Is Your Smart Home Really Smart Without Sensors To Tell It What’s Going On?

If you’re a recent convert to Smart Home automation you may be starting to think “well this isn’t all that smart at all, is it? I still have to tell Alexa everything I’m doing before she’ll help me with anything!” and you’d be right. But only because you’ve got Alexa’s ears set up, without sensors’ she’s got no eyes.

A truly Smart home system relies on sensors to be able to work efficiently. Sensors feed data back to the Home Hub enabling it to make decisions and obey commands which would have been set up in order to make the Smart Home system integrated and intelligent.

There are a wide range of sensors which will serve various different purposes, from fire and smoke detectors to thermostats and motion sensors which will tell your hub not only when you enter a room, but when an intruder breaks into your home. Making use of these sensors as part of the everyday home hub utility will vastly improve the intelligence of the system since you won’t have to tell it directly what you want to happen, and make you safer since you will be able to rely on your home hub to react to changes such as movement, smoke, fire, or gas and water leaks. Read more

Smart Sensors Offer So Much More Than Security

sensors. alarms, automation, security, We talk a lot about “Home Automation” and then go on to speak about how we can control our home environment via our apps, computer, control panel or voice, but surely that’s negating the entire ethos of ‘Automated’? For a full automated home you need sensors. With a little time and patience when setting up you can let your sensors take care of many of the mundane tasks which you do every day. Tie them in with Smart or If This Then That (IFTTT) devices then the simplicity and elegance of a fully automated home is on the horizon.

There are a range of different sensors which detect one, several, or many of the following:

  • Temperature
  • Light
  • Moisture
  • Movement
  • Other specific Smart devices
  • Fire, smoke, and carbon monoxide

Read more

Improving Security In Schools & Colleges

burglar alarms, cctv systemsSecurity in environments where children, young adults and the vulnerable is of paramount importance. Of course we in Britain face nothing like the security issues that our friends in the USA have, but yet it remains important that people in positions of responsibility over the young and those in need of additional consideration are able to secure their premises here in the UK.

Security systems in schools don’t only protect the children, school estates are often victim to vandalism and burglary while teachers and the children under their supervision can be victims of violence and accusations of malpractice, assault or violence.

The problem lies with the expectation of privacy in such an environment. There’s a misconception that the faces of children can’t be filmed in public without their consent and people think this extends to school property. The reality is that in spaces such as classrooms, hallways and corridors there is no reasonable ‘expectation of privacy’ so you could put cameras up, however, teachers and pupils don’t appreciate having cameras trained on them all day. Unfortunately, it’s in the classroom where misbehaviour occurs and recorded footage proving who was at fault would be beneficial. Read more

What Are The Pros & Cons Of Professional Vs DIY Home Security Systems?

home security, security, business security, DIY, burglar alarm, intruder alarmRecent surveys have revealed that in up to 28% of broadband users have an active internet based security system, 24% also take advantage of a monitoring service. Most of these people are homeowners with children. And many of these people have chosen to go down the DIY path when it comes to installation.

The message put out by the manufacturers including Ring, Hive, Nest, et cetera is being picked up the consumer as a further 52% report as being “highly likely” to purchase a security system of their own, and install it themselves.

So what are the pros and cons of DIY burglar alarm and security system installations versus a professional installation service?

The first consideration is naturally the cost. Buying a system that you can take straight out of the box and put up yourself is clearly going to be cheaper than buying a system and then paying a professional to mount it for you.

Then there is the convenience. If you’re a DIYer and you have the skills and tools required you can buy a home security system, get it home, wire it in and have it up and running in an afternoon. You don’t have to make an appointment for someone to come and see your property, recommend a system, order it, and then come back and install the product. Read more

The Biggest Threats To Safety In The Home

Home, by definition, is a place where your can feel safe. A place to relax and unwind without being worried or stressed by the everyday troubles of the outside world.Coming home and relaxing isn’t always possible though. There are always safety concerns that it would be remiss to ignore. In the UK there are an average of 2.7 million visits to Accident and Emergency and 6,000 deaths due to accidents. Along with these accidents there are 650,000 break-ins each year. That means that 2% of homes every year have intruders break in and damage or steal goods from the householders.

Some groups are more vulnerable than others. The elderly and infirm are prone to accidents and it’s important that if you take extra special care of your home security and personal safety.

People who wish to ‘age in place’ have a number of options today which weren’t available until very recently. Sheltered housing may have had call buttons and alarms in the bathroom in case of slips or falls, but adaptations for the home were normally restricted to additional handrails and ramps for people who had trouble with steps. Personal alerts in the form of a fob worn around the neck were available, but if you weren’t wearing it when you slipped they weren’t much use. Read more

The Best Ways To Ensure Your Home Deliveries Don’t Go Astray

Before the internet the Royal Mail used to do a roaring trade delivering letters over night anywhere in the country, and within days to anywhere in the rest of the world. Then email came about and a letter became something of an anachronism, the only letters we seem to get regularly are bills and junk mail. Because of the decline in letter sending services were streamlined and rationalised, ie, cuts were made and deliveries suffered. The Post Office was privatised and the delivery service was opened up to tender.

But the internet wasn’t finished in changing the way we live our lives just yet. Online shopping became not just a novelty, but the preferred way to get hold of the things we’d normally have to hunt around the shops for. No more trolling up and down the high street looking for a product which may or may not be in stock. Instead we can now search for an item, order it and know when (roughly) it’s going to be delivered from anywhere at any time. Which naturally meant that the delivery business was going to see a huge increase in business. 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

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

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