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. Now, one good place to start off searching and reading the reviews of these appliance is unclutterer. Check it out, you won’t regret it.

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

What’s Up Baby? The Smart Monitor Choices

baby monitor image courtesy of www.maxpixel.net

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

What Is A Smart Alarm System?

Man looking at an access control panel on the outside of a houseA 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

Choosing The Best Network Provider To Suit Your Needs

TV, tv channels, choosing TV providerThe way television is being delivered is leaping into the 21st century and choosing how you get your TV and broadband package is becoming ever more confusing.

Up until the 80s there was only really one way to get TV, and that was through your aerial. Once Sky came to Britain satellite TV has been becoming ever more popular, but the free analogue channels were still the way most of us received television. In the 2010s we saw the Digital Takeover, meaning that we need a Freeview box to watch hundreds of channels, or listen to dozens of radio stations.

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

How Can Anti Virus Software Protect Your Whole Home, Contents Included?

WiFi enabled tablet in persons handsIf 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

When Social Media Isn’t The Smart Answer For DIY Jobs

DIY smart devices, wireless, speakerBeing 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

Mesh Networks, What Are They and Are They Worth It?

Hands holding a wifi enabled tabletA few years ago anyone complaining about poor WiFi signal in their home would receive the sage advice “well, stand somewhere else then”. Today though, strong, consistent, reliable signal is not only something that we all expect wherever we go, it affects how our entire home communications and entertainment systems work, and it can even knock thousands off the value of your home.

Broadband service providers such as BT are tackling the problem with their superfast fibre broadband and discs, circular routers which can be placed about the home in poor signal areas in order to boost coverage so that all of your connected devices work perfectly. Several mesh network WiFi providers offer small, discreet additional points which act as routers and then there’s Powerline, a set of routers which plug into the power supply and extend the WiFi reach in whichever room they are located in. Read more