Category Archives: Tech & Gadgets

5 Uses for a GPS Data Logger

gps trackingGPS has taken on a myriad of novel uses in the 21st century, many of which would have been limited to the pages of science fiction only a few short years ago. For instance, GPS is now used to guide us across the interstate, track stolen smartphones, and even watch over our small children. GPS data loggers have also gained considerable popularity over the past couple of years, especially since Breaking Bad became a global phenomenon, with all its clever uses of GPS technology. But data loggers are good for more than just tracking meth dealers. Here are 5 reasons you might want to consider purchasing one of your very own:

1. Track Your Freight

Do you manage vehicles for your business? Perhaps your company specializes in deliveries, moving, or general travel. With a GPS data logger, you can easily keep track of your employees’ mileage, time, and routes covered. With a historical GPS record, you won’t have to deal with disputes or uncertainties related to travel, and you can always analyze the data to determine more effective and productive ways to conduct business.

2. Document Your Road Trip

If you plan on taking a journey, why not use your data logger as a digital scrapbook? You can easily keep track of your precise route, determine the length of time that it took you to reach various points of interest, and figure out your exact mileage. Granted there are other ways to document this information, but a GPS logger lays everything out for you in a simple, visual format and provides a whole new perspective for that long drive.

3. Monitor Your Teens

So your 16-year-old son just acquired his license and is dying to take the car out to the movies. You want to trust him and allow him his independence, but you also need to be responsible as the parent of a new driver. A GPS data logger allows you to keep tabs on your young driver when he ventures off into the sunset, thus better ensuring his safety and your peace of mind.

gps data logger4. Protect Your Valuables

One of the great assets of a GPS data logger is its compact size. You can slip it discreetly into a backpack, laptop case or luggage, and if someone attempts to steal the property, you can easily contact law enforcement and have it tracked down. We actually covered a story about that very situation, in which an Arizona burglar made off with a laptop and was later located by police at his parents’ home. The cops had little trouble finding the perpetrator, because the laptop owner kept a GPS logger tucked inside the case.

5. Assist Those in Need

Some GPS loggers are now being used to monitor people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. If someone in your care wanders off, you can use the GPS logger to easily track down the person’s whereabouts.

Shop for a GPS Data Logger

Modern GPS technology is pretty astonishing. It can be used to improve a commute, improve workplace productivity, and potentially even save the lives of people in your care. There are, of course, myriad other uses, from protecting small children to tracking pets, but you may just find your own purpose for them. These devices are now more affordable than ever before, and Home Security Store carries a wide selection. Get one of your very own, and introduce a little science fiction into your everyday life.

Types of Security Cameras

surveillance camera benefitsA quality home security camera can be an invaluable tool for both preventing and solving crimes. But before you start shopping for surveillance essentials, it’s important to understand what you’re actually looking for. Not all security cameras are created equal, and your individual needs will dictate the type of camera best suited for your home. Here’s a simple breakdown of some of the most popular security camera types, in order that you might make an informed decision.

Bullet Cameras

Bullet cameras are commonly seen on buildings and walls. As the name suggests, they’re long and cylindrical like bullets, and they’re great for long-range recording. If you need to affix a camera to a wall, bullet cameras are the way to go. They are also the ideal choice for outdoor use; just make sure to purchase cameras with weatherproof casing. Unfortunately, bullet cameras aren’t the most vandal-proof option available, so it’s best to choose wireless models that record to a remote DVR or cloud. Even if someone tries to destroy the camera, you’ll still have the footage.

Dome Cameras

Dome cameras are attached to ceilings, and are distinguished by their round, dome shape. They’re more vandal resistant than bullet cameras, so if durability is your top concern, dome cameras are an ideal choice. Additionally, many dome cameras feature non-transparent casing, making it difficult or even impossible for criminals to see which direction the camera is pointing. When investing in a complete camera system, it’s best to have a combination of bullet and dome cameras, along with a quality DVR or NVR.

