Is Your Home Security Butch Enough To Baffle Burglars?

Keeping your home, family, property and person safe is a priority for anyone, but are you doing enough to ensure your security is a deterrent to prevent burglary?

While it’s impossible to guarantee the security of any property there are a number of reasonable and inexpensive steps you can take to ensure your home isn’t the next to be added to the local crime statistics. Some are obvious, such as keeping doors and windows locked, some are less immediately apparent, such as keeping your hedges and fences in good order, so let’s take a look at your house from the point of view of a burglar to see what they see, and what can be done about it.

Kerb Appeal

Despite common misconception, most break-ins take place in daylight and last for between 5 and 10 minutes. Burglars will be drawn to high value items which can be easily sold on, most especially things which can be easily carried, such as jewellery, cash, phones, laptops, and the like. If anyone passing can see into your home, that doors and windows aren’t secure or are old and worn, then they may be tempted to break in and take what they want. Read more

Take Complete Control Of Your Automated Home With Control4

Control4 is one of the world’s leading complete home automation systems, allowing you to take total control of a huge variety of electronic devices with a single touch, swipe or voice command.

Described as an ‘operating system for the home’ by some, it seamlessly connects TV, lighting, security, communications, and entertainment systems not only in the home, but for retail and business premises too. It’s the unified Smart Home system which enhances the experience of all its users by being easy to use, and energy efficient. Control4 integrates and operates with more than 13,000 different third party electronic devices made by a huge range of household name manufacturers of a multitude of diverse durables and services, including Sonos, Nest, Lutron, Hulu, Napster, Apple Macintosh, Pioneer, Bose, Mitsubishi, and Toshiba. All these companies make devices which can easily be added to the Control4 environment, all working together and making use ever easier. Read more

Using Smart Technology To Cut Costs Around The Home

Woman using a digital heating control panelAs well as saving you time, smart home devices can cut costs and save you money too, and while the initial outlay is still higher than other household goods which haven’t been smart-enabled, those prices are falling, meaning that barrier to entry is becoming an ever lower bar.

Smart thermostats by Nest and Hive and lighting controls such as Philips Hue can turn the boiler or lights on and off more efficiently than timers or traditional thermostats because of the intelligent software which they contain. Lights which shut themselves off after a brief interval of inactivity are incredibly annoying, leaving you waving your arms about in the dark waiting for the sensor to see you, so why not use highly efficient energy saving LED bulbs which you can either turn on and off from your phone or program to go off when you leave a room, either as part of an IFTTT sequence or using the location of your phone if you’re leaving the house. Read more

Save Time Now And Prepare For The Future With Labour Saving Smart Tech

As well as being an efficient way of protecting your home from intruders, watch the kids and talk to your pets while you’re at work, and ask questions, smart home devices are perfect for saving time and effort around the house.

We’re very much an ‘on demand’ society these day. We want everything instantly and while modern technology does its best to deliver access as soon as a whim crosses our minds, it has its limitations. And that’s where Smart Technology can come in and save the day!

There’s little worse than coming home to a cold dark house in the middle of winter. So why not let your house know when you’re on your way home and putting the heating on ready for your return? And it’s irritating when you leave home for the day and realise that you’ve left the lights or heating on, so turn it off as soon as you remember, whether that’s from the train, your desk or the airport as you fly off on your holidays.

At the shops and can’t find your list? You should have had your Smart recycling bin send you the list, but never mind, just look at the camera in the fridge and look how low the milk is getting. You can programme it to keep track of the Best Before dates too, so you always have fresh fruit & veg. This is handy for people on the go, and it’s equally handy if you’ve trouble remembering things or you care for a relative who finds it hard to get out. The reassurance you feel from knowing that their fridge is stocked takes a load off your mind. Read more

Smart Home Makes Life Easier For People With Disabilities And Those Who Want To ‘Age In Place’

Smart Home Automation Controlled by a wall panelSmart home technology seems to be about making routine tasks simple and effort free. It’s most appealing to people who are among the most tech savvy, young and engaged with what’s happening on the electronics front. They earn enough money to be able to afford home automation and the devices that are needed to seamlessly integrate Smart tech into their routines. That mundane, boring tasks are taken care of without a second thought. But what about the people whose need is greater? Those who wish to ‘Age in Place’? Or those with disabilities or other lifestyle limiting problems whose lack of engagement with the latest trends in home technology. Not being into tech means that they’re unlikely to hear about the advancements which are taking place, and least likely to appreciate how those innovations are going to help them with their daily lives?

Smart home technology is all about outsourcing routine tasks to a device or app which can do it for you, so it’s perfect for people with disabilities, loss of fine motor controls, dementia, injuries, and mobility problems. However, in the ads we see for Connected Devices we, so far, have only seen the fun side of home automation with happy smiling families enjoying an active lifestyle which Alexa or Google simply add to. How long until we see a wheelchair user or someone with life affecting injuries using their Smart devices to do things which are awkward, or impossible for them to do without help enjoying the benefits that these technologies bring? Read more

Which is Best For Home Cinema, Projector or Flat Screen?

installing motorised home cinema screenIf you’re looking for a large HD picture to watch movies, play games, create a home cinema or just watch regular TV you might think you need to buy a large format TV. However, it may surprise you to know that many projectors are not only HD but 4K compatible, giving a clear, crisp image up to two or three times the size of a comparatively priced HD TV set.

