Have Yourself A Smart, Secure Christmas

home security, secure, alarm, christmas preparationsFor many of us Christmas means a long car ride to see relatives back home or entertaining them in your house for a few days. Many people dread it, many relish it. Many also use the holiday season as an excuse to get away somewhere warm instead of facing another cold, wet, windy week of enforced joviality and sociability.And of you’re lucky enough to be one of those people who are going to be jetting off to sun, sea, sand and sangria (or a yogic retreat, nobody’s judging), you need to ensure that your home is properly prepared. Not long ago boosting your security would be leaving some lights on and asking a neighbour to bring the mail in and look after the cat. Today much of your home prep can be done automatically so you always know exactly what’s going on at home wherever you are in the world.

Managing your home remotely isn’t only for Christmas, although it does take a huge burden off during the most wonderful time of the year. The great thing about home automation is that there is so much you can do with it that rather than being worrisome, you can relax knowing that if anything does happen it won’t happened without your knowing about it.

Before You Go Away

Firstly, if you’re leaving your house unattended for more than a day or two it may be necessary to make sure that the pipes don’t burst or your goldfish freeze. In that case a Smart thermostat is a handy item to have attached to the central heating system. With a smart thermostat you can decide which rooms need heating without having to get down to all the valves every time you want to adjust a particular radiator. Instead you can do it simply from a control panel or app, and you can control the temperature far more subtly.

Secure Against All Kinds Of Emergency

The fact that your thermostat is smart means it will detect by itself when you’re away and essentially go to ‘standby’ or ‘threshold settings’ by itself. If you’re going away for longer, a few weeks say, it may be necessary to check what the lowest settings are, but if you forget, you can always do it remotely. Read more

The Smartest Gifts To Give This Christmas

It’s less than a month until the last Christmas day of the decade, and of course that means we’re going to give you Briant Communications‘ recommendations for the best Smart Tech Automated Home devices which are currently available.

Smart technology really is a practical application for many people as it allows almost unlimited management through very simple interfaces that almost anybody can use. If you’re able to speak or use a touch screen then you’re probably going to be able to control many, if not most Smart home devices, making them perfect no only for the too-busy-to-do-stuff but those with disabilities and who may not have the strength to get up every time they need to answer the door, turn on a light or adjust the heating. Read more

Get Smart, Get Superfast WiFi Access Throughout Your Home And Garden

The convenience of wireless it that you can take your networked devices anywhere with you. Desktop computers no longer outcompete laptops, except that they don’t need recharging and the screen size isn’t limited to the dimensions of a laptop. Phones work everywhere, and Wi Fi enabled speakers can be set up anywhere you want throughout the home to enjoy hifi quality sound in every room. The only drawback was that stray too far from the router, into the garden for example, and your wireless connected devices would start to misbehave. Sound stutters, downloads pause and streaming TV or movies pause (invariably at the moment where the action gets exciting).

While this is irritating for those of us who use Wi-Fi strictly for entertainment, for those of us who have Smart Home Automation a poor Wi-Fi signal means that devices such as burglar alarms and CCTV can’t be relied upon. If you work from home as a writer, designer, musician, or any other profession which requires instant and dependable access to digital communication, including internet, Skype, or file transfer platforms a poor signal in the home is a problem. And if you’ve set up your office or studio in an outbuilding or converted the garage into a workshop then one option is running a cable from your Wi-Fi or internet router to your laptop or desktop. A far from perfect solution. Read more

Chip Shop Uses Smart Security Systems To Catch A Criminal

break in, shop, security, smart security, police, crime prevention,Shopkeepers have always had to have an eye to their own security. While any homeowner can simply shut their doors to strangers, it’s retailers and service providers who have to keep their doors open to all comers in order to make their living. We’ve all seen the hand-written crime prevention signs saying “no more than 2 schoolchildren in the shop at one time” and felt the indignation of the young. But the store holder clearly felt that insulting and alienating what is probably a large part of their passing trade, by implying that they couldn’t be trusted if not closely observed, was worth it.

Today we’re much more familiar and comfortable with CCTV cameras than we were in the past. We understand that observation protects us, notwithstanding some people’s paranoia about mass surveillance and government intrusion. With police cuts there are fewer police on the beat, and city centres are overstretched at night over the weekend, so CCTV monitoring is in place to deploy police where they are needed the most, breaking up disturbances and preventing assaults more efficiently than patrolling the streets, despite this having the notional effect that the police are now paramilitary, while ‘community policing’ has gone by the wayside. Read more

Preparing Your Home For Another Stormy Winter On The South Coast

poor aerial installationAs October draws on it’s a good time to think about preparing your home for the storms and snow that houses in the south east of England face this winter.

People who live on the south coast and along the South Downs will be more than familiar with the gales which can batter the region for days any time between October and April. We’re inured to it and laugh inwardly at those who are new to the area, who think that an umbrella will be of any consequence against weather which is coming in sideways.

But right now is the perfect time to prepare your house for winter, and all that it brings. Summer is a time when we’re all out enjoying the benefits of living in southern England, but now, as the nights draw in and the thermometer falls, it’s time to plan for the worst it has to offer.

Maintenance and Repairs

Autumn is the perfect time to carry out domestic repairs as the jobs which need doing reveal themselves. You won’t have noticed the rattling draughty windows during summer as they were all flung open to let the fresh air in, but now you’ve closed them you notice how much care they need. The same goes for many maintenance jobs.

