Category Archives: Tech & Gadgets

Top Tech Gifts In Home Security

 

iStock_000004856960XSmallSome of the best tech gifts of this holiday season also offer better personal and home security to your loved ones. Items like these have a particular ‘wow’ factor, but also serve very useful purposes. Such devices are perfect considerations for anyone on your gift list who loves technology, but who may not yet be aware of the many DIY home security options that are available to them.

Why Give Tech Gifts?

Simply put, people are fascinated with technology. From grandparents to toddlers, most people are intrigued by gadgets that they can use to do everyday things like turning lights on and off or engaging in a video call with someone on the other side of the globe. While many of these gadgets are used for entertainment and convenience, several of them can also be used to increase one’s personal safety and even protect the home. With this in mind, there’s no good reason to not give someone a home security tech gift this holiday season.

The Best Security Tech Gifts For Mobile Users

Smartphone Surveillance

Did you know that it’s possible to remotely view what is going on in and around your home from wherever you may be? Did you know that you can do all of this from a smartphone or a tablet computer? Heavy mobile users are sure to appreciate home security devices like the Schlage Wireless Indoor Network IP Camera. A system like this allows homeowners to strategically place one or more cameras in key locations around the home in order to enjoy remote viewing on a smartphone, tablet or computer while away.

Tech gifts like this one are perfect for the parents of children old enough to stay at home alone, as well as those who rely on a caretaker to take care of other family members. Others, like devoted pet owners or people who employ a household staff, will love having the ability to glimpse into the home while working or traveling. Owners of a monitored home alarm system are also prime candidates for such a tech gift since it offers them the ability to see inside of the home anytime they are contacted about an alarm being triggered at their household. Within seconds, users can access a live visual feed to help them in assessing whether an alarm is false or whether someone has actually broken into the home.

A Full Alarm System

Fans of the iPhone will love the iSmartAlarm system, which combines the full protection of a burglar alarm system with the convenience of the iPhone. This neat little gadget is also completely wireless, which most techies will especially appreciate. As a completely DIY alarm system, the iSmartAlarm comes standard with an iCamera for video surveillance, as well as motion, door and window sensors which will immediately alert a user’s iPhone anytime their home’s security has been breached. Remotely, an owner is able to view inside the home (and even pan and tilt the iCamera for best visibility, if needed), turn the device on and off, and take still pictures in addition to watching a live streaming feed.

Personal Security

What parent will not love a GPS system enabling them to track a young child’s movements at all times? Sadly, in today’s world such is not only a nice gadget to have, but one that is desperately needed to protect young ones as they walk to and from school or even play in familiar neighborhoods. While we offer several GPS devices on our main page, we’d like you to take a good look at the SecuraTrac SecuraPAL GPS Child Tracking Device. Tracking can be done from a parent’s computer, as well as their smartphone whether it’s an iPhone, an Android or even the BlackBerry smartphone.

In addition to tracking technology, the SecuraTrac SecuraPAL GPS Child Tracking Device also features a panic button. With this feature, anytime that a child feels threatened she or he can depress the panic button which will immediately text an alert to a parent or caretaker along with the child’s location and a link that contains precise directions to wherever the child is. While this sort of technology is marketed directly to parents of young children, it is actually an excellent device to give to anyone who may be concerned enough to track a senior relative’s movements or any number of other loved ones as they move throughout the day.

The Top Tech Gifts In Home Security Are All DIY

Perhaps the best thing about security tech gifts that also make use of mobile and GPS technology is that they are completely DIY in their installation and operation. Hassle-free installations and ease of operation mean that gift recipients can begin using and appreciating these unique security devices right away. With the popularity of tech gifts all over the country, why not invest in a few that are as functional as they are fun and easy to use?

Ralph Winn

Aaron Hernandez and GPS Devices

American football player Aaron Hernandez was recently arrested on suspicion of murder. Since his arrest, details of this crime have been public news. Without rehashing the entire story here, I do want to explore one aspect, which caught my eye and even stirred a bit of public debate over tracking technology and its place in our daily lives.

Tracking Technology Provides Evidence Against Aaron Hernandez Of the NFL

Hernandez is accused of murdering an acquaintance by the name of Odin Lloyd who was a semi-professional football player for a Boston team. Through records recovered since his death, it’s been discovered that Odin actually sent a text message to his sister to verify that she was aware that he’d left a location with Hernandez who picked him up in a car just after 2:30a. The message, itself, seemed to suggest that the victim sensed danger on the horizon with Hernandez.

In addition to the text message, GPS tracking on Hernandez’s phone places him in the vicinity of where the victim’s body was discovered at the same time that investigators believe he was killed. GPS data from the phone does not make this an open and shut case, but officials did believe the evidence to be enough to add to the suspicion of Hernandez’s involvement in the victim’s death. Since the suspected timeline of events, more information has been released to the public and a number of conversations on social media sites have revolved around the possibilities of GPS technology present in most late generation mobile devices.

