Apr 29, 2016

How to Make Your Home Your Castle


Pyke Castle

We’re looking at ways in which you can make both your home and property a little bit more secure, both inside and outside.

Now, whilst we appreciate that nothing you ever do is going to make your very own little bit of real estate as formidable as Pyke Castle from Game of Thrones, you don’t need to have a moat, assorted halbards and a clutch of bloody thirsty warriors either.

Infact all you need is access to a gadget or two.

And hey, you know us. We love our gadgets. And if they’re as practical these examples look with reference to keeping all about us safe and sound, then we like them even more.

How about one of these for starters?

It’s called Nest Cam. Part of the ever growing repository of gadgets that have recently been launched by Google, it looks like a webcam but is actually a home security camera that is, according to one review, “about as intelligent a bit of surveillance kit as you’re going to get at this price.

Which is, as you’re now asking £159.

Sound a bargain? It does to us. You can tune into the live feed it provides from your home at anytime but, on top of that, can elect to have alerts sent to your mobile phone if any suspicious activity is detected in front of the lens.

It’s easy to set up. You can stand it on any flat surface or even have it mounted on a wall. It’s small and subtle, enough to be missed by all but the most vigilant of ne'er-do-wells. Be honest, would it stand out and scream “security camera!!” to you in this scene?

(OK, I grant you, I’d be a tad more worried about the bloody great dog sat there looking at me, but you get the picture. As does, and will, the Nest Cam which, if you look carefully, is indeed, part of the furniture here).

Nest Cam is, according to Google, capable of differentiating between a swaying tree branch and a burglar intent on forcing his way through one of your sash windows, so intelligent and sophisticated is it’s circuitry. In other words, the chances of you dashing to the rescue with half the local police force by your side only to see a discarded carrier bag flapping away in one of your shrubs is the culprit are, at best, low.

Nest Cam

But that’s not all. Nest Cam has an optional extra included which lets your archive recordings in The Cloud  else set up activity zones in front of the camera (eg) living room windows or even, if you want, record and store an edited highlights reel of all recorded activity for you, depending on whether you want that done over ten or thirty days.

Brilliant! Just be mindful of what you might be getting up to yourself on the sofa in the meantime, that’s all we’re saying. This is a family blog, after all.

Now, what about doing something about your locks?

There are plenty of companies offering smart locks out there but, as far as range and price goes, August look to have a lot of bases covered.

Their locks can be accessed via your Smartphone which means, for example, you can safely let the kids in if you’re still stuck at work or, if you’re away for longer, be easily able to give access to friends and family without having to worry about getting spare keys cut and all the connotations that come with that.

The reason all of this is possible is that your Smartphone app takes the place of keys, codes and everything else we’ve previously associated with getting into our homes up until now. So, if you need to let someone in at a certain time, all those people need are their Smartphones in order to let them in.

Plus August Smartlock  will also let you know, at the same time, who is entering your property and what time they did so.

All makes the traditional key seem a bit, well, Neanderthal, doesn’t it?

August claim that their lock works with most deadbolts and that you can have it installed inside your home in just a few minutes.

If clean lines and simplicity doesn’t necessarily do anything for you and you’d just like something that just does the job, then you might want to consider the iSmartAlarm. It does, and let’s be honest, lack a little something in terms of its aesthetic appeal-Nest Cam it ain’t, but, on the other hand, it looks as if it just might be one of the most comprehensive home security solutions available at this moment in time.

One of the things that is a little different about iSmartAlarm is that, once you’ve spent out on the original outlay (one version of it is currently going for £170 on Amazon) then that is pretty much it as once you have decided on how many of the add on’s that you want as part of your basic kit, your job as project financier is over. And whilst it may, in this age of small and compact, look a bit cumbersome and awkward, it does the job including, via a smart tag, recognising whether or not certain members of your family are at home or not at any given time of day or night.

So your teenage children will just love it!

iSmartAlarm covers a whole range of security related gadgets including cameras, motion sensors, contact sensors and smart switches. So if you want to really blanket your home in security equipment, then this might just be the option for you.

We shouldn’t forget, of course, the more traditional methods of providing security to your home (ie) that which  is provided by security companies such as Yale.

They offer a number of different products and systems including an all in one package that includes a set of motion sensors, a smoke alarm, a key fob for instant access and contacts for both doors and windows that will detect any attempt at intrusion.

The alarm can be turned on and off remotely through your Smartphone-that, or, it’ll automatically switch on an upstairs light whenever movement is detected in your garden and you’re not at home. Inside the home you will be provided with a touch screen panel that will enable you to control the alarm-entering, for example, phone numbers where you can be contacted in the event of an emergency. You can also programme it to go off in response to an intruder or attempted incursion on your property in the traditional manner. So think of it as a rather more old fashioned type of alarm system but one fitted with a few rather smart added extras.

Bear in mind of course that, for a system like this one or similar, you will need to take into account the installation costs as well as a monthly ‘subscription’ to the alarm companies central station.

A few more ideas for you to consider then. But what are your own experiences and/or recommendations when it comes to home security. We’d love to hear about them and include your own thoughts on a future blog. So get in touch and let us know.

And remember....

Nest Cam Smart Home