Back in the days of analogue television changes came slowly. The leap from black and white to colour only took 31 years, and it was only another 40 years before the start of the Digital Changeover in 2007. Cathode ray technology itself didn’t really change either. It was possible to watch colour broadcasts on an old black and white TV, and you probably still can if you can find a digital box with a coax output, but things are very different with digital technology.
Today things are rather different. The rush to develop the blackest, flattest, richest colour flattest screen is something that drives all television manufacturers to create new ranges of TV every year. So when is the best time to buy a new flat screen TV? Read more
When they were first introduced Smart baby monitors were hacked thanks to their poor security and frequently used as an example for the necessity of keeping your internet security locked tight.
However, if you’re a new parent but you’re busy, your baby has a condition which means you prefer the peace of mind of watching over them or your family has experienced SIDS in the past then a Smart baby monitor is invaluable for your peace of mind.
Analogue baby monitors were passive devices, essentially a mic attached to a transmitter which you left in the room with the baby, and a receiver with a speaker which you put in the room where you were. All you could do with it was hear that the baby was breathing, or, if you invested in the top of the range baby monitors, you could talk back to the baby. The monitor that the parents kept with them often had indicator lights which would light up to indicate the sound of breathing, but that was it as far as visual and sonic alarms went. Read more
A Smart alarm system is an alarm system which connects to your home hub so it can alert you to anything, and be controlled from anywhere, so long as you have internet connection. Unlike Smart Security systems the alarms can sound on the property, making everyone aware that an emergency has been detected while security systems are designed to deter intruders and gather information such as photos and video.
Of course you can run the two concurrently so if anyone is willing to break into your property they will be caught on camera and an ear splitting alarm will also sound, hopefully making them stop and leave.
What Makes Smart Alarms Different?
The benefit Smart alarm systems have over traditional hard wired alarms is that they are often battery operated and can be installed anywhere with a simple adhesive pad or a couple of small screws. There should be no need for drilling or cabling. Because they work with your WiFi network instead of a cable phone line it’s easy to add new devices, so you can start off small and add new pieces of hardware as you see fit. Your alarms will communicate with your hub via WiFi or Bluetooth and can be controlled via an app on your phone or tablet, or on the Home Hub.
Smart alarms don’t just let you know when there’s a fire, flood or carbon monoxide emergency, because they can be operated from anywhere they let you check up on things when you’re on the go. If you just popped out but found you’re going to be away from home longer than expected, arm the security and set the alarms from wherever you are. You can also use Smart home technology to turn the heating off or even feed the pets if you have a smart feeder! Read more
There’s very little difference between Smart alarm systems and CCTV security as far as installation and effect is concerned. Either will alert you to the fact that there is an emergency on your property or in your house. In the past a security system linked to a burglar alarm would have meant installing cable, sensors and a big ugly box on the outside of your home which would scream and flash whenever the alarm was triggered. Today installation is nothing like as hard thanks to Smart Home Security systems, while coverage and adaptability are greatly improved.
Your Smart Home Alarm differs from your Smart Home Security only insomuch as your alarm system will let you and the intruder know audibly when someone triggers the security system you have protecting your property. Smart security will alert you to break-ins, intruders on your land, take video footage of them and, depending on your set-up, let emergency services know. However, there’s no reason why the two systems can’t be synchronised so that anything that happens in your home late at night or while you’re away will trigger an alert to let you, your burglar, and the police know.
So, while your old fashioned alarm system had a panel by the front door which you would need to arm whenever you left the house and input your disarming code when you came home your smart alarm can be controlled from a panel on the wall, a Smart Home hub, or from your smartphone via an app. With geofencing, technology which lets your smart home know where you are by tracking your phone, you can automatically arm the alarm every time you leave the house and disarm it when you come home again without needing to touch the control panel. Friends, family, carers or other trusted parties can be added to your approved list so they can let themselves in in case of emergency without setting off the alarm. Read more
When you invest in a Smart Home alarm system you don’t just get alarms, you get cameras, door and window sensors, smoke, fire, water and CO detectors too. You can buy a full outfit for your home, or you can start off small and add more devices as you discover you need additional sensors and detectors. Your home security alarm package is adaptable and customizable, not only can you add new detectors and alarms, you can add skills and If This Then That (IFTTT) when particular events occur. DIY kits are a good entry level security solution which you can usually install in an afternoon while professionally installed systems take about as long for an engineer to install, after planning the coverage that your property will receive and installing all the appropriate devices, installing the software and hardware and syncing all the devices together.
