Smart Home Security: Absolute Guide to Smartly Secure your Home
Smart home security should not be tough
With the advent of smart devices and IoT products, a lot of people have lately jumped on board to set up a smart home experience. An experience, which constitutes a range of different smart devices that work in tandem and present ease-of-use to make the entire practice cohesive and seamless. While a large number of these devices aim to simplify your interactions with other appliances or expand your purview of information, they do not add to your home’s security.
It is this distinction that disentitles “homes with smart devices” as “smart homes” since, even though these devices make your interactions smarter and add to the experience, they still leave the security concerns of your home unaddressed. And therefore, to address such concerns, there are smart home security devices (or systems), which help you improve the overall security of your home.
In this article, we will be discussing the essential smart home security devices and how they improve your home’s security. Besides, we will also be listing down some of the best smart home security devices for each category to help you set up a smart and secure home system.
Smart Home Security
Any device you incorporate in your home to add to its security can be classified as a smart home security device. It can be anything from a smart doorbell or a smart camera to an IR motion detector, a smoke detector, or even a door/window sensor.
Based on a report from Research and Markets, the global smart home security market accounted for $618.63 million in the year 2017, which gives an idea about consumers’ evolving safety and security preferences. Besides, the report further forecasts an increase in the adoption, with a market worth $3,223.2 million by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 20.1%.
Types of Smart Home Security
DIY vs Professional
Coming back to the smart home security system, there are two different approaches here: DIY (do-it-yourself) or professional. With the professional approach, you hire an agency to look after your home’s security. This usually involves the agency taking care of installation, setup, and monitoring of your entire home, for which you are charged an annual/monthly fee based on the contract. One of the biggest advantages of a professional approach is that most of these contracts come with 24/7 monitoring of your homes. As a result, in case any of the security devices at your home get triggered, the agency will take care of informing and requesting the local authorities to take matters into their hand.
On the other hand, in the case of a DIY approach, it is you who has to take care of performing the installation and setup. And since there is no agency at play here, you are required to inform the authorities yourself if/when any of the devices/systems get triggered upon unusual activities. While this might sound like a drawback when compared to a professional approach, the overall cost of setting up and monitoring your home is significantly on the lower side with the DIY approach.
Devices vs Systems
Similar to the different types of approaches for setting up a smart and secure home, the other thing you need to decide when setting up home security devices is with regard to the device itself. For, there are two ways to go about this — depending on your budget and the degree to which you want to secure your home. One way is to invest in smart home security systems, which come with different security devices based on various requirements and use-cases of customers, while the other is to buy the security devices separately as per the needs.
When compared, the former approach is slightly on the expensive side, but it does make the installation and setup process hassle-free, whereas the latter puts you in more control and gives the freedom to set up a secure home as per your requirements.
Smart Home Security Devices
1. Smart Lock
A smart lock is one of the most significant keys in setting up a smart home security setup. It is installed right on the main door of your home, and it adds to both the security and the convenience of your home. The thing that makes these locks “smart” is their ability to communicate with a mobile app. Unlike traditional locks that require a physical key to unlock, smart locks rely on a virtual key for the same purpose. A virtual key can be either the companion app for the lock or a physical key fob. And, it makes the whole experience convenient and also adds to the security. Smart Locks usually rely on Bluetooth Low Energy for connection and use the standard 128- or- 256- bit encryption standard to secure communication.
i. August Wi-Fi Smart Lock
The August Wi-Fi Smart Lock is a successor to the August Smart Lock with a smaller footprint and Wi-Fi connectivity. It keeps the doors of your home protected and has an easy installation process. With Wi-Fi support included, you can link the lock directly to your home network and use it in tandem with other smart devices at your home. Some of its features include door sense, guest access, smart alerts, and more.
ii. Yale Assure Lock
The Yale Assure Lock is probably considered as one of the complete smart lock solutions out there. It is easy to set up and use, and you get a bunch of different security features and functionalities. When it comes to locking/unlocking, you can either use the touchscreen on the lock or its companion app on a smartphone. Moreover, there is support for voice control and automation to help you integrate the device better with other home security devices.
For more options, you can check the list of best keyless door locks such as those from Eufy, Schlage, and Samsung.
2. Smart Doorbell (aka Video Doorbell)
Much like door locks, doorbells are also getting smarter these days. A smart doorbell works by connecting to the internet and notifying users of the visitors using the accompanying mobile app. So, when a visitor presses the ring button, the doorbell sends you a notification, with a video feed of the visitor on the door, to allow you to decide if you want to open the door or interact using the mobile app. A lot of these doorbells also give the option to store video feed — either locally or on the cloud, which you can go back and view at a later time.
i. Arlo Video Doorbell
While there are a bunch of options when it comes to smart doorbells, the one from Arlo is something special. One of the biggest highlights of the Arlo Video Doorbell is that it can distinguish between humans, animals, and other objects, which prevents it from triggering false alarms. However, it does require a subscription for that (and a few other) functionalities. As for recording capabilities, the doorbell can record in 1536×1536 resolution at a 180-degree viewing angle. Moreover, it also offers support for voice assistant.
ii. Google Nest Hello
If you are completely engrossed in the Google ecosystem, the Nest Hello should be your smart doorbell of choice. It is a minimal-style, easy-to-setup video doorbell with Google’s goodness. The doorbell can record and store in 1600×1200 resolution 24/7. It features AI-powered motion detection and facial recognition, which adds to the overall security of the home. Moreover, to add to the convenience, when stored on Google’s cloud service, it automatically tags the clips, which help you identify people and objects over time. Similar to the Arlo, Nest Hello also requires a subscription (Nest Aware) to get access to the marquee features.
