How smart devices are changing the way we’re protecting our homes
With the UK currently in lockdown – and everyone expected to stay indoors except for exercise, essential food shopping or health reasons – home safety is a key priority. That’s why more people are turning to smart devices to stay safe.
These devices could prove especially important for the most vulnerable, including the elderly and those with underlying health problems – a group the UK government estimates at around 1.5 million.
These groups are expected to self-isolate for at least 12 weeks and any contact with people outside their home could be dangerous.
With this in mind, Izzy Schulman at Keys4U looks at how smart devices are shaping the way we manage home security.
Monitor your home from anywhere
According to ex-burglars, the most effective deterrent is the use of CCTV cameras.
So it’s unsurprising IP doorbells are becoming a popular home security device – allowing you to view a live video stream of your doorstep from anywhere and record and save the footage.
And the devices could prove to be a powerful security tool during the coronavirus outbreak, too. With delivery services vital for those in isolation – particularly the vulnerable and elderly – IP doorbells provide a contactless way to communicate with drivers at your door.
This is especially important with the recent social-distancing guidelines imposed by the UK government to limit the spread of the virus.
Other smart technologies like locks and alarms even let you protect your home remotely, too. Whether you’re just upstairs or even out of the house, all you need is an internet connection.
Bringing down insurance premiums
Because of their impressive security credentials, even insurance companies are beginning to take notice of smart devices. For example, LV is now asking customers about smart security devices in their homes when considering premium rates for homeowners.
Despite questions still being asked of the validity of digital security systems, one thing’s for sure – more security devices mean greater protection. Homes without any security devices are 300 percent more likely to be burgled.
And with more affordable home security devices becoming available – like smart doorbells and basic webcams – investing in home security not only pays off in the time and cost of recovering from burglary but also in your home insurance premiums.
Cutting costs is more important than ever for UK homeowners, with almost a million people at risk of losing their job as a result of the coronavirus outbreak and many more taking pay cuts or reducing their working hours.
Changing our approach to security
Smart devices are changing the way we think about protecting our homes – moving away from purely physical prevention towards dissuading burglars from the outset.
One method is to replicate the patterns of people’s home movements and habits, like turning on lights, TV and music.
Some devices even use AI in the form of a ‘virtual housemate’ to create the illusion of an occupied home by mimicking lighting habits and even making sounds.
Focusing on deterring burglars, rather than just physical security measures, helps protect you against the damage caused during a break-in. Research suggests physical damage from burglaries alone (from broken doors, windows and more) costs homeowners £600 on average – excluding the cost of stolen goods.
The rise of the ‘connected home’
Many modern homes are completely connected – from appliances like lights and boilers to home security devices. Thanks to the cloud, people can control their homes from anywhere with the touch of a button.
The number of smart homes is expected to hit 300 million worldwide by 2023. However, with so many devices connected across your home network, the safety of your data and devices is at risk.
The more devices connected to one network, the greater the number of entry points for potential attackers. And data shows upwards of 40 percent of smart homes are at risk from external hacking.
Even something as innocuous as a smart light bulb can give a hacker access to your entire home network. Because of the emerging threat of hackers, connected homeowners need to consider their cybersecurity.
Basic measures like upgrading your router, making sure your firewall software is up to date and using strong passwords are recommended. And consider using multi-factor authentication on your devices as an extra layer of security.