Today you can answer your front door in Miami while you are on vacation in New York and tell the stranger on your porch, in real time, that you would just love to open the door and attend to his or her needs but you are upstairs cleaning the family’s weapons arsenal and can’t possibly dart down the stairs at the moment.
Home security — smart cameras, home automation, keyless locks that run off smart phones, smart alarms — has become really, well, smart. The field also has evolved from devices like the electronic watchdog that barks when someone approaches the home or gains access. (OK, that one, including a $79 version from the online Home Security Superstore, is still on the market. We can’t vouch for its efficiency. We’re just reminded of a 45-year-old episode of the All in the Family sitcom in which two burglars weren’t fooled by the barking of a dog “alarm” and busted in on the Bunkers’ home. Much mirth followed.)
Becoming a crime statistic in real life is no laughing matter. Go for the electronic watchdog, if you will, but here are some other options, too, as shelves at retailers like Best Buy, and online sites like Amazon and Home Security Superstore, along with others offer an array of items to keep criminals at bay.
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The new Nest Cam Security Camera from Google is your eye in the sky at home — with a brain. You can tune into its live feed from anywhere in the world at any time and have alerts sent to your smart phone if suspicious activity is detected in front of its orb-like lens.
The Nest Cam can be mounted on a wall, placed on a table or other flat surface and pairs with an app for your phone. Works off Wi-fi. Google’s circuitry advertises that it can tell the difference between a tree branch brushing against your house and a burglar bent on busting inside. The Nest Cam sends high definition images in 1080p to your phone, including night vision. Also picks up sounds so you can use it to monitor baby, a senior parent, or pets.
The Logitech Logi is another security camera, in a stylish circle, that offers smart filtering to show “only interesting activities,” meaning it limits false notifications to your smart phone or recordings. Daily summaries pack a whole day of home activities into a 30-second video, along with high definition monitoring and two-way audio.
The Ongs Wireless HD IP Wall Clock Camera functions, and looks like, a typical wall clock. But the 10 numeral is a sneaky network surveillance camera that records in full 1080p high definition. The clock’s camera can deliver night vision images, has motion detection and can be viewed from your smart phone and app.
Smart Door Bell
The Ring Wi-Fi Smart Video Doorbell is touted as “the doorbell for smartphones.” Sure enough, the doorbell uses the Ring app and a camera to let users see and speak with visitors from anywhere. This way, you can tell who is at your door from anywhere in the world and converse with the person, giving the impression you are home, even if you are not.
The camera gives a high def, wide-angled view of your home’s entrance. Motion sensors activate the camera and trigger alerts to mobile devices when movement is detected. Also offers optional cloud recording.
The Kevo Deadbolt by Kwikset lets you lock and unlock your deadbolt with your finger as it reads the BlueTooth signal off your smartphone. (If you don’t have your iPhone or Android with you, a key fob or good old-fashioned key will work with this lock). The Kevo (for “key evolved”) can detect whether an authorized user is inside or outside the home before granting access and is manageable from afar via a mobile or web app. You can also send eKeys to people, like family, friends and housekeepers. In this manner, you give access to them without having to give them a key to your door.
A trick burglars use to guess your pass code? They check fingerprint smudges on the numbers you press all the time to enter your code. The Kwikset SmartCode 916 touchscreen electronic deadbolt has a Secure Screen feature that makes you punch in two random digits before entering your code to help confuse burglars. The 916 also has an alarm if someone tries to break in.
If you're at home and the door is locked and you haven’t purchased a fancy smart lock, or you lack alarms, this simple polyurethane lock sleeve can make your deadbolt incapable of being turned, even if someone uses a key. The Lock Locker is also handy on hotel room doors when traveling or on a boat’s cabin if the lock is a deadbolt. Just lock your door, fit the flat piece around both the door handle and the deadbolt knob. Lock in the round piece over the deadbolt, which holds via magnets, and you’re done.
Cost: $25. Amazon and The Home Security Superstore.
The expandable iSmart Alarm home security and safety monitoring system offers cloud video recording, sound and motion alerts, a 110-decibel alarm, pan and til controls of the camera via smartphone and night vision.
For your car
The Python SmartStart works with your smartphone to control your car’s functions from afar. Arm and disarm your security system, unlock and lock the car, turn the AC on ahead of time (in South Florida this feature will save many a backside from burns on a hot car seat) and open your trunk.
Feeling threatened? Hit the panic alarm. There’s also one especially handy feature to help keep you from wandering around unfamiliar parking lots in search of your vehicle: the SmartStart remote can help you find your car in a parking lot with your iPhone or Android.
Cost: $299 at Sound Advice.
For your boat
Aqualarm’s Wireless Boat Security System Wireless Security System offers a keypad controller, motion sensor, two door and hatch sensors and a key fob remote. Someone comes on deck without authorization and tries to get in? A piercing siren, which can be controlled via keypad, will blast them.
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