Investing in a security might seem like an unnecessary thing especially if you have a guard dog or a reinforced door and live in a fairly safe neighborhood. But your system can do much more than just keeping the house safe. Most new alarm systems come with monitoring options for fires, carbon monoxide poisoning, freezing temperatures and other home dangers.
Or how about checking in on the kids from work to make sure they made it home OK? Or maybe you’d like to turn the lights on inside the house, blocks before pulling into the garage. Both are possibilities with smart home systems.
The big players on the market are X10, Insteon, UPB and Z-Wave (on Amazon). Although new brands like Vivint and Control4 are emerging.
Smart Home Security Systems
All smart home security systems have very similar features. Besides around-the-clock monitoring, the system would allow you to adjust digital thermostats and watch live-streaming video from wireless cameras while away using just an iPhone or iPad. It can also provide lighting, small appliance control and sensors for glass breaking.
The system works together with different pieces of technology to enhance safety, convenience and increase energy efficiency. One control panel communicates with every product installed – video surveillance, HVAC, appliances etc. Some of the systems allow you to personalize settings. They send real-time email or text alerts when doors are opened or closed. The benefits are countless: smart home systems are reliable, safe, easy to set up and surprisingly affordable.
Key things to consider before committing to a system:
- What features you would like to automate. Go to your favorite room in the house – probably the one where you spend most time, look around and see what could be automated: shades, stereo system, lighting.
- Decide how would you like to control it. Do you want some features to turn on/off at certain time or activated by voice? The options are countless.
- Decide on control technologies. Most devices allow wireless control, like lighting and security systems. Hard-wired installation can be costly and messy. Some appliances can be controlled through power lines (HVAC) or internet (cameras).
If you find out at this point that your needs are pretty basic, the best option would be to install a customizable security system. If you would like a system with a “wow factor”, the easiest way to get started would be to call one of the smart home companies and ask about the features.
How compatible is the system with features you want to control and what type of customer support is offered? You can go the DIY route as well and purchase a starter kit at your local Home Depot; this way you can experiment with basics like lighting control and such.