Sash windows are prone to rattle and let in drafts. Wedges in the corners will hold them still and reduce a lot of the drafts, however, a draft excluder designed for small gaps inserted where the bottom and upper sash meet fill the equivalent of a two inch square home in every window in the house. Read more

Cheap Home Security Cameras Are Actually More Risky Than Nothing At All

pet cam, pet monitor, baby monitor, baby cameraOne of the most popular home gadgets of recent years has been the home camera. They’re sold as a baby, pet or security monitor which allow you to watch what is going on at home from wherever you are. People love them because as a baby monitor you can see as well as hear what your child is doing, letting you judge if you have to dash upstairs to prevent disaster, or take it easy, it was just a doll falling out of the cot.  

They’re handy as a pet monitor too. Dogs left at home get bored, and can often be anxious if left alone for too long. Their feelings can manifest themselves in destructive behaviour, or making a mess of your home. A pet monitor here lets you know if the dog is behaving, and if you opt for a camera with a mic attached then you can tell Fido that you’re watching and not to misbehave!

They’re also handy as security devices too. They may not be a visible deterrent to burglars preventing a break in from taking place, but they do let you see what’s going on at home and, if necessary, you can use them to record footage of any intruders walking around your house and call the authorities based on the images you see coming from your camera. Read more

Looking For The Best Electronics Installation Professionals In The South East Of England? They’re On This List

installation engineer, fibre optic, flat screen, satellite dish, aerial, security, CCTV, burglar alarmInstalling home entertainment and Smart Home Technology, including flat screen TVs, wireless burglar alarm systems, Smart CCTV cameras, aerials and satellite dishes isn’t a job for just any old handyman. For a reliable installation carried out by expert professionals it’s best to call in specialised tradesmen who carry regulatory body membership, insurance, who offer warranties and also guarantee their work and the products they use.

Before you agree to allow workmen to carry out work installing TV receivers, cables, security cameras and alarms, as yourself, and them these questions:

Is this company qualified?

Anybody installing Smart Home Automation devices should be a CEDIA member. CEDIA are the Smart Home trade association so you can rest assured that if your installer is a member they will hold all the necessary certification required.

Companies who carry out other home entertainment installations, such as flat screen TV installations and putting aerials or satellite dishes on the roof don’t need to be members of a trade body, but should carry insurance to protect themselves, and you, in case of any accidents during the installation, or as a consequence of the work they undertook. Read more

Top 5 Gadgets for Starting Out In Home Automation

home automation, smart home, connected devices, connected homeAs Smart Home installation engineers we meet people at every stage of their Home Automation journey. From those just starting out to those who are fully cognisant with the tech but need help with the labour it takes safely and securely fit the Smart devices they want in their homes.

Many people still don’t grasp what a connected home has to offer. They see the devices fitted with Smart technology as simply gadgets, knick-knacks which you put around your house for entertainment’s sake, but have no real practical use. It’s only when we explain the many different applications these devices can be put to, the way they can be controlled and control one another that the potential benefits become clear.

The ideal place to begin is to explain what practical tools a Smart Home can be started off with. Once the concept and application have been grasped the possibilities explode! Everyone’s needs and wants are different, so the fact that Smart Home Technology can be so adaptive and expandable is just what the doctor ordered!

So, if you’re one of those people who’s heard about Home Automation, who likes labour saving, energy efficient tools, but you’re not sure what the Smart Home has to offer you, read on.

Video Doorbell

Intercoms are nothing new. From old buildings converted to flats to businesses in office blocks we’ve all buzzed and struggled to hear the voice coming from the panel on the door frame. But today’s Smart access control is very different. Now there’s no need to go to the handset on the wall to let people in, you can admit anyone you want from wherever you are instead. Not only can you speak to people on the doorstep, you can see them, but they can’t see you. That means that if you’re in the bath, in the garden, on the sofa, even away from home, you can see who’s calling and either let them in or ask them to come back another time. Read more

Wifi Signal Extenders or Mesh Networks, Which is Best To Ban Blindspots and Increase Speeds?

smart home, connected devices, wifi signalSmart Home systems are the tech revolution the world seems to have been waiting for since the invention of science fiction, maybe even longer. The ability to simply ask a robot to carry out all of the mundane tasks, to have everything controlled from a simple device, and to be able to see and do things from anywhere we like was always on the cards, because we could see people doing it on Star Trek, and we knew that one day science reality would catch up with science fiction.

But with so many things the surface is glossy and works perfectly, but underneath there is a whole raft of issues which need dealing with before your tech can work properly. And one of the main considerations for people looking for whole-home connectivity is signal strength.

Clearly, in order to work effectively, the Connected Home needs to be connected. In the past if there was a spot where signal was weak then we just wouldn’t try to connect to the internet from that room. Today however, with Smart Home devices being what they are, it’s not reasonable for anyone who’s interested in making their home Smart to simply write off a room, the garden or an outbuilding because of poor wifi signal. Read more

What Smart Home Technology Should You Be Fitting In Your New Home?

installation, fibre, broadband, home technologyOne way out of the current housing crisis, the most obvious one some would say, is simply to increase the housing stock with affordable new homes so that people on median incomes can afford to put down roots and set up a home of their own. There are currently many brownfield sites both inside and skirting towns and cities throughout the UK which would benefit enormously from the stimulus of having housing available to people who are currently spending up to half their income on rent. But what does this have to do with Smart Home Technology Solutions?

While this housing stock will need to be build with cost savings in mind, it will also need to have technology which will adapt as future needs change. No builder today would forego wiring or pipework on the understanding that “if anybody wants running water or electricity they can put it in themselves!” And equally builders, architects and specifiers need to start thinking about media in the same terms.

Buildings Of The Future Need To Be Future-proof

Britain has a commitment to providing superfast broadband to anyone who wants it by 2020, but it’s of limited value if it stops at the front gate and the home isn’t prepared for accepting everything that it affords.

So what should the Home Of The Future have built in to be ready for this Superfast internet revolution?
Read more