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Most smart home technology What Is A Smart Home? What Is A Smart Home? We recently launched a Smart Home category at MakeUseOf, but what is a smart home? Read More offers a lot of wow factor, but very little real world benefits. Home security is one area where the connected home offers distinct advantages over traditional security systems – whether you’re at home, work, or on vacation. There are plenty of options, but these four caught our eye.

Homeboy Security Camera

You can build your own motion capture security system with a Raspberry Pi Build a Motion Capture Security System Using a Raspberry Pi Build a Motion Capture Security System Using a Raspberry Pi Of the many projects that you can build with the Raspberry Pi, one of the most interesting and permanently useful is the motion capture security system. Read More , but if you’re looking for an easier off-the-shelf solution, the Homeboy is a great way to go. At first, it seems like just another webcam, yet it has a number of features that set it apart.

The device is easy to move around your house, as it has no wires. It magnetically attaches to the base, and you can easily point and reposition the camera whenever you need to.

homeboy-mounted

The battery lasts about three months, so you can set it and forget it. It’s motion activated, and the security functions are enabled when you leave a geo-fenced area – so it’ll send you notifications if it senses movement. You can then request clips to see what’s going on in your house via the iOS and Android apps.

Best of all? You can buy one now for $150.

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Cocoon

This device aims to do something that very few other security systems can do: monitor your entire house from a single room. The Cocoon is equipped with a number of key features: an HD camera, microphone, motion detector, thermometer, and even a very loud siren to warn off intruders. But the most interesting thing that the Cocoon includes is called the Subsound detector. This feature listens for very low-frequency sounds — below the threshold of human hearing — to determine whether or not there’s an intruder in other rooms in the house.

cocoon

By combining all of these sensors with machine learning which adapts to the regular the sounds of your house — and your pets — the Cocoon is a security hub that will keep you informed via the mobile app. You can check out the video feed from the Cocoon, set emergency contacts, and activate the siren with a few taps.

The Cocoon is available for pre-order from Indiegogo for $299 ($100 off the expected retail price).

Haven Smart Lock

We’ve profiled a number of smart locks Forget Keys: 5 Smart Locks You Can Unlock With Your Phone Forget Keys: 5 Smart Locks You Can Unlock With Your Phone Here are 5 different locks that you can unlock with your phone. Read More in the past, but Haven aims to fundamentally change how we think about preventing people from getting in the door. Unlike a deadbolt, Haven is anchored to the floor on the inside, creating a barrier that prevents the door from opening. Their website states that 95% of break-ins require some force, so adding a further obstruction makes it more difficult for someone trying to break into your house.

haven-lock

The Haven app controls the lock remotely from anywhere, but there’s also a key fob to automatically unlock the device when you’re in proximity. You can share keys with other people who need to get into the house, and Haven will be able to sync with other devices in your smart home, helping you to run the whole house with the same system.

Haven is still quite a long way away, with a projected release date of August 2015, but you can pre-order one for $200.

Presence

What do you do with your old iOS devices? Keep them around for gaming and wi-fi streaming? Now you can turn old iPhones and iPads into smart home security devices with Presence. In addition to being able to control a small number of other smart home products, the app turns your old devices into motion activated or scheduled security cameras, and streams the resulting video to your phone.

presence-cam

The app allows you to change the sensitivity of the motion detector, switch between the front and back cameras, and choose whether the camera should record for a specific amount of time after detecting motion or until the motion is no longer present. There’s also a subscription account that gives you 5 GB of online storage for saving videos and the ability to record longer videos.

Download Presence from the App Store (free)

Secure Your Home the Smart Way

Smart home technology has given us a lot of interesting ways to secure our homes, and these four are just a small sample of what’s out there. There are plenty more that can be added to your smart home hub Battle of the Smart Home Hubs: What's Out There and What's Coming? Battle of the Smart Home Hubs: What's Out There and What's Coming? Read More , like Wink Wink Connects and Simplifies Your Smart Home Wink Connects and Simplifies Your Smart Home The smart home market is currently full of innovative products, but they don't always work together. Wink sets out to connect them all together in a truly smart way. Read More or SmartThings. If you’re interested in hacking something like this together without the use of a dedicated home security app, check out our article on how to build a security camera network out of old phones How to Build a Security Camera Network Out Of Old Smartphones How to Build a Security Camera Network Out Of Old Smartphones These days, building a home surveillance system isn't a huge deal, especially with the right equipment. Wireless IP webcams are ideal of course, but what if you don't want to spend $50 to $200 for... Read More .