What Is GPS?

GPS stands for Global Positioning System. Originally developed by the U.S. Military for tracking operations, GPS has been available for consumer use for just over a decade. With 28 space satellites currently in orbit, the system can pinpoint the exact location of a person or an object in possession of a receiver that communicates with these strategically placed satellites.

Why Would Anyone Need a Separate GPS Device?

In addition to GPS receivers being installed in cars or purchased as peripheral devices to assist drivers with navigation, this technology is also common in mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones. This leads some to question why they would need to purchase an additional device to be used for tracking and personal security. Well, the answer to that is simple, GPS devices created specifically for security can be more effective primarily because of how they are used.

For example, someone using a SecuraTrac SecuraPAL GPS Child Tracking Device for personal security is likely to place the receiver somewhere where it will not be easily detected by a criminal or lost. Doing so, of course, takes into consideration the possibility of abduction or being involved in an event where a cellphone might be lost, stolen or damaged. A SecuraTrac SecuraPAL device is much smaller and may be safely concealed in a pocket or backpack…or even worn on the wrist, and may go undetected by a criminal long enough for a victim to be located. And don’t let the word ‘child’ fool you; this tracking device provides protection to adults and pets, too.

Personal GPS devices also have other safety features, such as:

  • The ability to pinpoint a location on demand
  • A faster response time in terms of communicating a location via text message or email (no need to go through a mobile carrier in order to have access to such highly time-sensitive and important data)
  • Devices like SecuraTrac can even offer directions to a location, which is particularly helpful if someone wearing the receiver is in an unfamiliar area or country
  • A panic button to can be depressed at any time a person wearing the device senses that they are in danger (a message detailing their location is then immediately sent by text and by email)

So, while cars and cellphones may be equipped with GPS technology, devices created specifically for personal security are best recommended for those interested in such. More information and a variety of GPS tracking devices can be found on our main page under Child Safety as well as under GPS & Tracking.

Aren’t These Devices Too Intrusive?

A common concern about GPS tracking often relates to privacy concerns. When information about GPS and its use in the Hernandez arrest first broke, several members of Twitter shared that they prefer to keep the GPS on their phones turned off in order to prevent their movements from being traced on a daily basis. Journalist Roland S. Martin, however, offered a different take. Not only does he purposely leave his GPS devices on at all times, but he shared on his Twitter feed that he even goes a step further by using plastic to pay for his purchases at all times just to provide another trail of evidence should his steps ever need to be retraced. According to him, in his line of work, one can never be too cautious.

Join the Conversation

How do you feel about GPS tracking, in general? Has this technology ever been useful to you? Do you have concerns about tracking devices, in general?

Smart Home, Smart Phone

What do your home and your mobile phone have in common? Both can be modified for your daily comfort and convenience. And both can be programmed to increase your safety. In fact, these two can often work together in delivering all of these benefits to you. What I’m talking about, of course, are the ways in which your home’s security and automation devices can be used to interact with your smartphone and vice versa.

 

A New Frontier In Home Automation

In previous blog posts, we’ve introduced you to some of the best DIY gadgets and devices that can assist you in creating a smart home. A few such examples include keyless entry systems, remote controlled lighting kits and video intercoms. Each of these help to automate the home environment in an effort to save you time and create a most comfortable ambient experience that you’ll never want to leave.

 

A New Frontier in Home Security

We’ve also introduced you to some pretty new and very smart security devices that can also be controlled via your smartphone. Devices like Lorex Vantage Stream Wireless Network Camera offer you peace of mind and safety whether you are at home or away. While plenty of smart devices are available in our main store, we wanted to take a moment to update you on even more ways in which a simple do-it-yourself installation can increase your use of modern home technology, while working to keep your property and family safe at the same time. And, of course, all of this can be accomplished right from the palm of your hand!

 

From One Touchscreen to Another

Honeywell makes a very smart touchscreen device, which allows users to operate an alarm system, surveillance cameras, lighting and more. Whether touching icons on-screen or remotely accessing the unit from a smartphone’s screen, the Honeywell Tuxedo Touch-Screen Keypad with built-in WiFi offers end users a wide range of automation and home security functions. The device can even be used as a digital picture frame for photos stored on an SD card. From setting a thermostat to arming and disarming an alarm system, devices like this one offer home owners simplicity and the convenience of installing a single device in order to centralize security and home automation controls, while also allowing the same unit to communicate with smartphone technology. Literally, this device turns your smartphone into a virtual keypad for your home security system as well as your home automation devices.