IP Cameras

Internet protocol cameras work by streaming footage directly to the Web. They may be used as standalone cameras, or they may serve as part of a larger camera system, but the advantage is that you can monitor footage from anywhere in the world. All you need is a computer, tablet or smartphone. There are two primary types of IP cameras: Centralized IP Cameras and Decentralized IP Cameras. Centralized cameras require a central NVR for recording, while Decentralized cameras feature a built-in recording function.

hidden camera for saleHidden Cameras

If discretion is your primary concern, you’re in luck. This is a great time to be alive, as hidden cameras are smaller and more sophisticated than ever before. You can find hidden cameras fashioned inside of motion sensors, alarm clocks, teddy bears, watches, eyeglasses, and even electrical outlets. Hidden cameras obviously don’t make the best burglary deterrents (since burglars theoretically don’t know that the cameras are present), but that makes them all the better for catching people in the act.

Fake Cameras

Maybe you’re not in the market for a camera right now. Maybe it’s not in your budget, or you’re just not keen on the maintenance. Whatever the case, a fake camera—or dummy camera—is the perfect, cost-effective solution. When prominently placed in outside your home or business, it instantly deters would-be thieves, and it looks exactly like the real thing. You can even find dummy cameras with the names and logos of well-known security companies, along with blinking red lights and wires.

Shop for Quality Security Cameras

If you’re looking for quality security cameras of all varieties, check out the enormous selection available from Home Security Store. We offer individual cameras, DVRs, NVRs, accessories, and complete kits, and our prices are among the best in the industry. Stock up today on all of your camera needs, and observe your home or business with flawless perspective.

What is Home Automation?

HomeHome automation has existed for decades, but in recent years, the technology has given rise to an industry all its own, and the term “home automation” has evolved into a popular buzzword. No longer do we discuss “home security” as a standalone concept. Now it’s all about “security and automation.” But what exactly is home automation, and what does it entail? If you haven’t yet jumped on the automation bandwagon, it may be time to upgrade your home.

The Basics

Home automation is all about putting your home to work for you. It encompasses all of the technologies, processes and devices used to control the various visual and environmental aspects of your home. From lighting to temperature, security systems to gate access. Home automation enables you to power your entire home with the click of a button, often from the comfort of your chair. Control music throughout your home, manage your intercom system, or lower your blinds from across the room. This isn’t science fiction; it’s real life.

How it Works

A home automation system can be either wired or wireless. Wireless systems have become exceedingly popular in recent years, and they operate using one of several popular wireless communications protocols (typically over radio frequencies). Popular protocols include X10, Z-Wave and Universal Powerline Bus (UPB). When building a home automation system, it’s important to ensure that all of your components use the same protocol. This will enable the most fluid communication and the most streamlined system.

Shopping for a Home Automation System

The great thing about a home automation system is that it can easily be customized to suit your needs. Choose only the components that will make your life easier, like intercoms, lighting controls or audio systems. If you’re looking for easy installation options, make sure to shop for wireless products, and stick with popular protocols like Z-Wave. This will afford you the greatest flexibility and freedom as you expand and enhance your system over time.

80-649-3N-XTIThe Home Security Connection

As previously mentioned (albeit briefly), home automation and home security go hand in hand. With a hybrid security/automation system like the GE Interlogix Simon XTI w/ Z-Wave & GSM, you can arm and disarm your alarm system while also managing lighting control devices, thermostats, door locks and HVAC systems (separate Z-Wave components are required). Any Z-Wave security system will function effortlessly  with the full range of Z-Wave home automation products, as Z-Wave is fully backward compatible.

Automate Your Home

If you’re interested in learning more about home automation, or if you want to start putting your home to work for you, check out the full selection of automation essentials at Home Security Store. You’ll find a wide array of home appliance and lighting controls, power supplies, intercoms, door chimes, and audio speakers, along with our full range of home security equipment. Bring your home into the 21st century, and experience the freedom of total automation.

Protecting Your Mobile Devices from Thieves

iphone-app-store2Ten years ago, nobody knew what a smartphone was. There were no angry birds of which to speak, and Siri was nothing more than a gleam in some developer’s eye. Fast forward to 2014, and mobile devices are ubiquitous. It seems that everyone is walking around with an iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle or other handheld computing mechanism, and not surprisingly, these technological marvels have become supreme targets for thieves. If you want to protect your property and your personal information, you’ll need to take a proactive approach.

Keep Your Phone at Your Side  

Approximately 1.6 million mobile phones were stolen in the U.S. in 2012, according to Consumer Reports. That number increased in 2013. It’s imperative that you keep your smartphone close at hand at all times, and never leave it out in the open. Mobile devices are very popular targets for burglars, so if you charge your phone at night, keep it near your bedside, and don’t leave it another room or downstairs. If you find yourself in a busy social setting, don’t set your phone on a table or counter and assume that no one will take it.

