Security is about peace of mind.

It is no longer simply about alarms to scare off an intruder, or summon the neighbours. It’s about including safeguards around our everyday living that enable us to feel secure not only about our family’s safety, but also comfortable that everything in our home is operating as it should, whether we happen to be there, or not!

A smart home system should be programmed to have different settings dependent on whether the family is at home or not, and whether you are awake or asleep.

You may choose to include security aspects in the settings so that, for example:

1. An ‘AWAY’ mode sets the alarm, as well as turning off the lights and the AV equipment;

2. A ‘WELCOME HOME’ mode disarms the alarm, activates certain lights, adjusts the heating/cooling and plays your favourite music;

3. ‘NIGHT TIME’ mode may come on automatically after 11 pm, so lights in hallways come on at low level only, allowing safe passage to bathrooms, without disturbing other members of the household;

4. ‘ALERT’ mode may be enabled when an intruder or smoke alarm activates when the family is at home. AV systems could turn off to ensure the family is alerted, all lights could switch on to allow safe exit in case of fire, outside services could be alerted;

5. A ‘VACATION’ mode which sets alarms etc as in ‘AWAY’ but also activates certain lights to come on + off randomly each evening, closing the blinds at night, and opening them in the morning (designed to give your house a ‘lived in’ appearance), operating pool pumps etc on a reduced usage mode, and scheduling irrigation to come on when the flower beds are dry;

6. ‘SCARE’ mode, instead of activating a shrieking alarm after dark, when movement is sensed on your driveway, you could choose to have a voice announce: “Warning, you have been photographed by high definition cameras with motion sensing.”

7. “YOU”VE GOT MAIL!” particularly useful for homeowners with long driveways, the mail box can be fitted with a sensor to alert you when something is placed in the mailbox.

8. “LOCK IT AWAY!” An electronic lock can be programmed into your home automation system engaged or disengaged via a numeric code entered on the touch panel or iPad/iPhone control for your home. Keep the kids (or anyone else) out of the liquor cabinet, the wine cellar, or anywhere else where you wish to restrict access.

As well as including security features in the programming of home automation systems, there are also a myriad of additional smart technology products that can provide re-assurance, or alerts when there is a problem. What you choose to include in your smart home system, will depend on the issues that are important to you and your family.

Your smart home system can include some or all of these things:

  • Gate control + perimeter surveillance
  • Door cameras
  • CCTV
  • Access control from keyless entry via numeric pad, to thumb print or iris scanning technology
  • Water sensors and/or leak detectors
  • Smoke alarms
  • Intruder alarms, including movement sensors, contact sensors, breaking glass alarms, etc
  • Remote monitoring – allowing you to check camera footage from your PC or smartphone

Your smart home system can be the ‘eyes + ears’ of your house by monitoring for events such as a package left at the door, a door or window that’s left open, or a leaking pipe in the basement. It can be programmed to alert you to such happenings via a text message perhaps, or a message that pops up on the TV or your computer screen? You can then respond appropriately to deal with the issue.