 

Smartphone Apps for Better Home Security

If the whole idea of remotely controlling your home via smartphone sounds complicated to you, we assure you that it isn’t. Along with security manufacturers and mobile phone developers, app developers are also working very hard to create smooth, hassle-free remote interaction with smart homes. In fact, you can visit your app store right now and find a variety of applications created for this purpose. For example, SuperLivePro and other apps by developer Peng Antai allow users to remotely view surveillance footage from devices like the LTS All-In-One 8 Channel DVR with built in 10-inch LCD monitor. We are not in any way affiliated with this app, but merely highlight it as one example of many that are available for smart home and smart phone automation.

 

What Might the Future Hold?

So, as you can see, home security and automation technologies are able to communicate with mobile technologies in ways that were only a part of our collective imaginations just a few decades ago. Most of us cannot even begin to imagine the things that we’ll be able to do with smart home and smart phone technology in the future, but one thing’s for sure…Home Security Store will keep a close eye on this emerging market and we will continue to bring you the best devices and technology made available to the DIY sector. And, of course, we’ll always provide you with the best technical support to assure that you get the most out of your installations at all times.

As these technologies continue to merge, we can also expect public interest to grow. For some home security vendors, this interest prompts a rise in price– both for equipment and labor. Be assured, however, that Home Security Store will always present you with reasonable DIY options so that you can enjoy the best in home automation and security without breaking the bank.

 

What’s On Your Mind?

What types of gadgets, applications and devices do you use for home automation and security? Which ones would you most recommend to our readers? What is your level of satisfaction with these items? Are there products or applications that you’d like to have access to which you currently do not?

 

Tell us what you think about the marriage of smart homes, smartphones and home security, in general. Your comments are the lifeblood of this blog and we hope that you’ll take this opportunity to share your thoughts with us in the special section reserved just for you below.

Selecting the Right Surveillance System

Having recently included network video recorders (NVRs) to our growing line of surveillance devices, we thought this would be a good time to offer an updated overview on selecting the right surveillance system for your home or office. Whether you have installed a home security system on your own before or whether you are new to the concept of DIY home security, the information that we are about to share will help you determine which surveillance system is right for you.

Wired vs. Wireless

One of the first things to consider when selecting a video surveillance system is whether you’d like to install a hardwired surveillance system or whether you prefer a wireless one. Both offer quality surveillance, which can be expanded to work with other devices (including alarm systems and intercoms). In order to determine which is right for you, however, think about whether you want to extend wiring behind your walls or how difficult or easy such a task might be. For structures made from concrete or brick walls, or even for homes with historic value, we recommend that a wireless system be strongly considered. On the other hand, homeowners who are building a home or who are in the midst of a major remodel may be able to pretty easily include a hardwired system into their plans.

NVR vs. DVR

As previously mentioned, we recently added network video recorders to our product lineup. A relatively new technology, it’s natural that our customers may have a few questions on the differences between NVRs and DVRs. While both offer excellent surveillance solutions designed to keep your home as safe as possible, the most major difference between these two surveillance products are the ways in which video is handled by the device. With a DVR, video is put into a capture card while an NVR puts video through your home’s existing network. The recording quality between the two is actually the same, so your decision will largely depend on which kit is the most attractive to you in terms of price and specific features desired. We encourage you to thoroughly read our product reviews to learn what previous customers have to say about our surveillance cameras before making your final decision on which one to purchase.

How Many Cameras Will You Need?

Prior to selecting a new surveillance system, it helps to know exactly how many cameras are needed. Using a single security camera to surveil a room or a small apartment may be sufficient. In these cases, a single hidden camera may be all that’s needed to protect one’s valuables or to gauge a nanny or a housekeeper’s performance while you are away from home. In most other cases, however, we believe that a multi-channel system is in order. Multiple cameras placed around and throughout a home are one of the best ways of keeping prowlers and other criminals at bay. The systems offered in our main store range from single camera kits to those featuring up to 16 cameras. Prior to selecting one, calculate how many doors, windows, walkways and rooms need to be covered in order to prevent an intruder from sneaking into your home undetected.

Infrared Technology

When selecting a new surveillance system, be sure to choose one that can continue to record in dark conditions. For example, one of our most popular camera systems is the SVAT Digital Wireless DVR System that comes with a seven inch LCD monitor and captures video as far away as 40 feet. Our customers report great satisfaction with this very affordable system as it is easy to install and operate

Environmental Considerations

Don’t assume that all cameras can be used at any location. For example, if planning to install surveillance cameras outdoors, be sure that the manufacturer has specified that it can be used as such. If you are not familiar with IP ratings, you may want to review some of our previous posts on such. For now, however, just note that the highest IP rating that a product can receive is a 68, which means that it can be used in the most extreme weather conditions as it is protected against dust and liquids.

