Home Automation: 101

Since the 1930’s World Fair, people have envisioned a home where small functions are performed automatically. While the idea is not new, the technologies to make it happen are. Home automation is hotter than ever because of smart home technologies.

So what exactly is a smart home? You may have heard the terms “home automation,” and “smart home” used interchangeable, and while very closely related, one is actually a component of another.

Here are some basic terms you will need to know:

Home Automation

When selected appliances and devices are connected to a central system and respond based on user input.

Connected Devices

These devices, appliances, and systems have integrated sensors that can connect them to the internet. The user programs the devices that can also learn and anticipate user patterns and respond accordingly.

The Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things is what brings home automation and connected devices together to create a smart home. Using sensors, programs, systems and controls, the IoT allows the systems to communicate, telling everything how, when, and why to perform a certain task as well as relay information to the user.

Why Smart Home Technologies are More than Just Cool Technologies

Yes, there really is something incredibly cool about having your home respond to your needs, but smart home technologies are more than just cool, they are also an advantage in many ways. Smart home systems offer a tremendous amount of convenience, allowing users to have the heating cooling, and lighting systems all working without thought. Safety is another big advantage, as users can tap in to home security or surveillance systems, be alerted to security breaches or things like extreme temperature changes. Smart home technologies also offer the user savings with the more effective use of energy.

Home automation and smart home technologies are an important way residents and business owners are streamlining their lives for a more efficient use of their time. If you have a question about home automation, home security, and smart home technologies, feel free to contact us.

7 Ways Homeowners Beg Criminals to Rob Them During Renovations

Criminals love when homeowners take on renovations, additions, and home improvement projects because most homeowners just do not realize how easy they make it to get robbed. Once begun, these projects consume us with design options and product choices and take our minds away from smart security practices.

During renovations, your home is a construction zone with added security risks, even if it is a small project. In the criminal’s mind, the increased activity is a beacon signaling easy pickings for high-value and easily resold tools and materials.

Here are the most common mistakes homeowners make during renovations:

Not Checking References

Believe it or not, many people never research the folks they hire beyond a casual recommendation from a friend. Even worse, they may not realize that the person they hire may not even actually be performing the job at all as it may be subcontracted out to another service provider. Do your research. Find out whether potential service providers self-perform the work, or sub-contract some or all of the work to others. If they sub-contract, you may have little idea or control over who enters your home and no way to check their reputation.

Not Keeping Track of the Number of Workers

Depending on the size and scope of your project, you may have a number of workers in your home throughout the job. Another big mistake homeowners make is in not knowing how many come in and where they are. When possible, have them use one entrance, such as a back door, so it is easier to see who enters and leaves and when. Know their names and faces. It is even a good idea to take pictures of all the service providers so neighbors know who should and should not be around the house.

Not Keeping Doors and Windows Locked

Where there are more people, there is more potential for doors to get left unlocked.
When possible, instruct all workers not to unlock any door or window unnecessarily and to re-lock when done with any task. Always check door and windows are locked and not assume others remembered to secure your property.

Secure Holes

At the end of the day, make sure all holes are secure to prevent people or critters from entering the property.

Secure Your Borders

Make the risk of getting caught greater than the reward of gaining access to your property by making it difficult or inconvenient to gain access. Use fences, locked gates, motion activated lights, and video surveillance systems.

Keep Your Supplies Secured and Protected with Security Systems

Construction materials are a hot commodity because they are easily sold without question, so thieves love them. Keep all of your materials in a secure location, preferably protected by security systems such as alarms and CCTV.

Call Your Alarm Company When the Project is Complete

If you reconfigured your space or added more living area, the new space may not be covered by your security alarm system, leaving gaps in your home security protection. Home security specialists configure systems specifically to meet the needs of a particular space. When that space changes, things like security cameras may not be optimally situated and new doors and windows may be without sensors.
If you have questions about how to protect your home during a renovation or how to use your home security system during large projects, please call us at 732-780-6787.