Of course, the security of your smart home devices is dependent upon the security of your network, so be sure to protect your smart home with encrypted wi-fi WPA2, WEP, And Friends: What's The Best Way To Encrypt Your Wi-Fi? WPA2, WEP, And Friends: What's The Best Way To Encrypt Your Wi-Fi? When setting up wireless encryption on your router, you'll come across a variety of confusing terms -- WPA2, WPA, WEP, WPA-Personal, and WPA-Enterprise. Read More and other devices like the iGuardian The iGuardian: A Smart Way to Protect Your Home Network The iGuardian: A Smart Way to Protect Your Home Network Read More .

Do you use any smart home security devices? Would you feel safer owning these types of products? What are the best smart security devices that you’ve seen? Share your thoughts below!

  1. fcd76218
    October 25, 2015 at 3:38 pm

    Unless these 4 devices, and the rest of your security system, are independently (battery) powered, they are more than useless. They do not work during a power outage and they give you a false sense of security because of that.

    In all the MUO articles on home security and Smart Homes, the power source is never mentioned.

  2. Donna
    December 2, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    I use a Lorex camera system, a 87lb American Bulldog, a Ol' Southern White Bulldog and a Jack Russell for when I'm not home, and a Glock for when I am home.
    Now I lay me down to sleep,
    A Glock beside my bed I keep,
    If I awake and your inside,
    The coroners van will be your last ride.

  3. Donna
    December 2, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    I use Lorex camera system, a 87lb American Bulldog, a Ol' Southern White Bulldog and a mean as hell Jack Russell, for when I'm not home and a Glock for when I am.
    Now I lay me down to sleep, a Glock beside my bed I keep, If I awake and your inside, the coroners van will be your last ride.

    • Dann Albright
      December 2, 2014 at 8:27 pm

      Well, I can see how a dog army and a small armory would make you feel safe. Not all of us are prepared to blast the hell out of a potential intruder, though!

  4. KT
    November 29, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    Some of those look pretty neat, but for years the most effective (semi-smart) home security system has been a big dog. I remember in the 90's someone invented a recorder that would randomly make big dog noises when turned on.

    • Dann Albright
      November 29, 2014 at 2:38 pm

      While a big dog certainly won't make your home LESS secure, I have to say that I have my doubts as to whether one should be relied upon to keep your house and valuables safe. Most bigs dogs that I've known are easily defeated by a slice of bacon. :-)

    • dragonmouth
      November 29, 2014 at 3:53 pm

      "Most bigs dogs that I’ve known are easily defeated by a slice of bacon"
      Not if properly trained.

      Years ago, a tenant in the building I lived in had a boxer. One day, while the family was out, a burglar decided to clean out the house. The first thing the cops had to do when they were called, was to tie off the burglar's pants legs around the ankles. The dog did not do anything to the burglar except knock him down and sit by him, growling everytime he moved.

      BTW - I would go for a chihuahua or another yappy bread.

    • KT
      November 29, 2014 at 10:23 pm

      Years ago, the guitarist in a band I was in had 2 very well trained pit bulls. I would bring them Wendy's chicken sandwiches every time I came over and they would greet me with licks and affection and we'd play for hours. All my guitar player had to do was say "watch him" and they transformed into deadly serious protectors. If he would say "get him" I wouldn't be typing this now!

      My favorite low-tech security system is a yard sign that reads: (My neighbor doesn't believe in gun ownership, but I do). That only works against home invasions while your home, but I appreciate the comedy value of it!

    • Dann Albright
      December 2, 2014 at 8:23 pm

      You're right, dragonmouth, that if they're properly trained, they're great home security measures. But the key there is 'properly trained'. Most dogs aren't properly trained for home security. Taking extra measures to get your dog trained, and taking extra measures to make sure your smart system is effective . . . they both require more time and effort. I'm not sure that there's as big of a difference as it seems.

    • Dann Albright
      December 2, 2014 at 8:26 pm

      KT, that's a cool story about how well dogs can be trained—they're really impressive animals, and I don't disagree that they can be awesome for security. It's just that, as I mentioned to dragonmouth above, it takes time to do that. Anyway, I like the idea of the gun ownership sign in the yard. It's just like changing your voicemail message to "We're not in right now—we're probably in the basement, cleaning our guns. Leave a message!" to deter thieves that call to see if anyone's home. :-)

    • KT
      December 2, 2014 at 9:11 pm

      Well Dan, looks like I'm getting a new voice mail now! That's brilliant!

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