Your Field of View

Lastly, when searching for the right surveillance system, it is important to consider how wide or narrow your camera’s surveillance field needs to be. A lot of people make a mistake in buying the wrong mm camera. To avoid doing so, note that the smaller the millimeter of the camera’s lens, the lower the angle it will record. Cameras with high millimeter lenses will capture wider angles. Here, it really depends on on what you need your surveillance cameras to see. If you aren’t sure about the millimeter that you need (or even if you are, but want flexibility) we highly recommend vari-focal cameras which are equivalent to zoom lenses and can be manually adjusted to accommodate between 2.5 to 10 mm.

Your Comments Are Appreciated

Have you recently installed a new surveillance system? How did you determine which system was the right one for your home and how is it working for you now? We love reading your comments, so please feel free to leave them below.

9 Solid Reasons to Install a Do-It-Yourself Home Security System

Upon first discovering that do-it-yourself home security systems exist, homeowners often find themselves faced with an important decision. This decision being, of course, to either trust themselves while saving money or enter into a contract with a third-party security vendor. While we are certain that quality and security do not have to be compromised when opting for a self-installation, we do understand the insecurity some may feel if they’ve never done anything like this before. The following are some of the best reasons to invest in a do-it-yourself home security system and we share these with you today with the hopes of helping you make the best decision about your home’s security and your family’s safety.

Quality Equipment

One of the greatest concerns that people have when considering a do-it-yourself home security system is the quality of the equipment being purchased. Rest assured, however, that this is not an issue, after all. While a third-party security company’s logo may be affixed to a security device, that equipment was likely made by a manufacturer like Ademco, Simon or DSC. Systems made by each of these manufacturers, and several others known for their top-quality security devices, can be self-installed which means that there is no difference in quality.

Do-It-Yourself Systems Are Economical

Of course, the number one reason to invest in a do-it-yourself home security system is to save money. Not only will you save on labor costs, but also on things like maintenance, expanding your system and on alarm monitoring. Should you ever need to relocate, you will also save money by moving your alarm system on your own as opposed to having to call a third-party security provider to do it for you.

Do it Yourself…Because You Can

A lot of people automatically opt for purchasing an alarm system through a third-party vendor simply because they do not know that there are other options. Even upon learning that they can install their own systems, however, some people simply lack the confidence to actually do so. This is why we provide ongoing tech support to all of our customers. Even though systems come with their own instructions and are not terribly difficult to install, we are always available for additional support because we don’t want anyone to shy away from a more cost-effective security alternative simply because they feel that they lack technical or mechanical abilities.

An Empowering Accomplishment

Once you discover that you can install your own home security system, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of actually doing so. Whether you are a homeowner or a renter, a certain satisfaction comes with knowing that you can do things to improve your home all by yourself. As humans, these sort of accomplishments often lead to us feeling a greater sense of control over our homes and our family’s well-being.

More Options

After installing an alarm system, many people go on to purchase and install more security devices in and around their homes and offices. There are a number of reasons for this, of course, but one is that the money saved by installing an initial system allows for additional investments in things like security lighting, intercom systems and surveillance cameras. The experience of previously installing a system tends to add to a person’s confidence in this area, which may also lead to the installation of more equipment.

Heightened Awareness

Shopping for and installing your own home security system helps to raise your awareness about your home’s security, in general. While a lot of people don’t give home security much thought until their security is compromised, people who have comparison shopped for home security systems and who have gone so far as to install their own devices are generally more aware of areas where a potential security breach may occur. This heightened sense of awareness often leads to people being able to lower the risk of a home break-in.

Fun

Weekend projects help relax the mind while accomplishing something positive. Though they can sometimes require a great deal of focus and attention to detail, home improvement projects also help break up the monotony in our lives. Even people who love their jobs and weekday obligations, appreciate a bit of a distraction and find immersing themselves in a weekend project to be refreshing.

Educational

If you’ve never done anything similar to installing a home security system, actually doing so can be very educational. Not only will you learn technical and mechanical details that may be useful when applied to other home improvement projects, but installing a do-it-yourself security device will also help educate you on your home’s security, in general. We suggest that you begin your search for knowledge with our home security checklist, which will help you identify potential areas of security weakness and educate you on how to eliminate these security risks. This process is a great to teach the family about security while also leading them in taking control of the home environment.

Avoid Being Overcharged or Outright Scammed

Installing your own home security system is one way to avoid being taken in by high-priced security dealers or by outright con artists. We’ve been very vocal about the price gouging that goes on in the security industry and how some of the biggest names in the business are luring customers into contracts by advertising very low equipment fees, but then overcharging for things like monitoring. Installing a do-it-yourself system also helps you avoid con artists who approach your doorstep, lie about the company that they represent and insist that your system needs updating. As you are your own security installer and you pay directly for your own monitoring, no one can come along and lie to you about your equipment or services. Simply by eliminating an unnecessary middle-man, a lot of misleading communication can be avoided.