Ideally the room you would set your projector up in to create a home cinema would be dark enough to eliminate ambient and encroaching light. Just like at the cinema, the darker the room the better, but if you want to get a real home theatre experience, that would be equally true for an HD TV too. If you’re converting a basement or loft, rooms which don’t have windows or rooms which can easily be blacked out are the best because the darker the room the better the picture. Consequently a projector with delivers 1,500 lumens would be sufficient for a room which can be completely blacked out, while a room which can’t be blacked out entirely would require a projector of 2,500 lumens and high gain screen to deliver a high contrast, bright image. Read more

Making The Best CCTV Choices

The ever increasing range of security cameras makes it ever harder to make the right choice. The best are usually most expensive, offering a broad range of utilities, but are you paying a premium price for something you’ll never use?

Conversely, the basic CCTV camera systems are more affordable, but may not be able to cater to all your needs. As the saying goes “if you buy cheap you pay twice” as you discover features you needed weren’t included in the original package. That’s why it’s a good idea to talk to a professional installer before investing.

Because Smart CCTV camera systems are expandable, that is you can keep adding more cameras, alarms, sirens and other home security devices to the network it can become confusing as your array increases. Unfortunately the number of recording devices which you can install is limited by your home network or Digital Video Recorder (DVR), the number that your are limited to is dependent on the product you buy and the subscription you take up. Read more

The Smart Way To Deal With Hay Fever This Summer

Dyson Pure Air Purifier

Spring is in the air, we’re throwing our windows open, getting the first fresh air of the year blowing the cobwebs out and also blowing pollen and pollutants in.

Briant Communications offices are located a few minutes’ walk from the sea so we don’t suffer with hay fever much. We don’t get much in the way of airborne particulates, we just get seagulls and gales instead. In summer the air indoors doesn’t get awfully dry but in autumn and winter the air can be very damp. A penetrating damp which makes you cold right through and you feel like you’ll never be able to get warm again.

Thanks to the fresh sea air and good stiff breezes we don’t get too much pollen or dust. There’s a popular myth that household dust is mostly made up of human skin particles, in reality house dust is made up of a delicious cocktail of skin cells, from humans and pets, pollen, traffic pollutants, fabric particles and soil. So not as icky as common legend suggests, but still an unpleasant blend of grot which we all breathe in all day every day. Because so many of these particles are allergenic we have need to come up with a number of different machines, including humidifiers, dehumidifiers and air conditioners in order to filter and purify the air to make it breathable. Read more

The Latest Guide To Setting Up And Getting The Most Out Of Echo And Alexa

Sonos music speaker and a tablet showing the artwork for an album.As of January 2019 Amazon’s own figures say that over 100 million Alexa enabled devices have been sold world wide. Some people simply use them as a smart speaker, while others use them as a hub which they use to automate the entire house. Indeed, if you check on some Facebook Home Automation groups people are complaining that they’ve automated everything and they’ve got nothing left to do, so they’re looking for new projects beyond the home and garden.

However, some people, the less tech savvy, the too busy to set it up properly, the not that interested anyway have Smart devices which they put on the shelf and only talk to occasionally, or not set up at all. Not having it set up at all not only means that the purchase was a waste of money, it means you’re missing out on a huge number of benefits, not including controlling the lights, heat, TV and door. Alexa will also:

• Answer questions, anything from spelling tricky words to help and advice on any subject
• Play music from internet radio stations or from your preferred internet music subscription
• Get recipes, so if you see something tasty on TV you can get the cooking instructions immediately
• Set alerts, alarms and reminders, handy if you’ve got a busy lifestyle or tend to forget medication
• Make phone calls to people in your contacts list
• Send out announcements and work as an intercom with other smart speakers throughout the house Read more

Unlimited Data Means Students And Renters Can Get All The Benefits Of The Smart Home Revolution Too

smart devices, connected devicesA short while ago Three.co.uk started offering a HomeFi wireless home router which delivers unlimited 4G to 32 devices for £22.00 per month. I had to check that was correct, as compared to other providers unlimited internet access for more than 30 phones, laptops, smart speakers, CCTV and alarms seems phenomenally good value. I was assured by the sales assistant that yes, it really was unlimited and, as he signed me up he checked all the ‘unlimited’ boxes on the form, which made me phenomenally happy!

Now, this package isn’t designed for a small business running their entire internet service via this one little Huawei device. You could try to connect 32 computers all streaming movies all day all month, but it’s only a little box which works on a GSM network so the connection just isn’t built for for that kind of data usage, so ‘unlimited’ actually means ‘unlimited depending on the speed and quality of the phone reception you’re receiving’. But if you’re not able to consume huge amounts of data due to the limitations of the phone network, what is it good for? Read more