3. Security Camera for homes
Security Camera or wireless security camera is a type of CCTV (closed-circuit television) camera that relies on radio bands for wireless transmission of audio-video stream. A wireless security camera can be totally wireless (running on batteries) or semi-wireless with at least a single wire running through to the power outlet. One of the biggest advantages of wireless security cameras is that they find applications across a wide range of use-cases. In the case of smart home security, these cameras are one of the essential components that offer monitoring and surveillance at a relatively lower price. Similar to the smart doorbell, security cameras also offer either local or cloud storage facility to save the streams for days. And, you can use the camera’s companion app to monitor your home right on your mobile phone. Needless to say, depending on how much you spend on the camera, the list of features grows.
i. Arlo Pro 3
Arlo Technologies, the makers of the Arlo Video Doorbell, also have an offering for the security camera. The Arlo Pro 3 is one such option that offers a range of features, with the best part being that it does not require a power cord. The camera can record in 2K resolution with a 160-degree field-of-view and also supports night recording. You get support for all the different voice assistants along with a siren and spotlight feature that can come in handy. The Arlo Pro 3 can be used in both indoor and outdoor settings, and with its companion app, you can watch recordings and perform other operations directly from your smartphone.
ii. Google Nest Cam Outdoor
The Nest Cam Outdoor from Google is another recommendation for a security camera in your smart home security setup. As its name suggests, the camera claims to be completely waterproof and ideal for outdoor situations. You get 1080p recording with a 24/7 record of everything, based on your Nest Aware subscription. Yes, it does require a Nest Aware subscription to get access to all the features and functionalities. What’s more, there is support for different voice assistants, along with app support.
4. Smart Smoke Detector
The name is pretty much a giveaway here. As you would have guessed it, a smart smoke detector is a device that determines the presence of smoke or carbon monoxide (CO) in a space. It is, again, an important device to have in your home security system. Compared to their non-smart counterparts, smart smoke detectors add to the security and peace of mind by offering a few extra functionalities. You get the ability to get alerts right on your smartphone, more accurate detections to help you determine whether it is smoke or CO that triggered the sensor, and whatnot.
i. Google Nest Protect
Another Nest product for your smart and secure home setup is the Google Nest Protect. It is suggested by some to be the best and most-effective smoke detection device out there, mainly because it has a high-sensitivity and that it can send voice alerts to inform you when it suspects a fire. You get controls on the Nest app on your phone, which can also come in handy to silence the alert alarms. Google Nest Protect comes in both wired and wireless models.
5. Smart Motion Detector
Motion detection has been one of the essential sensors for home security. It is used to sense intrusions at home and can prove to be an important element in securing your home. A smart equivalent of the same colloquially referred to as a smart motion detector builds on the same principle and adds a few more functionalities. For instance, a smart motion detector can alert you of any intrusions at home on your mobile phone. Moreover, it can also trigger alarms or other notification sensors at home to prevent burglary. While there are a variety of motion detectors available out there, the PIR (passive infrared) sensors are the most widely used in home security updates.
The Ecolink Z-Wave Plus motion detector is considered to be one of the most reliable motion detectors. Simply because, unlike some of the other offerings, the Ecolink offering isn’t overly sensitive to the slightest movements, which makes it less susceptible to false trigger alarms. As for the functionalities, the device is compatible with a bunch of other smart home hubs and offers different sensitivity modes to choose from based on your requirements. The Ecolink Z-wave Plus has a detection range of 40 feet and a detection angle of 45-degrees.
6. Door/Window Sensor
Similar to the smart motion sensor, door/window sensors are another set of sensors in a smart home security setup that can elevate the security of your home. As their names suggest, these sensors are triggered whenever the door/window they are protecting is opened. They can be installed on the door frames, windows, or whatever it is that you want to keep closed. In case of an intrusion at home, wherein the burglars try to open one of such things (with the sensor installed), the alerts go out, and you get notifications for the same on your smartphone.
i. SimpliSafe Entry Sensor
The SimpliSafe Entry Sensor is one of the best door/window sensors out there. It comes with magnets to make the installation and setup process fairly easy. You get pretty accurate sensing for doors and windows, with a chime going off when the sensor detects the opening of the door/window. What’s more, the base station will sound a chime to alert you if someone’s trying to enter your home, even when the system is off.
By now, you should have an idea of what the whole smart home security system looks like and how it functions. You can either get the devices we have listed above or research and find one that meets your requirements yourself. In case you have any related queries, leave them in the comments below, and we will try to respond to the same. Moreover, if you want us to cover the complete smart home security systems, let us know in the comments.