Making Smart Choices for Your Smart Home
The home environment is a space with high potential for smart technology; both the inside and outside areas have important risks that need protection. We want our home spaces to provide comfort, convenience, and security. Smart technology can improve our lives by performing critical functions that increase security.
Smart and Adaptable
Scout Alarm works seamlessly with connected smart technology devices via the Zigbee and Zwave interoperability protocols. Confused as to what those words mean? Don’t be. Simply put, they’re special types of radio waves meant exclusively for the Internet of Things. These protocols deliver the connectivity and adaptability that makes Smart Home Technology so enticing and versatile. Every home reflects the particular priorities of their occupants. Some need no security, some minimal and others Fort Knox level protection. Due to its flexibility, smart home security can covers homes from one-room units to spacious houses on large tracts of land, and occupants include variations in family size, ranging from one-person units to extended family types and group living. The beauty of Smart Home Technology and DIY Security is that it can adapt to meet a wide variety of needs and preferences for home security.
Just as with any important purchase, there are multiple considerations to take into account. Some of these are:
- Costs and Value
Getting your money’s worth is always a top consideration. In today’s marketplace, many high-tech purchases leave buyers regretting the costs because they received too little benefit. Sometimes products require substantial investment and serve a narrow purpose with inadequate payoff; many fads are hot selling items that wind up gathering dust in the home. Worst yet is “planned obsolescence” where an electronic device is engineered to fail by a certain time leaving the user with no choice but to purchase another.
- Buyer Frustration
When a product fails to deliver, it may be an inconvenience for wealthy purchasers. Some buyers, such as recent college graduates carrying a large amount of student debt, must make difficult or financially painful trade-offs when making purchases. For those with limited economics, a poor selection can be hard to overcome.
- DIY Security
Do It Yourself Security, while somewhat new, holds a wealth of opportunity and promise. By adapting the technology for maximum personal benefit, DIY Security provides the most custom home protection experience available. Due to Smart Home technology only becoming somewhat ubiquitous in the last few years, most homes were not built to function perfectly as smart structures. Thick cement walls, metal pipes, lack of ethernet plugs, etc. can cause roadblocks for some DIY security systems, but fortunately Scout was designed with these problems in mind. In more difficult houses, it may take a few tries of moving the sensors to get them to connect without obstruction. But even if rarely difficult, it’s basically impossible to fail at setting up your DIY system. DIY Security is also great way to adapt an older home and retrofit the security systems so that it can operate in ways not thought possible before and to changing needs or preferences.
- The Internet of Things- IoT
The internet grew from a collection of computer systems on college campuses that made communication between scientists easier and faster, and now it’s evolved to be ubiquitous with people in even the most remote areas able to connect and quickly communicate around the globe. The Internet is still young; the Web dates back to the late 1970’s, but its impact has been transformative to the way people interact in business and life in a broad sense. The Internet of Things has a similar potential, and most argue that it’s potential is even larger. This connection between internet connected machines, devices, computers, and physical things of nearly every type holds limitless promise. For instance, in a connected home a smartphone can control any number of activities from lighting, to security, securing the front door and more.
Knowledge is Power
Before you run off to make your first smart home purchase, consider what’s important to you and the order you should purchase the devices in. It makes more sense to purchase a device that can integrate with and control multiple other devices than a device that can only control itself.
- Before the Purchase
You should assess your needs carefully and factor in the way, and in what order, you’d want your smart home devices to operate. If you plan to build a large system, then you should focus on a hub and its connectivity as the first purchase. Having a hub or security system that can act as a hub will pay dividends in the long run. If your present home is small, but you plan to move to a larger home at some point, it’s easy to upgrade with DIY Security without losing any of your investment. T
- After the Sale
Learning after the sale is important for maximum value. You may have other devices that you can integrate. Your Smartphone can track the home conditions while away, and get alerts at all times. Learning after the sale includes changing needs and preferences. Experience can show the need to code alarms to get different alerts for various events, such as a tone for smoke as distinct from a CO leak.
Technology’s continual advancement delivers both convenience and functionality, with the only limitation seeming to be imagination.
IFTTT or If This Then That Technology relies on “recipes” that chain together events to accomplish tasks. For instance, “If I arrive within 20 yards of my home, turn the lights and thermostat on, and then open the garage door”. Many recipes are already created for you on the IFTTT site, but you can also add or invent new recipes that do your bidding in order to simplify your life. Recipes can also solve vital issues like health and safety. For example, an older adult living alone can expand a support system by Smartphone alerts. A recipe might trigger a phone call or text to a nearby relative if a smoke or CO alert occurs between the hours of 9:00 PM and 6:00 AM. The recipe creates a backup system to guard against sleeping through an alert. An older adult, perhaps on medications, has a different set of priorities than a teenager in good health.
The Art of the Possible
If current innovations are any indicator, the capabilities of smart technology may only be limited by the curiosity of its users. These capabilities, and the supporting cast of products and devices in the Smart Home/DIY Security Ecosystem, are constantly growing and redefining what DIY Security is capable of doing. For example, ecosystem devices such as lights, door locks, smoke & C0, and other monitoring sensors can work individually or together to provide the occupant of a home or apartment with both enhanced security measures and an upgraded quality of life from any location so long as they have their phone and internet access.
Some integrations of note are:
LIFX and Hue lighting are traditionally utilized to provide owners with an easy way to turn their homes into a reflection of their moods, activities, and or current music selections. Their usefulness goes far beyond purely superficial pursuits though, as lighting integration can enhance home security by turning lights on to match a schedule, thereby imitating an owner at home. If a thief successfully breaks in during the night, lights can be triggered to flash rapidly stunning the would be robber and drawing additional attention to the home as well.
Amazon Alexa and Google Home give power to your voice. As you ask and command with your voice, these systems learn more about your preferences and can learn to anticipate your actions and schedule. While simple to execute, controlling your home security and associated devices via your voice is a benefit any DIY home security system owner will come to appreciate when dealing with coming home or leaving while their hands are full.
New smoke & C0 sensors offer essential combinations of protection against smoke, fire, and toxic gases. Processing this information into a system can ensure prompt action, activating support networks, and effective alerts. These sensors can be controlled easily integrated with your Scout system as well as your Alexa or Google Home, providing additional integration and control via your Smartphone for fire, smoke, and CO events/accidents.
Social Awareness Scout Alarm offers a hidden but important feature of smart home technology; it conserves energy and resources. We often focus on the convenience and control that Smart Home technology provides, but it’s easy to forget about the potential savings in energy and water usage that automating the start and stop of common use cases can provide for each household. When multiplied across a city, state, or region the conservation smart technology provides reduces both public costs and demand on infrastructure helping us all to be smart, safe, and socially responsible without even thinking of it.