Smart Homes – Security Systems and Cameras

Previously, we wrote about Smart Home products that you can use to update your garage and outdoor living space.  Now, we’ve done some research about Smart Home security systems and security cameras that can help make your life easier while also raising the security level of your home!

There are plenty of security systems on the market, but how many of them actually make living in your home easier and more secure? Here are a couple that we found!

ADT Pulse:

If you’re looking for a traditional home security system with modern technology mixed in, then you’ll love this system. ADT Pulse is a Smart Home security system that uses wireless technology to make a single network out of multiple devices around your home.

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This system offers a multitude of Smart Home features.  The interactive touchscreen panel gives you control of the system while you’re home, and you can remotely control it with your computer or your mobile device.  Using either of these methods, you’re able to arm and disarm your security system, lock and unlock your doors, and monitor your indoor and outdoor cameras.  More passive features include 24/7 fire, burglary, and carbon monoxide monitoring.  The system will also send you alerts if there is a fire, an intrusion, or if your home is at dangerously low temperatures.

This home automation system can also provide you with security even when you’re away from home and don’t have access to your mobile devices thanks to its custom settings.  For example, putting your system in Vacation Mode arms the system, turns on random lights around your home, and adjusts your home’s temperature to be slightly closer to the outside temperature so that you can save money on your energy bills!

The cost of the ADT Pulse system depends on whether you choose their Remote Arm, Control, or Live Video service, which you can compare here, and which monitoring contract you choose.

Installation:

Since ADT Pulse is in part a traditional security system, it requires ADT to come install the system in your home. You can find the number to call here on their website.

Simplisafe2:

Unlike ADT Pulse, Simplisafe2 is a system made entirely of wireless technology to ensure that you’re able to keep your home secure in the most convenient way possible.

Simplisafe2

Unlike traditional security systems, this Smart Home system offers a home monitoring service for only $15 a month. It doesn’t require a contract, so you can start your security plan when you need it and cancel it when you don’t! Even better, Simplisafe2 is completely wireless, so you can move the different parts around as you please!

One of the great features of this system is that its base station does most of the system’s thinking, while a traditional system uses its keypad as the “brain.”  The base station has a SIM card inside, just like a phone, which activates when you use their monitoring service.  If you use their monitoring plans, it will not only call the police if a burglary occurs, but also sends you text messages for alerts.

If you’re asking yourself why the Simplisafe has a base station that calls the police, it’s because most security systems do this through the keypad, so if a burglar quickly smashes the keypad, the police may not be called. The Simplisafe’s base station does all of this, so it can be hidden anywhere in your home and silently call the police even if the wireless keypad is destroyed. After the police have been notified, the base station sounds off an alarm to deter the intruders.

If you’re interested in this system, they currently have a deal that offers you their base station, wireless keypad, a motion sensor, 3 entry sensors, and a free keychain remote for around $300.  If that doesn’t meet your needs, you can also create your own bundle on their website! This way you can make sure that your security needs are met.

Installation:

Since this is a wireless security system, installation is a breeze.  The motion sensors, keypad, and entry sensors are all put in place with adhesive tape, and setting up the system is even easier! Simply turn on the base station and it will find all of your sensors for you!

Security cameras have come a long way in being viable security options for the public. Thanks to modern technology, we don’t even need to go out of our way to install them! The following cameras all use wi-fi to help keep your home secure.

Canary:

The Canary is a wi-fi enabled indoor security camera that aims do more than just function as a security camera to increase your quality of life.

Canary

The Canary features an HD camera that’s equipped with night vision to make sure that you get clear video at any time of the day. It also has a microphone, motion detection, and a 90 dB siren. But this Smart Home device does more than just monitor your home for security; it tracks the temperature, humidity, and air quality of your home to make sure that you live safely and comfortably.

The Canary has three different modes so that you can use it when you need to and turn it off when you want privacy.  Armed mode monitors your home and sends push notifications to your phone when it senses movement.  Disarmed mode lets the Canary monitor your home, but it won’t send you push notifications. And Privacy mode disables the camera and microphone, meaning the device only continues to monitor the temperature, humidity, and air quality in your home.

Canary offers a free plan that includes motion-activated alerts, video recordings when the Canary is set to Armed mode, the ability to watch events recorded in the last 12 hours, and allows you to save up to 5 video clips in their Canary Cloud. If you’d like to be able to watch more than the last 12 hours or have more storage space in the cloud, you can pay for one of their upgraded plans.

If you’re looking to purchase a Canary, it will cost you about $199, or you can get the Canary Two-Pack for $379!

Installation:

This Smart Home security device is as easy to set up as it gets! All you have to do is set it in the desired location and then activate it via the app on an iPhone or Android device. No installation required!

