CCTV Is The Most Effective Deterrent Against Burglary And Car Theft

The numbers are in and it’s been confirmed: CCTV is the leading reason why both burglars AND car thieves will keep walking past your house or vehicle, and hone in on a neighbour who doesn’t have a visible deterrent instead.

When you need a product review, you ask an expert, right? If you want to know about a new car or washing machine you want to know what the experts think, so why should home security be any different? And that’s why CO-OP asked a dozen reformed criminals what it was that was the biggest deterrent against them breaking into a house or car.

And so it transpires that basic security lighting is at the bottom of the field while a CCTV camera is at the top. Security lighting is unreliable as it does nothing to spur neighbours into action if it’s triggered. Additionally, because the light goes off again once people stop moving once they’re on your property and forcing a door or window, so long as they don’t move energetically, the light won’t come on again. Allying lighting with cameras on the other hand sends out a strong signal that you’re taking security seriously and recording images of everyone who steps onto your property. Read more

There’s A Smart Future Ahead For Architecture

The Utopia for the ultimate in home technology has always been complete voice control and automation. The idea is often mocked, as evidence by such artists and film makers as Heath Robinson and Nick Park. However, the advances in microtechnology and electronics means that many of the ideas which were the realm of science fiction and comic books are now either available today or currently in development. So how do you go about futureproofing right through from planning to building?

We’re rapidly becoming familiar with smart phones, smart TV and smart speakers, using apps and voice controls to operate heating, lighting, viewing and blinds for example, but is the technology moving faster than architects, designers and builders can keep up?

Manufacturers are busy thinking how they can make their goods connected to the internet of things, we have fridges which will tell you when food is nearing its best before, blinds which will obey your commands, work on a timer, or independently when factoring the sun’s position in the sky, and ovens which can turn themselves off when your roast reaches the optimum shade of cooked, so you don’t have to keep opening the door as the timer runs down, just to check. Read more

Increase Both Speed And Security When You Buy A New Router

Yellow ethernet cables plugged into the back of networking hardware.We’ve been concentrating on how adding new digital devices to your home network has the potential of introducing vulnerabilities into your home network, both for data security and the physical security of your property. However, it’s also worth looking at some of the older equipment that has to go from providing broadband to a couple of computers and phones to supplying data to dozens of different devices, all trying to talk to one another at the same time.

Your home router is essentially the brain and beating heart of your system, an yet it’s quite possible that you’ve not even looked at it since you last changed your internet provider. It’s true, as far as digital technology is concerned, a small box that just sits there with one or two flickering lights is hardly the most exciting piece of equipment, and it only draws attention when it stops working or you need to find it for the sticker with the wireless password printed on it. Read more

New Tech, New Frustrations! How To Get To Grips With Your Brand New Gadgets

Sonos music speaker and a tablet showing the artwork for an album.So it’s been a month, how are you getting on with the new electronic devices you got for Christmas? If you think you’re struggling and that you’re not getting as much out of your tech as possible, you’re not alone. More than a quarter of people surveyed said that they’re not sure how to use their electronics properly, and feel they are probably missing out.

The problem most of us have with electronics we’re not familiar with is that we use it in exactly the same way we used the piece of tech that it is replacing, and if we don’t get to grips with a new feature straight away, it’s unlikely that we’ll ever get to know it. Attempts have been made in the past to teach new users how to improve their interface with the user, you’ll remember of course Microsoft’s paperclip, called, imaginatively enough “Clippy,” a dog called “Rover”, and a wizard called Merlin which would pop up whenever you wanted to do something, getting in the way and giving you flawed advice. Fortunately for all, that particular piece of fury-fuel was discontinued in 2007 after it was noticed that everybody hated it. Read more

The Modern Parent’s Guide To Screen Time For Kids

WiFi enabled tablet in persons handsNobody can deny that IT, interactive and Smart devices are going to play a huge part in our children’s lives, and many people have opinions on how the amount of screen time, that is time children spend using VDUs, smart phones, laptops and tablets is going to affect educational and physical development.

For generations there have been adults who are prepared to wax nonsensical about how whichever latest trend or technological development will slow the mind or adversely affect the physical development of the children and adults who are exposed to it. Not surprisingly the latest generation of nay-sayers have set their sights on touchscreens, voice control, and home automation. Read more

New To Alexa? What To Do With Your Smart Speaker Straight Out Of The Box

Over Christmas Briant Communications and Jacobs Steel, a local estate agent based in Worthing, teamed up to give away a Sonos Smart speaker to one of our Facebook followers. Jonathon won it and dropped by to collect it last week. While he was happy to have one, he quipped that he had no idea what to do with it.