Share Your Reasons

Have you already installed your own home security system? What led you to do so? What do you believe to be the number one reason anyone should choose a do-it-yourself system?

Do You Need an Uninterruptible Power Supply?

If you have hardwired security devices at your home, we recommend that you invest in an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). Such is also useful for your computer and telephone equipment, as well as a variety of other important electronic and data devices. Often referred to as a backup power supply, an uninterruptible power supply will assure that your hardwired devices have a continuous supply of energy in the event of a brief power failure. An uninterruptible power supply is also one of the best ways to guarantee that your power is not interrupted through tampering or wire cutting.

How Does an Uninterruptible Power Supply Work?

Depending upon which UPS you invest in, your devices can be powered for up to 15 minutes after your regular power source has failed. There are three main types of uninterruptible supplies that you can use for this purpose: On-line UPS, standby UPS or a line interactive UPS. Each works slightly differently, but all three essentially keep energy stored at capacity in a backup battery. When a power failure occurs, stored energy is immediately sent to the device(s) attached to the uninterruptible power supply. This all happens in the blink of an eye and stored power is also regulated so as not to allow a power surge, which can cause permanent damage to electronic devices.

Is a UPS Good For a Blackout?

Yes, a uninterrupted power supply can be useful during a short-term blackout (commonly referred to as a brown-out). Bear in mind, however, that many UPS devices only offer power for up to 15 minutes and are, therefore, not recommended to be used as a main backup power source in the event of a blackout lasting longer than a few minutes. A UPS will, however, give you enough time to properly power your devices down in the event of a blackout. Such is particularly useful if you need to backup sensitive data to avoid its complete loss during an ongoing power outage.

Who Else Needs a Uninterruptible Power Supply?

Well, we believe it is a good idea for everyone to have a UPS. Most homes and businesses today run multiple electronic devices ranging from personal computers and laptops to various home security devices. An unexpected power failure can not only leave you in the dark, but it can also cause the loss of sensitive data and may even cause damage to devices that are not shut down properly. A UPS is a reliable, affordable and practical solution to help you avoid these common issues.

How to Choose the Right UPS

The process of selecting an uninterruptible power supply largely depends on what sort of electronic equipment you intend to use the UPS for. If you are merely needing a backup power supply for computer equipment, we strongly recommend the Direct UPS 600va Designed for PC Only. This small and lightweight device will provide you with several minutes worth of backup power for your personal computer, telephone and Internet connections during a brown-out, all without an overload risk.

If you intend to use an uninterruptible power supply for your closed-circuit television devices and other electronic security equipment, we recommend the Direct UPS 600va Off line UPS. Also compact and lightweight, this device is able to control input voltage, while also providing a DC start when necessary. This model also provides surge and overload protection.

In addition to knowing in advance what you intend to use an uninterruptible power supply for, you should also have an idea of how long you will need its power. We know that this is hard to know ahead of time, since you likely haven’t a clue about when you’ll actually need to use backup power, much less for how long. Bear in mind, however that an uninterruptible power supply is intended only for short-term power failures usually lasting between five to 15 minutes. For longer power outages, a backup power generator is a better option. With this in mind, consider how much extra time it will realistically take you to properly protect your data by manually powering your devices down in the event of a power failure and then select an uninterruptible power supply accordingly.

Further Assistance

As always, our technical support team is available to answer your questions about uninterruptible power supplies and to help you choose which type is right for you. We encourage you to visit our main store to familiarize yourself with the several UPS options currently offered. Don’t forget that you may also read each associated product manual to help you determine exactly which one is right for you.

What’s Your Story?

Do you currently own an uninterruptible power supply? Have you had an occasion to use it yet? We’re always interested in hearing your comments and experiences, and we look forward to you sharing both in the comments section below.

Pet Friendly Burglar Alarms

When it comes to our pets, they are essentially a part of our families. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) pet statistics says that 62% of households in the U.S. have pets. About 78.2 million households own dogs and 86.4 million own cats.  Studies have shown 55% of people were more relaxed after spending time with their pets. This just goes to show that pets can help us in a plethora of ways in and around our homes. Whether our pets are helping us by securing our home or by putting us at ease knowing they are there, they are important to us and a big part of our home.

Pet-Immune Motion Detectors

Pets are always a good deterrent when it comes to potential burglars or strangers approaching your home. They can help warn us when something is going on in or around our household that may be a problem. But, there are times when pets can actually set off your home alarm, and this can be a costly mistake. Some alarm companies will charge you if your home alarm system has mistakenly gone off and the police is sent out for no reason. It is a good idea for us to avoid this accident as much as possible. Luckily, with how quickly technology continues to progress, this no longer has no be an issue. Thanks to pet-immune motion detectors. Home Security Store has many pet immune alarms to choose from that are pet-immune for pets ranging anywhere from 20 pounds to 100 pounds.

