It’s a question that has been asked many times in recent years: Can smart home devices replace an alarm system? Smart tech has been steadily developing over the last decade, and tech-savvy homeowners are beginning to wonder how this can make their homes more secure.
This post will take a look at the different ways you can use technology to secure your home and their pros and cons. And if a traditional home security system is needed in todays world.
Let’s examine these technologies
Traditional Home Security System
Traditionally, alarms have been used to notify people when there is an unwanted presence in a home. The alarm can be activated through a remote control, which can be placed on a wall or shelf nearby. When the intruder is detected, an alarm is emitted.
There are many benefits to using this type of alarm system. Including peace of mind knowing that the installation has been done by professionals – not someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing. The technology used is robust, tried and tested to meet strict requirements.
Advantages of Traditional Security Systems
Reliable—A traditional home security system offers reliability, as it is usually done by professionals who know the ins and outs.
Peace of mind— A traditional home security system offers peace of mind knowing that it has been installed by professionals, but that is often costly.
Smart Home Devices
Smart home devices are growing in popularity as they bring luxury to our homes, with some being able to integrate with other smart home devices to bring many more benefits.
Benefits of IoT for Home Security
IoT (Internet of Things) devices and other smart home tech makes it possible to monitor and control your home from afar. For example, you can get notifications when a window or door is opened. It can also be used to detect if someone is inside your home when you’re not there. If you have a smart lock, these devices can also alert you when someone doesn’t enter your PIN number correctly on their first. Here are some advantages:
IoT devices are easy to install and maintain, which can take some of the burden off of an over-worked homeowner. Some even provide automation features that make it easier for you to control when lights turn on or who has access into your home.
Compared to traditional devices, most systems can be installed without professional assistance. Though some still require professionals, depending on the complexity of the system.
The advantages of IoT for home security can be summed up in one word: ease. When it comes to the convenience and ease of use, the Internet of Things is the best thing that has ever happened to home security.
Can You Really DIY a Smart Home Security System?
Smart home tech and home automation have developed so much over the last few years that you can now do a lot with them. This is especially true if your smart home equipment has been designed to work in conjunction with other smart devices, like motion sensors, door/window sensors and smart locks.
How Can you DIY a Smart Home Security System?
It depends on the type of system you are interested in, are you looking for a 100% DIY home security system, or are you looking for an “out of the box” solution. Whatever you decide, there’s no denying that IoT will be a substantial game changer for the whole home security and safety industry. Smart home devices aim to make it easier to monitor what’s going on in your home, which can be handy in protecting you and your family from harm.
If you wanted to take a 100% DIY approach, you would simply select the devices you wanted to take advantage of and incorporate them into your smart home. Using some of the device as triggers to activate automations or send alerts to your mobile app.
If you wanted the ease of an “out of the box” solution, there are many to choose from, just ensure the kit you choose has the functionality and security features you require.
There are a few out of the box home security kits from well known brands like Yale and also Ring that will also work with the Alexa voice assistant. Better yet, if you already own a Ring Doorbell and you want to get started I would recommend the Ring Security Kit that should integrate easily with the doorbell.
What Devices would you need for the 100% DIY Home Security System?
If you are interested in the 100% DIY home security approach, you would require a motion detector, door sensor, cameras and an alarm. The costs for these may vary depending on the brands you choose. You can purchase a basic smart home security kit from as little as £200, but the number of motion sensors you get with that kit may not be enough to provide coverage for the entire home.
If you are looking to DIY you home security, then you would be looking at any combination of these devices below. You could start with the basic like motion detectors and add to the system as time goes on. See below for some of the device we recommend you incorporate into your smart home security system:
A motion detector is a device which senses motion and sends data to a central controller for evaluation. Some motion detectors can report more than just motion. They may also collect data like a temperature, a sound level, vibration intensity and location, or changes in position. Both a traditional and a DIY solution can take advantage of motion sensor to improve the security of your home. When motion is detected it can send an alert in the form of a push notification to your mobile phone, so you can deal with the situation quickly and effectively.
There are lots of motion sensor devices available on the market, some use your existing WiFi network to connect and communicate with other devices. While others may use communication protocols like Zigbee and Z-Wave to connect to the rest of the smart home.
Door / Window Sensors:
Door and window sensors can be used to detect the opening of a door or window. The sensor will typically be powered by batteries and have two parts that use magnets to detect whether the door, window, or cupboard is closed or opened. The batteries can last up to 12 months depending on the amount of use over time.
As with motion sensors, once the trigger has been activated, you can receive a notification on your mobile device, or it can be used to a trigger another device, like activating a loud siren.
A smart lock is an electronic device that you install on a door or gate to unlock it remotely, typically with your smartphone. By using a mobile app that will be provided from the manufacture of the lock, users can control who enters their home remotely and grant access to friends or delivery drives without the need to be at the location. A smart lock can interact with the outside world via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or even NFC technology.
Home Security Cameras:
WiFi home security cameras (sometimes referred to as a CCTV camera) are a device which can be used to monitor areas inside and outside of the house. The combination of capturing images and sound with motion detection or other triggers has revolutionised how we are able to protect our homes. There are many benefits of owning a home security camera. In addition to monitoring what is going on outside of the house, it can be used to monitor surrounding areas such as, the gardens, pools, or even areas where your children or pets may play.
A Video Doorbell Camera is a device for your door or porch that has features of both security camera and doorbell. It can give the impression you are home, when you could be elsewhere in the area.
Glass Break Sensors
A glass break sensor is an alarm system that can be used on windows and doors. It will go off if it detects the sound of a breaking window or door, it can alert the homeowner who can then go check the area or notify the authorities.
So as you can see, with so many smart home security products to choose from its easy to see why the smart home security is quickly replacing traditional home security systems that don’t have internet connectivity.
Another plus of buying a smart home security system is the number of pieces you can buy that all operate, and connect together. You could easily have your motion detectors turn the light on as you enter a room. Or use a door/window sensor to active automations when you arrive home after work, so the TV is already turned on, ready and waiting for you to relax after a hard days work.
If you are interested in improving your homes overall security, there is a handy article from Which.co.uk that has some helpful pointers on things that can deter a potential burglar. Using IoT to protect your home is a great idea, but it’s also important to consider ways to keep your smart devices secure at home.
We have guides that explain how to install Home Assistant in VirtualBox for those looking for a DIY approach to getting started with home automation. You may be surprised how you can transform an old computer or laptop into a powerful home automation system when you follow this guide.