Nest Cam:

The Nest Cam is another indoor wi-fi enabled security camera that alerts you when it detects activity in your home.

NestCam

This Smart Home device records at 1080p and has a 130 degree wide-angle view with the ability to zoom in, making it great for monitoring large areas while still capturing small details. The camera comes with a a stand so that it can be placed on a wall, tripod, or shelf. It can also be placed on a magnetic surface. All of these options enable you to place the camera in creative and hidden places.

The Nest Cam sends an alert to your phone when it senses motion or detects a noise, but it makes sure to ignore background noise such as traffic. The optional Nest Away service provides you with a multitude of safety features that take full advantage of this Smart Home technology. Nest Away allows you create zones from the cameras point of view that send you a personalized alert when they detect activity. It also uses algorithms that use use depth perception and facial recognition to decide when it detects motion. In addition to those two major features, Nest Aware gives you a timelapse function, 24/7 continuous 1080p streaming of the camera’s feed, and allows you to save clips.

If you have other Nest products, you can rest assured that all of these Smart Home appliances work together. For example, if the Nest thermostat is set to Away, your Nest Cam will turn on to monitor your home. Similarly, if the Nest Protect (their smoke and carbon monoxide detector) detects smoke, the Nest Cam will turn on to record a clip so that you can go back and find what happened.

The Nest Cam itself only costs $199, or if you want to monitor your home in multiple spots you can take advantage of their deal to save $100 when when you buy 3, bringing the total to $497.

Installation:

Much like the Canary, this camera is about as simple to set up as it can be. You merely place the camera wherever you’d like it to be, plug in the power chord, and activate it with the Nest app.

Kuna Light:

Unlike the Canary and the Nest Cam, the Kuna Light is a wi-fi enabled security camera that’s made for outdoor use.  The Kuna Light is an outdoor light with a security camera hidden underneath!

 

This outdoor security camera sends you an alert when it detects motion, such as someone walking up to your front door. You can then stream live video to your phone. Another fun aspect of this Smart Home product is that it allows you to talk through the Kuna Light’s built-in speaker. You can speak live through your phone or you can play a previously recorded message. If a potential intruder approaches your home, you can sound an alarm through the built-in speakers.

What’s great about the Kuna Light is that their streaming service is free! And the product is built to be weather proof, so it’s made to keep your home safe rain or shine. You can even have as many Kuna Lights around your home as you want; they can all be controlled from one phone.

And this Smart Home appliance does more than just monitor your home! It allows you to schedule the lights so that they turn on and off at certain times of the day.

Thanks to Kuna’s Companion lights, there’s no need to worry about having mismatched exterior lights! The Companion light is a Kuna Light without the camera, so if you only want one camera then you can still have matching lights.

The Kuna Light costs $199, and the Companion lights run at $129.

Installation:

If you’re just replacing an old light fixture with the Kuna Light, then you should be able to install this Smart Home product in about 15 minutes! Simply remove the old light fixture and replace it with the Kuna!

If you’re installing this as a brand new light fixture, then you’ll need to follow standard installation and wiring procedures for outdoor lights.

You can also click here to see their whole page on installing the Kuna Light if you’d like to see more specifics!

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Smart Homes – Garage and Outdoors

A Smart Home is a home that is equipped with modern technology to make it more functional, efficient, and convenient than ever before.

Smart Home products are accessible, provide you with knowledge of your home, and make your life easier by saving you time. One of the best things about a Smart Home is that you can retroactively upgrade your home without spending thousands of dollars, and installation is quick and easy!

We were so curious about how to make a Smart Home that we did some research and found tons of cool products on the world wide web! Throughout the next few months, we’ll be posting different products that we think could help make your home a Smart Home! For now, we give you our first Smart Homes blog post: Appliances that will help make your garage and outdoor space more functional and convenient than ever before!

Garageio:

Garageio is the next step in bringing your garage to the modern day, without needing to buy a new garage door opener.

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The Garageio Blackbox is a WiFi-enabled device that installs directly into your home garage. It allows you to open and close your garage door with your smartphone from anywhere in the world via the Garageio app, which is available on both Apple and Android devices.  If you have a babysitter, contractors, or in-laws that frequently visit your home, Garageio gives you the control to give (or take away) visitor’s access as needed, giving you peace of mind.

Our favorite feature of the Garageio is its ability to integrate with other apps on your smartphone using IFTTT (If This Then That). You can connect Garageio to your weather channel app so that your garage door automatically closes when it starts to rain, or you can integrate it with your smartphone’s location services to automatically open and close the garage door when you arrive home. As a safety feature, you can also set it to notify you if your garage door has accidentally been left open!  There are also plans for future integrations with other services such as SmartThings, so this Smart Home product will continue to offer you more convenience!

