Have you ever left the house, traveled a few miles down the road and thought, “Did I turn off the coffee pot, turn on the porch light – or lock the front door?” If so, you aren’t alone, with the majority of people turning around to travel home and double-check whatever task they fear is left undone. This single event can transform a day that started out peaceful and quiet into one that is filled with chaos. However, new technology is changing these events from major annoyances to minor inconveniences that take only seconds to resolve. But how?
By the year 2020, there will be about 25 billion IoT-enabled devices. The devices are helping people automate their homes by controlling the temperature, locks and security features remotely – and the popularity is rapidly growing. In fact, the number of smart devices shipped is expected to grow from 83 million in 2015 to 193 million in 2020. But what are smart homes and why do they make sense for consumers? Check out these powerful benefits and learn why they will be critical in the future.
When thinking of a smart home, it may bring up visions of television shows like “The Jetsons,” that funny 1960s cartoon about a family living in the future. The show featured futurist inventions, such as jetpacks, flying cars, 3-D printed food and robots that did all the household chores. And while many of these inventions aren’t too far off – such as the smartwatch, which is readily available on the market – today’s smart homes look different.
Today’s smart homes are more functional in nature, and allow you to complete practical tasks, such as controlling the temperature, locking the doors and feeding your pets, from any location with an internet connection. These practical features are driving rapid adoption, with the global smart home market value expected to reach $43 billion in 2020, which is nearly triple that of 2014. These systems offer a variety of features and smart home ideas making your home safer and more secure.
A burglary occurs every 13 seconds in the United States. So, by the time you’re done reading this article, approximately 32 burglaries will have taken place. And once a burglary has occurred, a variety of challenges follow – everything from the loss of personal property and feeling a sense of violation to future worry about personal safety.
Home security is a top reason for smart home device adoption and the rise in cool home automation ideas. A survey conducted by iControl Networks found that more than 90 percent of respondents said that home and family security were a top consideration for deciding to have a connected home. This smart technology is providing greater access to tools that make a difference in the safety and security of your home.
Security systems of the past had bulky wires, and technicians needed to drill holes and use intrusive installation methods to set up the system. In contrast, smart systems are wireless, which provides greater flexibility for everyone, especially those who rent.
Renters experienced great difficulty getting access to security systems in the past, unless one was already installed in the home. Many home security companies had policies that prohibited them from installing systems for renters without written permission from the landlord. This made getting a security system nearly impossible for those who rented. But smart technology allows for the complete installation of a home security system with no wires or landlord permissions required. Plus, when you move, you can simply pack up the system and take it with you.
Smart security systems also have features that extend much further than versions of the past. For starters, they communicate seamlessly with other devices for a smarter and more user-friendly experience. For example, let’s say you’re on vacation for a couple of weeks and want to keep people from noticing. Sure, you can leave a car parked in the driveway, but there will be other signs that burglars look for, and one of them is activity.
Are your lights off all day and all night? If so, it becomes apparent that nobody is home. A smart security system, however, can turn on lights for a pre-set amount of time to mimic regular household activity. Plus, you can disarm the system remotely via your smartphone so that a neighbor can enter to water plants or bring in your daily newspaper. Most systems also have the option of issuing a temporary code, which allows you to give someone access, but for only a specific period of time.
A smart home security system is also connected to Wi-Fi, which keeps communication running smoothly. Security sensors measure activity and send alerts via text message when activity is detected. More comprehensive systems offer the ability to lock your doors remotely and view surveillance cameras in real time, and provide connectivity to smoke and CO detectors and water sensors. Because the system is connected to your smartphone, you know exactly who is in your home and how long they are there, and you gain the ability to monitor all activity.
In addition, some of these systems offer location-based service, so you can set up rules. For example, you can program the system so that it locks your home’s doors automatically once you leave. So, you no longer need to drive down the street wondering, “Did I really lock the front door?” And you no longer need to turn around, travel home and waste valuable time double-checking. (Do we want to mention this if our products don’t offer this feature yet?)
Families with elderly parents find extreme comfort knowing they can help monitor their loved one’s safety remotely, even if they are many miles away and not physically present.