Install GPS Apps

Androids, iPhones and popular tablets can all be equipped with apps that enable you to locate, lock and even wipe your phone in the event of theft. Take a few moments to download some security apps onto your phone, and prepare yourself for any eventuality – no matter how unlikely. If a theft does occur, you won’t have your personal information compromised, and you may even be able to locate the device.

Password Protect Your Phone

Did you know that you can input a custom password or passcode that prevents other people from accessing your Home screen? Yeah, it can get a bit annoying when you have to constantly punch in that four-digit code every time you wake up your phone, but if your device is ever stolen, you’ll be glad you opted for the inconvenience. You can create and update your password using your Settings application, and you can even customize it so that the password is only required after 1 minutes, 5 minutes or even an hour of inactivity. For security reasons, try setting it for 5 minutes or less.

visonicappDon’t Share Personal Information Over Public Wi-Fi

It’s not just the phone itself that thieves are after. You may have your personal information compromised and stolen without the phone or tablet ever leaving your hand. Passwords, credit card numbers, banking information – savvy criminals can intercept this information by monitoring your activity over a public Wi-Fi network. So next time you’re at Starbucks or the local library to surf the Web, don’t enter any personal information. You never know who’s watching.

Don’t Jailbreak or Unlock your Device

We all want to break free from the shackles of “the man,” but there are serious security risks associated with jailbreaking a phone or tablet. Without the general system restrictions in place, you leave yourself vulnerable to malfunctions, viruses and even spyware. Cyber-thieves will use any vulnerabilities to their advantage, so don’t give them the opportunity.

After a Theft

So what if the unthinkable happens? You turn around to find out that your phone has already been stolen, and the perpetrator is nowhere in sight. First, you need to stop what you’re doing and contact your carrier, be it AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile or anyone else. Let them know of the theft so that no additional charges may incur on your account. If you have any remote tracking or locking apps installed on your phone, make use of them right away. By 2015, all mobile devices will be equipped with an optional “kill switch,” which allows users to automatically lock and erase their device in the event of theft, but until then, we all need to be diligent about making these preparations ourselves.

If you want to customize your smartphone, check out the selection of accessories at Home Security Store. We offer a wide selection iPhone pepper spray cases, smartphone-compatible security cameras and even iPhone-driven home security systems. Put your mobile device to work for you. 

Securing Your Home? There’s an App for That

mobile home securitySmartphones have enriched our lives in ways not seen since the invention of the wheel…okay, so maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but it’s hard to deny that these handheld digital wonders have afforded us myriad conveniences previously unimagined. For instance, we can now reply to emails while waiting in line at the smoothie stand, scan barcodes for price comparison at the local supermarket, and explore the flight habits of ornery feathered vertebrates from the comfort of our toilets (assuming that Angry Birds is still a popular pastime). But did you know that you can even use your smartphone to make your home safer?

Smartphone Alarm Control

Home Security Systems like the iSmartAlarm and the GE Interlogix Simon XTi are designed to be controlled and managed from your smartphone. In other words, you can arm and disarm your system whether you’re sitting on your couch at home or vacationing in the Bahamas. You can even activate a panic signal in an emergency, and some of the more sophisticated models (like the Simon XTi) enable you to control your thermostat and other home automation functions. Who would have guessed that someday you would be able to access your home security system from the same handheld device used to simulate digital fart sounds (there really is an app for everything)?

Smartphone Alarm Monitoring

It’s one thing to remotely control your system, but with the right setup, you can even monitor your home while you’re away, all from the comfort and convenience of your mobile device. For instance, the iSmartAlarm Premium comes equipped with an iCamera, which takes high-resolution photographs and transmits them straight to your phone. You can opt to receive push notifications whenever your home security is breached, or you can monitor your home at will, using your iPhone to pan and tilt the lens in any direction. It might freak out the cat, but it will make you feel much more secure.

