7 smart devices to protect your home
- Smart security cameras. From the convenience of your mobile device you can watch a live feed from every corner of your home—as well as receive notifications when the camera’s motion sensor detects any activity. Because you can place these cameras anywhere, it’s a great way to keep tabs on vulnerable areas such as driveways or carports that aren’t typically monitored by home security systems. Plus, you will no longer need to invest in hiring a security company to install a system: Today, there are many DIY options that are simple to install, extremely effective, and can be controlled through stress-free mobile apps. SimpliSafe, Nest, and Wink all have superb ratings and are user friendly.
- Smart Outlets. Remote control electrical outlets and smart plugs are the way to go when you need to control household electronics from the road. Smart outlets transform practically any appliance or electronic into a smart device. All you need to do is plug a device you want to control into the smart outlets around your home. Then, use a corresponding app on your smart device to set timers, turn lights on or off, and more. The Etekcity Wireless Remote Control Electrical Outlet Switch is a top seller, and products like the Belkin WeMo Switch, Edimax Wi-Fi Smart Plug, AVANTEK Remote Control Outlet Switch, and the iHome Smart Plug also have great reviews.
- Doorbell cameras. You can virtually answer your front door with a doorbell camera. It lets you monitor activity with built-in motion sensors that send alerts when company arrives or when packages are delivered. And with HD cameras that can record suspicious activity, you will always have a close watch on your home day or night. Ring Video Doorbell Camera allows you to answer the door and check-in on home at anytime from anywhere.
- Smart shades and light bulbs. You can also install smart shades and smart bulbs that won’t break the budget. Smart shades can be controlled through mobile apps or even your voice, which can be convenient when you are not home or simply have your hands full. You can schedule times for the shades to open and close, which comes in handy if you’re traveling and want to block prying eyes from your home or periodically open and close them throughout the day as if someone were home. Wireless window treatments and smart LED bulbs, can be both convenient and an essential home security feature. If a thief observes lights going on and off and window shades rising and lowering, they may rethink targeting your home.
- Smart padlocks. If you have a tool shed or storage unit to secure, Smart padlocks might be the key. Some come complete with fingerprint scanners or use Bluetooth technology rather than traditional keys. Some of these locks sound audible alarms if they’re tampered with or if someone without authorization tries to open it. Whether you’re looking for a technological solution to locking up that spare case of valuables in the home or garage or simply want a smart alternative to locking a gate or outside door, smart padlocks will help keep your belongings safe. Great options include the Master Indoor Bluetooth Smart Padlock, the Noke Keyless Bluetooth Smart Padlock, the Quicklock Bluetooth & RFID Smart Padlock, and the Dog & Bone Locksmart Mini Bluetooth Padlock. There is even a savvy smart lock for those of you who travel often: The eGeeTouch Smart TSA Travel Lock; and Schlage EncodeTM Smart WiFi Deadbolt are for those who want to grant access to trusted friends and family with customized access codes, and to know when their lock has been accessed.
- Smart virtual assistant. This list wouldn’t be complete without the almighty Alexa by Amazon Echo. Besides asking Alexa to rap (yes, she raps!) or inquiring about the current weather or sports updates, it can now help you guard your home as well. You can set up Guard in the Alexa app and get alerts via phone notifications if your Echo device detects the sound of smoke alarm, carbon monoxide alarms, or glass breaking. Additionally, you can pair your device with Away Lighting, and Alexa will automatically turn smart lights on and off to make it look like someone is home. To protect your home even further, Amazon is also offering Ring Alarm or ADT bundles that allow your Echo device to integrate with either security system. For both of the options, Alexa can arm your Ring or ADT security system and send you Smart Alerts.
- Water protection devices. Water damage can lead to up to $10,000* in damages per incident, mess and stress of significant remediation and repair, and the loss of cherished mementos and irreplaceable items. Low-cost smart home sensors can help you limit loss by detecting leaks before they become disasters and alerting you via push notification to take action. These options are easily placed under water heaters, dishwashers, and washing machines as well as whole-house water monitoring systems and will shut off the water supply when a leak is detected. Kangaroo and StreamLabs are a few of the device manufactures representing each type of these devices.
In addition to these useful smart devices, you should remember the importance of protecting your Wi-Fi too. It is, after all, another portal into your private life. Personalize your passwords, but make them even more unique by scrambling upper and lowercase letters or using numbers for letters. Set up a generic email account, rather than using a personal one, for notifications regarding your connected Wi-Fi device. Finally, make sure to stay on top of software and firmware updates, as this keeps systems operating at maximum proficiency.
* According to a 2019 ISO Report based on 2017 claims data.
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