Your Home Can Never Be Too Secure

Some people figure that because they have a dog, they don’t need any type of home security system. Having a pet, particularly a dog, is a great form of security because if an intruder is present they can scare them off as well as notify you that something is not right. Although they may be an a helpful  factor with protecting your home, it is not enough. Unfortunately, some burglars will actually hurt or even kill dogs because they feel they are a threat to them gaining entry. For this reason it is important that you have alternatives other than using strictly your dog as your primary security option.

Double Check Before You Leave

One of the number one reasons false alarms occur with home security systems is because pets set them off due to overly sensitive sensors. When contemplating which security system you want to purchase for your home, keep in mind making sure that they are pet immune. Having your pet set off your alarm can be costly and inconvenient. Save yourself both time and money by investing in a pet immune motion detector. However, even with the use of pet immune detectors, a household pet any size has the potential to weaken your home security system. It can be something as simple as you’re pet pushing open a door or window that can set off an alarm while you are away from your home. Before leaving your home, check to make sure that all doors and windows are closed and securely locked. If your animals have the option of going in and out of the house at their leisure, it is your responsibility to insure that your home is still safe and secure while you are not present.

How Do Pet-Immune Sensors Work?

Pet-immune sensors use passive infrared technology that has the ability to sense sudden changes is temperature that would not be caused by a shift in the room temperature, therefore knowing that something is in the room. The alarm will trigger is the living being in the room is over a certain weight. There are some alarms that are pet-immune up to 100 pounds. These detectors are very easy to use and installation takes no time at all. These are perfect for any home and will help you avoid setting off any false home security alarms.

It is important to not only protect your home and family but also your pets as well.

Other Ways to Protect Your Pet

Aside from the pet immune alarms, there are other precautionary steps one can take to protect their pet around the home, mainly the pool area. With the warm weather here it is not just your children that we need to keep an eye out for around the water, it’s our pets as well. Some pets love the water and swimming around. But, there are pets that dislike the water and swimming around and when they accidentally fall into the pool they do not know that to do. Every year there is an estimated 5,000 family pets drown in backyard swimming pools. With the Safety Turtle Pet Velcro Strap an alarm will sound the instant your pets falls into water. This is the perfect thing to keep you at ease with your pets around the pool. All you have to do is place the strap around your collar and they are good to go. While you are away from your home it is important to have some sort of gate around your pool. That way you will not have to worry about your beloved pet falling into the pool while you are away from your home.

Take the precautionary steps needed to protect your pets and home! Your home alarm should no longer  have false alarms with use of the pet-immune detectors.

How to Create a Smart Home

Creating a smart home increases a home’s intrinsic value, as well as creates an environment of comfort, convenience and security. Also known as home automation systems, there are plenty of do-it-yourself projects and devices that can be used to customize your own smart home. Most devices in this category are affordable, as well as relatively easy to install and use.

What Is a Smart Home?

By now, most people have heard of smart phones, but not everyone is familiar with smart homes or how they work. A smart home is one where just about everything that operates on electricity inside of the home is on an automated system. For example, a typical smart home features lighting that is on a timer, as well as can be activated remotely; a home alarm system; a keyless entry system; indoor and outdoor surveillance cameras; and automatic temperature controls. A homeowner’s favorite music can even be queued so that it automatically begins playing when a room is entered. Appliances, such as coffee makers and televisions can also be programmed to turn on and off at specific times. Overall, the purpose of a smart home is to create an environment of absolute comfort and security.

Who Can Afford a Smart Home?

My curiosity about smart homes began with an article I’d read several years ago about billionaire Bill Gates automating just about every single electrical item in his home. Like most people, I assumed that such a home was reserved for the obscenely wealthy and, while it made for interesting reading, I sort of filed the information away in my “one day when I hit the lottery” file. In recent years, however, smart homes have become more commonplace. In fact, recently constructed homes often come equipped with this type of technology, but older homes can also enjoy the comfort and practicality of a smart home on a do-it-yourself budget no less.

Alarms, Surveillance and Beyond

Obviously, we feature several different DIY alarm and surveillance systems, which can be installed in a smart home environment. In addition to these systems, however, we also offer a number of home automation devices to help you create your own smart home. Whether you are building a new home and wish to integrate the majority of your automated devices now or whether you would like to transform your existing home into a smart one by slowly adding one device at a time, we can help you get started.