Smartphone Hidden Cameras

Let’s shift gears for a moment and discuss an entirely different technology. When is a smartphone not a smartphone? When it’s a smartphone hidden camera. Bear with me for a moment. A smartphone hidden camera, like the DVR257, features a discreet, microscopic lens within the power port or headphone jack, so if you leave it lying indiscriminately on a kitchen counter, your thieves won’t even know that their crime is being documented with high-resolution video.

smartphone home securityAlways Keep Your Smartphone at Your Side

Getting back to the topic of real smartphones, It’s important to note how the technology itself represents a step forward in home security. You don’t need any apps, alarms or accessories. You just need a few percentage points remaining on your battery. In the event of a real emergency, such as a break-in, you can phone for help from any hiding place. While the same can surely be said of cordless phones, most cordless phones spend the majority of their time connected to a charger somewhere else in the home, and what’s more, they can sometimes be difficult to dial in the dark (depending on whether the model has an illuminative keypad). But your smartphone is always easy to navigate, and it’s almost always nearby. Or if it isn’t, it should be. Don’t just think of your phone as a selfie machine. Think of it as a lifeline.

Ode to a Smartphone

If you haven’t already incorporated your smartphone into your home security game plan, it’s time to close out the Candy Crush and consider how you might put your personal safety into the palm of your hand. Just to recap, there are a number of home security systems that may be installed or expanded for mobile control and monitoring, and the phone itself should always remain at your side. This is the 21st century, so let’s use those emerging technologies to their full effect.

The Top 5 Uses for 2-Way Video Intercoms

intercom-usesI recently happened upon an old I Love Lucy rerun, in which the lovable crank Fred Mertz had set up an intercom system linking his guest house to the Ricardos’ main house. The episode originally aired in April of 1957, and it serves as a fascinating reminder of how the most practical technologies never fall out of fashion. In fact, Americans have been using intercommunicating telephone systems since the 1890s, and today, the technology is leaps and bounds beyond anything imagined by previous generations. With long-distance range, high-resolution video capability and even LED illumination, the modern video intercom is an innovative reinvention of one of our most classic communication technologies. Just consider some of the major uses.

Doorbell Replacement

A two-way video intercom system makes for an excellent 21st century doorbell. Communicate with visitors from anywhere in your home, and spare yourself the potential danger of stepping outside to greet total strangers. The home security applications are enormous, and these devices are especially useful for homes with children. If your mobility is limited, you’ll also benefit tremendously from the ability to answer the door without leaving the comfort of your chair.

Baby Monitoring

Homes have been using intercoms as baby monitors for decades, but video monitoring really takes it to the next level. You can easily keep your eye on your little ones from anywhere in the home as you go about your daily tasks, watch television or eat lunch. And since we’re talking about seamless two-way communication, your soothing voice and smiling face are always within reach. When we were children ourselves, we would see this kind of technology on The Jetsons. Now all we’re missing are the flying cars.

Office Communication

When you work in an office environment, it’s important to stay connected. Two-way intercoms provide an invaluable link between colleagues who require constant communication but can’t always be in the same room. They provide a useful visual element that you just don’t get from telephone and conference calls, and unlike Skype, they provide crystal clear audio and video without exhausting your company’s bandwidth. And best of all, if your boss starts to annoy you, you can just turn him off (okay, maybe that’s not such a great idea).

iStock_000011119404SmallCaring for the Sick and Elderly

If you care for the sick or elderly, it can be extremely difficult to keep a close watch at all times, and to meet all of the person’s needs. In fact, it’s easy to turn into a total a basket case when you have to constantly check in and ensure that everything is okay. A two-way monitor can be a real breath of fresh air, as it gives you the freedom to go about your day while still observing and caring for those who depend on you.

Watching Pets

Do you have a mischievous cat who loves to attack the Christmas tree? A stubborn puppy that you’re trying in vain to housetrain? A St. Bernard who constantly digs holes right beneath your favorite azaleas? When you can keep an eye on those trouble areas, you can train your pets with much greater ease and effectiveness. Pets have no understanding of technology; they will just assume that you’re some sort of omnipresent godlike presence who probably shouldn’t be messed with. Or maybe Fido will just forget about the whole thing and go back to licking himself.

Additional Uses

Two-way video intercoms are also great for opening up convenient lines of communication between specific rooms (like the kitchen and garage), and for monitoring your business entrance from inside your office. Can you think of other ways in which you’ve found two-way video intercoms to be useful? If so, please let us know in the comments section. These versatile devices have myriad uses, and they’re extremely popular because they essentially enable you to be in two places at once. Home Security Store offers a variety of expandable two-way video intercom systems to satisfy every conceivable need, and the possibilities are virtually limitless.

