There “smart home” promises a futuristic experience where everything you need is at your fingertips with a simple voice command, even when you’re away from home. There are some very cool gadgets that allow you to reap the benefits of home automation, and many are built into home security systems. These are smart doorbells, smart locks, smart cameras, smart thermostats, smart lights, and smart smoke alarms. Here’s how each of these home automation devices can work with your home security system.
Smart doorbells and intercoms
One of the most common and security-focused components of a smart security system are smart doorbells. These incorporate a small camera into the doorbell button. When someone rings the doorbell or approaches the door, depending on your system, the doorbell sends an alert to your phone and activates the camera, allowing you to see a clear picture of who is there, wherever you are. Here are the features to look for in a video doorbell:
- High resolution videos
- Motion detection
- Two-way audio
Smart locks are great not only for security but also for convenience, as they often allow you to dispense with keys entirely. What makes them smart is the ability to communicate with your smartphone via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, allowing you to lock and unlock your door from anywhere. Many of them lock and unlock automatically when they detect your phone approaching, so you can come and go without ever having to worry about whether the door is locked. Types of smart locks and how they work There are several styles of smart locks to choose from. The first is the more traditional one, with a numeric keypad or touchscreen where you enter a code that unlocks the door. The second type of lock forgoes the keypad and screen altogether and relies on an application on your smartphone to handle locking and unlocking operations. Fingerprint scanning electronic locks are less common. One last thing to keep in mind when choosing a smart lock is whether or not it will accept keys. Some feel more comfortable knowing they have this capability, but not all smart locks have a traditional key slot.
Smart cameras take the concept of a traditional security camera and expand it to eleven. These cameras connect to Wi-Fi or cellular networks, allowing them to be viewed and controlled remotely via a smartphone application. Many can also archive footage to the cloud, eliminating the need for a potentially complicated on-site storage setup. There are many options in this area. The choice begins with knowing if you want them cameras especially suitable for indoors or models that can also be used outdoors. The main difference is the construction: Outdoor cameras have to survive the elements, which means they’re usually bulkier and made of stronger materials, like metal. Indoor cameras can be smaller and more discreet because they do not risk being damaged or tampered with. Either way, the features to look for are high resolution, wide field of view, motion detection, and audio recording. We usually include Wi-Fi connectivity among the essential features, but since we are talking about smart cameras, Wi-Fi is a given.
Many smart home security systems include smart thermostats. These handy devices save energy, which benefits the environment and your wallet. Like other smart home devices, they connect to your home Wi-Fi network and are controlled by a companion app on your smartphone. The great thing about many of these thermostats is that they learn about your climate preferences, such as whether you like it warmer in the morning, and even what times of day you are home and away. The result is that they can proactively work to keep your home at the most comfortable temperature without you having to lift a finger. And all this with a high degree of efficiency, in some cases reducing energy consumption by 30% or more. As a final benefit, smart thermostats can send an alert if the temperature in your home gets excessively high or low, which could indicate a fire or a risk of freezing pipes.
Smart lighting combines convenience and safety. These are Wi-Fi enabled LED bulbs that can be controlled from a smartphone application. You can turn the bulbs on or off – manually or according to a schedule -, turn them off and choose their color from a seemingly infinite range of hues. And all of this can be done from anywhere. You no longer have to worry if you have remembered to leave a light on before leaving on vacation. There are many good choices for smart lighting, but two of the most popular are Philips Hue and LIFX. Bulbs can be purchased individually or in starter kits for convenient setup. They may seem a little expensive as a bulb, but keep in mind that they are LED bulbs, so they last much longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. Philips estimates its Hue bulbs have an average lifespan of 15,000 hours.
Smart smoke alarms
The last common home automation feature of a security system is the humble smoke alarm. This device takes the traditional smoke alarm and brings it into the digital age, with Wi-Fi connectivity and the ability to communicate and pinpoint the exact location of a fire. The coolest thing about these alarms is that they can send alerts to your phone, so you’re notified of any problems even when you’re away from home. In addition, you can easily silence them in case of a false alarm: who has never triggered the smoke alarm at least once while cooking? Among the best in this category are the Nest Protect and First Alert Onelink. Both detect carbon monoxide as well as smoke and warn in a human voice rather than a screeching alarm tone. If you have more questions about home automation systems, take a look at our home automation guide.
What are the Smart Home or domotic features of security systems? | 5gnews.it