A Brief Introduction to X10

In learning how to create a smart home, it helps to familiarize yourself with the technology that makes it all possible: X10. Devices that are able to send or receive X10 signals are able to wirelessly communicate with other X10 devices. This technology is literally the heart and soul of home automation. When shopping for smart home devices, therefore, it is important to always look for its presence before making a purchase.

Home Automation Devices to Consider

Assuming that you have already installed your own alarm and surveillance system (and if you have not, that you are planning to do so soon), let’s discuss some of the other home automation products that you can self-install with the goal of creating a smart home. One of the most practical devices you may want to start with is one that controls your home’s lighting. The Chamberlain Remote Light Control is an excellent choice to begin with as it offers you the power to control your home’s lighting with a remote control unit. A device like this one means never having to enter a dark home again. It can even be programmed to work with other electrical appliances, such as a television or a home stereo system.

Another popular home automation device is an intercom system. Practical, easy to install and affordable, a home intercom system allows family members to communicate with one another from multiple rooms within a household. Such really comes in handy for active families living in a large or a split-level home.

Wireless intercom systems can also be used to monitor rooms or areas of a home, as well as provide musical entertainment for family members. For example, the DMC1 Music/Communication System Master features an AM and FM radio tuner that can be used in 15 separate rooms in addition to its intercom function. This smart home device also allows homeowners to monitor live audio in certain rooms within the home, which comes in handy for families with young children or aging adults. When privacy is desired, however, certain rooms can also be muted.

Beyond the Fad

Creating a smart home is not only a fun and convenient way to enjoy your house, but it is also a very practical DIY project for anyone hoping to make life easier and safer for single people living alone, aging adults and busy families. These homes are not merely a passing fad, but are the future of modern households with a focus on security. We encourage you to visit our Home Automation section for more information on devices that you can install yourself in order to create your own smart home.

Which home automation devices do you regularly use and which ones do you plan to install soon?

Security Devices and Your Smartphone

As a fairly new term in the American lexicon, most people hear smartphone security and imagine a mobile application or some other specialized gadget designed to protect a mobile phone from being stolen or even vandalized by a cyber attacker. Smartphone security, however, can also be used in the realm of home security systems as mobile and home security technologies are combined to bring an enhanced range of functions to homeowners. Using smartphones, homeowners can experience new ways of remotely interacting with their home and even control multiple security layers while away from home.

The most innovative home security solutions make it possible for users to interact with multiple home security devices from a single smartphone. From arming an alarm while at a remote location to visually checking in on a sleeping child while in another state, smartphones interact with home security systems in very clever and productive ways. As more and more people gravitate toward smartphone technology, it makes sense to discuss a few of the best smartphone security options that are currently available.

Surveillance Cameras

From nanny cams to multi-channel surveillance systems, many of the cameras that we offer can also be operated from a smartphone. One such example is the Levana Digital Wireless Video Baby Camera with Online Monitoring, which allows parents to see and hear their child in real-time from a remote location. Several of our nanny cameras also allow pictures and videos to be downloaded to a phone or a computer where they can be saved or forwarded and shared with other loved ones.

Alarm Systems

Alarm manufacturers have also worked to create effective ways of creating smartphone security features. In addition to being able to arm and disarm a system from a mobile telephone, some systems also allow homeowners without a landline telephone to connect their alarm system directly to a smartphone instead. With this feature, homeowners needn’t worry about the possibility of phone lines being severed during a burglary attempt and communication between a system and a homeowner’s mobile phone is always available.

Smartphone Security Applications

While smartphone security features can be created and used to manage and control the levels of security in a person’s home, some technologies extend far beyond home security into the realm of personal security, as well. One such technology is the Guardly mobile security app, which can enable smartphone users to contact up to 15 different loved ones with a single key press. This mobile security app further allows college students to quickly connect with campus security in the event of an emergency as long as the college is a part of the Guardly Safe Campus Program. Available on today’s most popular mobile operating systems, Guardly also offers access to 9-1-1 operators in fewer keystrokes than would normally be required and the company maintains that its highly attuned GPS functions can help loved ones or authorities more accurately locate a person in possession of a phone with the Guardly application in the event of an actual emergency.

Deterrents and Smartphone Security

Deterrents used to discourage burglars are very important layers of home security. Devices that help homeowners control lighting are quite easy to install and are affordable for just about every budget. For example, the only installation skill needed for the Xanboo Wireless Light Dimmer is the ability to plug it into an electrical outlet. The dimmer can then be used to illuminate a room from a button featured on the device or a user can control a home’s lighting remotely from a smartphone. Not only does a homeowner not have to worry about walking into a dark house at night, but the Xanboo Wireless Light Dimmer can also be remotely activated as the sun sets in order to give passersby the impression that someone is actually inside of the home.