GPS Vehicle Tracking – The Driving Force on Breaking Bad

gps vehicle trackingAlmost 6 months have passed since the spellbinding finale of Breaking Bad. Have your withdrawal symptoms finally subsided? Then again, in this Netflix/DVR/VOD generation, maybe you’re still making your way through season 3 and trying to figure out if Gustavo Fring is really all that he seems. But we’re not here to talk about blue meth or Bryan Cranston’s shaved head or Walt Jr.’s apparent obsession with breakfast foods. We’re here to talk about those unsung heroes (or villains), the GPS vehicle tracking devices, without which the unfolding events of Breaking Bad would not have been possible.

Spoiler Alert

If you’re still telling your friends, “I’ll start watching Breaking Bad as soon as I finish House of Cards,” you should stop reading right here. We’re going to delve into some pretty serious, game-changing plot points, in order to illustrate how emerging technologies are changing the ways we tell stories…and the ways we do business. GPS vehicle tracking was once limited to the imaginations of sci-fi authors, but now it’s available to everyone at an incredibly affordable price…for better or worse.

Vehicle Tracking in the 21st Century

GPS vehicle tracking was more than just a passive plot device on Breaking Bad. It was the driving force behind many of the series’ most pivotal events. Remember the fateful moment when DEA agent Hank Schrader demanded that Walt (the show’s Shakespearean antihero) place a GPS device on the vehicle of drug lord Gus Fring? And no one can forget when Hank and Jesse lured Walt to the location of his hidden fortune by deceiving him into believing that they had already located the money with the GPS record of the truck used to transport it (of course, that particular truck was not even equipped with GPS tracking, but Walt certainly didn’t know that). If it weren’t for that ruse, there would have been no heart-stopping shootout in the desert, and the series would likely have concluded quite differently.

The Landscape is Changing

Fifteen years ago, none of this would have been possible on a program like Breaking Bad. It may have worked on Star Trek or Battlestar Galactica, but certainly not on a serious, real-world melodrama.  Technology has evolved so rapidly that the line between science fiction and reality has become increasingly thin. While GPS tracking has existed since the 1960s (and other tracking systems have been around even longer), only recently have we had enjoyed such wide-reaching and affordable access to the technology.

Long Live Heisenberg

vehicle tracking deviceWhat made Breaking Bad so captivating? Was it the multidimensional characters? The jaw-dropping plot twists? The protagonist’s epic fall from grace? There is certainly something to be said for all of these things, but perhaps most of all, the series presented us with a reality that was frighteningly believable, thereby enabling us to become a part of that world and connect with the characters on a profound level. Walt’s motivations for entering the drug trade were not only understandable, but fully relatable, and the writers (led by the incomparable Vince Gilligan) were absolutely meticulous in getting the science right. From the chemistry to the technology, everything was as cautiously outlined as Heisenberg’s meth formula. Which brings us back to the subject of vehicle tracking.

Oh, the Possibilities

Why was GPS tracking such an effective plot device? Because it works. A GPS tracker is small, discreet, and accurate to within less than 8 meters. That’s why it’s so popular for freight tracking and for monitoring young teenagers who are just stepping behind the wheel. Home Security Store carries some of the most accurate and affordable micro GPS trackers on the market, so if you’re looking to secure your treasured loved ones or your valuable property with cutting-edge technology, pick up one of your very own. We’re not in any way advising that you use this device for spying (in fact, that will get you into serious trouble in many states), but it can make for an excellent theft recovery system on a budget. Most car thieves don’t even think to look for discreet GPS devices. So take a page from Breaking Bad, and use the most advanced gadgets to secure what’s yours. 

5 Reasons to Install a Keyless Entry System

Biometric-Door-LocksA keyless entry system is an excellent way of increasing home security. With the advent of new technology in home security and automation, it is just a matter of time before we begin to see these access control devices everywhere. From reducing the risk of a break-in to cutting-edge home automation, the following are a few of the best reasons to install a keyless entry system.

No More Lost Keys

Whether you install a biometric fingerprint locking system or a keyless entry deadbolt, you will never again have to worry about stolen or lost keys.

