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Computer security has kept up with the evolving threat of cyber crime over the last 20 years, but home security hasn’t really changed for centuries. The majority of us still rely on keys, locks, bolts and latches to keep us safe from intruders.
These are tried-and-tested methods, of course, and are supplemented in households by the use of security lights and alarms to foil burglars. But still, the technology involved is relatively unsophisticated, especially when compared to the cutting edge tech you can now use to secure your home.
Here are five ways technology could soon make your home all-but burglar-proof.
1. Watch your house, live
You can watch a live feed of your empty house using your phone, tablet or computer, from wherever you can get a connection.
Y-cam’s HomeMonitor HD, streams 720p HD video to your gadgets, showing you exactly what’s happening at home. It’s a got a wide-angle lens and works in low light too. You can also get email and text alerts when and if something happens.
Philips’ InSight wireless home monitor does a similar thing with its twin cameras. It even uploads recordings to a Dropbox cloud storage account, if you have one. And of course, you can see it all on your smartphone, tablet or web browser on your computer.
I wonder how long it will be before such recordings are used when one partner suspects another of having an affair? Expect to see one in a soap opera storyline before the year is out.
2. Lose your keys – for good
If you’ve ever lost your keys you’ll be familiar with the dreadful feeling that they might be used by an intruder, and you’ve also probably been landed with a big bill to change your locks.
The Yale Keyless Digital Door Lock replaces the need for physical keys with a personalised PIN number. It can’t be picked, can be fitted to the majority of timber doors and could come in handy for when you need to let someone- say, a guest - into your home when you’re not there.
3. Swap your peephole for a screen
A peephole lets you see who’s at your front door, but brings you very close to them – with just a piece of timber separating you. Replace the peep hole with a camera and you can put a safer distance between the two of you.
With the Yale Recording Digital Door Viewer, the glass lens is replaced with a small camera attached to a 3.2” LCD screen. It means you can see who’re on the other side of the door from afar, rather than having to put your eye to the glass.
It even has built-in storage to record video and take photographs of callers for future reference.
4. Install a ‘smart alarm’
The Canary smart alarm does far more than just blare when someone trips it off. The portable device monitors temperatures, air quality, vibration and sound, as well as streaming HD video to your phone.
It’s smart because it doesn’t just trigger an alarm when it senses motion, it analyses changes in your home and sends alerts to your phone when something doesn’t seem right – say, for example, an unexpected spike in temperature.
You can arm and disarm the alarm from wherever you can get a web connection, using your phone, tablet or laptop. You can also trigger the siren remotely if you’re watching the HD feed and see something, or someone, that shouldn’t be there.
5. Switch to wifi light bulbs
Pressing a switch on a wall to turn a light on is pretty primitive and often involves fumbling in the dark, but there is a better way.
The Philips Hue personal lighting system is basically a set of wifi light bulbs you can turn on from anywhere with a web connection, using your phone or tablet. You can use the accompanying app to set the bulbs to come on and go off at pre-set times, giving the impression you’re at home when you’re not.
Imagine catching an intruder in your home via an HD video feed, triggering the Canary alarm and making the Hue bulbs in your home flash red – you’d have them running for the hills!
You can even set the lights to automatically work as and when the app recognises that you’ve left home, by tracking your phone’s location using GPS.
First things first
The gadgets are great, but vigilance and a robust home insurance policy can go a long way, too, as Ian Davies from insurance company Privilege explains for us in this video:
Securing your home with additional security equipment, whether it’s this kind of high-tech kit or a simple old mortice lock makes it harder for intruders to get in and out unnoticed, which means you’re less likely to have to make a claim on your home insurance for theft. As a result, you should get a discount on your home insurance premiums.
Whatever security equipment you install, you should tell your insurer about it and make sure you always use it.
And finally, don’t accept your home insurance provider’s renewal quote each year – there’s a good chance you’ll be able to save money by shopping around and taking your business elsewhere. If you’ve got a renewal coming up, why not have a look how much you could save over on our home insurance channel?