Do-It-Yourself Home Security

Several well-known home security companies have also begun to develop their own mobile security applications. Homeowners choosing to self-install their own home security devices, however, will be pleased to discover the various smartphone security options that are already available to them, as well. As the desire to operate home security systems via mobile telephones increases, homeowners and smartphone users can expect to see even smartphone security functions in the months and years ahead.

How to Find Which Home Security Devices Are Compatible With Your Smartphone

If you are interested in learning more about the exact devices that may be compatible with your smartphone, we encourage you to visit our main page right away. By simply typing the name of your operating system into our search engine, you will discover a variety of useful security devices that can interact with your particular smartphone. Remember, should you have questions about how to install any of these devices, our technical support team is always here to help.

In what ways do you currently use your smartphone to interact with your home security system? What kinds of security applications or smartphone security features would you like to see in the future?

Do You Know What a PIR Sensor Is?

If you’ve spent any time perusing our product pages, it is likely that you’ve seen us mention PIR sensors a time or twenty before. You may have even loosely linked them with pet sensors, yet remain unsure about what they are and what types of home security devices they are best suited for. We thought we’d spend a little time today exploring this useful technology and, perhaps, even answering a few of your questions in the process.

Sensors, Contacts and Transmitters…What’s the Difference?

Before we go into detail about what a PIR sensor is, for clarity’s sake, allow us to take a moment to first explain the differences between a sensor, a contact and a transmitter. As words, sensors and contacts are sometimes used interchangeably, so it helps to define what these items are and how they work. Sensors are probably already clearly defined in the minds of most people. Simply put, they are tiny devices that are programmed to “sense” a disruption. The word contacts is often used in place of sensors, which is fine since they are one in the same. In home security systems, the technology used in most ordinary contacts or sensors consists of a switch, known as a reed switch, and a magnet. Together these items form a contact, and when the magnet and reed switch are separated, an alert is triggered.

A transmitter, on the other hand, is different from a contact or a sensor, but uses sensors for the process of identifying incoming information. When we use the word transmitter, we are almost always referring to a wireless device. A transmitter literally “transmits” signals and information garnered from a sensor to a main base.

What Is a PIR Sensor?

A passive infrared (PIR) sensor is a special type of sensor used to detect body heat generated by humans and animals. This heat energy is compared to the temperature in the area where the sensor, or the device containing a PIR sensor, is mounted. In home security devices, each time a PIR sensor detects a significant change in a nearby object’s infrared or heat energy in relation to the rest of the room or environment, an alarm is triggered. Sometimes referred to by other names, such as pyroelectric infrared sensors or even pet immune sensors, PIR sensors are commonly used home security devices such as motion detectors and security lights.

Who Should Consider Using a PIR Sensor?

Homeowners with pets should definitely consider home security devices with PIR sensors. After all, the ability to differentiate between animals and humans is the primary reason that these sensors are used in home security devices. Motion detectors utilizing this technology should be used in households with indoor pets, in particular, as such helps to eliminate instances of false alarms.

Individuals who wish to conserve energy without compromising security should also consider using PIR sensors. These sensors help to assure that devices, such as motion activated security lighting, are not triggered each time an animal (like a pesky rodent or a neighbor’s cat) passes in front of the sensor. In many such devices, the level of the sensitivity of a PIR sensor can be calibrated to only react when a being exceeding a certain weight is detected within the sensor’s range, which eliminates the problem of minor disturbances by insects or nearby shrubbery shifting in the wind.

Anyone currently relying on motion sensors for home security, but experiencing frequent false alarms, should consider whether a PIR sensor may help resolve the problem. There is a good likelihood that motion sensors are being triggered by a family pet or even flying insects. Many homeowners grow weary of false alarms and may even be reluctant to arm motion detectors for this reason. There is no need to choose between home security and a beloved pet, however, since motion detectors using PIR sensors can so easily serve to eliminate this frustrating inconvenience.

Devices Using PIR Sensors

PIR Sensors can be found in wireless as well as hardwired security devices. In fact, among our highest rated devices which are equipped with PIR sensors is the Visonic K940 40lb Pet Immune Hardwired Motion Sensor. Easy to install and able to distinguish between small pets and larger humans, this device can only be triggered by an object or being that exceeds a 40 pound weight limit.

The Dakota Alert MAT MURS Alert Transmitter also uses PIR sensors. From its mounted location, the Dakota Alert MAT MURS Alert Transmitter sends a signal each time an object, person or animal comes into its range. This transmitter is great for outdoor spaces, even in rural areas where animals roam freely.

For more information about PIR sensors and the products we carry that utilize this technology, you may employ a search from our main page. If you’ve recently purchased a device equipped with a PIR sensor and need our support in making sure that you are using it properly, please give us a call. Should you have further questions or comments about passive infrared sensors, we encourage you to let us know in the section below.