Never Have to Have New Keys Made

Have you ever lost a house key or had to rid yourself of a bad housemate? If so, then you know the inconvenience of having to trudge down to the nearest hardware store to have a new one made. With a keyless entry system, however, you’ll never have to call a locksmith or waste time having a new key made again.

Never Have to Change Locks Again

Losing your house key is an unfortunate inconvenience. Having your keys stolen, however, can send you into a panic. Knowing that a thief has the key to the front door, the most secure next step is to have all door locks changed. With a keyless entry system, not only is there zero chance of having house keys stolen, but there’s also never a need to have locks changed.

No Lock Picking or Lock Bumping

A common tactic thieves use to burglarize homes is via lock picking or lock bumping. While there are locks that are less susceptible to these methods, a keyless entry system provides a foolproof barrier against both.

Cool Factor

Most of us have seen keyless entry systems at commercial businesses, hotels and private offices, but how many have encountered them at someone’s home? The bragging rights of being the first to own a cool gadget is one thing, but being the first to own a cool device like a keyless entry system, which also increases home security, takes one’s tech rep to a whole other level.

Ralph Winn

2014 Is the Year Of the Smarthome

SmarthomeHappy New Year, Everyone!

This morning, I stumbled upon an article predicting a large growth spurt for smarthomes in 2014. According to the author, it was just a few short years ago when appliance experts were adamant that this sort of growth was still a long ways off. Their low expectations were due to the fact that a language which devices need to communicate with one another was not used commonly enough and experts didn’t suppose that such a language would reach mainstream use for a long time. And then there were issues with other barriers like user interfaces (UIs) on automation devices, which average consumers have sometimes found to be too complicated. However, by now using WiFi to communicate between devices and by UIs, such as iOS and Android, now being common in most households, home automation is here and in a big way.

Currently Trending Smarthome Features

Right now, some of the most popular smarthome features appear to be environmental controls like the features offered with the Freeze Alarm Deluxe, which can be found in our main store. With the ability to remotely preheat or cool your home with a single phone call, as well as check a home’s temperature from anywhere in the world, it’s no wonder devices like these are trendsetters among home automation devices. Of course, this particular gadget also notifies a homeowner as soon as temperatures rise too high or fall too low, or if an unfortunate water leak should occur.

Other smarthome features gaining traction in the marketplace include lighting controls, which can be remotely operated through a smartphone app. Of course there are remote devices and applications for other electronics such as stereo equipment, televisions and computers, too.

Can Your House Become a Smarthome?

On any given DIY weekend, an average home can be transformed into a smarthome. This is made possible thanks to new technologies like the Nexia Home Bridge & Schlage Home Appliance Starter Kit found in our main store. This single unit enables homeowners to control a home’s locks, lighting, temperature and security equipment from a remote location.

How Will a Smarthome Increase Your Security?

With the ability to control a home’s alarm system, security lighting, indoor lighting and environmental controls from any remote location, one begins to see the security value that home automation affords. Keyless entry systems which can also be operated remotely is not only convenient (no more lost keys!), but also eliminates concerns about picked locks or lock bumping. Add to all of this the ability to use a smartphone or a tablet to peer inside of a home while away and we can think of a variety of security and practical purposes for this sort of technology.

Affordable and Accessible Automation and Security Solutions

Years ago, I recall being introduced to the idea of a smarthome through an illustrated article about Bill Gates’ house. Back then this sort of technology came with complicated wiring and programming and was built into a home’s architecture. Needless to say, it was only made available to the ultra wealthy. Like the appliance experts mentioned earlier, I believed that this sort of innovation was a long ways away for the average homeowner.

All of that has changed in recent years, however. No longer is it necessary to build a new home in order to access smarthome technology. In most cases, special wiring isn’t even needed to achieve these features. Manufacturers have gone to great lengths to make home automation devices easy to use, easy to install and easy on one’s wallet.

DIYers from newbies to hardcore enthusiasts have found that they can save even more by self-installing the home automation devices offered in our main store. Many of the devices found there can be installed in under an hour and are not too complicated to use. This means that everyone in the family can control just about every appliance, every security device, thermostats, cooling devices, lighting and more from the palm of a hand.

Where Should You Begin?

