Smart home security

Looking after your home security set-up, in conjunction with reliable broadband, is a serious business, so let’s take you through the key things you need to know.

What is a smart home security system?

Safeguarding what is most valuable to you, a smart home security system is a collection of internet-connected security gadgets, typically including a combination of wireless security cameras, motion detectors, sirens, door locks and sensors; all detecting when a door or window has been opened.

A smart security set-up will often be part of a wider smart-connected home, the kind of which many companies are now developing.

Home security, bundled

Smart security set-ups are generally bundled together with security gadgets, providing a system that will vary between different kits, brands and prices. You would also have the option to buy additional devices separately to upgrade or tweak your home security arrangement.

Broadband connectivity at the centre

All smart home security systems are powered by internet connectivity. A central broadband connected ‘hub’ will wirelessly link up and communicate with a smart home app and connect up all the elements in your security system.

Using the app on your smartphone or tablet, you will be able to monitor the status of your home by receiving notifications, viewing photos or video footage from security cameras and, often, controlling parts of your home, such as heating, lighting or other appliances.

Guide to some of the best smart home security

Smart locks, smart WiFi doorbells, smart videos, smart alarms, smart outdoor cameras, and smart sensors: there’s a vast array of available methods to help secure your property and give you peace of mind whether you’re at home, work or hundreds of miles away.

You’ll want to look for a package or bundle that suits your needs, depending on what your budget is and considering what methods you want to use to secure your home. We’ve looked at three options to consider.

Smart home security features

Even with some good purchasing options for look for, it is worth thinking about what features will really make smart home security kit work for you and your family. If you carry out further research to see what’s on the market, here are some key features to consider.

  • Long WiFi range – as smart home hubs are hungry for WiFi to communicate, if you have a large home, it can be worth looking for a system that has a wide range of 50 metres.

  • Outdoor siren (or dummy siren) – these serve as a real deterrent for burglars from the outside. Security company research suggests that burglars tend to avoid properties they know have alarm systems, either an outdoor siren or a dummy siren; so it might be worth looking for kits that offer one of these, as not every set-up will do.

  • Battery back-up – just in case of a power cut, having a smart security system with battery back-up will offer you increased peace of mind. It could also prevent your system going off and filling the neighbourhood with unwarranted sirens during the day or night.

  • Smartphone compatibility – worth a quick look-see to make sure your chosen security kit is compatible with your phone. Most will work with Apple and Android devices, but a few may also favour Windows phones.

  • Third party compatibility – with some devices in smart home kits, they will only work with gadgets made by the same brand, such as Honeywell or Yale. Others, like Samsung, will work just fine with smart components from Phillips and Amazon; making use of the Z-Wave system to synch things up. Best to check and make sure before you buy.

  • Look for DIY options – if you choose a DIY installation, you’ll be able to put your system together yourself, without too much blood, sweat or tears. And with DIY systems, they shouldn’t need drilling into walls, any messing around with circuit boards or any excessive technical know-how.

How much does complete smart home security cost?

We’ve illustrated some examples of kits you could look at. Beyond those, buying smart home technology will somewhat depend on how much you want to spend and how in depth you want to get on customising your choice of kit. You can also get systems that are professionally installed and this will involve a higher outlay. On top of that, if you require monitoring, in some cases you’ll be hit with a monthly fee to pay off the cost of hardware components.

With many DIY systems, such as the SimpliSafe Home Security Kit and the Ring Alarm Security Kit, you buy the hardware outright and can avoid any monthly fees if you decide to self-monitor your system. If you want professional monitoring, fees do vary. You might pay anything from £14.99 a month to nearly £30 for a more elaborate system.

Can smart home security systems be hacked?

Any device that connects to the web and makes use of wireless technology can be vulnerable to hacking. Smart home security systems are no different. Hackers could be placed to intercept wireless signals coming from your system that might allow them to jam alarms or disable sensors. Pun intended, you should not be alarmed though, there are steps you can take to secure the situation.

To begin with, replace your system’s default password with a more complex one; containing a mix of letters, numbers and symbols. If possible, keep changing your password, a slight pain which pays you back in peace of mind.

Also, keep up to date and in a good position with your home broadband network security. Check your router’s security settings and look for extra layers of protection.

Find out how Virgin Media handles security for our customers

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