Smart technologies and home security

When you watch a film from years ago it’s easy to notice things that would be very different in today’s society. The way the characters talk, what they wear, what mobile phone they have (or lack thereof) and even what their home security is like.

Now, even though it’s the new year and we might not want to think about the festive period let’s take the 1990, classic Christmas film Home Alone as our example; the infamous story of an 8 year old boy whose entire family goes on holiday without him and he has to spend a couple of days alone protecting his house from burglars. If that film was made in 2018 it probably wouldn’t be nearly as iconic – the McCallister family would’ve probably invested in a high tech security system to protect their mansion, would almost certainly know Kevin was still in the house thanks to motion sensor alarms, and would have probably turned the taxi around before even getting to the airport. Not such an exciting plotline, but a much better situation for the McCallister’s.

Every day technology is constantly evolving and is accessible to anyone and everyone, for anything and everything. In a 2017 Deloitte survey, 41 million people in the UK said that they have access to a smart phone, and with this in mind, it’s no wonder that a lot of smart home security systems can be connected to a corresponding smart phone app that alerts the user within seconds of a change within their home.

Burglaries are on the increase so it’s a good thing that there are now so many ways to protect your home from unwanted guests, including Smart doorbells, CCTV, dog cameras and the use of Amazon’s virtual assistant, Alexa. If you’re going on holiday to catch the last of the winter sun and are worried about leaving your home unattended then a smart doorbell gives you, the home owner, the opportunity to see and speak to the person at your door via an app, even from miles away. Amazon’s Alexa has an ‘Away Mode’ which enables various conversations to be played whilst you’re out of the house, to trick outsiders into thinking there are people inside, and Smart lightbulbs, blinds & shutters can also be controlled via an app and can be turned on and off to simulate occupancy (a lot less effort compared to the mannequins on pulleys used by the young Kevin McCallister!)

There has been a sharp increase in influencers advertising these new smart technology products, with social media extending the reach and more and more people becoming aware of the technology they could and should be using to keep themselves and their homes safe and secure. However there’s another level of security that can’t be forgotten and that’s the security of your smart phone when it’s connected to these various devices. Some hackers have the intelligence and technology to break into anyone’s phone, but by putting in preventative measures this can be avoided; downloading a reputable internet security software that protects your phone from a variety of threats, not opening emails from recipients you’re unaware of, not giving personal details over the phone (via text or call) to people pretending to be a genuine company and also, the simplest of all, making sure your passwords for your accounts aren’t the same and also include a variety of numbers, letters and symbols.

Striving to prevent burglaries in our own homes is something we’d all like to achieve the whole year round. With smart technology we can do this at our leisure, even whilst relaxing and watching the Home Alone films (or something a bit less seasonal) on our smart phones, or perhaps on a VHS player if we still have one, like we did in the 1990s!