There’s no need to worry about someone hacking in to your Garageio account!  Garageio uses bank-level security that includes industry-standard encryption and short-lived authentication tokens.  And any action your Garageio makes has to go through the app, so local communication across your home WiFi network won’t budge your garage door.

With such a useful array of features, you may think that Garageio would break the bank, but it is surprisingly affordable! The price is based off of the number of doors it would control. The prices are as follows:

1-door garage: $199

 

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What comes with the 1-door garage package.

2-door garage: $209

Parts_Two_Door

2-door garage package.

3-door garage: $219

Parts_Three_Door

3-door garage package.

Installation:

Installation should take about 15 minutes per door and can be done with just a screwdriver, a stepladder, masking tape, and the Garageio app. Just activate your Blackbox over WiFi using the 16-character code on the website, install the Blackbox on your garage door opener, place the activator on your garage door, and you’re good to finish setting up your door with the Garageio app!

Click here to see the more detailed installation instructions on their website!

 

Schlage Smart Lock:

SchlageSmartLock

The Schlage Smart Lock is a new touchscreen deadbolt lock with an alarm. By inputting your password on the touchpad, you unlock the deadbolt. The touchpad has a matte finish so that it’s resistant to fingerprints and smudges, and the lock is capable of holding up to 30 user codes! You can also set it to give off an audible alert whenever the door is moved. You can choose the type of alert you receive: activity, tamper, or forced.

Another great feature of this lock is its wireless capabilities. Depending on your service provider, you can connect it with your home security system via computer, tablet, or smartphone.

This Smart Home appliance offers you plenty of security and knowledge of who goes in and out of your home, and costs $265.

Installation:

Installation is nearly the same as any other door handle, but while you’re installing the deadbolt, you run a cable inside the door from the deadbolt to the alarm assembly. That’s it! No confusing wiring, just a screwdriver.

Click here to see more information on their website for installation.

 

iRobot LOOJ:

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The iRobot LOOJ  is a remote controlled robot will save you from the dangerous and time consuming task of cleaning your gutters. It operates by breaking clogs, lifting and throwing those clogs away, and then sweeping and scraping the remaining debris. It also comes with an extra set of smaller ejectors that work on different types of debris.

The remote control puts more power in your hands than you would initially think! When you have other work to do, you can set the robot to the automatic clean mode! Or if you want, you can use the remote control to make the robot move forwards and backwards, and you can chose the spin direction to ensure that debris is thrown away from your roof!

Home automation products such as this are worth the price they carry, and the LOOJ will cost you around $300.

Installation:

The iRobot LOOJ is a perfect example of a smart home device with no installation.  Since this is a portable robot that you can carry around, you don’t need to worry about installation at all! It stands just under 2 inches high and is 3 inches wide, making it able to fit in most gutters. However, you can download the measurement document from their website to make sure it will fit.

Click here to see their measurements document to make sure that the robot will fit in your gutters.

 

High Tech Pet Power Electronic Pet Door:

HighTechPetPowerDoor

The Power Pet Door is a vertically-sliding pet door that’s activated by an ultrasonic collar. Since it operates via ultrasonic waves, the door is able to sense the direction of the collar. This means that the door won’t open when your pet wanders by or sleeps next to the door. The door also has 4 different controls: in only, out only, full access, and closed & locked.

You don’t have to worry about feeling a draft through this pet door! It’s wind and weatherproof with an airtight seal, giving it much better insulation than a regular pet door.

The door uses an AC adaptor, but there is an optional battery that you can buy if you want to have battery power as a back up or operate the door solely off of batteries.

The door comes in two different sizes as well! The medium size allows for animals of up to 30 lbs., and the large size is for pets up to 100 lbs.

Pricing for this modern home product depends on the size of the door that you purchase.  The prices are as follows:

Medium: $299.99

Large: $349.99

Installation:

It’s as simple as installing a regular dog door. Cut the hole for the section where your pet can walk through, screw the pet door into place, and you’re done.

Click here to see their page for more specific information on how to install your pet door.

 

Skydrop Sprinkler:

SkydropSprinkler

The Skydrop sprinkler controller is a WiFi-enabled controller for your sprinkler system that helps you reduce your water usage by watering your lawn more efficiently. The Skydrop doesn’t just water less when it rains or when the temperature drops; it uses your internet connection to track the weather in your hour every hour so that it knows when the soil is dry or already saturated. This means that the Skydrop tells your sprinkler system to run less often, but at the right times and in just the right way. This means that you’ll have greener, healthier grass while using less water!

Sometimes you’re away from home and may want to check in on or manually control your sprinkler system. Not only does Skydrop allow you to control your sprinklers with the Skydrop controller itself, but also with a web browser, smartphone, or table! This means you can manage your lawn from anywhere that you can access the internet!