As well as opting between DIY or professional installation, you can choose between DIY and professional monitoring as well. With DIY monitoring you’ll receive emails, SMS and Push notifications when sensors and motion detectors are triggered, whereas if you choose professional monitoring an agent will be notified and, depending on what they observe, will attempt to contact you in person. If they can’t contact you via the above methods they’ll try to phone you. If they still can’t contact you then they will call the emergency services. Read more
Everyone hates car alarms going off in the middle of the night. Unfortunately we’re so used to car alarms going off for no good reason most neighbours will be far more likely to call to complain about the nuisance than they are to call the police to report a crime. So how can you use your smart home tech to alert you if your car parked outside your home, or business vehicle is broken into and stolen while parked overnight?
There are a number of different devices which can be installed in your car or van that will alert you to when it is moving, and its current location. They can immobilize your vehicle if you don’t have the right key and no transponder is present, or they can simply make a hell of a lot of noise. Read more
Satellite and cable TV still offers many more options than the free to air services do. However, with the introduction of internet speeds so fast that it’s possible to watch, download and record more than one thing at the same time the way subscription based TV delivery is changing too. Sky, Virgin Media, BT and many others are all offering fast broadband which will let you not only watch and record TV, you can do all your online browsing, shopping, gaming and run your Smart Home network with it too. Which begs the question, which is best for you?
Trying to identify which is the best is like trying to guess the length of a piece of string. Every home’s needs are different, and so the best packages will be different too. For example Sky Q offers a basic subscription service (including all the channels currently available on Freeview) which you can expand buy buying additional ‘passes’. These allow you to access additional channels which are devoted to kids movies, sport, entertainment, history, and so on. BT has introductory offers on TV and broadband which include HDTV, superfast fibre, additional disks to eliminate WiFI blind spots and other hardware including Amazon Echo, Fitbits, and Samsung Galaxies. Read more
If you’re a PC user you’d never think of going onto the internet without first installing an antivirus software package. If you’re a Mac user you’ve been spared this hassle, although some pundits suggest that Macs need protection too, it’s never been an issue that has been taken too seriously.
But it’s becoming increasingly important, as people use their broadband for services other than surfing the internet that you get not only your computer, but your whole home wifi network protected, indeed, even when you’re using a Mac.
Because there are so many devices, including lightbulbs, CCTV, ovens and fridges which use a wifi connection to communicate with one another a comprehensive solution is required. It’s simply not possible to install a suite of malware, Trojan and virus protection on the chip that turns your lightbulb on and off so it’s vital that you protect your network at source, by installing antivirus on your PC and router. Installing antivirus on your router is almost as easy as it is on your computer, it simply needs following a few additional steps. Depending on the device you use it’s most likely to mean plugging the computer into the router via an Ethernet cable (which would have come in the router’s packaging when it was bought), downloading the software from a reliable source, and saving it in the place directed by the setup wizard. Read more
Being interested in all manner of smart home automation and IoT devices I’m naturally a member of several Facebook groups dedicated to the subject. Some are informative and worth staying with, some are a waste of time and better left rather than letting them annoy you unduly.
In one of these groups a question was asked by Danny: “So I was wondering anyone has done this or knows if it is possible. I use Google home across my house and I want to put approx 6 speakers in my ceiling and link them back to the Google home so the music plays through them. Does this involve taking the Google home apart and soldering new wires for the speakers ?”
Now, I know social media is a great way to get tips, advice and help for a range of different DIY subjects, so I’m not criticising the original poster for that, but if you’re thinking of taking your electronic devices apart and soldering peripherals onto it, there’s a chance you might just void your warranty. Oh, and you might just add the risk of fire or electrocution if you’re an amateur permanently adding additional cable to your electronic devices. Read more