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February 5th, 2013

Smartphone Controlled Security Systems: Home Security in the Palm of Your Hand

[A Guest Post by Jay Harris - Home Depot]

Our homes are everything, aren’t they? Aside from the money, time and energy we invest in them, they’re where our children lay their heads at night. There are few things in this world that are more important.

When we leave our homes, we give up our control over protecting it and making it safe. Until recently, even the best security systems placed the care of your home in a faceless monitoring system that would contact you and the authorities if there was a break-in. Such monitoring systems are wonderful for the peace of mind they provide when you’re away, but have you ever wanted just a bit more?

Break-ins aren’t the only worry we have when we’re away. We’d also like to be able to keep an eye on the new babysitter or see which neighborhood kids snuck into the pool. We’d like to be able to turn off lights we forgot, or turn down the thermostat to save money.

We’d like to be in two places at once which is, of course, impossible. Still, you may be amazed at how close we can come.

You’ve heard of smartphones but how about smart homes? Add the term to your lexicon, because the line between security systems and home automation (controlling multiple home elements from one remote or smartphone) is blurring.

If Security is the Main Focus consider Defender Surveillance Systems. As the name implies, the folks at Defender are bullish about home security, offering excellent product that is also easy to use and understand, and relatively inexpensive, especially compared to higher end systems.

Available at your local hardware store, systems like the Defender 8 Ch. 500GB HDD Surveillance System offer DVD quality surveillance, even at night. Recording is set to your preference (such as constant or motion activated), and you receive alerts when a camera is activated or a video feed is lost. You can also view footage from the cameras anywhere in the world on your smartphone. Defender offers lifetime customer support, and best of all, their cheapest system is only a couple hundred dollars.

Another great option is found in Lorex surveillance systems. What’s handy with Lorex is how many options there are for expanding your equipment. If you need more coverage, you can buy extra cameras. If you need to upgrade altogether, there are many hard drive options with up to a terabyte of storage so you never have to worry about running out of recording room.

The quality of the equipment is also exciting. Many Lorex cameras have wash-out prevention features for making sure that any facial images captured by the camera are clean and thus identifiable. Lorex also makes cameras that work equally well indoors and out, even in extreme temperatures.

While not all Lorex systems can be smartphone controlled, many of them are. Just make sure to look for this information in the product’s description.

Alternatively, you may not be ready to fly solo just yet. Fortunately, you don’t have to: there are blended options which combine the flexibility and control of your own smartphone security system with the added support of an external monitoring company.

Home surveillance companies like Lifeshield offer unparalleled monitoring and customer support, as well as the widest range of services. Like the options listed above, you can view live feeds, record video and take snapshots from installed cameras, allowing you to check on the kids after school and even look in on pets while on vacation. There are also ample motion and contact sensors.

However, where remote security companies like Lifeshield set themselves apart – in performance and price – is monitoring. Your home is monitored for intrusion of course, but you also have options for fire, carbon monoxide, life safety and environmental (flood, freezing, etc.) protection.

For those with young children, or for the elderly, you may opt for medical monitoring. In case of accidents like slips and falls, Lifeshield’s medical monitoring kit gives users access to a “panic” button via a remote, key fob, or smartphone app.

The largest downside to systems like those on this tier is that you’re potentially overwhelmed with options. There are different packages that all come with different prices and contracts and these can be pretty confusing. However, in terms of scope, options like Lifeshield are worth a look, but just make sure to do your research so that you know exactly what you’re signing up for.

Smart Security

The security of your home is paramount to the safety of your family and your peace of mind. Luckily, there are home monitoring solutions that literally fit in the palm of your hand which that allow you to keep an eye on your house.

Just don’t forget that these systems can do a lot more than keep your home secure. They can also make your life easier and more efficient, and it’s really not that much more expensive.

Jay Harris is a Home Depot sales associate in the Chicago suburbs and is a contributor to Home Depot’s blog. Jay’s interests in the home improvement arena include home security systems and home automation.

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