This revolutionary smart home product may seem like it could cost you thousands of dollars, but the Skydrop controller is only about $280!

Installation:

It should be noted here that the Skydrop Sprinkler controller requires more wiring than the other products on this list, so make sure to take a reference photo of your current sprinkler controller before you take it down! It’s also important to note that since the Skydrop uses your wifi connection, you should install it in a location with a strong connection.

Screw the new Skydrop unit to the wall, test and connect each of the wires, and then attach the main controller to the unit! While this installation process may seem daunting, in the end its entirely worth it!

Click here to see their page for more specific information about installation.

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Want to see more ways that you can upgrade your home with Smart Home products? Read our newest article on security systems and cameras!

Guest Blogger: Lifestyle Locks – Keyless Door Locks to Suit Your Lifestyle

Is it possible that safety and security may no longer be the most important factors when choosing door locks? Sure, those aspects are the main reason we have locks in the first place, but with modern technology, electronic locking mechanisms can provide so much more while still offering a secure barrier between the indoors and the outside world.

The latest advancements in home automation make it possible to not even be at your door to unlock it! Moreover, long gone are the days of countless copies of your door keys circulating with house-sitters or hired workers.

My husband and I experienced just such a situation last year when we purchased our first home. Because the house had previously been used as a rental, as soon as we closed, we changed the locks to avoid any potential issues with people who had access to the property before we took possession. That was Lock Change #1.

Due to massive renovations, we had to place a spare key in the backyard so sub-contractors and their workers could access the house on an as-needed basis. This situation was fine for the few weeks, but as soon as we were able to move in, we had to pay to change the locks in each of our doors again. That was Lock Change #2.

Which brings us to the discussion of today: We could have avoided all of those lock changes if we had installed automated door locks the first time. We are not the only types of people who stand to benefit from such a switch. Indeed, if you are a member of the modern world, automated door locks are for you.

If you have kids, being able to give them their own code not only allows them to get into the house when you’re not there, without having to keep track of a key, but it also allows you to monitor their comings and goings. If you have hired help like a cleaning crew or maintenance worker, you can set up a one-time use code that will allow them access to your property only on certain days or during certain times.

And don’t forget those in the real estate business: Having an automated security door lock system makes showing a property or allowing construction workers access to perform updates a cinch. By pre-programming your property permissions, you no longer have to schedule your entire day around getting people in an out of your home. Nor do you have to hide keys around your yard for virtually anyone to stumble upon!

To help you see these possibilities in action, here are two examples of just how much freedom and flexibility you have at your fingertips with automated door locks.

Schlage Camelot Satin Nickel Touchscreen Deadbolt with Alarm

Schlage Camelot Satin Nickel Touchscreen Deadbolt with Alarm

With this keyless door lock from Schlage, you receive ANSI Grade 1 certification, which is the highest level of residential security possible. You also receive the utmost in flexibility. For example, through the Nexia Home Intelligence system, you can lock or unlock your door from anywhere via your smartphone and you can also schedule lock codes to be active only on certain days or specific times.

When you are at home, the built-in alarm senses movement of the door and will notify you with an audible alert. And when you are away, the fingerprint-resistant touchscreen ensures intruders cannot determine which numbers you routinely push.

Although the keyless lock system is available for less than $200, you will need to purchase a separate Wink Hub in order to access the wireless features and control your smart lock via the Wink mobile app.

Kwikset Kevo Single Cylinder Satin Nickel Bluetooth Enabled Deadbolt

Kwikset Kevo Single Cylinder Satin Nickel Bluetooth Enabled Deadbolt

As long as you have your smartphone with you, you can get into your home while it’s protected by this Bluetooth Enabled deadbolt from Kwikset. You simply need to touch the lock to open it and your phone can remain in your pocket or purse – no fumbling for keys required.

You can even send an electronic key to family members, friends, and visitors who have a compatible smartphone with the Kevo Mobile App: The system currently works with iPhone 4S, 5, 5C, or 5S; Android capability is forthcoming.

But for those who prefer an actual key, this deadbolt also works in the traditional sense and features SmartKey re-key technology so that you don’t need to replace the entire system if you simply need a new key.

At just over $200 for this system, we could have re-keyed as many times as we needed during our renovation without starting from scratch each time. In the grand scheme of things, $200 is a reasonable price to pay for a heightened sense of security!

What specific security needs could you address with an automated door lock system?

** M/I Homes of Columbus, Cincinnati and Dayton now include a Schlage Keypad Lock enabled by Nexia Home Intelligence in all of their new homes.

***Writing about smart home technology for The Home Depot, Rheney Williams offers her insight on how home automation can help make your life easier and more secure. To find more info on the smart security products that Rheney mentions in this article, visit homedepot.com.

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