And that’s a problem that a lot of emerging tech has to contend with. People fail to appreciate what brilliant things their gadgets can do and so never get the full benefit of owning such handy home devices. I’m sure we’ve all watched over a colleague’s shoulder as they struggle to do something on their computer or phone because they didn’t know there was an easy way. (Years ago I had a colleague who would copy email addresses for contact by hand and then type them into the address field because he didn’t know you could copy & paste.) There must be any number of things we all do every day that those in the know would find baffling or incredibly timewasting, so how do you get the most from your smart speaker straight out of the box? Read more

Cyber Security For Toys Isn’t Something To Play Around With

R2D2 Smart Enabled WiFi RobotElectronic devices are no new thing. And receiving the latest gadgets for Christmas is a joy since it’s always fun to see what new things they can do to improve your life. However, today there’s a snag. Many connected devices are ‘always on’ and listening for the wake word which lets them know you want them to do something. While what they detect while they await instructions is deleted every few seconds, there is always a chance that your smart devices are vulnerable if you leave the settings as you found them out of the box.

The new electronics you received will likely have cameras as well as mics, and you’ll likely be putting them in every room in the house. Meaning that both your security and privacy can be compromised. While you’re not doing anything wrong in your own home when you think nobody is watching, there’s no reason why you would want any of that data falling into the wrong hands. Read more

Smart Cooking Appliances Are Hotting Up! What’s In The Connected Kitchen For You?

smart kitchen wifi connectedWe know that Smart tech is going to find a really practical home in the kitchen. Find all your recipes, preheat the oven, re-order and do the shopping, turn the lights on so you can see what you’re doing. You can even recalculate measurements automatically if you’re low on one thing or want to make enough to feed an army when the recipe gives you the method for a tiny batch.

The only problem is mess.

With cake mix flying all over the place when you turn the mixer on, gravy dripping from your fingers and water getting everywhere when you try to clean up your tablet or Smart interface could easily get damaged, gummed up or dropped in the sink just when you’re trying to knock up a souffle.

No matter how hard you try not to touch, and you swear you’ll be careful, Murphy’s Law dictates that you’ll drop it, splash it, try to use the touchscreen controls with a spoon or otherwise do something that will in no way help to prolong the life of your devices. Read more

Need To Know Who’s Calling Before You Go To The Door? Talk To Us About Access Control

security door control access monitorHome security is a high priority for many of us today. Crime figures for burglary and vandalism are falling across the UK and many think that’s because of the security measures householders take to ward off intruders before they’re tempted to break in or damage our property. Naturally physical barriers are the bluntest tool to use in protecting our homes but a steel shutter over the front door doesn’t look very appealing. The next best thing to deter would-be thieves is a comprehensive security lighting and camera system which would rather more discreetly tell people to keep moving. However, some people still don’t find these to be subtle enough.

Nobody wants to live in a prison, and locking your home up like Fort Knox is no way to live. So what is the best way to keep an eye on your front door without making your visitors feel like they’re entering the Big Brother House when they drop by to call?

The access control that Briant Communications sell would appear to be the perfect solution. We supply and fit intercoms which look exactly like any other bell push, only ours come with a few extras as standard. So let’s compare and contrast. Read more

Making Your Alexa Family Friendly

If you have kids living with you you’ll no doubt want to set up your Alexa or Google Assistant to make it fun, exciting and most of all safe for children to use. From avoiding playing adult song lyrics and inappropriate content to preventing shopping for goods and services, there are a number of different security measures you can take to make your Smart home system child friendly. (We’ll be talking about Alexa, but all other Smart Home Hubs operate in a similar fashion.) 

First of all, make sure you have all your devices operating on the same account. Most of us have any number of different accounts with a variety of different service providers and it might seem like a good idea to segment your suppliers and accounts but with home automation this just makes things incredibly complicated, unnecessarily confusing and difficult to apply consistent security across all accounts. If you’re using Echo, create a dedicated Amazon account which you can use to manage and control all your apps, actions, recipes and skills. Having them all in one place will also mean that if any of your apps stop working you’ll know where to go to look for the updates and fixes. Having them all together on one Amazon account also means that all your connected devices should work together seamlessly without any need for special recipes or instructions. Read more