The home security market is being rapidly disrupted. Smart devices and self-install units that allow homeowners to protect and monitor their homes, for a fraction of the cost of traditional wired, monitored systems, have already changed the security status quo. However, many of these products, such as Wi-Fi enabled wireless cameras, connected sensors and smart door locks, do much more than simply keep your home safe from burglars.
Whether you already own some of these security devices or have still hesitated to invest in home security, it’s useful to know about the added capabilities and multiple uses of these new technologies. In this article, we’ll explore some of the “non-security” related benefits of the modern home security system:
- Control your Lighting
Motion-activated lights and timed lighting are a great theft deterrent, but they can also be configured to work for the homeowner—not just against the burglar. By pairing passive infrared motion sensors with smart light bulbs, you can have your living room lights turn on as you walk up the front steps, or have the lights in the bedroom turn off when motion hasn’t been detected for a certain period of time.
- Know Who’s Coming
Motion sensors are excellent for triggering an alarm when an area has been breached, but they can also cue a Wi-Fi connected camera, with a feed that appears as an alert on your smartphone. If you want to know who’s at the front door without having to get up from your desk/bed/couch, you could install a motion sensor at the end of your driveway or walkway and pair it with an IP camera, and you’ll always be fully prepared when you open your front door.
- Protect your Children and Pets
Window and door alarms are designed to alert you to unauthorized access, and sensors can give you the peace of mind that everything is locked, from the comfort of your bed or the peacefulness of a beach. But those same contact sensors can be placed on a medicine cabinet or liquor cabinet and configured to send you an alert when they are opened, or trigger a light to flash so you know immediately if your children are getting into something they shouldn’t. Motion sensors can also be paired with presence sensors to let you know when a pet or a child has crossed a barrier around your home, so you know if Fido has run off or that your son made it safely home from school.
- Be At Home When You’re Away
Wi-Fi enabled cameras give you a literal window into your home from anywhere, at anytime, thanks to an always-on Internet connection. Simply plug them in and sync with your smartphone or tablet app, and you can see what’s happening in real time. You can also view recorded footage (useful if you’ve had an alert from one of your other security devices). However, most models also allow two-way communication, meaning your Wi-Fi security camera can act as a baby monitor, a pet-sitter or just a handy communication tool (“Honey, don’t forget to turn the oven on, I’m coming home….”).
- Monitor the ‘Health’ of Your Home
Environmental sensors are an essential part of any home security system, alerting you to the potentially lethal presence of smoke, fire and carbon monoxide. But they can also be configured to monitor the long-term health of your house, and in turn, the health of you and your family. Environmental sensors are now able to monitor moisture, temperature and humidity levels. Moisture monitoring can alert you to a dishwasher or washing machine leak or HVAC failure. Humidity monitoring can help you fix the source of skin and sinus irritation by helping to detect and prevent conditions that encourage mold and wood rot.
- Grant Access from Anywhere
Smart, connected door locks help you keep your home safe and secure, but they also allow you the convenience of a door that unlocks as you approach—great for when your arms are full of grocery bags. You also no longer need to wait around for service people, or leave a key under a rock for a neighbor. With a smart door lock you can let people in with a swipe of a finger through your app, or allocate them their own unique key or code.
The fringe benefits of these traditional security devices are translating into a much higher rate of adoption. Of course, we all know we should probably have a security system, but most people think of them as more of an insurance policy—something that you ought to have, but that can be expensive, with no tangible benefit. However, now that our security systems can integrate with our homes and lives in all these smart and unique ways, homeowners can see and feel the daily benefit of securing their homes.
Jennifer Tuohy, a closet gadget nerd, loves to give advice on new technologies like wireless home security and home automation for The Home Depot. Jennifer provides some great hacks and ideas for new ways to use these products. To see options to create your own DIY home security platform to fit your needs, visit The Home Depot.