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          13 August 2018 - 11:00

          Vacation-proof your home to outsmart burglars

          How to protect your home simply using a smartphone

          Vacations are coming and what could be more relaxing than sunbathing on a beach far from home?

          Nothing—unless a neighbour calls to say your home has been burgled. And here begins a stressful holiday.

          But, thanks to the internet, you can now use your smartphone to run a super-smart home security system—and do it in between swims.

           

          You're probably already very familiar with how much you can do from your phone at home. Phones have been able to do things like turn the heating and up and down and run automated pet feeders for a while now. This innovation is down to the cool system where devices, not people, send each other online messages.

          So can you risk not using this stuff to protect your home? 

          It’s time to investigate smart security systems, which communicate with themselves and with you, wherever you are.

           

          It’s no surprise that Wi-Fi is the key.  Your home network can be set to connect security sensors to a hub, the hub connects to an app, and the app notifies you through your phone.

          So whatever you do, forget that resolution not to take your phone on vacation.

           

          First off, you need sensors fitted on your doors and windows to detect vibration, and maybe inside or outside the house to pick up movement. You need to place them carefully, so they can’t be dodged or trashed. Infrasound sensors pick up vibrations in the air caused by movement but are smart enough not to go off every time a neighbour’s door slams or their dog barks.

           

          Sensors can trigger outdoor floodlights. But they can also be linked to indoor lights, in one room or another, giving the ‘Home Alone’ illusion of someone in the house at just the right moment.

           

          You can hide tiny cameras which start to record only when they sense movement. The smartest ones can tell the difference between known faces and strangers. They can also start recording – outside your front door – at a changing time each day. What happens to the footage? Well, it may not be the most entertaining show, but you can watch it on your phone wherever you are.  There will be a cloud-based option for storage, so don’t worry about losing or wiping the tape.

           

          If you need to leave a pet at home, grab yourself a system which allows pets to roam without triggering an alarm while recognizing other movements.

           

          You may also want sensors alerting you to fire, water, or carbon monoxide. They can talk to your app, and they can even send messages to doors, telling them to lock or unlock.