Christmas time is a time for families to spend time together. Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, and all that. So you might think that home security is something that can take a back seat, since even burglars have homes and families who want to see them at Yuletide.
Or so you might think. The reality is that while burglaries increase over the summer, they also spike around Christmas time. Because extended families like to get together households will be on the move as they do the round robin, paying visits to mum, dad, grandparents, then the inlaws, making a surprising number of properties empty all day for several days in a row. And because all the attention is focused inwards, people are less aware of what’s happening in the gloomy, rainy, cold streets where they live.
Christmas also means outings and shopping trips which can drag on for hours. This gives unwanted visitors ample time to observe your home and chance their arm if they’re confident you’re tied up elsewhere.
And your home will offer rich pickings too. All your old property, and all the presents under the tree too, make Christmas a bonanza for intruders. So how can you use basic every day tech to make your home safer? Read more
Halloween has always been one of my favourite holidays. I love horror movies, the dressing up, the sweets and tasty treats as the leaves turn, and then it’s just a week to Guy Fawkes night and all the fun that fireworks and bonfires bring. What could be better?
But it just occurred to me how much more fun you can have with a wireless home hub haunting your home.
Let’s face it, when you think about it, a home hub is a little bit like being haunted by a really helpful ghost. You shout out the name and a disembodied voice calls back, answering your questions and doing things, moving things about, turning lights on and off, even making the temperature drop, if you tell it to turn on the AC!
Scooby Doo-ify Your Home And Garden
Let’s take a walk through the gates of your GeoFence and look at what can be done to make your home automatically spooky. Many brands of security cameras and wireless access systems allow you to have a conversation with callers at your door, and motion detectors will turn security lights on as soon as anyone approaches. If you have ‘If This Then That’ (IfTTT) enabled devices you can create a light and soundscape using switches to turn on any number of Halloween tricks. They don’t need to be smart themselves, just activated by a smart plug. Smart speakers can be set to come to life, screaming, moaning, or playing spooky sounds as your visitors walk up the garden path.
Once your Trick or Treaters have made it past the first line of defence, they are free to press on your doorbell. Greet them with compliments or curses regarding their costumes. If they’re guests to your Halloween party, unlock the door remotely, with a chilling creak (pre-recorded if you don’t happen to have a squeaky door on hand) and invite them in…
Once they’re over the threshold they can experience your home of eerie chills while you let them stew. Turn lights on and off, play music or sound effects, even create different playlists to play in different rooms, creating different moods for each area. Your interior security can identify not only movement, but whether that movement is a person or a pet. Use IfTTT to set off different events such as animating skeletons and giggling witches if anybody dare move.
You can set the lights to come on and off automatically as people pass through the house, and light activated switches can turn anything on and off, such as spooky smelling air fresheners, (I don’t know, mouldy pumpkin?) and electronic spooky Halloween shower curtains. (no, I’m not making that up!)
Basically, if you can plug it in, you can use technology to make it come on and stop again remotely, seemingly as if by magic. But if you’re getting into the party spirit, a smart home hub can be incredibly helpful with that too.
Doing your research. I didn’t know about electronic spooky shower curtains until I googled Halloween gadgets, and you can do that kind of research from your armchair with a smart tv. You can not only look up the recipes for seasonal food and drink, but look up uncommon treats too, and when you’ve found them, order them to be delivered to your door, all the while getting on with other more fun activities such as carving Jack-o-Lanterns or whipping up a wicked witches outfit.
These are just a few ideas we came up with to make Halloween a little bit spookier this year using wireless smart home technology. If you can think of any others, let us know on Twitter or via our Facebook page. We can’t wait to hear your ideas!
We keep hearing about how cutting public spending on police and the reduction of police numbers is having an effect on crime throughout the UK. The news is full of stories of crime, antisocial behaviour and neighbour-disputes spilling over into harassment and worse. And while we don’t want to be harbingers of doom, or profit from fear or anxiety, it’s always wise to protect your home, no matter what.
While a CCTV security camera doesn’t directly lead to a reduction or discount on your home and contents insurance, home security cameras are becoming increasingly popular among home owners as a deterrent to opportunist criminals. And if you and your neighbours successfully avert crime in your postcode area it’s considered safer, and consequentially has lower premiums.
Wireless CCTV cameras, intercoms, access controls and doorbells are all available in many high-street electronics retailers and offer a good deal of reassurance. Because they’re wireless, they’re incredibly easy to install and can send images and alerts to your TV, laptop, or phone, meaning you can see who’s on your property when you’re busy, away from home, or simply not in the mood to open the door to people. Wire used to be one of the greatest barriers to entry when investing in access control and CCTV for the home. If the wire was damaged, accidentally or deliberately, or there was an interruption in the power supply, the camera was useless. Wireless cameras run on batteries or solar cells, and can be triggered by motion detectors (which can also trigger lighting). The cameras will also send you a text or email when the batteries are running low or there’s a problem with the cell drawing power from the sun. Many security cameras also come fitted with speakers and mics too, meaning that you can converse directly with anyone you see outside your house.
A smart access system allows you to talk to visitors, or intruders and trespassers, remotely without having to come to the door. Brilliant if you’re out but you’ve been made aware of a stranger on your property, or you’re not able to take a delivery. If you’re elderly, have mobility issues, or you find that the delivery guy ALWAYS wanders off before you can get to the door, then a wireless intercom will be life changing! If you can ask people what they want before you answer the door you can let them know it will take you time to get to the door, you can ignore them, or ask them to come back another time. You could be in the bath, at work, or on holiday abroad, they’d have no way of knowing. Read more