The best new smart technology to keep your home safe

When you think about home security, you probably think first of burglar alarms and deadlocks. But these days, thanks to smart technology, there is a whole host of easy-to-use, easy-to-operate and highly effective home security options available.

The rise of household smart technology has meant that, where many home security systems were once complex and costly to manage, most now require nothing more than a smartphone or tablet to operate. What’s more, they can be installed without expert assistance and without the sizeable costs often associated with traditional home security systems.

The possible ways you can make use of the technology are almost limitless. You can keep an eye on who is stepping up to your front door or speak to the postman and ask him to leave your parcel over the back gate. You can sound the alarm or contact emergency services if you see something of concern. You can even tell the dog to get off the sofa – all without actually needing to be in the house!

Here are three of the best ways you can utilise smart technology to keep your home safe in 2020.

1. Video doorbells

Smart video doorbells and security cameras let you monitor your home from anywhere in the world via an app on your smartphone, tablet or laptop, helping you to keep your home secure against intruders.

With most devices, you can set an alert which will be triggered any time someone approaches your house or rings the doorbell. You can even see, hear and speak to visitors via an app, giving you the peace of mind that the only visitors to your door are welcome visitors.

And with artificial intelligence capabilities advancing by the day, video doorbells are evolving to even be able to tell the difference between real threats and next door’s cat.

Facial recognition technology means some systems can read the face at the door and recognise when it is a family member or friend as opposed to a stranger, meaning you don’t get unnecessary alerts every time your significant other puts the bin out.

2. Smart home security systems

Comprising of Wi-Fi-connected security cameras, motion sensors, and door and window locks, these comprehensive systems can be built to your specification to include as little or as much as you need.

They combine many of the features of a traditional burglar alarm but with the ability to observe and control your home from an app on your smartphone or tablet. They work by connecting to a central hub which is linked up to your broadband router. This sends information to your mobile device or computer whenever a window or door is opened, or a sensor is triggered.

Many even have a two-way microphone connected to the base unit which means that you can speak to whoever is in the house and offer reassurance if they need of it – or stop them in their tracks if not.

Some systems include clever ‘If This Then That’ (IFTTT) technology that allows you to programme your system in different ways, for different circumstances.

For example, you can link smart-operated lights up to the security system and direct them to flash on and off brightly if the camera’s motion sensors are triggered. Or, you can connect a smart sound system to blast out punk rock when the windows are opened while no-one is at home (the last one being sure to attract the attention of your neighbours).

Smart cameras are capable of recording high-quality images during both the day and night and don’t require any wires to be routed around your property. What’s more, they are robust and can handle whatever the weather throws at them.

Key fobs and smart face-recognition software can also help keep an eye on those in the house when you’re not there, let you know someone got home safely, or if a person leaves the house unexpectedly.

3. Smart locks

One area of smart home technology that’s expanding rapidly is smart locks. A smart lock allows you to monitor who is coming and going from your house, not just preventing unwanted visitors from entering but also preventing those you do want to enter from being turned away.

This is particularly useful if you are waiting for a delivery or need a maintenance person to come to the property when you can’t be there yourself, for example. Many models let you use your phone to open and close doors and others can be triggered by voice commands or with a code.

How much does it all cost?

Thanks to widespread Wi-Fi coverage and the fact most of us have a smartphone in our pocket these days, it has never been easier or more affordable to secure our homes.

A few years ago, it might cost into the thousands to create a system that included CCTV and video monitoring, but these days you can enjoy round-the-clock home safety for as little as a couple of hundred pounds.

One of the beauties of a smart system is that it is possible to start with a more basic, lower-cost package, and expand it over time to include features such as pet-immune motion sensors, panic alarms and even water leakage sensors.

Whilst smart technology certainly has the potential to keep us all safer, it’s important not to substitute it for traditional safety advice. It’s still as important as ever to keep your home secure with robust door and window locks and common-sense measures such as not advertising when you are going to be away.

Cameras and sensors may alert you to a problem and can also help to catch criminals after a crime has been attempted or committed, but prevention is just as important a measure.

There’s no doubt, however, that smart technology has the potential to keep us all safer and provide that all-important peace of mind that we are safe as houses in our own homes.