As Dorothy said on her way back to Kansas, ‘there’s no place like home’ (although you may disagree after a year spent in lockdown!).
Our humble abode has certainly been through a journey. Five years ago, TVs, laptops and tablets were the norm but these were ‘on and off’ gadgets you would use and put down.
Fast forward along the digital yellow brick road to today and things are very different. Devices are always on, integrated into our daily routine and working silently in the background waiting for our commands. From voice assistants, wireless speakers to heating systems, we now have a family of devices operating harmoniously under one roof.
Another popular sibling in this roster is smart security systems which can be accessed remotely on a smartphone to see what’s happening at home. But they’re not just about security. Increasingly devices are used for other purposes such as keeping an eye on pets, getting notified of deliveries or remotely unlocking your front door to let a family member in.
These systems are far more versatile than traditional home security setups as they tend to be more affordable and easier to manage. Whilst a traditional system sounds an alarm to warn off intruders and alert your neighbours to a potential break-in, the fact is, if you’re not at home you won’t hear it. Smart systems on the other hand encompass a wide-range of gadgets including CCTV cameras and even zero vision fog barriers to disorientate potential intruders. This activity is all monitored and alerts sent to your smartphone, so you can keep track wherever you are. Smart security devices are becoming increasingly popular and nearly one in ten of us now owns at least one smart security device in the home.
So, here’s what you need to know for a post-lockdown world in 2021…
Types of devices
Cameras, doorbells, motion sensors, door locks, smoke detectors…the list goes on. These devices can be bought individually or as part of a package.
How they work
Smart systems connect to your home Wi-Fi. They typically include a ‘hub’ which plugs into your router and a smartphone app so you can manage your devices, check in to see what’s happening and receive alerts when a sensor is triggered. It’s important to note some devices, such as cameras, require a monthly subscription to save video footage. Without this, it may only keep the previous 24 hours.
Individual brands have their own system and whilst you can use devices from different companies, it may mean you need to plug multiple ‘hubs’ into your router and install several smartphone apps. Choosing one brand can make it easier to add additional devices to your system over time. Here are some of the most popular:
Ring: One of the most affordable and well-known systems developed by Amazon. It started with just doorbells but has expanded to include almost any smart device you could need. Easy to setup and straight forward to use.
Verisure: A premium, highly sophisticated product. These are not ‘plug in and go’ but involve a team visiting your property and installing the system for you.
SimpliSafe: As the name suggests, this is one of the simplest to install yourself with a mix of devices. A good place to start for newcomers.
Swann: A huge selection of products and competitively priced. They run regular deals so you might be able to a grab a bargain!
In a smart home, your Wi-Fi is the head of the family and provides the umbrella under which all your devices operate. This is known as the ‘Internet of things’ (IoT) and incorporates all devices connected to the internet from coffee machines, light bulbs to curtains (yes, really!).
But for these gadgets to work effectively you need to have fast and reliable internet. You might think your broadband is good enough at the moment and that may be true. But it won’t stay like that for long. Picture this. You’re streaming a 4K film, the kids are playing a game online, your partner is working from home trying to download some files and now you’re adding half a dozen smart security devices. The result? A digital traffic jam.
If your camera doesn’t alert you to an intruder because your internet has stalled then the system has already failed. It needs to work 24/7 and you need the confidence that it will continue to do so no matter how many additional devices you buy.
That’s simply not possible with the existing Superfast broadband infrastructure. It may be promoted as ‘fibre’ but it has a secret…copper. Copper constrains speeds and performance. It also can’t be upgraded so the speeds you get today won’t get any faster.
That’s why we’re building REAL FIBRE networks across the East of England which deliver fibre cables directly into your home. Removing the copper gives almost limitless speeds and reliability. But these networks take time to build which is why we must start now and get future-ready before it’s too late and households are left behind.