For the past several years, smart homes have been the rage in tech publications as a security-focused evolution of the Internet of Things (IoT). Like something out of a William Gibson novel, smart
home automation technology has evolved into one part security force, one part housekeeper, allowing homeowners to do everything from turn on the lights to videotape who’s standing on your porch.
In the early 2000s, these cloud-based “cool tools” became popular with homeowners concerned about increasing crime -- and increasing their home’s energy efficiency. Smart home automation allows you to monitor disturbances when you're away and reduce the thermostat to save energy.
There are two primary types of home automation available: the cheaper, but less robust self-installation kit, or the professionally installed unit that can include live security monitoring as an important backup in the event of a crisis.
Let’s look at the features, benefits, and drawbacks of these two smart home options.
Over-the-counter Home Automation Technology
If you have time to DIY, you can save on installation fees. Most DIY systems are wireless, so if you’re not tool-friendly, you’ll probably be fine. But there are two big drawbacks to these systems: they lack the features, and they lack the consultation and training that comes with any pro-grade alarm system.
For example, Simplisafe, a DIY home security service, offers a low-cost package with three door/window sensors, a motion, and smoke detector. Or, you can buy an over-the-counter NetCam like the Belkin Wireless IP Camera. But you’ll probably be left wondering if you’ve done enough to protect your family. Sometimes you get what you pay for, and when it comes to the security of your home, sometimes it's better to invest a little more.
Professional Grade Smart Home
If you’re like most of us, you don’t have the patience to install a DIY home automation unit. The average homeowner would prefer to leave this important work to professionals.
Allied Fire and Security joined forces with another recognized industry name – Honeywell – to offer the Total Connect System. This technology offers the benefits of smart home technology at every point in your home - from water levels, thermostat control, to live video surveillance. You can monitor your home from anywhere, store video files in the cloud, and even add live security onto your alarm systems; a backup that most homeowners say yields real peace of mind.
Given our obsession with the Smartphone, it's important to realize free mobile apps are included with each package. You’ll receive a message when your doorbell rings and be able to talk with visitors as if you were standing just inside the front door, get an alert when motion sensors are breached, or unusual activity is captured on a surveillance camera. You can even turn on the heat. How’s that for smart?
Future of the Smart Home
Berg Insight predicts 36 million homes in North America will be smart by 2017. Given that crime continues to increase, we believe this is one prediction you can count on.
Some of the best features in home automation package include:
- 24/7 surveillance including live monitoring in addition to remote monitoring from any digital device.
- Remote thermostat control, a “green” energy feature for your furnace and a/c.
- Live feed and video recording with cloud-stored images, allowing more data for a longer.
- Alarm sensors on every window.
- Fire alarms and CO2 detectors that automatically alert the alarm center when triggered.
The best professional platforms offer live monitoring in addition to technology enhanced remote security and other home convenience features. You can easily select what smart home package works best for you and your family.