclusive packages may be connected to a security monitoring agency.
Motion detectors are an essential part of a whole house security setup. Motion detectors may often be involved in indoor automated lighting through occupancy detection and outdoor motion lights on the grounds and entry. Motion detection technology is also used for automated alarm systems.
Most motion security sensors rely on passive infrared beams that trigger a sensor when the beam is interrupted by a body. This means the beam doesn't technically sense motion, but a change in heat from where the person is ever-so-slightly changing the ambient temperature of the room. These beams flow across a detection area, so for an entire house, multiple beams would be needed.
Typically used in doorways, these beam alarms are often used in conjunction with sensors on windows and door locks that rely on complete or incomplete sensors to report system status. When the system receives the message, it will report to the alarm company and sound the alarm. Advanced systems may have additional capabilities, like humidity and photo or light sensing technology. The Canary home security system can even detect sounds which may indicate an intruder.
Automated cameras operate on much the same principles as motion alarms. Motion activated cameras are commonly used in businesses for loss prevention, to capture photos of elusive wildlife, in nanny-cam style devices, and even to catch speeding motorists on the road. The majority of home automated cameras are used to capture motion and create a record, as opposed to motion detected alarms with are designed to create an alert for help. Dropcam is probably the most well-known option for motion based cameras. The platform also includes two-way communication and night vision integrated into a single app.
Additional automated camera options are often used to monitor different aspects of the home. Automated IP cameras setups can be placed throughout the house to connect to your computer or tablet and allow access via smartphone. More popular uses include:
- Business or office monitoring - keep track of important files and finances
- Pet monitoring - know you really know who got into the trash
- Entry security - IP cameras allow two way communication, so you can answer the door even from the office
- Senior monitoring - go beyond an alert bracelet and get help quickly after a dangerous fall
- Baby monitoring - replace expensive baby monitors with an integrated IP option
Doors & Locks
The front door (or in some cases the back) are the main portals into your home. As such, remember to lock the door is an important part of security. For those of us who are a little forgetful, figuring out how to unlock things can also be a big deal. For this reason, locking automation is one of the biggest and best security features out there. As with our other security features, these items can be integrated into an whole house plan by a professional installer or a DIY kit from groups like SmartThings.
Additional options include retrofitting existing locks. This great kickstarter got our attention for it's ability to fit over your existing deadbolt. Lockitron combines the old lock with new lock-app technology. Well known hardware industry names include Schlage's Camelot Touchscreen Deadbolt with anti-tampering and alarm built-in. Kwikset offers a Smartcode Deadbolt partnered with Home Connect Technology featuring Zigbee to communicate with other devices in your home and creates email and text messages too. For a lengthy listing of some promising innovations in automated lock technology, check out this list from CEPro.
Garage Doors & Gates
Garage doors are more complicated than the other doors in your house. For that reason, monitoring and automating these devices is a little different too. Many home automation packages will include a garage door feature, like Vivint's Tilt Sensor.
This sensor sends you messages if the garage door is left open or is active for an unusual amount of time. Standalone systems like LiftMaster are work to both monitor and manage your entry system. Working with compatible garage door technology, the sensors allow you to communicate via smartphone to open and close your entries as you like.
Smoke, Fire, and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
At first, automating a ceiling or wall detector may not make much sense, since most of us rarely interact with these devices in the first place. While automated detectors, won't provide much day to day amusement, the uses can be invaluable while you are out of the house. Working like a standard detector, these devices emit a piercing alarm.
Unlike traditional detectors, these items will send you a text or email alert at the same time as the alarms sounds. This allows you to call the fire department, rush home, and use your automated cameras to check on any people or pets that may be in danger. Another safety sensor includes wireless flood sensors like the Everspring z-wave model, which provides similar alerts, but for water and flooding. Whole house systems can also send alerts to qualified monitoring agencies and response units.