Do you want to install a smart security system, but aren’t sure where to start? Here are a few tips to consider.
Easy installation process. Do-it-yourself options provide an affordable and effective method for securing your home, but nothing is worse than receiving a box that sits for days in the corner. Maybe you opened the box and read the instructions – but installation simply looks too difficult and overwhelming. Seek out smart security systems that have a reputation for simple installation and great support.
Web-enabled video. Having video is a great perk of smart security systems. For example, imagine that you hear a knock at the door, but aren’t expecting anybody. Wouldn’t it be nice to take a look and see who is there? Or if you’re not physically at home, would you like to know who is at the door? Having video is a great feature should a break-in occur because it provides valuable images to law enforcement to catch suspects.
Flexible monitoring. Do you want a self-monitoring security system, where you receive alerts when activity occurs – and ultimately make the call for the next course of action? Or do you want 24/7 monitoring of the system by an outside party? If you have an elderly parent living alone, you may opt for the latter to provide a quick emergency response, but if you simply want to keep a watch on your home from afar, self-monitoring can be effective. Determine this need up-front because it will guide the purchase process.
Powerful application abilities. Many smart security systems will allow you to use your smartphone as a command center, with powerful features such as the ability to arm and disarm the system remotely. Check out the features that each system offers and determine which are most important to your household. You should also consider a telephone entry system for extra security.
Key takeaway. The best piece of advice for shopping for that next smart security system is to understand your most important needs. What do you need the security system to do? It’s not the same for everybody, so listing the most important features will help narrow your options.
A smart security system allows you to connect other smart devices to your home and gives you the ability to monitor those devices. This transforms a normal security system into one that empowers the homeowner remotely, through a smartphone, tablet or computer which is a cool home automation idea!
For example, many systems have rules known as “If this, then that,” which you can program. The system can remotely control different aspects of the home based on the rules, whether it’s controlling blinds and LED light bulbs or locking doors. This allows you to gain complete control over your home regardless of physical location. For example, did you forget to turn off your oven? If so, you can turn it off remotely within seconds instead of rushing home through traffic – worried that your home will be on fire when you arrive.
The controlling of devices remotely can also result in significant energy savings. On a hot, blistering day, you can turn your air conditioner off when leaving for work. When you’re close to returning home, simply change your thermostat via your smartphone and the home is icy cold when you arrive.
Energy savings from smart homes aren’t just anecdotal, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – the savings are real. They found that users who opted to use a smart home technology thermostat saved up to 30 percent on their energy bills. Over the course of several years, those savings can add up fast.
In addition to energy savings, you benefit from greater confidence knowing that your home is safe and secure when you’re away. For example, years ago you may have depended solely on neighbors to watch your home when traveling. And this is a great strategy, but when coupled with a smart security system it provides even greater peace of mind.
Your watchful virtual monitoring, combined with the eyes and ears of neighbors, offer a safety net that wasn’t thought possible a few decades ago. Plus, when hitting the road, you can remotely turn many appliances to the “off position” should you be worried they’re still on. No more worrying if you really turned off the coffee pot or locked the front door – instead you can stop obsessing and start enjoying that vacation you planned.
Key takeaway. Many of the devices in your home can be connected to a smart home security system. The coffee pot? Yes. The oven? Yes. The doors, the lights, the dryer … yes, yes and yes. This smart technology isn’t just about being technologically advanced, it’s about practical solutions that save you time and make your days easier.
The market for smart home devices is taking off. Growth is spurred by people learning and embracing all the advantages of tapping into this technology, such as great control over their homes using the devices that they already love – such as a smartphone, tablet or computer.
These smart home solutions have become more user friendly, so even if you want to set up a system for your aging parent with limited technology experience, they’re still a good option. As with any technology, you can always start small and build up from there. For example, set up a smart security system and hook up a few devices, such as the lights, and then gradually expand the number of devices connected. These smart systems are flexible, providing the security and ease of use you need, on your terms.
Nortek Security & Control has more than 3 million security and home control systems installed, making them the clear category leader under their award-winning 2GIG® brand. Their technology delivers the convenience of IoT devices to the mass market, offering solutions that are affordable and easy to install and use. For more information, visit www.nortekcontrol.com.