Your family’s safety and your home’s security being of primary concern, we suggest that your house’s transformation to a smarthome begin with your security system. At the very least, shop for an alarm which you can arm and disarm from a remote location either by dialing into your system or via a smartphone app. Ditto for your surveillance equipment and security lighting.

For more advice on how to turn your home into a smarthome, see our earlier post: Baby Steps to Home Automation.

What Will Your Home Do This Year?

Analysts have declared it and we believe every word to be true– 2014 is the year of the smarthome. With both feet firmly planted in the new year, it’s time to get busy and join in on the fun. Should you need ideas or help, our technical support team is always on hand to answer your questions and help you troubleshoot your way to smarthome success.

Ralph Winn

Home Security and Automation Trends We Look Forward to In 2014

home-automationIn the past year, we’ve noticed some pretty interesting trends in the home security arena. Seems that people are finally embracing the very important need of having a burglar alarm. Many are also realizing needs for heightened security through devices like surveillance cameras and security lighting, which can help expand an existing system for broader protection. It seems like these items are also being introduced to the market at a faster pace than in the past and that people are really tuning into their usefulness.

Another trend that appears to be climbing involves home automation. In recent years, we’ve even seen a bit of buzz about behemoth entertainment companies like Comcast and Time Warner working to introduce home automation devices to their respective customer bases. Combined with stories about people gravitating more toward streaming their programming in lieu of cable television, it’s no wonder these companies are leaning towards the emerging home automation industry. Of course, we’ve been several steps ahead of that curve (as is evidenced by all of the home automation devices offered on our main page), but we’re still glad that the interest is growing and that the market is providing the people with what they want.

Here are a few more home security and automation trends we look forward to seeing more of in 2014:

DIY Home Security

No surprise there, huh? Well for you, our long time readers, this is common sense. However, the general public– blinded by a lack of knowledge and the large advertising budgets controlled by certain home security brands– had been missing out on this opportunity in previous years. Things are changing, though.

Why, just this past week I watched a video by a major tech review site as they gave high marks to a certain DIY home security alarm. I won’t mention that device here, not because it’s not worthy of mention, but because it also came with a high monthly price tag whereas our DIY home security alarms can be monitored by the professionals at Alarm Relay for a mere $8.95 per month.

Still, we’re pleased to see that the public-at-large is finally catching onto the fact that DIY home security is a safe and affordable option and we hope to see that trend continue in 2014 and beyond.

Security and Automation Gadgets For Techies

Have you noticed the plethora of security gadgets (like the iSmartAlarm) that can be operated via a smartphone? Or what about environmental devices that can be remotely controlled from the palm of your hand like the Trane Home Management Thermostat? These things are a techie’s dream while being simple enough for non-techies to get full use of, too. We applaud home security and automation manufacturers for giving us such innovative and cool gadgets and it is our pleasure to introduce even more of these to you in the year ahead.

Child Safety Devices

While we wish items like the SecuraTrac SecuraPAL GPS Child Tracking Device were not necessary, we are nonetheless happy to see equipment like this on the market. Nothing in life is more important than keeping children safe and, unfortunately, our eyes can’t be on them at all times. What next better way to keep tabs on their whereabouts, however, than a full GPS tracking device? These gadgets allow us to immediately pinpoint a child’s location at any given time, which is a sigh of relief for parents and other caretakers. The best in this class even empower children with panic buttons that will immediately alert an adult anytime a child senses danger.

As much as we hate to think about children and the many threats of danger that they face, we hate even more the idea of them being in that state with little hope of anyone coming to their rescue. Child tracking devices can also be used to track adults with cognitive impairments or any loved one who may need a little extra personal security (such as people who work night shifts or those who frequent remote locations). It is for this reason that we hope to see these devices, and the safety features they offer, spread in popularity.

We Want To Hear From You

So, what do you think of our roundup? What sorts of home security and automation trends are you looking forward to in 2014? Do you have specific home security and home automation needs or desires that you can’t currently find a device to match? How about one you’ve heard about, but that seems too expensive and out of your reach? We’ve shared our list of hopeful trends for 2014, now it is time for you to share yours.

And speaking of sharing, all of your comments about home security have been deeply appreciated. Some of your experiences and concerns have even inspired a blog post or two. We hope that you’ll keep the comments coming in 2014 and beyond…and on that note, the floor is now officially yours. Tell us, what’s on your mind in the realm of home security and automation trends?

Ralph Winn