Buyers guide to smart home security systems

Whatever your project, create peace of mind by planning in a home security smart system at the initial design stage of your build.

By Hannah Fenton | 10 February 2017

Whatever your project, create peace of mind by planning in a home security smart system at the initial design stage of your build.

Buyers guide to home security

Image: hivehome.com

 

Everyone wants to keep their homes safe and secure and yet, with traditional security systems expensive to buy and install, many of us rely on old-fashioned locks, an extra mortice on the front door and window locks to keep intruders at bay. Advances in product development and wireless technology mean that installing a custom-designed security system can be a relatively simple task. Using your wireless internet system, new home security gadgets can be controlled remotely on your smartphone or tablet. With cameras you can check up on children or pets; plus you can receive alerts if carbon monoxide is detected, and lots more.

 

Key home security considerations

DIY smart home security can be broken down into three main areas – surveillance, sensors and locks. Surveillance allows you to see what is happening inside and outside your home from screens on a variety of devices. Sensors reveal when there is unusual movement – that goes for burglars, water (floods), fire and smoke. Locks, of course, provide physical barriers; but today these also offer a variety of smart options.

To build your own system you need to choose a combination of surveillance, sensors and locks to achieve a balance between convenience and security. In general, if you have a large home with many access points then go for an expandable home security product that enables you to pick the elements you need and link them up. Insteon (insteon.com), for example, offers everything from cameras to monitors and sensors that detect leaks, smoke and motion. It will also control lights, thermostats and your curtains, all integrated via a central hub. Another way for devices to connect in your home is through IFTTT (If This Then That; ifttt.com) – a free cloud-based service that allows multiple products to connect together.

Many companies offer packages that include the vital parts of a system. With experts like Yale (yale.co.uk), you can buy the basics and then add new products if you decide to expand the level of security. A starter kit from Swann One includes a smart hub, key fob, motion sensor and two door or window sensors for £300. You can add a Soundview indoor camera and/ or an outdoor kit, for £150 and £180 respectively. All these products are simple to install. (swannone.com)

 

Smart cameras

If you are after a stronger deterent, opt for visible cameras, which will put off potential intruders. Plus, recorded footage can be useful after a burglary and internet-connected cameras mean you can keep an eye on things when you’re away from home. The trend is towards Wi-Fi cameras that are quick to install (it’s usually a case of plug in and play) and provide a live feed. Look for products with two-way communication that allow you to hear what is happening and talk to occupants. Some can pan around, which means you need fewer cameras, and have motion sensors.