Feeling safe in your home couldn’t be more important, after all everything and everyone you care about live in it. Feeling secure for your safety, your family’s safety, and your property, at all times is a must, even when away on vacation.
5 Things to Look For in Today’s Home Security Systems
To navigate around the tons of choices for home security systems, there are 5 things you should consider that will be reviewed in this article. Knowing these 5 can save you time and money from ineffective and expensive services.
In the past, the “typical model is you pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to have sensors professionally installed in the home. And then you pay $40 to $50 per month to have the professional monitoring option where a call center will call your home in the event of an emergency,” said Thad White, director of home security products for Ooma. In addition, the set-up can’t be moved from place to place, and the subscription really adds up over time.
Home security systems now have transformed into “smart home technology” that are more user-friendly, inexpensive and mobile. They are easier to arm and disarm. “The less education we have to do, the more likely our products are going to be integrated into people’s daily lives,” says Herman Yau, CEO of home security company Tend.
Before installing a home security system, however, it would do a lot of good if everybody first and foremost make it a habit to lock your windows and doors as home security signs and stickers aren’t good enough to deter burglars. Next, select a home security system that you can operate confidently and with features you can easily fold into your daily routine.
Below are five features to look for in today’s home security systems:
- Smartphone access. “The market has changed a lot, really with the advent of smartphones,” White says. Many home security systems today can be monitored and operated from a smartphone app, and software updates in the mobile app is quick and instantaneous. If something out of the ordinary is detected, we send a notification to your phone allowing you to act quickly, explains Sophie Le Guen, product manager for Nest Secure, a branch of the Nest home system. “The verification part is key,” she says.
- Easy in and out. “We realized that one of the main sources of false alarm was actually users themselves not knowing how to arm and disarm their system,” Le Guen says. Nest, like Ooma and Tend, among other home security options, allows you to arm your system from your phone. Nest Secure also includes tags, which act like a key fob to arm and disarm the system, as well as a key pad to let you, your family and even your dog walker use the best mode to get in and out of the house. The Nest Secure system also has a feature that keeps the system armed while opening one door without setting off an alarm, by pressing a release on that door’s sensor. This way, you can leave for work early in the morning while the rest of the family is sleeping, or let the dog out at night without fearing waking up the entire house.
- Self-monitoring. Most wireless home security systems allow you to monitor your house on your own, without having to pay for a company to track your alarm. Ooma exclusively runs on this model. “When you detect an emergency, you can choose to trigger a 911 call from your cellphone, but it comes from your home,” reaching the appropriate local dispatcher in your area, White says.
- Subscription third-party care. But, of course, relying on your own diligence to check your phone may not be enough. Nest Secure is built for self-monitoring, but it also offers subscriptions to Brinks Home Security. Some consumers want the peace of mind of someone else watching over the house when they can’t, and this subscription is a great option for them. “Some other consumers want to be empowered directly,” says Le Guen, which is where the self-monitoring through a smartphone comes in handy.
- Advanced cameras and sensors. Of course, the ability for room, door and window sensors to function properly and move easily is a major component to making your security system a smart investment. Fortunately, many security companies offer wireless sensors that can easily be moved about the home to better fit your needs, and they can be moved to your next place without you having to purchase a whole new system. Ooma, Tend and Nest all offer cameras with advanced technology that help reduce false alarms and know more about what’s happening at home while you’re away. Facial recognition can let you know when an unfamiliar face comes into your home while you’re gone, and smart heat sensors reduce the chance of triggering a security alert when your dog walks around the house during the day. By installing outdoor cameras on the exterior of your home, “you can extend your perimeter,” Yau says, helping you to feel safe not just inside the walls of your house at night, but on the rest of your property as well. Yau explains that the goal of advancing technology in home security, particularly with cameras, is not just to try and catch the bad guys should a break-in occur, but to work the security measures into your everyday life with little disruption. The easier it is to incorporate into your routine, the more likely you are to use it and successfully deter would-be burglars.